Marlin 81TS


Danny Creasy
September 19, 2007, 05:42 PM
A gun shop not too far from my home town has had this little black 81TS tube repeater (still new) gathering dust (literally - I had to wipe the dust off aroung the forend tip) in their rack for over two years. I have always regretted selling a Marlin 783 .22 Magnum tube repeater back in the 90s. But, I have no use for another .22 Magnum (have a 925M and a Ruger Super Single Six). So, I decided to liberate this rascal and put it to work for $170 cash out the door.

Accuracy is so-so.
Trigger is heavy (5 lbs 6 ozs)

100% reliable (cycled over 200 rounds today of three types)
My old 783 trigger was around 8 or 9 pounds. This one is crisp and shootable.
Found a home for my beloved old steel tube Weaver K-2.5 scope.
The rifle fit me very well for length of pull and comb height (when scoped).
Great offhand plinker. Burned a box of Eagles before I new it.

Was shooting this afternoon and unlike this morning, the winds were swirling and gusting.
Maybe the Micro-Groove rifling prefers plated ammo. I had none with me.
I shoot alot of .22 games at the range and the scope powers run from 6 to 16 to 18 to 36. So, the old 2.5 may take some getting used to.

The first groups with SK Std Plus (told this is the same as Wolf MT and I believe it after shooting alot of both myself) were horrendous. Maybe it does not like the greasy wax lube.
My Marlin 60 loved the plated 40 gr solid Aguila High Velocity. Maybe I will try that in it this weekend.


These are two inch BC flame dots on the left target and three inch on the right target. I needed the big bulls for the low powered scope.

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September 19, 2007, 06:58 PM
Very nice. I want to get one myself- still looking for a good price, and waiting to build up the funds...

September 19, 2007, 07:31 PM
I too used to have a 783. I thought of possibly adding a tube fed bolt 22 again like yours and later adding a laminated or walnut stock.

Try more types of ammo. My Marlin 925 really surprised me with PMC Scoremaster.

I also use the same front rest you have.

September 19, 2007, 08:58 PM
I actually have an 81TS, it has served me well for years. My daughter has since claimed it, but I still shoot it occasionally. Like many owners, I just kinda wish it had real wood furniture, that has always been my only actual semi-complaint pretty much.

A decent, different and relatively inexpensive alternative if S/L/LR is important to you. I have no illusions, it is nothing special, but I like mine.

The currently produced 981T is very similar, but has a newer style trigger. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong or feel free to add.

Danny Creasy
September 19, 2007, 09:18 PM
Avenger, hope you snag one soon. Neat rifle.

YodaVader, I like my Caldwell stuff. I have their wind flags too. I will keep testing ammo.

No corrections tubeshooter. You speak truth. I have the 900 series trigger on my 925M. The 900 series trigger is wider and made of plastic. This 81's trigger is better than any other factory Marlin bolt .22 I have ever handled. I must try a box of shorts in my Marlin.

September 20, 2007, 12:38 AM
A couple of things here; it should be more accurate than that, try several diff brands of ammo, the aguilas will proly do well. also remember , if it was shot with a lot of Short ammo, it may have a build up in it's chamber. I would let it soak with a foaming cleaner for about 15 mins, brush it out, and repeat two more times, being sure to clean the chamber as best as possible.
Lastly, a wood stock also heps a great deal with the accuracy, the marlin synthetic stocks are notorious for letting the revceiver/action move around inside of it. So maybe go to home Despot, and get some aluminum tape, and shim up the bottom and sides of the receiver/action so it is nice and tight inside the stock. Should help out quite a bit.
I've got one with a peep site, made in '37-'40, and it still shoots lights out.

wayne in boca
September 20, 2007, 05:34 AM
I also have an 81TS,use it for squirrels.At 50 yards,it's a one-holer with any ammo I ever put in it.Something must be going on with yours,if you figure out what I think you'll be pleased with it.

Danny Creasy
October 8, 2007, 01:45 PM
A second range session last week with plated ammo (Aguila and CCI Mini Mags) offered groups similar to the first session. I wanted to make sure the old Weaver K 2.5 is not the problem. So, I am off of work today for Columbus Day and decided to try the 81 again this morning.

I mounted a modern Weaver 4X rimfire scope on the Marlin 81TS and went to the range. Since plated ammo did not prove to be the answer last time, I took the American Eagle again as a base group, some RWS Subsonic HPs, and a 100 rd plastic box of CCI Std Vel. Here is a sampling of the groups I shot this morning:

The groups with all three ammos were still within the range of the ones fired using the old K 2.5.

Also, the Marlin seems to like the inexpensive American Eagle as much or more so than any of the pricier ammo I have tried.

So, I mounted the K 2.5 back on the Marlin and zeroed it again with the lower left four bull target. Finally, I proceeded to empty a full tube of the Eagle cartridges on a mixture of turkey and pig silos offhand at 50 yards and I only had a couple of misses.

Like my friend, Dwight, said the other day, "Danny, I just think you get spoiled shooting tiny little groups with your Anschutz, CZ 452s, and older Remington and Winchester .22 rifles and your expectations for a modern American entry level .22 are just two high".

My old K 2.5 has a home and if I need a solid little .22 to go knock steel animals or aluminum cans around at the range, then this Marlin will get it done. It would also be a marvelous choice to sight in with the supply of CCI CB Longs that I keep on hand for killing starlings, blackbirds, and and even the occasional squirrel (when they start trying to make a home in my attic) in the back yard. Those ranges are from five to 20 yards tops.

Thanks for all of the good input.

wayne in boca - you are lucky.

rangerruck - excellent comments (especially about the stock). But, relative to the shorts suggestion, this was a brand new rifle and it has never had shorts fired through it.

Oh and i often wonder something when others write posts like mine in which they are not quite pleased with a rifle's performance. "Does this guy really know how to shoot?" Well, I am not world class, king of the world, Mr. Expert, etc. But, here is a link to a thread on RFC that reflects a box stock sporter benchrest score that I am quite proud of from last month:

Added by edit:

If any of you are in the North Alabama, South Central Tennessee, or North East Mississippi areas and you want to come shoot with us in Sheffield, Alabama, we shoot rimfire matches on the first, second, and fourth Saturday mornings. They are free and open to the public. The only requirements are to be safe and have fun.

Pic courtesy of Dwight Pilkilton:

1st - 50/50 Sporter (silhouettes)
2nd - 25/50 Pistol (same game at 25 yards with handguns)
4th - CMP Sporter and 50 yard benchrest (you can shoot either or both)

Danny Creasy
October 22, 2007, 10:56 PM
I acquired a few dozen rounds of Remington Golden Bullet HPs recently and I tried them in the Marlin 81TS on Sunday. Maybe I found something the black rifle likes.

Fifty yards - Weaver K 2.5

I will excuse that first group to being the first group of the day and me and the rifle having to settle in.

October 23, 2007, 01:56 AM
I will tell you a lil secret, the thing about the american eagles is this , it stays supersonic almost out to 100 yds, and with it having a flat base, that means it will be a straight line shot out to somewhere just up to 100 yds. the only other thing I would suggest is to lighten the trigger, and slug the bbl, find the tightest spot you can, out towards the muzzle, and recrown it right there. Even though it may look fine, it may be cut at the muzzle in a place that was just a teeneh bit big. if you can do this yourself, all the better; no expense.
This is to say, in my experience with the many 81's I have shot over the years, they have all been more accurate than that one. I am not attributing here to your skill in any way, I sincerely believe it should be more of a one hole job.

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