Marlin Model 60 long-term durability vs Savage 64 long-term durability


April 4, 2013, 06:24 PM
Hey all,

I would like to get a .22 rifle for hunting small game in Maine up to 75 yards with headshots only. I would like it to be a semi-auto. I am primarily looking at the Marlin Model 60 and the Savage 64. I know both are going to be accurate. But I've head Marlins develop problems over the long run, like broken recoil buffers and springs and such. Are these easy to replace at home? Does this also happen with the Savage?

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April 4, 2013, 06:31 PM
Older Mod 60's are great. I've had a mod 60 since ~1981 and it still runs like a champ. It is one of the more accurate guns i have. It has been a regular squirrel hunter most years of its life. It just needs to be cleaned occasionally.

The newer Marlin's quality has been spotty, since freedom group bought them.

Cee Zee
April 4, 2013, 06:35 PM
Broken recoil springs come from people not putting them back in right. It's a little tricky but if you do it right that spring will never break. Buffers rarely break. It's usually because of shooting hyper velocity ammo which Marlin clearly says you shouldn't do.

Both parts are very easy to fix and cheap to buy if you need them. I've been shooting Marlin 60's since the mid-1960's and I've never had a buffer break. I have kinked a couple of recoil springs but it was because I wasn't paying attention. I didn't kink one until I had owned that particular rifle for over 20 years. I still have that rifle BTW. I has about 160,000 rounds through it.

All firearms will eventually wear out springs but I have not had to replace anything that wasn't caused to have a problem by something I did wrong. The rifle has never worn anything out. I have a 2009 60 with about 10,000 rounds through it and it works perfectly still.

It should prove something that you can go buy Marlin 60's from as far back as they were first made. There are used examples in ever pawn shop and LGS on the used rack. They are extremely durable.

Savage on the other hand has a great reputation for building bolt action rifles. Their reputation for semi-auto rimfire rifles is not that good. They seem to not last as long. I have a bunch of Savages but they are all bolt action. I have a bunch of Marlins too. If I wanted a semi-auto I would (and did) buy a Marlin 60 every time. I'd love to have a Ruger built to shoot very accurate but they are not inexpensive by any means. Marlin has the best deals on semi-auto rimfire rifles of any rifle maker IMO. They also have the best reputation for reliability. You'll get some Ruger people that will argue about that but a lot of myths get built up about Marlins apparently by Ruger fan boys. I've seen a whole bunch of things said about them that I know aren't true. Like about them breaking buffers. That just rarely happens and it's user error 99.9% of the time IMO. You just can't shoot hyper ammo through them.

About the newer Marlins - it's the lever action rifles that have had problems. The semi-auto rimfire rifles have had a few problems but not many. Like I said I have several of their newer rifles and they all work great. The only problem I have is that my 795 will eventually break firing pins because the LSHO feature doesn't always work and I end up dry firing the rifle too often.

April 4, 2013, 06:54 PM
The first time I looked into the bowels of my 15 year old model 60 I muttered no way dude and put the action back in the stock.

Fast forward... after some study on I've had my rifle completely apart any number of times, and it has become a non issue.

Nice thing about the 60 is all the parts are available. Add the knowledge from folks here and on and there's nothing to hold you back.

I have a stainless model 60 that would be perfect for Maine hunting conditions (I spent some time at Shin Pond). I bought a second rifle, both are reliable and way more accurate than the price would indicate. Pawn shop finds run from $100-$150, heck of a deal.

Marlin has sold more than 11,000,000 of the model 60, they get the job done.

April 4, 2013, 07:07 PM
I've worn out 2 model 60's. They could probably be repaired, but I've just left them in the closet and moved on to better guns. They are accurate and reliable enough. The weak link is the tube magazine. After years of loading and unloading they simply wore out and became unreliable on my guns.

Any magazine will wear out, but a deachable magazine is easy enough to toss when it wears out. In fact most folks keep spares. Other than that I have no problem with the Marlins. No experience with the Savage.

