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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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I picked up a #18 today with patent dates of 1890, 1892, 1904. The serial number is 8131. The production dates I've found on the internet are 1906-1909 which doesn't match up with the date on the gun. Also the serial number puts it at 1884. I'm far from an expert, so my research could be off. Is there anyone that can point me in the right direction as to a correct age of the gun? I'm not really looking for a value, its "farm fresh" and is going to need a great deal of work. My little boy is really into cowboys at the moment, so I plan on fixing it up for him. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
 

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All I could find said it was made from 1907 to 1908 in a quantity of about 15,500. Marlin serial numbers are a mess to figure out. Once it is ready to shoot do not use High velocity ammunition. The bolts in these have a weak spot. The gun looks like it can be brought back to life.
 

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Great! That's the date range I came up with, but the dates on the gun and the serial number had me puzzled. I'm going to redo the stock in black walnut and I've got some internal parts ordered. I'm pretty sure that last "gunsmith" used the biggest hammer he could find to try and force the stock back on after he "fixed" the trigger spring. It has the .22 short carrier, and I think I'm going to leave it in place. Thank you again for the information.
 

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The patent dates are just that, the date the patent was approved. More often than not they have nothing to do with the year the firearm was manufactured. I'd have to look to be certain but as an example I believe the '73 Colt SAA patent dates are from 1872 and maybe one from 1871. Those dates will be on a Colt SAA made in 1940. I would suspect yours and OG's dates for the rifle are correct.

Marlin serial numbers...I admit I am dumber than a box of rocks about them.
 
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The patent dates are just that, the date the patent was approved. More often than not they have nothing to do with the year the firearm was manufactured. I'd have to look to be certain but as an example I believe the '73 Colt SAA patent dates are from 1872 and maybe one from 1871. Those dates will be on a Colt SAA made in 1940. I would suspect yours and OG's dates for the rifle are correct.

Marlin serial numbers...I admit I am dumber than a box of rocks about them.

I think the serial number was what was really throwing me off. I'm a big believer in ask before you do when it comes to restoring guns(and most anything else.) Just because my FFL says I can be a gunsmith, doesn't mean that I am a gunsmith. Or an expert on anything. I just didn't want to destroy something that had significant value in the name of making it look pretty.
 

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Purely my unsolicited opinion; That one looks as if some make-up and lipstick wouldn't hurt much. Personally I wouldn't try to make it look new but that's me. New wood made to look old, make everything fit as it should and just clean up the outside of the metal a bit is about as far as I'd go.

The internals look amazingly good but I ain't sure what's goin' on with that hammer spring. It looks broken, is it?
 

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Purely my unsolicited opinion; That one looks as if some make-up and lipstick wouldn't hurt much. Personally I wouldn't try to make it look new but that's me. New wood made to look old, make everything fit as it should and just clean up the outside of the metal a bit is about as far as I'd go.

The internals look amazingly good but I ain't sure what's goin' on with that hammer spring. It looks broken, is it?
Unfortunately the hammer spring was the victim of a shade-tree gunsmith. Best I can tell when the "repair" was made they tried to beat the stock back on and destroyed it. I think there is enough of it left for the duplicator to map. I have a bunch of 200 year old black walnut that should dress it up nicely. I wouldn't put a ton of effort into it, but it is going to be my son's (he's 2) first gun, so I'll put more effort into it than I should. I'm going to leave it as a .22 short, just so in the future he doesn't try to feed it high velocity ammo and get himself in a bind. I'll have a grand total of $40 in it by the time I get all the parts in. It's hard to beat a free gun even if you have to tear it down and start over!
 

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Having run a duplicator a time or two I'm sure the old stock can be turned into a pattern with a little elbow grease, epoxy and bondo to replace any missing wood. Patterns don't need to be pretty, they just need to be the right shape.
 
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