Thursday, July 4, 2013

Salvaging a Marlin 336 - Part I

Marlin 336 (or at least it used to be)

A friend of mine found a bunch of old guns in an abandoned barn. Most of them looked like they had been in a fire then left outside for several years. Among them was a 1958 Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. I have always wanted a lever gun and this hot mess looked like just my kind of project. So we worked out a deal; my labor on the other guns in exchange for the lever action. The metal is rusty, pitted and charred from the fire.  The action is frozen. Stock is missing. The barrel is filled with crud. Lets see if I can bring this old classic back from the dead.

Right side.  Not pretty.

Left side.  Ugh, maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

First I drowned the entire gun in Liquid Wrench to hopefully free all of the screws. I let is sit for a few minutes and then tried to coax the action open with a rubber mallet and block of wood. No dice. Another soaking with penetrant inside the action, wait a few minutes, and we are ready to roll.

Surprisingly all of the screws came out pretty easily with the exception of the tang screw. That required some heat from a blow torch, some more Liquid Wrench, and some leverage. I ended up using a ratchet with my screwdriver bit in a 1/4" socket to get it moving. After that I was able to remove all the parts except for the bolt. That was stuck tight. So I inserted a brass rod down the barrel against the bolt face and gave it a few good whacks with a hammer. It finally started to move and I was able to push it out of the receiver. The bolt came out unscathed. The barrel unscrewed without any problem.

ready for cleaning

With everything apart I threw whatever fit into my ultrasonic cleaner with a 50% solution of Simple Green. I ran it for two heated cycles of 8 minutes each. That removed all of the crud and loose rust. For the barrel, I ran a brass bore brush through it while one end of the barrel was submerged in the Simple Green solution. Half of the barrel is actually in pretty good shape but I can feel two rusty patches in there. We'll see if I can polish those out. I hope so because, some preliminary Googling tells me that finding a new barrel isn't going to be easy. After the cleaning I sprayed everything down with a heavy coat of Ballistol and let it soak in. The parts were now clean but still ugly. Luckily it looks like most of the internals are in pretty good shape. They should clean up easily. But the receiver is going to take some serious elbow grease to make presentable.

cleaned and lubed

With everything cleaned, I took inventory and evaluated the parts. The mainspring and mainspring plate are missing. All of the springs have to be replaced. The magazine tube is bent and should probably be replaced. And there is no stock. For what this project is going to cost me in time and money I could probably buy a nice used 336 ready to shoot. But where's the fun in that? Before I drop any money on this thing, let's see if I can get the receiver back into shape. Stay tuned.