SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Mason's Rifle Room    Marlin Levermatics - UPDATE: Bought one!
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Marlin Levermatics - UPDATE: Bought one! Login/Join 
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted
The other day I was in the LGS and saw a gun I'd never heard of on the shelf. It was a Marlin 57 lever-action in .22LR. It looked pretty clean, and I'm a sucker for a nice Marlin, but I'd never heard of this one before. They were only asking $300 for it, but I was already in the process of an unplanned Ruger MkII purchase when I saw it, and knew that I was already going to be on thin ice when I got home, so being unfamiliar with the model I left it there (if it had been a 39m, it would have come home with me, consequences be damned, lol).

I did a little lurking tonight over on the Marlin forum (not a member there), and from what I see, the 57 is a member of the Marlin Levermatic family, which were offered in .22LR, .22 Mag, .30 Carbine, and .256 Win Mag. In .22LR the gun was offered in a tube mag configuration as the model 57, or with a box mag as the model 56. Like many Marlins, these guns were also sold with different model designations under store brand names. Supposedly the bolt has a very short throw, but the design is more complicated than the more traditional leverguns.

The one-piece stock design looks to me like it would lend itself well to adding a scope, which is something I typically shy away from on a traditional levergun, but in this case if the platform is mechanically sound, I think it would make a nifty little scoped hunting rifle.

There seems to be a small cult following for these things over on the Marlin forum, but not being a member there I can't post to ask about them. Additionally, I've found that while die-hard collectors are great for technical info about their particular firearm interest, they're not always the best ones to look to for unbiased opinions about whether on not one should consider purchasing one. So I turn to my trusted friends here at Sigforum for a well-rounded opinion...is the Levermatic something worth picking up if it's still there when I go back, or if I ever come across another one? Or should I stick to my simpler, more traditional lever-actions and forget I ever saw the thing?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: 92fstech,
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Truth Wins
Picture of Micropterus
posted Hide Post
I've never owned one, but it's a Marlin classic. If it's reasonably priced, buy it. I would. No way I've pass it up if it's priced right and in good condition. That'd be an impulse buy for me.

And if you like Marlins, or any guns, that's a good forum. One of only three currently I participate on.


_____________
"I enter a swamp as a sacred place—a sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength—the marrow of Nature." - Henry David Thoreau
 
Posts: 4230 | Location: In The Swamp | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
Yeah, I almost just grabbed it, but I knew my wife was not going to be thrilled with the other gun purchase...2 might have pushed her over the edge. And I'd already done my research on the Ruger...I didn't know anything about the Marlin. I'll probably kick myself later for not grabbing it, too, but I have no regrets about getting the Ruger.

From the thread on the Marlin forum, I saw some comments about bad triggers with limited potential for improvement, broken firing pins, and worn out hammer springs. And I gather that with a discontinued product of this vintage, replacement parts are hard to find. I don't mind a little project here and there, but I don't want to end up with something that doesn't work that I can't get parts to fix.

I have no doubt that the Marlin forum folks are good people...but this is my place, I feel at home here, and I don't have an established presence anywhere else. Sigforum's membership can always be counted on to have a broad range of experience, and I figured I could find an unbiased opinion here. I think if we wait long enough, somebody will come along here who's owned one of these and be able to give us the scoop Smile.
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
posted Hide Post
I have a vague memory of those, but I have never fired or handled one.

The .30 carbine model seems especially interesting. Or the .256, if the cartridge wasn't such an oddball.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 49597 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I have a 57M, don't shoot it much anymore as I have lots of small centerfire rifles I load for, but for a 22 mag it shoots well. that is a fair price for any 57 in decent shape.
Barry
 
Posts: 41 | Registered: November 07, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
Barry, any reliability issues? How is the trigger?
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm not laughing
WITH you
Picture of Rolan_Kraps
posted Hide Post
We need to see pictures!




Rolan Kraps
SASS Regulator
Gainesville, Georgia.
NRA Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Instructor - Pistol / Personal Protection Inside the Home
 
Posts: 23395 | Location: Gainesville, GA | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:
Barry, any reliability issues? How is the trigger?

never had any issues with feeding or ejection or anything else. as far as the trigger, not too bad, but not like a nice bolt action or anything. these were made back when people cared about what they built for the most part. I really should dig it out now I am retired, but having a couple of 25-20's, a hornet and a 218 bee, I just like to shoot so I can reload some more.
Barry
 
Posts: 41 | Registered: November 07, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by jhe888:
The .30 carbine model seems especially interesting.


Yeah, that really caught my attention. That would be a neat cartridge in a levergun. It would have made more sense back then with the surplus ammo situation being what it was, but I can see the appeal of such a rifle or carbine even today.


______________________________________________
"It's good for you, because it's got chia seeds and mayonnaise!"
 
Posts: 12621 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by P220 Smudge:
quote:
Originally posted by jhe888:
The .30 carbine model seems especially interesting.


Yeah, that really caught my attention. That would be a neat cartridge in a levergun. It would have made more sense back then with the surplus ammo situation being what it was, but I can see the appeal of such a rifle or carbine even today.


