Marlin's Deer Mauser: The Model 455

  1. Shooter
    The name Mauser is legendary when it comes to bolt-action rifles. Their design in the late 1800s heralded a new age of firearms technology and revolutionized the military\'s of the day. This led to an evolution in hunting rifles that soon followed. And yes, Marlin even had one of these in the stable for a while. We give you the Model 455.

    Belgian roots

    In the 1950s the international firearms mega plant of Fabrique Nationale in Liege, Belgium was transitioning from making Mauser bolt-action rifles to the newer FN FAL battle rifle (also known as the Free World\'s Right Arm). As such, these former military bolt-actions were no longer needed for military sales.

    They did, however, still have a place in hunting and FN made and sold thousands more over a decade on the already-paid-for tooling for this purpose. They sold them abroad to arms firms small and large as the centerpiece for some of the best hunting rifles ever made.

    Marlin took advantage of this and designed the Model 455 around these actions.

    Design

    The rifle was built on an FN Supreme Mauser action which was the final improvement of the old K98 style rifle that was made and used by militaries around the world for more than fifty years. These were married to a blued stainless steel microgroove barrel that will have Marlin roll marks on it (so be sure to check for these to see if it\'s been rebarreled-- which will kill the collector\'s value).

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    (Yes, this is a Marlin...)

    For a trigger group, the company used a commercially available pack from Finnish company Sako (who they were collaborating on the Model 322 rifle with at the same time). This adjustable Sako trigger group felt like liquid gold and made a great addition to the rifle. To top it off, a Lyman No. 48 rear sight and a front sight hood were fitted.

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    A five-shot internal box magazine, standard on Mauser actions, fed the rifle. The gun was some 42-inches overall with 24-inch barrel and weighed in at about 7.75-pounds, which was then (as now) fairly light for a full sized deer rifle.

    The gun was introduced in 1956 with offerings in .270, .308 Winchester, and, of course, 30.06 Springfield. However, when competing against a glut of military surplus Mausers, Enfield, and Springfield 1903s (based ironically on the Mauser action), there was just no market for the Model 455 and the gun was dropped by Marlin by 1959 after just 1059 were made.

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    Getting your own

    This gun is a sleeper as not many know exactly what they have out there in it. This means that slightly modified versions go for $300-$500 while those closer to original fetch more like $600.

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    Just think about what you have if you come across one of these guns in the original condition. You have a Belgian FN action based on the German Mauser design, with a Finnish SAKO trigger group, Lyman sights, and a stainless steel barrel. What more can you ask for. The fact these guns are still out there for about $500-$600 is amazing, especially considering their lineage and rarity.

    Did we mention that there were just 1059 made?

    Anyway, if you have one, please share.

    If you want to sell one, please call me.

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