Thursday, September 09, 2004

Well, it has been some time since my last comments. Some things have happened and I've been really busy during the summer. Don't quite know why, but the wife expects to do something other than mess with guns.

I've bought a third lever action rifle. Yes, I've gotten that fever, too. This is my new (to me) Marlin M336T. Made in 1982, this version has an 18" barrel. I'd been looking for one and when I saw it for only $260 on I knew I had to get it. Wasn't planning for it, I had other higher priority projects, but couldn't pass up the opportunity. This was the gun I wanted when I bought my 336C in 1970 but couldn't find one then either!

As you can see, it has been around a bit. I added the Lyman 66LA receiver sight before taking the picture (and the sight slot blank) but had yet to remove the sling swivel stud and stud band. Those sling swivel studs are now gone. Removing them presented another problem.

I don't know why but many, many shooters seem to think that the Marlin trademark bullseye in the stock is the designated installation point for the rear sling swivel stud. In fact it is the WORST place to screw in your Uncle Mike's sling swivel stud. The plastic will break up far quicker than the wood of the butt. Also, please, predrill the hole before screwing the stud in. It makes for a much neater job. Well some past owner had done this as well. When I removed the stud, I had a gaping hole where the bullseye had once been. The stud's screw had completely broken the bullseye up and left a 5/8" hole to fill. I am thinking that what I'll do is to fill a lot of it with JB Weld and insert a "button" of deer horn. In the center of the deer horn I'll drill a hole and glue in a short piece of copper wire. I'll leave it standing proud of the stock and then file it down to match the stock configuration. Should give me a very unique bullseye!

I'm also thinking of refinishing the stock (and slightly thinning the forearm) and staining it darker. I think I'd like a darker stock. That would make an excellent January/February project.

I currently have 3 leveraction rifles. I've owned others but they had to be sold or were traded for others.  There are some similarities. First, all are straight gripped. It just seems more natural to me. Maybe, I've been too heavily influenced by all the cowboy westerns I watched or maybe it really does feel better when working the action. I don't know, but I prefer the straight grip style.

Second, they are all fitted with a receiver or aperture sight. The top and bottom guns have the Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight and the "new" rifle in the middle has the Lyman Model 66LA sight. I really prefer an aperture sight on these guns. The sight gives extended sight radius, is quick in the field, I have LONG experience with it (over 40 years continuous use including military use), it is compact and doesn't interfere with handling the gun and it is light.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem with the Lyman sight. Not to say that they are all like this but this one is a disappointment. I've used them before with satisfaction but in this case, the elevation plate screw stripped the threads and can't be tightened and secure the elevation plate. This is necessary because the Lyman sight has a plate that can be "zeroed" or slid up and down relative to the marking on the sight base so that you can dismount and remount the sight with the quick release OR change the sight elevation and return to the "standard" setting. I did write Lyman, but I am no going to return the sight. I will just epoxy the elevation plate in place and leave it there. Frankly, I may not buy another new Lyman 66 sight.

In contrast, the Williams sights have never given me a moment's problem. They have been utterly reliable. Not only do I have them on the 2 leverguns shown above but also on a semi-sporterized (read bubbaized if you prefer) M96 in 6.5x55 and have had them on all but 2 of my other leverguns. Those included the dearly departed 336C and a Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag. Only a Wincester M94 in .44 Mag didn't stay around long enough to get the FP sight treatment. The other rifle already had a tang peep and didn't need another 2 holes drilled for the FP. I wisely kept the sight when I was forced to sell the rifle.

Now, I guess I've really succumbed to the disease of leveractionitis. I've gotten it in my head to do a button-mag Winchester M92 carbine in .45 Colt. After it was suggested by a fellow disease "sufferer", I am fixated on a "trapper" version with a 16" barrel AND I would like it to have a color-case hardened receiver. Steve of Steve's Gunz will do the work and has made some cogent suggestions of his own. This will be a full on custom gun and it will no doubt take some time to get the money together.

One of the driving issues is portability in a vehicle and usability or even possessability in various jurisdictions. The short barrel addresses the first 2 issues and the 16" or "long enough" barrel addresses the latter. The .45 Colt cartridge is usable in factory guise as an effective self-defense round but can be loaded up for deer hunting and longer range use. The button-mag will give sufficient capacity for self-defense use but will not hamper the handling characteristics. The carbine butt will be more RV and truck friendly even if it is carried in a case. There will be no sharp points to scratch or puncture the more delicate features in those vehicles and so it won't arouse the wrath of she-who-must-be-0beyed.

Soon it will be hunting season and we'll all be down the road for some fun. I hope to have photos this year.

No comments: