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Safe to Shoot?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Oldschool shooter, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

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    I have an old Marlin pump shotgun. I think it is a model 28. Has a checkered pistol grip stock. From the front of the receiver to the tip of the barrel it measures 31 1/4". Ican find no markings for choke designation, guessing it is a full choke. The latest patent date on the barrel is Dec. 21, 1909. The gun is in good shape and not beat up. I My thoughts are, being a contemporary of the Winchester model 12, it should be safe to shoot. Or am I wrong? Any information would be helpful. Serial number is 60xx. I will try to post pucs as soon as I can.
     
  2. film495

    film495 Member

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    don't know. inspect it all over and function check it, strip it and clean and inspect several times. run dummy rounds through it, then once you've inspected it or paid a professional gunsmith to inspect it (recommended) - maybe for the first time shoot some light target loads. but, you'll have to identify what shells are appropriate for length and gauge first. see if you can find and download a manual from the model. I see personally no intrinsic risk other than you need to make sure it is fully inspected, function tested, and have the correct ammunition - not unlike any firearm.
     
  3. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    I don't know that I would shoot it, personally. Seems they have a tendency to violently disassemble. If I had to shoot, it would be with RST 2.5" shells or the like. See this thread for more info: http://www.marlin-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9531. This site has some decent info on the old Marlin shotguns as well: https://marauder.homestead.com/files/Marlin98s.htm. I realize yours isn't a 98, but there is some helpful info on other models in there also. Pictures of the gun would also help in pinning down the exact model, should you so desire. Good luck and be safe!

    Mac
     
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    According to Marlin, the Model 28 was manufactured from 1913 to 1928. Yours has the external hammer?

    The basic problem with WW1 era metallurgy is that it is very inconsistent with lots of micro impurities due to the processes of the era. From what little data is around, the firearms of that era were mostly plain carbon steels, some alloy steels were making their way into the product, but unless you actually know, assume it is plain carbon steel. The addition of non oxidizing elements substantially weakened all the steels of the era, and being unable to analyze and remove the stuff was intrinsic to the processes of the era. We do know that Colt and S&W revolvers of the period did not have hardened cylinders or frames, there is no reason to assume that shotguns were any better. Those old guns will come apart with loads that won't ruin the same action built out of modern alloy steels.

    If this were a rifle I would want it headspaced. I would want to know if loads had deformed the locking surfaces. If a gunsmith looks at it, measures things, and gives the OK that it is mechanically sound, then I would only shoot the light loads that @MacAR is recommending.

    No doubt any steel shot would ruin the tube.
     
    Dan Forrester and MacAR like this.
  5. George P

    George P Member

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    You need to determine the true chamber size - it could be 2-1/2, 2-9/16, 2-3/4"
     
  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Nobody here is going to be able to give you a credible evaluation of whether it's safe to shoot. Get thee to a qualified smith for inspection.
     
    Merle1 likes this.
  7. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Come on here, the model '03 Springfield was made with steels of that era and more sporters were made out of them than probably any other military firearm. Carbon steel IS alloy steel.
    Make sure what chamber length yours has and then as long as it locks up tight I would shoot away with appropriate shells. I am a retired gunsmith. Gunsmiths do not have magic eyes either.
     
    huntsman likes this.
  8. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    FWIW I used to hunt with vintage SXS shotguns and my two biggest issues were chamber length and stock drop.

    Light field loads were the norm and SOP for and “new” gun was have a smith check it out.
     
    George P likes this.
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The materials used in the single heat treat 03's and double heat treat 03's are no better than what is used in railroad spikes. Cheap, inferior, crap.

    Anyone can call themselves a gunsmith in the US. There are no educational or licensing requirements. And it shows.

    American Rifleman Dope Bag Oct 1945

    All old Springfields Weak”

    A long letter written by gunsmith, R.E Simmons to Mr Ness, the editor of the Dope Bag, describes a SHT Springfield that had blown. This section was about midway:

    “I just received a letter from George Vitt of the A. F. Holden Company. This company is one of the foremost heat-treaters in the United States and he says that they will not even think of accepting one of these old actions for reheat-treating. To quote him:


    The old Springfield receivers were made of cheap, almost plain, carbon steel, that was merely carburized and quenched. The type of steel used would not readily lend itself to good results from the best heat-treating practices, even though there are one or two outfits in Pennsylvania and elsewhere (Note: Sedgley was in Philadelphia) who advertise the so called reheat-treated Springfields for sale I would no more trust these receivers without making a chemical analysis and without testing them on the Rockwell machine that I would jump off the Empire State Building.

    From the references I have, the reheat-treatment of these receivers amounts to the same thing as the so called double heat treatment that was practiced at the Springfield Armory prior to 1929 In other works neither of the two is much good for the reason of low-grade material used in the receiver” (End of Mr. Vitt’s quote)”

    Mr Simmons, in a bridging section in his letter, states he had worked in the Ordnance Department during WW2 and that he had tested SHT receivers after rebuild with proof loads and Mr Simmons had not seen any break, making him skeptical about these receivers being structurally deficient, but he states “it is best not to recommend these old actions for any of the more powerful loads”

    Incidentally, I noticed that you mention a well-known reheat job which is being done on these Springfield receivers by a well known firm. I wish to state that many of these old actions treated by this firm (which is like the one I sent you), are letting go in every direction. In fact, I personally believe these are about the worst in the bunch, because they simply softened the receivers, which would allow a very powerful proof load to be fired without any danger, but which allowed the bolt to gradually set back, increasing the head space dangerously.


    Mr Ness, the editor of the Dope Bag adds a long section starting with this


    “Comments: I agree with P.O. Ackley that the only good Springfield action is one made of nickel steel….

    The attitude of the metallurgists is that the poor material in these Springfield actions makes any of the carbon steel variety undesirable, including those double reheat-treated at Springfield Armory in the series above 800,000. “
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It is not the material of the Marlin hammer pump guns that is suspect, it is the lockup.
    I know that SASS does not allow them, while there are older Winchester 1897 pumps all over CAS.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Are they shooting black powder through them? I know that crowd just loves BP. I absolutely would not have any concerns about shooting BP in a post WW1 shotgun, or maybe, even in a 1900 era shotgun (without twist barrels). Black powder is extremely low pressure compared to smokeless. I was included on a email where one of my friends asked a custom 58 cal musket barrel maker the materials he used. What I remember was looking up the "steel" he was using for his tubes and it was just at sewer pipe quality. It was weak and low grade, but easy to cut, no doubt!
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Black powder was a small minority when I was in CAS. I don't recall seeing anybody shooting it in a pumpgun. Maybe Driftwood Johnson can give an up to date census.

    Also, I don't know the prevalence of Winchester 1897s any more, there have been a lot of Norincos brought in.
     
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I just looked at completed auctions on Gunbroker. Regular, long barreled, low finish Winchester M1897's are reasonable. Most sell around $450.00. But riot guns and military trench guns are an $800 and up, probably reflecting CASS shooters wanting an authentic short barreled M1897. Two Norinco M1897's sold, one for $250.00 and $350. The $350 Norinco looked new.

    I have no opinion on the reliability of an original M1897, and have no idea about parts. But if I wanted a shooter, I would go with the Norinco, I could not justify wearing out an $800 shotgun when a $250 version is available.
     
  14. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    What SASS allows is based on authenticity or facsimile thereof according to SASS, not safety.
     
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