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So I pulled the stocks off the 1965 Glenfield 36G to see what I could do to fix up a previous owner's refinish job and what did I find? The butt stock is numbered to the gun.

I knew Marlin did that but I had no idea that they did it with what was considered their budget line with birch stocks. Pretty cool.

I know it has been quite a few years since they stopped fitting stocks to guns, especially mass produced guns at an affordable price and I reckon I was just pondering on it.

I sometimes wonder if our children, let alone grand children will ever know craftsmanship beyond the high end.

It's the way of things now and not all bad. Technology has done wonders for all of us as has a global economy. But boy, I sure do miss the touch of craftsmanship in our everyday products.

What a standard they set...
 

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I've already shed tears. I'll drink to craftsmanship.
 

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Hadn't noticed any numbers on the stocks that I've pull off as of late, However Erik.... the .375 I picked up had another thing we won't see any longer....The tang burnt into the stock for a precise fit! Alas, gone are the days of craftsmanship. :'( :'( Mr fixit
 

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mr fixit said:
Hadn't noticed any numbers on the stocks that I've pull off as of late, However Erik.... the .375 I picked up had another thing we won't see any longer....The tang burnt into the stock for a precise fit! Alas, gone are the days of craftsmanship. :'( :'( Mr fixit
I wonder how many folks even know they used to do that?
 

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Craftsmanship was arguably better in those days than now; but numbering stocks to individual guns had nothing whatsoever to do with quality. Key parts were numbered to a gun so that the correct parts, those actually FITTED to a specific gun like the butt stock, bolt, etc; could be returned to the same gun to which they had been originally fitted. To do that, those key parts had to be numbered because those parts had been fitted to gun, then the gun was disassembled for the various required finishing processes; then reassembled afterwards.

In today's convoluted world, gun makers have the Feds tracking every serial number; and gun maker's do a thorough job of controlling and tracking those numbers, or the Fed's will put them out of business. But prior to 1968, serial numbers were primarily assigned for inventory control and assembly purposes only. If one goes back and studies the guns by any of these early period makers, you will find that all parts requiring hand fitting were numbered (even the smallest); but it was done to insure the correct parts were reinstalled during the final assembly process after all gun finish work was completed.

I haven't completely disassembled my newer 308 and 338MX Marlins but have disassembled all my early 50's and 60's era 336's; and on these early Marlin guns I've noticed that the breech bolt is numbered to each gun. I recently took the breech bolt out of my 338MX to clean the barrel and noticed that it was not serial numbered to the gun; but apparently was model specific, as it was stamped "338". Perhaps these new computer controlled milling machines are so precise that hand-fitting a Marlin lever has become obsolete.
 

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Rachethead said:
Craftsmanship was arguably better in those days than now; but numbering stocks to individual guns had nothing whatsoever to do with quality. Key parts were numbered to a gun so that the correct parts, those actually FITTED to a specific gun like the butt stock, bolt, etc; could be returned to the same gun to which they had been originally fitted. To do that, those key parts had to be numbered because those parts had been fitted to gun, then the gun was disassembled for the various required finishing processes; then reassembled afterwards.

In today's convoluted world, gun makers have the Feds tracking every serial number; and gun maker's do a thorough job of controlling and tracking those numbers, or the Fed's will put them out of business. But prior to 1968, serial numbers were primarily assigned for inventory control and assembly purposes only. If one goes back and studies the guns by any of these early period makers, you will find that all parts requiring hand fitting were numbered (even the smallest); but it was done to insure the correct parts were reinstalled during the final assembly process after all gun finish work was completed.

I haven't completely disassembled my newer 308 and 338MX Marlins but have disassembled all my early 50's and 60's era 336's; and on these early Marlin guns I've noticed that the breech bolt is numbered to each gun. I recently took the breech bolt out of my 338MX to clean the barrel and noticed that it was not serial numbered to the gun; but apparently was model specific, as it was stamped "338". Perhaps these new computer controlled milling machines are so precise that hand-fitting a Marlin lever has become obsolete.
My 338's bolt has the serial number electro penciled on it.
 

