Keeping your Model 60 up and running

  1. Editor
    The Marlin Model 60 tube-fed .22 semi-auto rifle is one of the most popular guns ever made. Between both the Marlin and Glenfield marked versions, there have been more than 11-million of these handy rimfires pushed out in the past half century. However, they do require a good bit of finesse to clean and maintain.

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    As long as you can find the ammo for these bad boys today, these guns make great plinkers, but need to be maintained. (Photo: Marlin)

    Basic cleaning

    In all cleaning, make sure the firearm is unloaded. To do this, in a safe area with your finger off the trigger and the gun's muzzle in a safe direction with no one in front of it, place the gun on 'safe' remove the magazine tube, empty any rounds in the magazine, then work the charging handle at least three times before locking it back.

    How many times?

    Three-- this is because if you work it once or twice and ammo is still coming out, you have a problem and need to readdress the first few steps. Following this, to make sure it is unloaded, visually look into the open chamber, and then feel it with your fingertip to make sure nothing is in there. Then after you have done all this removed any ammo from the room, you can start your clean.

    Next, take a .22-caliber cleaning rod or pull through and clean out the barrel with gun solvent or a CLP style cleaner. Wipe the excess from the inside of the chamber with a rag and lubricate lightly.

    It's recommended that this be done everytime the gun is shot as an absolute minimum clean. If you go through a lot of rounds or have shot the gun several times, in addition to this basic bore/chamber swab, you really should do a...

    Deep cleaning

    Rimfire ammo is dirty. As such, once you fire your Model 60 enough (the company states this should be done about every 250 rounds) you are going to want to get down deep in there and work the gunk out. While the gun is extremely simple, performing a field strip of the action is a little tricky. There is a set 7-step process to removing the action and cleaning away the buildup of carbon, lead, and residue. This means you need to do some research, kids.

    If you do not have your manual, you can call Marlin and request one free. They also have it immediately available for download on their website in a 14-page pdf format file (go there now and save a copy!)

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    As shown in the screen capture from the manual, you will need to take unscrew the two take down screws and removing the assembly posts to free the action. Then take out the bolt, spring, and guide from the action making sure that bad boy doesn't fly across the room.

    Tip: the first time you do this you may want to remove the action inside a shoebox or similar just in case. Trust me; it really sucks to have to search for that spring. Once you have this accomplished, remove the charging handle and bolt from the gun.

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    Clean it all, give it a gentle coat of lube on the moving surfaces only (remember, just put a dab on your finger, don't squirt a whole can in!) and reassemble in the reverse order.

    Clear as mud? If not, check this out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VfC_2qxvV0

    A great 5-minute video from ixVENGEFULxi which shows disassembly of a Model 60s action in detail for cleaning. Watch this twice before attempting it for the first time and be careful with those screws!

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    (Every now and then, you may want to go the extra mile and do a complete strip. Be careful if you do and have your manual, schematic, and possibly a video camera ready so you remember where everything went. This is not for the mechanically disinclined and if you are wary of this, stay away from it and get a gunsmith involved)

    Repair and replacement

    Things happen and parts get lost, broken, or damaged. The good thing is with millions of these guns out there, the available stocks of replacements are huge. About the most expensive thing you will have to replace on the gun is the brass inner magazine tube, which usually runs about $35-- so be very careful with that item in your travels so that you don't bend or break it. Brownells maintains more than 75 different items for the M60 including everything from sights to complete trigger guards. Parts clearing house Numrich probably has an even larger supply of parts than Marlin.

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    These tubes aren't cheap!

    Speaking of Marlin, should you need a repair keep in mind that the company has for years been offering just a five year warranty on Model 60s against defects in material and workmanship, however they will work on semi-auto .22LRs (including the Model 60) as long as the gun is less than 30-years old-- just be aware that you may have to foot the bill on those repairs.

    With some common sense and elbow grease, odds are your Marlin 22 should outlive you.

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