Ancient Marlin Model 24, Should I shoot it?


Peter M. Eick
October 7, 2005, 07:22 PM
Its my grandpa's gun, so there is definate family history here. I never met the man as he died over 20 years before I was born.

Ok, here is the full story. The gun is a marlin model 24. It is serial number 92xx which I think puts it about 1908 manufacture. It is a takedown 12 guage and has 1904 patent dates on the barrel. It has about 60% bluing left and a bit of barrel rust (long before I got it). About 15 years ago, I had a reputable smith give it the once over and clean it up for me. He said at the time that it could be shot, but that not to push it with hot loads. He said it was mechanically ok, but definately an old gun.

So today I got invited to shoot sporting clays. I was told I need a shotgun 8 or 9 shot 2 3/4" shells and be prepared for fun. I don't shoot shotguns. I am a rifle/pistol kind of guy. Anyway, I said I had a shotgun, so I am going tomorrow morning.

I pulled out the Model 24, and looked around on the web. I found some cryptic comment that back in 1998 Marlin said to not shoot the exposed hammer shotguns anymore. Anyone know anything about it?

So what do you all think. Shoot it? I want to keep the gun alive and shooting to have some track of history, but then again, I don't want to get hurt or hurt the gun.

Any advice would be welcome. I leave for the range in the early morning.


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October 7, 2005, 07:43 PM
Granted it was about 15 years ago that a smith gave you the "okey-dokie".
But as long as it's not a damascus barrel, but a real steel barrel, then follow his advice, use light target loads (no more than 2 3/4 dram equal and 1 1/8 ounce shot loads) I've got a couple of old double barrel shotguns that I shoot on a pretty regular basis, using light loads that I roll myself. I have also used regular factory loads for hunting upland birds and small game in them without any problems. That said(tm) it's your choice and this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it, YMMV, IANALNGSNDISAAHIELN.

If you're not comfortable with shooting it, hang it over the fireplace and occasionally raise a glass of the adult beverage of your choice to the memory of the man and his gun.

Peter M. Eick
October 7, 2005, 07:53 PM
I did shoot it a few hundred times back about 90 or 91 after the smith went over it and it worked fine. I was not even really worried about it till I found the comment that the exposed hammer marlins should not be shot.

To me, I guess it is like all gambles, you just have to trust it. The barrel is real steel, not damascus. It looks very clean inside, it is well polished. The gun has been shot a lot over the years because of the wear patterns, but it appears to lock up very tightly.

It has one thing I cannot figure out. What is the small pushbutton do on the rear of the receiver on the right hand side? Any ideas?

Also I assume it is normal for the hammer to drop when you close the action if you have the trigger held back? I vaguely think that this is a normal trait for this vintage of gun. If you have the finger off the trigger it works fine and you cannot "push off" the hammer just like a revolver.

Finally I noted that you cannot open the action unless the firing pin is forward. You can nudge it forward if the hammer is back and get it to open though.

Thanks again. I think I will go blasting with it.

Peter M. Eick
October 7, 2005, 08:39 PM
I found online a nice discussion of safety checks for the Marlin hammer shotguns.

:eek: Unfortunately mine fails the unlocking when the hammer falls. Basically when you put a bit of rearword pressure on the forearm, and press the firing pin in lightly, the gun unlocks and opens.

Even I understand that cannot be good.

Any good gunsmiths out there who want to help me solve this problem?

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