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Marlin Shotguns

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Professor Marvel:
Does anyone else besides me have and operate a Marlin Shotgun?

I have my Grandfathers Marlion model 1898 that I am restoring , we have always shot it only  with
"mild" loads and never had any problems in spite of the Scardy Cat lawyer crap.

I myself feel it is not more or less dangerous than a Win '97 ( which is often slam fired, basically fired with an open bolt)

and Maurader (sp) has a great website on "care and feeding and rendering safe" ....

so, thoughts, etc?

I will post photos shortly

prof marvel

I am looking forward to seeing this topic develop.
I do own a Marlin Model-1898 Shotgun in 12 Ga.  The one I have was made in 1902 (according to aking at the Marlin Collectors Forum a few years back).
 My Dad bought it as a teen in the late 1930's or early 1940's from a local farmer for about $12.  He used it to hunt small game up until he had to take part in a major World event that was taking place between 1939 until 1945.  Coming home from the War in '46 he used it for duck and small game.  Then sometime in the late 50's or early 60's he quite hunting, cleaned it, took it apart (it is a take-down version) put it in the canvas case and put it above our garage.
In the Summer of 1986 a 15 year your's truly bugged the snot out of my Dad to "dig it out".  That year we got some cheap shells and shot it a few times.  I think I might have fired one or two entire boxes of shells through it?  The last time it was fired was circa 1987 or 1988? 
This was a while before I had even heard about the warnings about these shotguns.  I'm not sure how much my Dad shot it before I got it?  I'm guessing that when he first got it, the shorter shells for the shorter chambers were being sold?  When I was shooting it, we shot the common 2 3/4" shells with cheap birdshot loads. 
I don't know if I ever will fired it again?  I'd sort of like to know how much less it would recoil using shells that were made for it's chamber size? 
Regardless of whether I shoot it again or not...I have no plans to ever get rid of it.


 :)  tomcat PC   >:(

As a retired Gunplumber, I'm not a fan of the Marlin Shotguns.  I've never done any experiments to confirm or deny the Marlin Dire warnings, but do believe when the Manufacturer says "unsafe at any speed" one should pay attention.  Of course, understanding it's your Face, Hands and Eyes to do with as you please.

Now to your question.  It is not a grand idea to run modern Star Crimp through shotguns chambered for 2 1/2 in Roll Crimp ammunition.  The star crimp will invariably open into the very short forcing cone.  This will actually act as a partial bore obstruction and as the Wad hiccups it way through, WILL cause a spike in chamber pressure.  Sometimes enough to cause catastrophic failure.  Nasty that.  On a lesser note, that partial barrel obstruction and the attendant pressure spike WILL cause noticeably more felt recoil than ammunition of proper length.  Even with ammunition of proper length, the forcing cones of older guns were quite short, also raising chamber pressure and hence more felt recoil.  It is advisable in any case, to have the breach end inspected and if thick enough, the chamber should be extended to a modern 2 3/4 and the forcing cone also recut.  This will not only reduce stress on the shooter, it will reduce stress on the gun.

Since your shotgun is a takedown, the chamber and forcing cone are easily reachable and the work done should be quite reasonable.

These CAVEATS are also applicable to Professor Marvel and his "Project."  One should proceed with an amount of caution.  Or . . .  Conversely, just charge ahead and damn the Torpedoes   ;D

I will  stick with my Stevens Number 520 for my vintage 12 Ga.  I'm probably going to set Dad's Marlin away for a future wall decoration. 

Professor Marvel:
Thanks Coffin -

I am of two minds about the thing.
Marlin was bought out around 1998 ish and the new mgmt went lawyer crazy, thus the "unsafe" missive.

"Now, if you have one, you should exercise caution should you intend on shooting it. According to Shotgun World,
 "During 1998, Marlin issued a service bulletin recommending that slide action exposed hammer Models 1898, 16, 17,
19. 19S, 19G. 19N, 21,24, 26, 30, 42, 49 and 49N, in addition to hammerless Models 28,31, 43, 44, 53 and 63 should
not be fired as many of these guns are 70 to 100 years old and system failures can and do happen."

Should you disregard the warnings, have the gun inspected by a gunsmith with knowledge of the design and even
after its been cleared be sure to use light loads and wear your eyes and ears.

Up until that time, common knowledge was to have a 'smith trained in the old marlins take it completely down and
go over all the internals, especially the safety bits and disconnector(s) and replace anything that was too worn.
Of course even by 1980 parts were hard to find.

The  Marlin 1898 and the Win 1897 are of the same time period, and are similar designs.
The early Win 1897 can be slam fired and have occasionally  caused problems in the past.

The earliest Marlin had NO inertial lock, which was fixed in later releases, resolving almost all the problems.

here is a good write-up

and here

here is maurauder's page

In the cases of these beautiful old pieces they need to be in the hands of mechanically competent folks who are well versed
in the design and nuances, and well aware of the limitations and mechanical wierdities.

Mine was made in 1923, one of the "middle" grades, with smokeless steel, 2 3/4" chambers, and the latest in safety mechanicals.
The stock was "enhanced" by a prior owner. I have to make my photos much smaller, they are over 1 M each....

more later
prof marvel



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