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I'm sure mine does too, I didn't know to look for that "electro" number until a few days ago; but it makes sense that such would be the case, as it would be very important to insure a bolt stayed with the right gun once that bolt has been fitted to insure correct head space be maintained.
 

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mr fixit said:
Hadn't noticed any numbers on the stocks that I've pull off as of late, However Erik.... the .375 I picked up had another thing we won't see any longer....The tang burnt into the stock for a precise fit! Alas, gone are the days of craftsmanship. :'( :'( Mr fixit
Never knew that. I'm 25 and I very much appreciate good craftsmanship.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rachethead said:
Craftsmanship was arguably better in those days than now; but numbering stocks to individual guns had nothing whatsoever to do with quality. Key parts were numbered to a gun so that the correct parts, those actually FITTED to a specific gun like the butt stock, bolt, etc; could be returned to the same gun to which they had been originally fitted. To do that, those key parts had to be numbered because those parts had been fitted to gun, then the gun was disassembled for the various required finishing processes; then reassembled afterwards.

In today's convoluted world, gun makers have the Feds tracking every serial number; and gun maker's do a thorough job of controlling and tracking those numbers, or the Fed's will put them out of business. But prior to 1968, serial numbers were primarily assigned for inventory control and assembly purposes only. If one goes back and studies the guns by any of these early period makers, you will find that all parts requiring hand fitting were numbered (even the smallest); but it was done to insure the correct parts were reinstalled during the final assembly process after all gun finish work was completed.

I haven't completely disassembled my newer 308 and 338MX Marlins but have disassembled all my early 50's and 60's era 336's; and on these early Marlin guns I've noticed that the breech bolt is numbered to each gun. I recently took the breech bolt out of my 338MX to clean the barrel and noticed that it was not serial numbered to the gun; but apparently was model specific, as it was stamped "338". Perhaps these new computer controlled milling machines are so precise that hand-fitting a Marlin lever has become obsolete.

Of course it had to do with quality, that is why they numbered them. Because they were fitted to the gun. I doubt much if any individual fitting takes place these days.
 

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Craftsmanship is not gone. We, the American people, are just unable or unwilling to pay for it. People aren't going to pay $1200 for a Marlin.
 

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Mr Fixit,
I dont consider burning a tang into a stock as a perfect fit...in a few short months, the ash from the burning would loosen and fall out leaving a loose fit.....far better to chisel it out
 

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richardb9 said:
Mr Fixit,
I dont consider burning a tang into a stock as a perfect fit...in a few short months, the ash from the burning would loosen and fall out leaving a loose fit.....far better to chisel it out
I may be wrong, but I think that for the most part the inletting was done, the burning in just took off a hairs breath of wood for the final fit. I understand your reasoning, but there's not a lot of ash to be falling off to make that much of a difference. Mr fixit
 

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Halwg said:
Craftsmanship is not gone. We, the American people, are just unable or unwilling to pay for it. People aren't going to pay $1200 for a Marlin.

Check the price on gunbroker of 1894 CL's/24" in 38/.357 :eek:

You are right of course but their are a few among us who would pay more for a Marlin "Custom Shop" hand fitted rifle or at least would have before the remlin/cerebus buyout.
 

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richardb9 said:
Mr Fixit,
I dont consider burning a tang into a stock as a perfect fit...in a few short months, the ash from the burning would loosen and fall out leaving a loose fit.....far better to chisel it out
They did cut away 99% of it & then burned the last bit for a perfect fit. As far as the result being loose all I can say is I have guns that were done that way many decades ago that are a very perfect fit, nothing Marlin has produced in recent years comes close. Almost every Marlin I'v seen made in the past 10 or so years has a gap between the reciever & wood right where the recoil should be transfered. Not big, usually 1/16 to 1/32 though sometimes much worse. I think burning it in would close that real quickly while doing it by hand requires at the very least a couple hours.
 

