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Marlin Model 1897 Disassembly
Gary Thomann
Thomann Engineering
Singletrack Publishing
Marlin Model 1897 Disassembly
This is a manual for taking apart a Marlin model 1897 22 caliber rifle. It is primarily intended for
someone taking apart the rifle for the first time, when it is probably dirty and most of the screw threads
are stuck. Of course it can also be used for disassembling a clean rifle. The instructions also apply to
other old rifles because some time will be spent on how to remove stuck screws. There is another
manual available on the internet for about eight dollars that is advertised to be for the 1897. However,
it is actually for the Marlin 39A and there are several differences between the 1897 and the later version
of the rifle. This manual is specifically for the 1897. There are a few recommended tools and supplies
needed so let's list those next
Tools and Supplies
Patience. This is not a one night project. There will probably be a lot of stuck screws that take several
days to get the loose. Don't rush!
Assortment of hex screwdriver bits or some screwdrivers. The hex bits are best, try to find hollow
ground ones. These will be used to make screwdrivers to fit the rifle. If you are like me you probably
already have a bunch of these around.
Gunsmith screwdrivers. Actually not needed but if some of them have thin tips they could be handy.
The Marlin 1897 has very thin slots in the screws.
Bench grinder. The grinder will be used to grind the bits to the shape desired. Some other type of
grinding device could also be used.
Liquid Wrench, acetone/ATF 50/50 mix, wax. Some other fluid for loosening stuck bolts could also be
used. My experience is that the 50/50 mix of acetone and automatic transmission fluid is best.
Old drill press chuck. I used this to hold the hex bits and make a screwdriver. You could also use any
hex holder. I like the chuck because there is no slop when turning.
Mineral spirits. Optional, but I did use mineral spirits for cleaning the magazine tube. For other parts I
prefer using dish soap and water.
Dish soap and water. Check with your husband, he will know where to find the dish soap.
Small brass brush, old tooth brush, tooth picks, Q-tips, cotton rags.
Jewelers screwdriver. For cleaning out screw heads. Similar small instrument can be used.
Heat gun. Like used for shrink tubing.
Marlin Model 1897
Screw Threads
As I took apart the example rifle I tried to determine what threads were on each screw in case it had to
be replaced. This was not a particularly successful endeavor. At the present time the United States is
under the Unified Thread Form/Unified Inch Thread also referred to as ANSI/ASME B1.1-2003 and by
the term UN. The thread flank angle is 60. Normally this standard is just referred to as UNC (coarse)
and UNF (fine) and apparently an 8-UN that I not familiar with. There are two modified UN threads
named UNR (rolled) and UNJ (aerospace). There is an equivalent standard to UN for metric screws. If
you are going to replace a screw in the rifle one of the UNF screws would probably be used.
First let us note that Marlin was founded in 1863 by John Mahlon Marlin. The company made pistols
until 1875 and then began production of Ballard rifles. The first lever action rifle was made in 1881.
The Model 1897 was an improvement of the Model 1892 which itself was an improvement on the Model
1891. So, the screws that were used in the Model 1897 must have been developed based on
manufacturing from about 1863 to 1897, although there was probably a tendency to use the same
screws in the Model 1897 as had been used in the Models 1891 and 1892.
Before the 1840's there was apparently little standardization in machine screw sizes and threads. In
1841 Sir Joseph Whitworth proposed a thread with a 55 thread flank angle and rounded roots and
crests. The Whitworth system did not seem to have small sizes, although of course somebody could
use his form with small screws. The standard Whitworth small screws are 1/16 - 60, 0.10-48, 1/8 - 40,
3/32 - 48. The terms BSW (coarse threads) and BSF (fine) are used for Whitworth screws. The
standard is obsolete but BSW and BSF screws are still used, particularly in Britian.
Standardization in the U.S. began back in 1861 with the specification of the Franklin
Institute/Sellers/United States thread. This standard was mandatory only for the military and
government departments. The Sellers thread had a 60 degree angle and had flat roots and crests.
Apparently the use of the Sellers thread was widespread by 1880.
In 1907 ASME defined two series that used Sellers thread and numbered the sizes by gage from 1 to
30. Each gage increase was 0.013 inch. Next came the American National Standard Screw Thread by
the Bureau of Standards, also referred to as CS24-30. It became effective July 1, 1930. After that
came the B1.1 standard adopted in 1949. It has been updated several times. Obviously the
standardization discussed in this paragraph was too late for the Marlin Model 1897.
So what was Marlin using? I would guess the Sellers thread. In the screws on the Model 1897 it is the
pitch (threads per inch) that don't seem to match the modern screws. The diameter was less of a
problem. My rifle had all fine threads, the modern UNF screw threads are shown in Table 1. The
screws in the table are what we would like to use if we had to replace a screw in the rifle. As we will
see substitution doesn't always work. The diameter shown in the table is the major diameter, the value
at the outside of the threads. The diameters shown in the table are actually maximum values. A more
complete thread table is shown in Appendix A.
Marlin Model 1897

Where does the Pin go on a Marlin hammer spring?Hammer and hammer spring. 15 Marlin Model 1897 If you look closely at the bottom of the hammer you can see a pin. This pin goes through a roller that sits on the end of the hammer spring. For normal cleaning and maintenance there is no need to remove this pin; it would only be done if the roller was being replaced.