My First Rifle Restoration

Something Different

1976 Glenfield Marlin
Model 30A
30-30 Lever Action
Well this one's a bit of a deviation from the norm!  Usually posts are about projects around 173, the grounds, and various restorations - usually tools.  But, while this one is also a restoration, it's of a whole different vein - I'm restoring a rifle.  Let's get into it!

The Get 

This rifle was an exciting get.  I had my eye on getting a lever action rifle for some time.  Much like with tools, I like to get arms with a bit of history.  The process is, my brother and I talk about this rifle or that, and while we're on the phone we'll look through some online classifieds, and of a sudden I'll see something that catches my fancy.  We discuss, and because he's quite a trader and gun enthusiast, he'll weigh in and help me make a decision.  Decision made, and my max price set, bro, in effect, becomes my broker and does all the wheeling and dealing, actual purchase and pickup and so on.  It's just one of those things we do and I think we both enjoy our roles - I point and pay, he does all the work, and earns a couple shekels - barely enough for gas but, he won't take any real money from me.  

In this case, I had seen a lever action 30-30 at a really good starting price and set my brother to work.  He bargained a great price, and ended up arranging three or four meetups with the seller.  The guy kept blowing him off for a couple weeks 'til we both settled on the "To hell with him," approach and the process started over.  Although this time, I just told my brother that he knew what I was looking for...30-30, lever action, wood stock - so just find one.  A week or so later I had me a good ol' Glenfield Marline 30-30 lever action with a wood stock.  Clean as a whistle! 

Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you'll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding. ─ Stephen King

Glenfield Marlin 

The Glenfield-Marlin rifles were to Marlin what the Maverick and Mustang were to Ford. Same thing under the hood in most cases, but cheaper to produce cosmetics on the outside. They normally had walnut-stained hardwood, usually birch or ash, instead of genuine walnut stocks and forearms. The same principle carried forward into their bolt action and pump action rifles and shotguns. The store brand firearms produced by Marlin in the 1960s-1980s are some of the most under-rated and under-valued firearms out there!

Caliber: 30/30 Winchester
◆ Capacity: 6-shot tubular magazine
◆ Barrel Length: 20"
◆ Overall Length: 38 1/4"
◆ Weight: 7 lbs.
◆ Sights: Brass-bead front sight; adjustable rear. Solid top receiver tapped for scope mount or receiver sight; offset hammer spur for scope use adaptable for right-or left-handed use
◆  Action: Lever action; solid top receiver; side ejection; deeply blued metal surfaces; blued steel trigger; receiver top sandblasted to prevent glare
◆ Stock: Two-piece walnut-finished hardwood stock with full pistol grip: checkering on pistol grip and foregrip Shown here with Glenfield 400, 4X scope
For fun - here's some Craftsman-related posts

The original purpose of the use of the name Glenfield goes back to when mass-merchandisers and chain outlets wanted brand names that would be identified with their businesses. There was also a need for manufacturers to protect their first- line models from being "footballed" around by price cutters. That's how the name Glenfield came into being. By having a separate series of models with a less expensive cosmetic appearance but with no less quality in material or workmanship for the big dealers, Marlin protected the small shops and stores handling the Marlin line.

In recent years, the mass-merchandisers no longer prefer the brand names of old. They now want the top-of-the-line items. To meet the demand, Marlin has dropped the use of the name Glenfield. Some of the later Glenfield models are now sold under a new model number and under the Marlin name, with- out material change to the Glenfield configuration. Marlin marketed the following lever action center-fire rifles under the Glenfield name (mine's highlighted):




Model 36G


Model 30


Model 30A


Model 30GT


Model 30AS

The Model 36G was a no-frills variation of the regular Model 336. It was available only in caliber .30-30. It had a hardwood (birch) pistol grip stock, 4 shots, half magazine, 20-in. barrel, hard-rubber butt plate without a white line spacer, and a beaded dovetail front sight. It was drilled and tapped for scope and receiver sights. The Model 36G was a great woods gun at low cost. It was replaced by the Model 30 in 1966, which in turn existed in four models until 1983.

What's the Problem? 

Let me say right off - this is a beautiful piece.  I had never considered a camouflaged stock or foregrip, but this was what my brother got for me and it was beautiful.  The hydrographic film was in the Reaper Buck pattern and laid over the original birch.  I loved it and was quite satisfied!

Even with the hydrographic, the original engraving on the stock shown through..