I've pretty well settled on the 10-22 as my go-to 22 semi auto.

farmer pliers
April 4, 2013, 09:53 PM
When my older boys were growing up, two of them got the model 60 and the other the Savage 64 as that is what the local store had for sale that day. They have shot side by side for the past ten or so years with them. Their both good models. The Savage is not quite as picky about what you shoot through it but the ever so slight edge goes to the model 60 for accuracy. I myself have a couple of the Marlins. One is the SS model 60 the older one I got 41 years ago, it is a model 99M1. It has had tens of thousands of rounds through it with no problems, the SS 60 has also been trouble free although it probably only has 5 or 6 thousand rounds through it. I think you will like which ever one you pick.

Cee Zee
April 4, 2013, 10:27 PM
Any magazine will wear out, but a deachable magazine is easy enough to toss when it wears out. In fact most folks keep spares. Other than that I have no problem with the Marlins.

How do you wear out the tube? I could see wearing out the spring on the inner mag tube but at inner mag tube is just as easy to replace as any rifle part. You might manage to just replace the spring that pushes the follower.

Again I have 160,000 rounds through my old Model 60. I don't know how many rounds it takes to wear it out but it must take a lot. Most people make mistakes in caring for their firearms and cause problems themselves.

April 4, 2013, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the replies, appreciate it.

I read somewhere that the cleaning solvents chemically react with the nylon recoil buffer on the 60, making it more prone to breakage. Is that true?

Also, I read that the best way to lubricate a Model 60 is to grind pencil lead into a powder and cover the bolt with it, and never use oil. Could that work?

April 4, 2013, 10:46 PM
I know you want to compare the Marlin and Savage but the Ruger 10/22 is better than both for the same money.

April 5, 2013, 12:30 AM
my 1975 marlin 99c (basically same as model 60 but with walnut stock) is working flawless.

Cee Zee
April 5, 2013, 12:30 AM
I know you want to compare the Marlin and Savage but the Ruger 10/22 is better than both for the same money.

First off the Ruger costs more than either of the two mentioned and it is no better at all. I know Ruger guys like to think that because that's all they have. They know accuracy is not on their side.

I couldn't count the people I've seen monkeying with their 10/22's trying to get the mags to feed correctly. I realize no company is perfect but I've been around a bunch of rifles in my life and I KNOW the Ruger is not a better rifle than a Marlin. Truth be told they're about equal in how well they hold up over time. That doesn't make the Rugers better.

People think this is a Ford vs. Chevy type argument. It isn't. Marlins are clearly better rifles unless you upgrade your Ruger. I've shot too many of them side by side with both being brand new rifles. The Marlins have been more accurate every single time. I'm sure that is not "always" the case but it has happened when I watched every single time.

And let's not forget the 10_22 is made in about 7 different formats. So which ones are better and why? Marlin makes ONE rifle they call the 60. They do vary the stocks and between stainless and blued.

April 5, 2013, 04:05 AM
I've seen more problems with the model 60 than with the 10/22.
The model 60's I've shot were really accurate, but they seemed to need more cleaning than a 10/22 to be reliable.
With a good Ruger magazine, malfunctions with the stock 10/22's I've shot and owned are very rare.
Just my experience.

April 5, 2013, 09:08 AM
I have much love for the Marlin Model 60. I can't visit a gun shop without looking over the .22lr section, and sometimes you can find a 60 in great shape for next to nothing. Accuracy out of the box is excellent on pretty much every example due to the micro groove rifling. Anyone who says the Ruger is a better rifle out of the box, without at least some upgrades to make it run or shoot right, is trying to sell you something. Usually they are trying to sell you their Ruger which doesn't run right! :)

Here is my 1959 Model 99, the origin of the Model 60...

That's an all original 1959, including the original buffer, and it still runs as smooth as the day it was made. I would show you the rest of my 60's, but I don't have time to photograph them all. I am going to an LGS later today to look over a Model 99M1 that I spotted a couple of days ago. Wish me luck.

April 5, 2013, 09:18 AM
Oh yeah, regarding the broken buffers. I have been reading online forums for years, and there have only been two or three instances of broken buffers that I have seen actual photos of. In one case, no cause was ever found. In the other two cases, the buffers broke because the shooter was using CCI Velocitors or some other really hot round. DO NOT use hyper velocity ammo in a Model 60. Use CCI Mini mags or standard velocity even.

April 5, 2013, 10:59 AM
Thanks to everyone who posted and for the advice. After reading these posts and doing some more research, I've decided pretty firmly on the Marlin 60. Opinions on the 60 are overwhelmingly positive, thread after thread. Back in college I had a Marlin 336C .30-30 it was a beautiful and accurate rifle. I had to sell it to free up some cash (broke college days) and I've regretted it ever since. I'm going with Marlin again.

