Marlin 1897 help
Hey all, haven't posted in a while but my grandfather left me a heck of a project gun. I acquired a Marlin 1897 lever action .22. The gun is in okay condition by my standards (which are high) and needs some obvious TLC. My problem is it didn't come with the rear stock. I have from the rear of the tang to the barrel. Not missing any pieces. There is some slight surface rust but nothing I can't carefully handle. The serial is 368187 and I know that 355000 was around 1906 if I am not mistaken. The rifling in the barrel is strong and there really isnít any frosting or pitting of any kind itís a shiny barrel. Unfortunately my ambition grew beyond my knowledge and I completely disassembled the gun, and I mean completely, just to clean it up. Now I can't remember exactly where everything goes. I can't find any literature or an exploded view for this gun so that I can make sure I have every part and put it back together. I ordered a schematic from Numerich but its mostly 39 and 39A parts which helps a bit but even the slightest difference in parts confuses me as to whether I have it or not or they just changed the shape. So all in all anyone got any advice, input, answers? I am not planning on shooting this I was thinking about cleaning it up getting a stock and just auctioning it off, unless it would be better hung on the wall. Thanks a lot guys! Also where the "Model 97" is on the tang was covered with that rear sight and I haven't seen that sight anywhere. Any clues?
I searched and didn't see anything listed about mentioning another forum, so I would suggest regristering with "Marlin Owners" group(I'm a member and they're great--like this forum). They have MANY knowledgeable people with collectible antique Marlin's and other modern Marlin's and I'm sure someone there will help you if you ask. Good luck with your project. She'll be a beaut when you have it all complete and I'm sure that it will still shoot just as good today as it did back over 100yrs ago. Of course have it checked out by a good Gunsmith just for safety.
That square nut doesn't belong to it and the screw next to it doesn't look right either.
That tang sight is valuable($100 to $200+). I don't see the forearm in any of your pictures, so I assume thats missing also. Buying the wood is going to approach the value of the gun. I would suggest selling the tang sight and then the gun as-is for parts. I believe that would net you the most money as you stated you wanted to sell and not keep it. Gun is worth $100 to $200 as-is.
Thanks I appreciate all the information. I do have the forearm I just forgot to include it in the pictures. I am trying to figure out how on some of the auction sites like gunbroker, people are selling these completed for thousands???? And any luck with an exploded view or anything like that?
PO Box 1871
Madison, NC 27025
Include the model and serial number and ask if they have a schematic available. Include an email address in the contact info.
Marlin Owners indeed has a very intensive site reguarding the repair of these classics.
The model 97 was an extension of the Model 1897...they quit using the 1897 stamp and switched to the '97 stamp in 1905.
The '97 continued on until 1922.
The barrel could be a 16, 24, or 26 incher.
The mag tube could be a half or full length tube...half held 16/12/10, full held 25 short/20long/18LR's.
Value, if restored properly, will go up. A bad resto-job will pretty much leave the value where its at.
As it sits, its a bit of a disaster...but that can be repaired.
I belong to the "If it ain't worth over a grand as it sits, it can be carefully restored & enjoyed" crowd...
then, enjoy using the heck out of it!!
Not many folks have ever seen a '97 up close, and it would be fun making new friends at the local range!
Selling the original sight peep sight would be a mistake, in my view...too useful...as in, way more useful than the cost would show.
The '97 more or less is the same as a Model 39...the 39 & 39A coming later...with some improvements.
A model 39-M (Mountie) stock from Numrich will work after some minor hand-fitting, if you are going for shootability.
If you want an OEM stock for restoration...Bob's Gun Shop is the place to go. He carries old 97 stocks.
ALL are MARLIN GUN STOCKS AND FORENDS , Bob's Gun Shop.Marlin Gun Stocks in Walnut and Synthetic Stocks. Marlin Semi Finish Gun Stocks, Marlin Rifle Forends, Marlin Lever Action Stocks and Froends, Marlin Antique Stocks and Forends, Marlin Synthetic
I can't say enough good about having the gun professionally refinished. It'd cost more, but it'd also make the gun worth more.
Also tends to last longer...but then, a properly done cold blue/brown can last quite awhile as well...
Being that it was your grandfather's, you will feel bad later if you auction it off/sell it.
Believe me on that, especially if you two had a good relationship.
Now...if you are totally committed to spending as little as possible and doing as much as you can yourself...that's cool!
Boyd's straight stock replacement for Marlin is only $42...yes it sez 336, but its basically the same.
Minor hand-fitting needed, but it truly is Minor fitment.
MARLIN 336 STRAIGHT GRIP STOCK
Birchwood-Casey's Cold Blue kit...is ok...I've enjoyed the benefits of using the kit blue, and using their Plum Brown on older antique guns.
The kit comes with all the important cleaning items & instructions...so grab one of those from a local sporting goods store...
then order in the Plum Brown 5oz bottle from Midway USA or Brownells if the store doesn't stock it.
The Plum Brown will give a more appropriate finish for the age of your rifle.
I cannot say enough about PREP work prior to using a cold blue/brown...
Be a little OCD about it, it helps. Clean, Clean, Clean. Polish, Polish, Polish.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Then blue/brown.
Keep the rifle in a WARM room when blueing...the temp of the rifle must stay above 80 degrees, preferably higher.
If you can oven-bake it after applying the blue/brown then slathering it in Cosmoline, so much the better.
Be Warned, your wife will kick your butt if you use the house oven...it will STINK. Get a cheap used oven for the garrage if you can swing it.
After completion, leave it in Cosmoline for a few weeks/months if possible...it'll deepen the Blue/Brown finish.
Heck, its almost wintertime in yankee territory anyway, might as well let it soak for the winter :D
Ok, the tube mag...as you may or may not already be aware, some of those had a little Button...total pain.
If the button is broken, there are no replacements, unless you get extremely lucky on the auction sites.
You may replace the tube mag assembly with one from a Mountie or any other tube assembly of the same length.
But, before all that, if its working fine, just clean it & slap it back on. Stick a new spring in there if needed.
Run a shotgun .410 brass brush in there a few dozen times, swab it, oil it, and enjoy :)
The Guts, as mentioned before...Marlin Owners has all the details, & RFC is a good secondary source.
I own a 1913 Marlin model 37 slide-action...between them & Rimfire Central, they'll get you on track.
Oh, one other thing...once you get it back together, you'll want to stick with Standard Velocity (Target) .22LR rounds,
no High or Hyper rounds...its an old gun, and the ammo for which it was made for back then was considerably weaker.
Plus you have to figure in Metal Fatigue over a century...so Standard will be Safe.
With the High V/Hyper V..you risk things that are expensive to replace breaking.
Shorts & Longs should be no problem at all...IF you can find 'em ;)
Hope that helps :D
Just to clarify the tang sight was not made by Marlin. It is an after-market sight that was made to fit your Marlin. Very very unlikely that it came with the gun. You can do what you want to that gun but it will never be worth a thousand. Maybe with enough time and money put into it you could get $500 but I have to say I doubt it.
For everyone's information collectors want guns in original condition. Not with replaced parts or reblued or refinished. A real collector can tell these things when looking at a gun(though sometimes are fooled). If you go to inspection day before an antique gun auction, you would see most would-be bidders will be looking at the guns with magnification. Collectors often buy guns with defects if they want parts or don't have that exact variation of that model. Then they keep looking for one in better condition to "trade-up". Your Marlin 97 is a great little rifle but it is no collector piece.
Thanks for everything guys still haven't decided if I am selling it or not but I appreciate all the info. Just need to gather more for right now!
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