The one I saw was 22lr, but I agree, its a pretty interesting concept. As a reloader, even the .256 would be an interesting round. It seems it can be easily produced from .357 Mag brass. That would sure make a handy little woods gun.
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wait, what?
Picture of gearhounds
posted Hide Post
That is a pretty good price for a Levermatic. I have a weakness for JM marked, pre-Remington made guns. My hopes are high that Ruger will jumpstart the return to better QC than the idiots at Remarlington.




“We have put together, I think, the most extensive and and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”- Joe Biden
 
Posts: 12558 | Location: Martinsburg WV | Registered: April 02, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go Vols!
Picture of Oz_Shadow
posted Hide Post
Looks like someone converted a 60 to a lever gun. Never had an issue with any Marlin.
 
Posts: 16746 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Oz_Shadow:
Looks like someone converted a 60 to a lever gun. Never had an issue with any Marlin.


Funny you should say that....it kinda does. But the 60 is the only Marlin I've ever had unresolvable problems with (mine was an absolute jammomatic...couldn't get through a full mag), and the only one I've ever sold.
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
Well, this story took an interesting turn today, and kind of came to a conclusion so far as I am concerned. I was at a different LGS, and saw another one of these on the rack. It was a model 56...the box magazine fed .22LR variant. This is the one that really intrigued me, so I got excited when I saw it. They wanted $329 for it, which seemed fair.

I actually picked it up, handled it, and worked the lever this time. Sadly, I was unimpressed. The gun is quite a bit heavier and feels more bulky than my 39a. It lacks the simple handiness that I love about lever-actions. The lever throw, while short (probably about 30-45 degrees), is stiff and mushy. It starts out fine...at the beginning of the stroke it unlocks the bolt crisply, and then begins to travel just like any other lever action. Then about halfway through the stroke it begins to get gradually stiffer until it stops under what feels like spring tension. There's no positive tactile stop, or the crisp, mechanical feel of the more traditional lever-actions. It's hard to judge by feel when the bolt is fully-open, and seems like it would be easy to short-stroke.

After handling it, I realized that the only real reason I would consider buying it would be to add it to my Marlin collection...it wouldn't see any significant range time as long as I still own a 39. In a perfect world, that would be enough, but as things are I can't justify owning a gun that won't get shot.
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I would not try to alter your decision to pass up the gun. But, I have often found that used guns, especially .22LRs, are filthy to the point of being nearly inoperable. Once I cleaned them up, they worked like new. Given the age of the Levermatic, I would guess that this may be the case.
A little intergoogling says the Model 56 was in production from 1955 to 1964 and its design internally is probably not really easy to take down and clean.
65 years of gunk in it!


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 11647 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
That's a good point, and I'm not sure what the internals looked like. Just the weight and balance by itself, though, even if the feel of the action cleans up somewhat, is off enough that I just don't see it competing with the 39 for range time. It is an interesting gun, though...if I sit here and think about it long enough who knows what might happen!
 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
posted Hide Post
Well, I had a day off today and decided to stop by that LGS. The dang Model 56 was still there. I've passed it up a couple of times since my previous post, but for some reason today I just couldn't do it. I told the sales guy I was sick of looking at it on the shelf, so I was taking it home. I probably could have haggled some, but $329 seemed fair, and I'm all about keeping the LGSs open right now, so I just paid up. I checked gunbroker prices when I got home, and it looks like I did ok.

It's old enough that there's no S/N. It has a steel receiver but not a Monte-Carlo stock, which according to my research places it as born in either 1955 (first year of manufacture) or early 1956.

YooperSigs was absolutely right. The thing was filthy, bordering on disgusting inside. I took it apart and spent about two hours de-crudding it and scrubbing surface rust off of anywhere I could find it. At some point the stock could probably use some attention, but the metal all cleaned up pretty nice. The action feels far crisper and smoother now...it's almost like a different gun.

Disassembly is kind of a pain....I can sorta see why the previous owner didn't clean it much. The internals are...weird. There's a lot of little springs in there that look like they will be a nightmare to source if they ever break...not to mention the mechanics of replacing them will be a real treat.

I took it to the range tonight with my 3 sons. The thing shoots pretty good, and when operated properly, it runs well. The trigger is really excellent, and the short-throw lever is really cool...you don't even have to take your hand of the stock, just open and close it. It makes the gun really FAST when transitioning between targets. It'll be a force to be reckoned with for levergun matches on a dueling tree. The downside is you have to run it with authority or it won't eject...not a problem for me or the 12 year-old, but my 5 and 7 year-olds were having some troubles in this area.

Accuracy was good...on par with my 39A. Weight is very similar to the 39A as well, actually a hair lighter. I got the kitchen scale out and the 39 comes in at 112oz, while the 56 is 108oz. The comb of the stock is kind of high. It makes for an awkward cheek-weld when using the small iron sights...almost like it was designed to be scoped. This is one lever-action I might be willing to do that to....but I'm hesitant to do anything that might mess with it's quick handling.

Overall I'm happy. It's a neat gun that turned out better than I thought it would. I wouldn't trade my 39A for one, but thankfully I don't have to.



Lever at full-extension:


Target at 45 yards...it's basically a white blur behind the front sight at that range. The gun is definitely not the limiting factor here!

 
Posts: 4348 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Looks like a great gun! Congrats!


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 11647 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Mason's Rifle Room    Marlin Levermatics - UPDATE: Bought one!

© SIGforum 2021