Once in a lifetime

Anything to do with gun smithing.
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marlinman93
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Once in a lifetime

Post by marlinman93 »

Over many years of working on Marlins and Marlin Ballard rifles, I've learned that with all the hand fitting Marlin did, almost nothing in the way of barrels, or stocks is a perfect fit when swapping on used parts to other guns! Especially so with Marlin barrels, as they never headspace or index up perfectly. At least not until yesterday!
I purchased some Ballard parts from a friend and they arrived yesterday. I have a Ballard #2 in an unusual centerfire only breech block. These were only used on .44-40 and .32-20 Ballard rifles as they had no rimfire case in the same cartridge. My friend had a nice .38 Long barrel that I purchased, plus a nice buttstock and forearm. I hoped these parts could be mated to my early JM Marlin action, but figured I'd need some barrel work.
When the parts arrived yesterday I went to my gun room and spun the barrel into my action. It stopped 1/8th turn shy of indexing, and a quick extra push with my action wrench indexed it right up! Amazing! A test fit of the breech block revealed it was a bit tight on closing, so I removed it and looked at the breech face. It had some BP corrosion, so I began stoning and checking fit until the breech block closed normally after a few minutes. This is like winning the lottery to have a Ballard index and fit so easily!
The stocks were the same thing; close and almost a perfect fit. A little file work on the end of the buttstock inletting and it slipped in. Then a little more file work on the rear of the forearm and it too fit! Just need to make a firing pin now, and fit an extractor, and this parts Ballard is done! Easiest gun build I've ever had!

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Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
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Road King
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Re: Once in a lifetime

Post by Road King »

Looks nice Vall. Keep us posted on test firing.
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" More guns then I need, but not as many as I want."
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marlinman93
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Re: Once in a lifetime

Post by marlinman93 »

Road King wrote: Thu Dec 15, 2022 12:51 pm Looks nice Vall. Keep us posted on test firing.
Will do! This one will be a shooter as it's a Frankenstein of mixed parts. At least only mixed from two guns, and not a bunch.
My first Ballard was a $200 #2 in .38 Long, and had a horrid bore. I tried shooting it but it was tough to even keep shots on the paper at 25 yds. This one should be much better!
I dug out a spare extractor today, and it was a .38 extractor! Fit like a glove! Then I got my drill rod out which I bought for firing pins as it has the correct diameter. Cut off a piece and chucked it in the drill press and turned down the tip to fit, and then marked and cut it to length. Cut the retaining notch with a rat tail file and finished it.
Still need to go buy a 8" long 5/16" bolt to build the through bolt, and then it's a complete rifle!
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
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marlinman93
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Re: Once in a lifetime

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It took some driving around, but finally found a hardware store that carried bolts longer than 6"! I grabbed three 8" long 5/16" bolts so I'd have a couple spares after reworking all three to fit Ballard stocks.
I turned the heads round, and cut a 45 degree taper to the backside of the heads. Used my Fordam and cutoff wheel to cut screw slots like the original through bolts. Then cut 1/4" off the length to fit, and installed it.
Made up a couple firing pins since I had no CF spares. Now the weather turned bitter cold, and windy, so I'll spend time casting up some heeled bullets and make up ammo while I wait for warmer weather.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
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