April 5, 2013, 01:28 PM
Nothing but love here for my 1989 Model 60. Always reliable and accurate.

April 5, 2013, 01:34 PM
I've got one that was made in '78 and one that was made in 2010. They are wgually awesome and outshoot just about every 10/22 it's been out up against.

April 5, 2013, 01:46 PM
I have a model 60 that I've owned since 1975. Hasn't been shot alot at all but compared to my Remington 77 the Marlin is more accurate and has no feeding problems.

I'd bet I haven't fired that model 60 since at least 1978.

Anyone know where I can find out when mine was made?

April 5, 2013, 02:07 PM
I've had the same model 60 since I was 10 years old (a long time ago) and I have put more rounds in it than I can remember. It is still just as good as it ever was and I was far from kind to it growing up.

I **** it last weekend and still hits where I aim it. I love that gun.

April 5, 2013, 04:39 PM
I have had a marlin 60 for 20 years. Probably only cleaned it 2 or 3 times ever. I know thats not good maintenance but it just keeps shooting accurately so why worry about cleaning it?

Cee Zee
April 5, 2013, 08:05 PM
The model 60's I've shot were really accurate, but they seemed to need more cleaning than a 10/22 to be reliable.

I didn't clean my late 80's Marlin 60 for 11 years after I first bought it. I would keep an eye on the bore but I never had feeding issues at all until the 11th year. I had to clean it then. I went 6 more years before I had to clean it again.

Most people clean them way too often. When I mentioned that people didn't take proper care of them I meant they cleaned them too often and they left some sticky oil on the action. I've seen people spray them down with WD-40 and then wonder why they got dirty again so quick. They would spray them out with WD-40 again and start the process over. That stuff collects powder residue like a magnet and it turns to gum. In no time the action won't work. I never put any oil on my 60 actions. I take that back. I finally did have to oil that late 80's action. I sprayed it with a cleaning oil so that the gunk in the moving parts washed out. Then I blew all the oil out with an air hose and a tight nozzle. Then I washed it out again. BTW don't use brake fluid to do this like some people will tell you to do. It breaks down plastic and is one of the only things that will cause those buffers to break. After I cleaned the action and blew all the oil out of it the thing worked like brand new again and it still does. That rifle is going to be going strong after I'm long dead and gone.

Mike J
April 5, 2013, 09:08 PM
I don't know anything about a 10-22 or a Savage semi-auto as I don't have any experience with them. I have shot a buddy of mines Savage bolt action .22 & I liked it.

I own 2 model 60's. One I bought in the mid 90's at Walmart. It is a plane jane model 60W that was $95 & came with a Tasco 4x20 scope. The other is an old Glenfield model 75C that was my Fathers. I have never had any problem with the Marlin. I did have to replace the recoil buffer on the Glenfield but it was made in 1985 & my Dad got it used in the late 80's. I have no idea how many rounds or of what were shot through it & I did replace the buffer around 2007 a few years after my Fathers death. I don't really think I can complain about that. Both are more accurate than I am.

April 5, 2013, 09:29 PM
I know you want to compare the Marlin and Savage but the Ruger 10/22 is better than both for the same money.

10/22 is not "better" by any objective measure, or the same money. It's a fine choice, but costs more.

April 5, 2013, 09:45 PM
ruger is not better first off.

the pre remlins seem to be great. absolutely love them and seem to last forever

the savage 62/stevens 64 same gun is okay. seemed like this one was so used that the magazine spring had gotten soft but cheap fix. really dont like mags, magwel,l or release, seems like they could improve that area. doesn't seem as accurate compared to a marlin, but this one might just be leaded up.

marlin over savage stevens anyday

April 5, 2013, 09:58 PM
I own 2 10/22s, and 5 diff versions off the Model 60. Unless you are going to Dr the Ruger it isn't a better shooting rifle. (very fun to dress up, but not better shooting). I have personally never had a problem with any of the 60's I have ever own that wasn't ammo related. I have bought a couple of 60's over the years that had feeding issues each one was completely gunked up. A little cleaning and they were as good as gold.

