Salvaging an Marlin Ballard


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Salvaging an Marlin Ballard

Post by sabre85rdj »

I've got a Marlin Ballard action including the stock that I acquired several years ago. I was planning to restore it to original configuration but that seems impractical given it's condition. Someone had re-barrelled the receiver with a modern .22 hornet barrel but didn't finish the job. They drilled out the firing pin slot and tapped it for a 5/16 bolt as a bushing to hold a firing pin. I had started to convert it to an inline muzzle loader but again, demands of raising a family put that on the back burner until now. I have no idea what caliber this rifle was originally but I'm guessing it was a .32 rim fire based on the extractor. The receiver is a cast receiver with a flat top. The serial number is 32158. If I can figure out how to post a picture I will. I've decided to convert it to a .22LR. I've ordered a barrel blank from Green Mountain that I'm going to machine into a tapered octagon barrel, I've already installed a bushing in the breach block face to restore the breach block face. I've got a long way to go to make it serviceable. I've been debating with myself which way to go for the extractor a one piece or two piece design. A single piece design seems like a lot less work but I've read there's a tendency to get the rim of the cartridge behind the extractor unless I'm careful. I've also been wondering how I should finish the receiver. I really like the looks of color case hardening but I'm not sure the cast receivers can be color case hardened Most of the cast receivers I've seen have been nickel plated. It seems a little extravagant to nickel plate a plain sided receiver. If it was engraved it might be different. I'd appreciate any advice anyone might have,
Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Salvaging an Marlin Ballard

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) »


Ballard actions, regardless of either cast or forged were case-colored, unless they were plated of course. But even the plated actions had to be hardened for strength.
I believe the smaller caliber Ballard actions used a two piece extractor. You can confirm this by finding a copy of John Dutcher's fine Ballard book, titled:
"Ballard, the Great American Single Shot Rifle". Just about anything you want to know about Ballards is in that book.
Good luck with your project.
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Re: Salvaging an Marlin Ballard

Post by marlinman93 »

Yes, all the .22 factory chambered Ballard actions used a two piece extractor, but it's not an easy machine job to bore the barrel/action correctly for the sliding extractor used. A one piece works, and it's not all that hard to keep it under the rim of .22LR as you chamber it. Biggest issue is extracting, as it will only pull the case out a small amount before slipping past the rim, and then you simply pull the case the rest the way by hand.
I'd definitely caseharden the receiver, and have had several done with no problem. I use Al Springer in Moore, Mt., who does good work at reasonable rates.
When cutting for the extractor try to make the end of the extractor at about 9 0'clock position, and not low at 6 o'clock. This will give you the most extraction before it slips past the rim.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
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