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Old 12-01-2018, 09:50   #1
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Two New Levers

Well, new to me anyway.
A few weeks ago I saw a grade II BL-22 at a gunshow. I was in the market for a lever .22, and the price was very good, $350. It appears to have been fired little if at all.
After I got home I checked the serial number and it was made in 1976.
Not only a good price on a grade II but a 42 year old pristine specimen.
As I can't use the rear barrel mounted sight anymore, I put a Williams peep on it.
With a small diameter aperture, it allows me to see the front sight much more clearly.
These little .22's are a thing of beauty. Controlled round feeding, short lever throw, no finger pinch when you work the lever, and a mag tube latch that doesn't have to be lined up when closing.

Although I've had a bunch of Marlins over the years, I can never get enough of them.
I've had .22's, 32-20, 44-40, 44 Mag., .45 Colt, 30-30, .356, 38-55 and several .45/70s.
I've been looking for a lever in .45 Colt to go with my Uberti sixgun, and yesterday I found one.
A JM Marlin Cowboy Limited made in 2000. The guy said he shot it a few times, but it's been in his safe for the last ten years, so he decided to sell it.
He was asking $750, pretty reasonable I thought, since I've seen North Haven Marlin Cowboys going for $1000 and up.

It is still a bit rough, which leads me to believe he didn't shoot it much at all.
He must have had a scope on it (sacrilege !) as the filler screws on the top are buggered up, and don't look like the original ones.
And the buttstock screw is buggered.
No biggie, as all those can be easily replaced.
No buggering of the action screws, so doubtful he ever had it apart.
It's perfect in all ways except for the filler and stock screws.
I normally prefer a 20 inch barrel over 24" but those tapered Marlin octagon barrels "hang" nice no matter what length.
I put a Williams FP sight on it, will wait till I get down to Arizona in a few weeks to shoot both of these levers. Just not into shooting in the snow and 12 degree weather anymore.

Last edited by sandog; 12-01-2018 at 10:47.
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:52   #2
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Nice choice. You can never go wrong with 45 Colt. Not much interest in 22 lever guns, but I can see their purpose. Love my three 45 colt lever guns.
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Old 12-08-2018, 18:17   #3
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Can’t go wrong with an octagon bbl 24 in, JM Cowboy Ltd in .45. Great rifle. I’ve used one for the majority of the time that I’ve shot cas, my number is 11754. I would recommend a one piece firing pin kit and a second spare pin if you compete. I’ve broken two but the improvement in cycling the gun is huge, don’t need to do anything else. You eliminate that terribly strong mainspring. You do remove the firing pin safety but you can keep the crossbolt hammer safety. I replaced my crossbolt safety too though with an aftermarket fake screw. Don’t need a safety on a cas rifle. I turned the rear sight around to put it farther away from my eye to help my sight picture. This is me shooting one of our wild bunch shoots in my Punitive Expedition outfit.
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Last edited by Baltimoreed; 12-08-2018 at 18:39.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:46   #4
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Thanks for the info, BR. I don't shoot competition, but might get a spare pin anyway.
I will probably replace the cross bolt with a screw, not sure I want to do away with the firing pin safety though.
Today I am going to break it down and smooth up a few spots with Emery cloth, and try to shim the hammer on one side, as I don't like how the bluing rubs off the right side only from the hammer scraping.
I might try just taking a coil off of the mainspring.
I'm more into reliability than speed.

Last week I "modified" a Williams FP sight that I once had on a Marlin 39 Mountie.
It was made for the 39, but never looked right, as Williams used the same piece (bar that holds the aperture ) on it as they use for the bigger guns.
It hung over way too much on both sides on the little 39 .22.
All they do is use a thicker base for the rimfire so it's better centered.
I had a machinist friend reduce the thickness off the bottom of the base, and I also had to shorten the two mounting screws a bit. Now it fits the 1894 perfectly.
I have an aperture around .073" on it now, but will order another Twilight aperture that is .050". That makes the front sight more sharp to deal with my farsightedness.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:18   #5
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Sandog, the crossbolt safety can easily be deactivated by popping a small rubber o ring on it which is what I did on my wife’s Marlin when she shot. I’ve seen several shooters go to the line, hear the beep and jack a couple of unfired rds out before they realize that there was no bang and somebody yells ‘safety’. That could be very bad if ayou were 40 yds away from a nice 8 pointer or there was a bump in the night you were investigating.
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Last edited by Baltimoreed; 12-09-2018 at 07:37.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:26   #6
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Yes, I said I was going to do away with the cross bolt safety. I never needed one on any of my older Marlins, and don't like the looks of it.
If I was going to just deactivate it, I'd take off the stock and turn the set screw in all the way. Don't know if I'd trust the o-ring to stay on.
I don't want to replace it with a saddle ring, as I'm not going to have to secure it for horseback, and don't want the ring marring the receiver either.
The fake receiver screw will do fine.

