Resurrecting Rimfires: Marlin Model 60, Winchester Model 190 and a Western Six

Opinion

Resurrected Rimfires

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- One of my hobbies is buying broken old guns and fixing them up. Depending on the type of firearm, this can vary between simple fixes to get a gun up and running again to an almost full restoration, and sometimes you discover you “bought a pig in a poke” along the way.

I recently picked up a handful of broken firearms that I repaired within a few weeks.

  • Marlin Model 60 (2)
  • Winchester Model 190
  • Kimel Western Six

I paid the princely sum of $9.99 a piece for them at my local Cabela's. This store buys more used firearms than all the other stores combined due to the close proximity to California. Usually, gems such as these are only obtained as part of a larger collection. Guys like me come in and pick up these scraps from time to time.

Marlin Model 60 Rifle

It is said by some to be the most prolific 22 rifle in the past 60 years. According to Marlin, they manufactured over 12 million Model 60s in that time period.

I will be honest, I did not grow up shooting these rifles. My first 22 was a Ruger 10/22 with a detachable 10-round rotary magazine in the late 1980s. I thought the tube magazine on the Marlin was a huge step backward. I have yet to see someone shooting one of these at a range, either, but have seen hundreds in people's collections, at gun shows, and at gun shops.

The two I picked up were in rough shape. The first one was the old Glenfield variant with the squirrel “engraving” on the stock. Except the stock had been smashed behind the trigger guard and the inner part of the magazine tube was missing. The barrel and tube were tied on with string, and the previous owner was a fan of duct tape.

Broken Marlin Model 60

Now, the second one looked to be a complete rifle. It was missing its sights, was covered in surface rust and the brass inner magazine tube was too long. It turned out that it was the missing tube from the first rifle.

Broken Marlin Model 60

I was originally hoping to build one rifle from the two of them, but found a “complete kit less the receiver” on Gunbroker from an outfit called Gunbusters of Florida. This company destroys firearms earmarked as such by government agencies, but pulls all the parts before crushing the receiver. I won the auction for $55 and had the kit in less than a week.

Broken Marlin Model 60

Upon disassembling the first rifle from the receiver, I noticed that the rear stock screw that attaches to the receiver was missing. In fact, it had sheared off clean inside the receiver. With a drill and an easy-out, I removed the remnant of the screw. Using Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner and some fine steel wool, I eliminated the surface rust and then noticed the recoil spring was missing from the bolt.

Not so pretty tied up!

Luckily, the kit from Gunbusters contained a fresh spring and guide rod. I rebuilt everything, installed it in the stock, and had one rifle ready to go.

Restored Marlin Model 60

The second one actually turned out to be a bigger problem than the first, even though it looked complete.

Filthy Marlin Model 60

The recoil spring was horribly kinked, so I made a note to order another one, but the bolt was stuck in the receiver and would not come out. I then noticed the receiver was cracked by the ejection port. I may just cut my losses and junk the parts on this one. One homerun, one strike.

Winchester Model 190

Manufactured from 1967 to 1980, the Model 190 was Winchester's answer to the Marlin Model 60. By 1980, I think they realized that they could not keep up with either the Marlin or Ruger's 10/22 as far as sales, but they still churned out a respectable 2 million + of these guns.

Broken Winchester Model 190

At first glance, this rifle looks like a Marlin Model 60 but has that Winchester “two-piece” stock design going on.

This rifle had a lot of surface rust, a bit of external pitting and was missing the rear trigger guard pin so that the fire control group could rattle around!

Rusty bbl!

I cleaned her up with Blue Wonder as best as I could. I aligned the trigger group and installed a new pin courtesy of Numrich Arms.

Winchester Model 190

This made up for the second Marlin in case it is beyond salvation, as my total investment in this rifle is about $15.

Winchester Model 190

Kimel Western Six

This one might have been my favorite of this particular group.

Kimel Western Six

I love revolvers, primarily single actions. The grips looked homemade but could have just been substandard wood on a cheap revolver. The cylinder retaining screw was missing, and the finish was pretty beat.

Kimel Western Six (before)

It took a little bit of research based on the markings that I could find on the revolver, but it turned out to be made by Kimel Industries in the 1970s. They were a manufacturer and distributor in Matthews, North Carolina, back in the day who were more famous for their AP-9, which was a TEC-9 knockoff with an electroless nickel finished upper and an HK style front sight with an 18-pound trigger pull. They folded in 1999.

Kimel Western Six

Spare parts appeared to be non-existent. I had heard that Heritage Arms parts might fit, but I had another idea. The revolver was the same size and shape as my Colt Scout in 22lr/22 Magnum. I tried the cylinder retaining screw from my Colt, found that it fit and ordered another one from Numrich Arms.

Kimel Western Six (after)

I got this one up and running for a grand total of $13.95, including the cost of the revolver. I may look to heritage for a set of replacement grips, but the homemade ones seem fine and give it a bit of an “outlaw” look.

It came with a Bianchi open-top holster with a leather thong to hold the hammer, and it might just see duty as a dedicated snake shot revolver.

None of these firearms were valuable at all and apart from detailed cleaning and the repairs; I saw no need to perform a full-on restoration on any of them as it would cost more than they were worth and they held no sentimental value to me. More than likely they will end up with one of my grandkids or be used to introduce another new person to shooting via 22 LR.

The point that I try to get across with these types of articles is not to be so quick to discard an old clunker.

Handling marks give a firearm character, and as long as you can keep it free from the ravages of rust and perform changes of worn parts, most modern firearms will be heirlooms one day if taken care of.

