By: Spencer Durrant
Note: never modify, disassemble, or otherwise handle firearms without first ensuring the firearm’s chamber is empty and no cartridge is present. Additionally, do not attempt any modification or disassembly of a firearm if you’re not completely confident in your abilities to put it back together.
When I turned eight, my dad gave me a Marlin Model 60. It was the best birthday present an eight-year-old boy who grew up in rural America could get.
Over the years, I’ve kept that old Marlin, mostly out of nostalgia. The .22LR is fun for target plinking, and once I found an old scope for it, the Model 60 turned into a great squirrel killer.
But I’ve moved quite a bit in the past few years, and I’ve had to store some guns at my dad’s house. One of those guns was my old Model 60, and when I went to shoot it with my dad earlier this year, it just wasn’t working quite right. I kept getting a few misfires for every set of 15 rounds I shot through the tubular magazine.
A disassembly showed the wear that comes from disuse and inconsistent cleaning. My recoil spring, spring guide, and firing pin were all in need of replacement.
Luckily, those parts cost about $20.00 together – that includes shipping – and replacing them is easy. If I can do it, you can too – I promise.
1. Separate Stock & Trigger Assembly from Action
Flip your Model 60 upside-down and locate the takedown screws holding the plastic trigger assembly in place. You’ll need a flathead screwdriver to get these out, and it shouldn’t take much time.
Once those screws are out (there are three in total), you’ll end up with the action and barrel separated from the stock and trigger assembly, like so:
Here you can see the trigger assembly (the topmost piece in this picture) resting above the barrel and action, and finally, the stock:
2. Remove the Action and Expose the Receiver
Set the stock and trigger assembly aside. Then take the barrel and action and locate the rear assembly post, pictured here:
Removing the rear assembly post will allow the action’s rear end to pop up. Lift it all the way up and slide it off the back of the barrel, exposing the receiver.
Then, take the receiver out of the barrel. Be careful though, as this is where the recoil spring is located. It’s under an immense amount of pressure. If you don’t take it out slowly, you’ll shoot the spring all over whatever room you’re working in (not that I’d have any personal experience with that . . .).
3. Remove the Cartridge Lifter Roller and Firing Pin Retaining Pin
This step sounds like a lot, but it’s not. After you’ve taken the receiver and action out of the barrel and separated the receiver and action without letting the recoil spring bounce to who-knows-where, you’ll have just a plain ol’ receiver ready for its new firing pin.
The firing pin retaining pin comes out first. It’s pretty small, though, which makes getting it out a bit tricky.
I like to use a ball peen hammer and a pin drive punch – sized appropriately for the firing pin retaining pin – to get it out. If you don’t have a pin drive punch, a finishing nail will get the job done, too.
You may need to use a vise to get it out the first time. I had a devil of a time getting my retaining pin out of the receiver on my gun, but I think that was due more to disuse and dirt buildup than anything else. Either way, don’t pound it like a roofing nail, and have a vise handy, just in case.
Once the retaining pin pops free, it’ll slide out of its groove – as will the cartridge lifter roller.
4. Replace Firing Pin
Once the retaining pin and roller are out of the way, your firing pin will slide right out of its narrow groove. Make sure you put it somewhere far away from the new pin so you don’t get them confused. As you can see, it’d be easy to mix them up (the bottom one is the new pin in this picture):
Once the new pin is in place, slide the retaining pin and roller back into the receiver. Pound the retaining pin into place with the ball peen hammer, and you’ve successfully replaced the firing pin in your Marlin Model 60.
This is one of the most popular guns ever made, which makes parts readily available and cheap. And for a cheaper gun, it’s surprisingly easy to fix and clean. I’ve used other low-priced .22LR rifles and handguns that were more work to field strip and clean than they were worth.
Making these types of improvements to your own firearms is rewarding. I reckon it’s part of why AR builds are so popular right now.
Whether your Model 60 could use some new parts, or you haven’t shot it in a while and want to thoroughly clean each piece, these steps will help you make sure your rifle is in hunting shape.
Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in multiple national fly fishing publications, and he’s the Managing Editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Find him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant.