Salvaging Grandpa’s Marlin

Repairing and restoring a heavily-used Marlin Glenfield Model 60.

by Ken Finley

Just before the 2021 February snowstorm my next-door neighbor asked me to look at a project. It was his Grandfather’s pickup and tractor gun – a Marlin Glenfield Model 60 22 Long Rifle rimfire semi-automatic. My neighbor wanted to know if the rifle could be salvaged enough for his children to shoot so they could have that connection with his Grandfather.

In that vein, he had a rather strange request: the rear sight elevator had been lost and a dime substituted and he wanted the restoration to include leaving the dime in place. He admitted that he had his doubts that the rifle could be salvaged. Looking at it, I didn’t blame him. That dime was going to be the least of my problems.

There was another complication. The breech bolt was rusted to the breechface and the safety corroded in the “off” position. That was a problem because my neighbor didn’t know whether the rifle was loaded or not.

Let’s be honest – this rifle was not worth the full cost of a restoration, however, the project was justified on the basis of sentimental value for the owner and fun for me. I got started in gunsmithing by restoring what I call “ugly” or “closet” guns. These are firearms often neglected but still having utility or sentimental value if restored with some tender loving care. On the other hand, the snow was deep between the house and the shop and this looked like a good “kitchen table” project.

I broke this project down into four phases. First, somehow get the bolt open to determine if there was a live round in the chamber. Second, disassemble the rifle to determine whether any parts required replacement. Third, address corrosion on the metal parts and devise a protective coating for future activities. Finally, repair and refinish stock. This is not a collector’s rifle; the customer wanted a shooter to share with his children that had family sentimental value. Here’s how I went about it.

Read more in the September 2021 issue.

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