Often you can get them up and running for a small amount of money, and even if the piece is completely unfamiliar, minor repairs can be as easy to perform as being able to disassemble and reassemble the gun.


About Mike Searson

Mike Searson
Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for several magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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    JPM
    Member
    JPM

    Sometimes a little love and care can bring back a shooter that someone has given up on. I’m not a professional gunsmith by any means, but I know enough that I have repaired and brought back several rifles, shotguns and hand guns over the years. Don’t give up on those old guns, there may be life in them still.

    DanaR
    Member
    DanaR

    I’ve gone thru 3 of the Marlins; my first was the Glenfield-branded gun, purchased used for maybe $50 in Nov ’82. The receiver split between the barrel and mag tube after maybe 1000 rounds. I tried some JB Weld, which didn’t last 100 rounds. Second was the 990, which was the deluxe version of the 60, purchased new for about $100. The receiver split in the same place after about 5 bricks of .22. Third was the standard 60, for about $120. Same story as the 990. I now have a Ruger 10/22 FS. LOVE it!

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Mike Searson, I went to the websit, but could only find information on gun destruction. How do you buy parts from them?

    Richey
    Member
    Richey

    Thanks for the article. I have a Remington 550-1 that I traded a load of firewood for. It has all the parts but the magazine tube is broken at the hook where the inner tube locks in. Someone did a bad soldering job on it so it’s about to break off. It shoots but every other casing gets caught on ejection. May just need a good cleaning. Other than that it’s in good shape. Thank for the Numrich link.

    American Patriot
    Member
    American Patriot

    I sold those exact same 2 rifles about 5 yrs ago at a yard sale for less then a $100 each & they were in mint condition, kinda wish I didn’t after the fact. But I had so many that sat in gun cabinets for so long that were never shot, well now maybe they are getting some use….

    Dave C
    Member
    Dave C

    I’ve done 4 Cabela’s “Junk yard dogs” so far! Great retirement projects!

    stick
    Member
    stick

    My first .22 was a Winchester 190, but it was a birthday present in early 1966, not ’67. Kilt a zillion ground squirrels, rabbits, crows and magpies with that ol’ gun, hitch hiked from California to Colorado with it over my shoulder. It was stolen in 1970. Real nice wood on that one you’ve got there. Good job.

    Dragonfly
    Member
    Dragonfly

    About 10 or 12 years ago my grandkids were getting big enough to start learning the rules of using a firearm, and shooting them as well. I visited a few pawn shops and eventually came upon a store that had a Marlin Mdl 60 and a Savage/Springfield Mdl 187S, Both were very dirty, some surface rust, but otherwise in decent shape. I got them both for $120. Not quite as cheap as yours but no parts needed, A good cleaning, surface rust removal, stocks refinished and the were ready. They went to the grandkids as their next birthday(s) came along.

    45 is my other auto
    Member
    45 is my other auto

    Great article. I love working on guns and the older 22s are just plain fun to bring back to life. Thanks!

    Witold Pilecki
    Member

    I did my own restoration on a Western Auto Revelation 105, which was a re-branded Marlin Model 25. It spent a long time broken and sitting exposed to the elements in the corner of a porch, destined for destruction. It is now a visually appealing and awesome rifle that has taken many squirrels, and reliably sets off tannerite targets at 50 yards with a single shot.

    Nam62
    Member
    Nam62

    I have had good luck in finding a inner magazine tube for a Ranger 29 A 22 LR for $20 that belonged to my father he bought in about 1939.
    At Poppert’s Gunsmithing P.O. Box 413 Glenside, PA 19038.

    https://www.poppertsgunparts.com/webdata2/search.html

    Will Flatt
    Member

    Anyone come across a very early model Springfield .22 cal bolt action?? I’m curious what those are worth. I restored an in-law’s .22 Springfield and I keep thinking about it. Definitely pre-1930.

    tetejaun
    Member
    tetejaun

    Gun Parts Corp. (Numrich Arms) has many new parts made for rim fire arms. Springs, parts and tube magazine followers are all available for most all arms. I just rebuilt an old Stevens 87A. The elevator spring was shot, I was missing some screws and the magazine follower was missing.
    The rifle shoots and looks as new thanks to Gun Parts Corp. (Numrich Arms).
    A company I have used for several decades.

    nrringlee
    Member
    nrringlee

    I just restored the Western Field version of the same rifle this year. This was an heirloom passed down from my Uncle who bought in in 1949 in Yakima WA. Same issue, but Numrichs had the elevator spring and many other small parts. It is a tack driver and now fully restored. I also have two Marlin 25’s that I picked up at gun shows to restore. They join my original Marlin 25 as student guns and shoot in my CMP rimfire clinic monthly. Likewise, tack drivers and parts are aplenty at many sites. So if you have or find… Read more »

    Will
    Member
    Will

    Most any firearm can be repaired/restored !

    Ansel Hazen
    Member
    Ansel Hazen

    Marlin Model 60 was my first gun. Bought it at a KMart for $39.95 “back in the day”.
    Still have it and will never part with it.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @AH,I bought one in the late ‘70’s and sure wish I still had it. I traded it for a Marlin 783 WMR about 10 years later on a even trade. I came out like a bandit but I sure wish I still had the M60.

    Ansel Hazen
    Member
    Ansel Hazen

    I learned to shoot with that gun. The fact I’ve managed to keep it around for better than 45 years makes it all the more special now. Always make me smile when I pull it out for some plinking. Handy to have around too, it’s the first gun I put in a new shooters hands.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    AH,they are really nice rifles. The longer you have a firearm the sweeter they are. It’s the perfect firearm to learn to shoot and train with,no matter what age. I know that you will have many years of reliability left with your M M60.