But, about a week or two after the get, I took the 30-30 to the workshop to break it down and give it a good cleaning.  In assessing for the breakdown I noticed there were a few places where the hydrographic was bubbling.  It wasn't terrible, but it was enough that I knew the thought of it would bug me.  I pondered over it for a day and came to the conclusion that I would need to remove the hydrographic, and figure out the next steps as they came.    

Juuust a Slight Mistake 

I had zero experience removing these graphics, so I did some research.  There were so many approaches, vinegar soaks, paint remover...other chemicals.  The one method that caught my eye as promising was the heat gun approach!  If you recall, I'm quite comfortable with the heat gun, having stripped the porches and a few other projects using my trusty Wagner.

Sometimes being comfortable with a tool carries with it the danger of overconfidence or hubris.  In this case I thought I'd experiment on a spot or two.  You know, a couple small areas just to see how it would work, so small in fact, that I saw no need in taking anything apart - just test spots.  

This is an instant where a picture's worth a thousand words...

That's right, I melted the lens caps on the scope cover.  'Nuff said.  It was then that I decided take the scope off the barrel.

Hydrographic Removal

I decided not to break the whole rifle down just yet as leaving it fully assembled would be helpful in supporting it while I strop it.  I started with locking it in my vise.

Then I got down to some serious heat gun action.

And all the details started really showing themselves!

After a couple hours of heat gun, and cleaning out all the tiny engravings with a pick, I had a pretty clean canvass to give it all a new start!

If you notice, the engravings are darker than the rest of the wood.  That's because I wanted them to stand out after staining, so I singed the engravings with a lighter to darken them.  Here's a closeup of how they looked after singeing...

Then a light sanding and YOWZA!  Some beautiful stock!

Break it Down 

At some point during the stropping process I decided to complete the breakdown.

With the exception of one screw, it was easily dismantled. Just one screw needed some persuasion from some lubricant...

And a little persuasion from the impact driver.

 I had to pay particularly close attention because I'd never broke down a lever action rifle before.

And I gotta say - I was surprised how few actual parts there were to a lever action rifle.


Suddenly all the prep work was done, and the time had come to finish the wood.  The first step was to apply a pre-stain to help ensure a nice,  consistent staining.

Here's a well-expressed bit about pre-stain:  Wood conditioner is a game-changer when it comes to treating oil stains on wood surfaces. It penetrates deeply into the wood, creating a protective barrier that prevents the oil from seeping in and causing unsightly stains. By applying the conditioner before staining, the wood surface becomes more receptive to the stain, resulting in a smoother and more even application. The end result is a flawless finish that truly showcases the beauty of the wood.  - Amazon reviewer Joe B, October 27, 2023


I had a unique opportunity here and I knew it...I could choose whatever color I wanted on this beautiful rifle!  I thought it through for some time and decided that I didn't want it to be real dark, and didn't want it in the red/orange family.  And,  looking at the shelves of stain in the workshop I eyed my can of General Finishes Antique Walnut, which I knew almost always came out on the light side. 

After one coat, although I knew this stain always came out light, it came out lighter than I thought it would.  But I loved the shade and how it showed the wood grain... so I decided one was enough!

And here's a shot of the foregrip showing the color in a little different light...

The Finish

Then it was just a matter of deciding the kind of finish to use.  I did a LOT of research on this - way more than necessary.   I considered polyurethane, shellac and several different oils.  In the end I decided to try something new (to me) that a lot of people talked about on gun websites - Tru-Oil Gunstock Finish.

Tru-Oil's a mixture of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and “modified oil.” When finish chemists talk about “modified oil” as an ingredient they typically mean either chemical modification or heat modification. Chemically modifying a drying oil involves reacting it with chemicals and heat to form what are known as alkyds, which are used in varnish manufacture. Heat-treated oils basically jump start the drying/curing process. Pure heat-treated oils are used all the time in making finishes, but they rarely show up as “finishes.” So it seems Tru-Oil is a mix of linseed oil mineral spirits, and some sort of modified linseed or tung oil.

And That's That 

After a coat of stain and three or four coats of Tru-Oil, and a quick reassembly (with a little trouble reinstalling the loader spring) I officially declared the rifle - restored!

I think I made the right decision to take a little bit of fire to the engravings, it really made them stand out quite nicely.

Now - to find some time to get to the range with my brother!

I'm tickled the way this all turned out - a fun little project and, I think it made the whole rifle just that much better - if I do say so myself!  Anyway, thanks for stopping be and - see ya' next time!
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