Already broken two one piece firing pins ?
I know competition shooters are hard on gear, but it'll stick with the factory pin. Should last me for a long time.
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Old 12-09-2018, 13:15   #7
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The o ring has been on my wife’s Marlin safety for years but in reality it isn’t used very much. I joined sass in 96 but didn’t buy my Marlin then. Had a new big loop Rossi 92 to start with, wore it out in a year, sent it to Interarms in Va and they seent me a replacement. I turned right around and sold it for what I had in it and bought the used JM Marlin. So 2 firing pins in 20 plus years with 60 rds a month plus 20+ more state and regional 10 stage matches and some practice. So I wouldn’t say ‘already’. A lot of shooting. I don't use the Marlin every month anymore as I swap out with a couple of different 73’s. I only use the Marlin if I want to be competitive.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:44   #8
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I figured you had a lot of rounds on those firing pins.
I just meant that since I don't shoot competition the stock two piece firing pin will be fine.
It will most likely out last me, and in case it didn't, I'll have a spare, just like I have for my Minis and shotguns.
I like a slick lever action but don't want to change out parts or sacrifice long term reliability for a bit of an edge in contests.
I haven't seen any broken two piece pins with the 2 dozen or so Marlins I've owned, but have seen a broken ejector or two.
The one piece ejector is popular in Guide Guns where dangerous game might be around.
The factory two piece ejector look a bit fragile the way they are constructed with the spring pressed into the ejector.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:14   #9
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Never broke an ejector except on my ‘97 winchester pump which I do keep a spare of in my range bag. Last months ECSASS [my cas club] match was plagued by broken guns but mainly bad ammo. Squibs ruined a bunch of stages for shooters. Luckily our ro’s were on the ball and nobody got hurt or guns wrecked. I think Santa will be bringing some reloading equipment to some club members so they don’t have to buy locally remanufactured ammo. If you want it done right you’ve got to do it yourself sometimes.
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Old 12-12-2018, 17:57   #10
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good write-ups from you 2 - I'd like to see reviews of pump-action PCC in Old West competition shooting.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:25   #11
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Can't help you there, Marlin 45.
Only pumps I've shot are 870's and Remington .22's.

Update on the 1894, it was made in 1988, not 2000.
The guy I got it from must have guessed at the date, rather than looking up the serial number.
I found the hammer spring and the finger lever plunger spring to be stiff, so I took a coil off of each, much smoother cycling now.
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Old 12-17-2018, 01:16   #12
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I have deactivated a few "redundant" safetys on personal firearms, but let me take this moment to remind anyone considering doing this, that it will place 1000% of any possible liability onto the one that does it, regardless of what happens.

I know that everyone here already knows this......but let's take it into the "realm of unlikely but possible"

someone breaks into your home and steals your gun-safe......opens it with a gas-torch and uses said rifle to murder someone.

instead of the liability being 100% on the thief / killer, a family member finds out through Police evidence records that a safety had been disabled on the rifle.....

OOPS

now the victims family has a way to come after YOU financially for disabling the safety.....AND you may be found criminally negligent in the homicide as well.


MUCH better to simply buy a rifle w/o the unwanted safetys for competition or whatever reason.

none of my many and varied lever-guns have safetys anywhere, except the "lever closed safety" on my 1873 Short Rifle.
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Old 12-17-2018, 06:09   #13
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That's on him if he steals a rifle and commits a murder, they'd have a hard time proving it was I who deactivated or deleted the cross bolt and not him.
Someone kills another with a lever rifle, and it's all going to come down to whether it has a redundant safety or not ?
How much crime is committed with Cowboy guns these days ?
It still has the half cock safety, like they've had for 140 years, but if a guy wants to commit a crime with it, he's going to get around any safety.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:50   #14
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I got out yesterday and shot the Marlin and the BL-22 again.
I got both dialed in perfectly.
The front sight on the Marlin is the correct height now, the Williams FP peep sits low on the receiver.

The Williams GRS that's on the BL-22 has to be set so low to be zeroed that it's part way off the base. I put a higher FireSight front on it yesterday that I had in my parts drawer, and it's still not high enough.
The two drawbacks to the GRS is it sits up rather high on the receiver, and that the set screw that holds it in place on the .22's scope grooves tends to mar the finish.

So I'll either have to cough up $120 or so for a Skinner sight , which sits lower, or just go red dot with a Burris FastFire.
But it sure is dialed in now.
I was nailing empty shotshell hulls, bits of clay pigeons, some golf balls I had thrown downrange, and turned some small rocks into even smaller rocks.




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Old 01-27-2019, 03:55   #15
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What is the part number for the williams peep sight on the 22 ?
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:33   #16
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It's a GRS #54 (Guide Receiver Sight) type that slides on the 3/8 Dovetail Mount of .22's.
Al the other GRS versions screw on to the various models of guns.
https://williamsgunsight.com/product/williams-wgrs-54/
That GRS is cheap, $35 to $40, but sits up so high you'll need a very high front sight to go with it.
The Skinner is more money (they start at $80) but looks more traditional, blends in to the receiver better, and won't require as high of a front sight.
If you have a Grade II Bl-22 like mine, the brass upgrade goes well with the gold trigger.
RIMFIRE GROOVE SIGHTS
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:49   #17
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Always nice to get out on the range.
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Old 08-09-2019, 14:00   #18
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Those are two nice looking lever's.
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