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I must agree with Halwg, we are unwilling and UNABLE to pay the price for craftsmanship. It is a sad day indeed when craftsmanship has to take a back seat to the bottom line. Craftsmanship can be found in today's products but you must be able to afford them and that is where the rub comes in. Take care, John.
 

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Rachethead said:
Craftsmanship was arguably better in those days than now; but numbering stocks to individual guns had nothing whatsoever to do with quality. Key parts were numbered to a gun so that the correct parts, those actually FITTED to a specific gun like the butt stock, bolt, etc; could be returned to the same gun to which they had been originally fitted. To do that, those key parts had to be numbered because those parts had been fitted to gun, then the gun was disassembled for the various required finishing processes; then reassembled afterwards.

In today's convoluted world, gun makers have the Feds tracking every serial number; and gun maker's do a thorough job of controlling and tracking those numbers, or the Fed's will put them out of business. But prior to 1968, serial numbers were primarily assigned for inventory control and assembly purposes only. If one goes back and studies the guns by any of these early period makers, you will find that all parts requiring hand fitting were numbered (even the smallest); but it was done to insure the correct parts were reinstalled during the final assembly process after all gun finish work was completed.

I haven't completely disassembled my newer 308 and 338MX Marlins but have disassembled all my early 50's and 60's era 336's; and on these early Marlin guns I've noticed that the breech bolt is numbered to each gun. I recently took the breech bolt out of my 338MX to clean the barrel and noticed that it was not serial numbered to the gun; but apparently was model specific, as it was stamped "338". Perhaps these new computer controlled milling machines are so precise that hand-fitting a Marlin lever has become obsolete.
Sure it represented craftsmanship. It means that a man fit that stock to that gun & the difference between a stock fit in 1960 & one taken from the barrel & shoved on today is night & day. Same with the other numbered parts. Trigger plates were numbered & recievers were numbered, the trigger plates fit much closer than todays, the bolts were numbered & fit to an individual gun too. Today they pretty much just pluck parts out of boxes & assemble them. A good assembly person SHOULD be trying to match the parts well but I'm quite sure that alot of them are just putting in their time and could care less. When things are done this way most guns are satisfactory but occasionally tolerances will stack up & the final product will be a POS. Your 338 says 338 on it because its got a different bolt face and is caliber specific ;)
 

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LD:
In the very first sentence I acknowledged "Craftsmanship was arguably better in those days than now"; and, although your point about hand-fitting and craftsmanship is well stated, my point was never directed towards quality; my point was directed solely to serial numbers and why they were important to gun makers.

"Today they pretty much just pluck parts out of boxes & assemble them. A good assembly person SHOULD be trying to match the parts well but I'm quite sure that alot of them are just putting in their time and could care less"

And you may be entirely correct, I haven't been in the gun works and have no idea what actually goes on; but my point is simply that when a worker/workers are dealing with dozens (maybe hundreds) of the same parts at one time, the ONLY way he can be assured he has reassembled the correct, and already fitted part/s, is to have them numbered to the gun.

"Your 338 says 338 on it because its got a different bolt face and is caliber specific"

Of course; and I only made that remark because it was the first Marlin lever I had seen stamped with a model specific bolt. Again, I've had all my older Marlins completely apart and have seen serial numbers, but no model numbers. On the other hand, I had never disassembled any of my newer Marlins until I took the bolt from the 338MX. For all I know, all newer Marlin lever bolts are now stamped to be model specific. When I saw that 338 designation, my first thought was that it was stamped model specific because it was milled to fit the 338ME case head; but have wondered if it might also have other connotations, given the original hype Marlin published about the machining and fitting of the MX/XLR models.
Who knows, and who really cares; this is all for fun anyway!
 
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