April 5, 2013, 10:21 PM
My dad's running his all-original Model 60 from the mid 80s, never had to replace a single thing. My own Model 60 is less than two years old, but has been equally dependable so far. I enjoy it. :)

April 5, 2013, 10:58 PM
I have a Savage 64 with open sights and a 10/22 with a scope. My dad has a Glenfield 60 with a scope. The Savage is as accurate as I can be with open sights, and is the gun I keep in my farm pickup year round, and the Glenfield is the gun we keep behind the shop door. I haven't shot the 10/22 in 10 years. I guess that answers how I rate them. Kinda depends if you want a tube feed or mag feed. marlin makes a mag feed model 795 also, although I have never handled or seen one before. I think either the Marlin or Savage you will enjoy greatly. Also you might check out , it's a great site too.

April 6, 2013, 01:22 AM
I have two model 60s, and they are 100% reliable. I can't begin to imagine how many thousands of rounds have been through them, and they just keep right on firing as if they were new.

April 6, 2013, 08:00 AM
Also, there may be fewer aftermarket parts for the Model 60 but if modification is your thing, there are parts available to dress it up some

April 6, 2013, 08:24 AM
I've had both the 10/22 and 60 at different points in my life and the 60's were always more accurate out of the box. Now a nice $1000 10/22 is a very cool gun that is very accurate but in my opinion the cost of making it accurate is not worth it. I'd rather by a Kimber or CZ.

April 6, 2013, 06:05 PM
I love my 60 (actually my brothers, but his wife won't let him keep it in their house) in terms of accuracy, but it has cycling issues that I haven't been able to fix. Yet. I'll get it someday. When I first took possession of it, it hadn't been cleaned. Ever. The bore had been cleaned, but not the working and moving parts. I took it apart and there was so much carbon and junk in there that I was surprised it worked at all.

It is extremely accurate, but rarely makes it through a full magazine without jamming or stovepiping. If I use cheap remington bulk stuff, it makes it about 3 rounds. CCI, Federal, American Eagle, and Winchester shoot better, but still have jamming issues, just more sporadically. But it's accurate.


April 6, 2013, 06:29 PM
I bought my Marlin Glenfield (used) in 1983--think I paid $60 for it. Never had a lick of trouble with it--probably ranks in the top 2 in value for all the firearms I've ever purchased. If I'm honest, might rank a bit above the top two. :)

Wife has a 10/22 that she bought in 2004 or so. It is a fine rifle (although it cost at least 3x what the Glenfield did...but that is 21 years of inflation, yada yada). A friend recently gave me his laminated stock...but that requires a bull barrel...and then I would want a bunch of Volquartsen stuff, and...

Get the idea? Buy an old Marlin these days for probably $75-100 and it will still be working fine when you hand it down to your grandkids.

Or buy a 10/22 and spend $1000 and have the super-ultra-mega-trick-est .22LR in town. And you will still be looking at the Volq site or RFC and wanting to spend more money on it... :)

April 6, 2013, 09:09 PM

I know you want to compare the Marlin and Savage but the Ruger 10/22 is better than both for the same money.

In ways yes, in other ways no. The Mod 60 is more accurate. The 10/22 is more customizable. It costs $350 or more to get a 10/22 as accurate as a mod 60 out of the box. If you want a custom, get a 10/22. If you want a squirrel killer get an older mod 60.

Cee Zee
April 7, 2013, 01:39 AM
If I use cheap remington bulk stuff, it makes it about 3 rounds.

That could well be your problem right there. I have bolt action rifles that won't cycle after a few rounds of that stuff. I'm serious. The bolt won't slide back after about 25 rounds. It's amazing how dirty that stuff is.

If you cleaned the 60 and aren't familiar with the potential problems created by even a slightly bent ejector wire that might also have become a problem for you. They are pretty sensitive to getting moved around even a little. But they are very easy to fix. If you have a nickel you have the gauge you need to put that spring back where it goes. I'll let someone else explain just how it works. I hope the mods don't mind me providing a link to another forum but this info is invaluable to a 60 owner.

April 7, 2013, 07:27 AM
we've had a marlin 60 since the early 80's. Still shoots great, has never broken and is only a little picky when it comes to non name brand bulk ammo.
It's just about quarter sized accurate at 50yds with a cheap 4x scope on it. Cleaning wise it seems to thrive on neglect.

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