27 October 2013


Saturday was supposed to start with shooty goodness. It started instead with frost.

I mean to tell you it was f*@king cold out there yesterday morning (defined as anything below 40 degrees).

We met Range Partner at the range only to find out it was a maintenance day so shooting wouldn't start until noon. Also, I had borrowed an AC vacuum pump and gauge set from RP and was supposed to bring it to him. Of course I had forgotten it. I also had a Meetup shindig scheduled for the afternoon, for which I had baked a pumpkin cheesecake, and I had left that at home as well.

Since no shooting would occur, and since I am such a forgetful cuss, RP came back to the house with me to get his pump and I got my cheesecake and went on to the shindig. It was kind of out of the way but the GPS app on the 'droid took me right there. I love living in this technologically advanced age. But I digress...

Along for the trip was every rifle and pistol I own, only the shotguns stayed at home. The G36 and the Mosin stayed in un-fired conditions but everything else got a few rounds through them...except the Marlin 60.

This rifle usually eats anything without any complaints, in fact I've only had one time where it didn't want to load properly. Today, after seven months of trouble-free operation, we had more fail to feed issues...but that mystery was soon solved (and as you might have surmised, it was all about the USER ERROR...).

I have a confession. I don't really like to clean guns. Especially semi-auto rifles. I don't like taking bolts apart either, but that's more due to the fact that there are ten distinct parts to an Arisaka Model 30 bolt, which was the primary reason it was replaced by the Type 38 so quickly in its service career. But once again I digress...

The RO, a one-eyed ex Army firearms instructor, took one look at the action (specifically the feed ramp) and said "When was the last time you cleaned this rifle?" "Last time I fired it." "How did you clean it?" "I ran a boresnake down it and put it in the safe." *pained look* "When was the last time you took it down and cleaned the action?" "Oh, why didn't you say so? That would have been...let me think...never." *apoplectic look* "You need to take this rifle down and clean it."

Truth of the matter is, I had never ever had the thing apart (the closest I got to taking it down was when I removed the action from the stock to drill it for the sling swivels. Drilled the stock, that is, not the action). I didn't know how it was done to be quite honest (dead simple as it turns out), I bought it used and didn't get a manual with it. Fortunately Marlin looks out for us idiots, so when I got home I downloaded the manual and took it apart for cleaning.

Damn was that thing dirty.

The manual says not to take it apart any further than removing the action (on the Model 60 that includes the feed mechanism for the tubular magazine), but the action was so gritty that it had to come apart. Good thing someone else looks after us idiots as well.

In retrospect I probably could have just hosed it down repeatedly with brake parts or carb cleaner and moved everything around until the grit was gone, but I thought it was better to do it this way. When it went back together everything was smooth like buttah and cleaner than I have ever seen it.

The only thing that makes me feel less guilty about my lack of cleaning on this rifle is looking at comment threads on multiple gun boards and seeing that I'm not the only one. Turns out that most folks with Model 60 Marlins boresnake them after shooting and call it good, although using Q tips with some Hoppes to clean the feed ramps is mentioned.

At any rate it is nicely cleaned and lightly oiled, and as penance I also took the Model 795 down (same action on both, the only difference is the tube magazine feed mechanism on the 60 as opposed to the detachable box magazine on the 795) and cleaned it really good as well. The next time we go to the range I expect it will feed like a brand new one. I also expect that I will have to put it on the stand and sight the scope in again.

'Tis a burden that must be borne, I guess...

And for the record, the shindig (hosted by Old School Protection in Clayton at their range) was a rousing success. If you are local to that area and want to take a firearms class, check them out. (FTC note, I was not given anything of monetary value to say this, the rope you can piss up is hanging over there in the corner.)

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