Mint 50 year old Marlin 101 Bolt Action .22 Rifle

During our early March trip to Toledo to visit family, my father and I had a chance to talk about the new hobby that Gail and I have been enjoying. He was surprised we have been shooting guns. I think he enjoyed hearing about our experiences and what we have learned. And then it was his turn to surprise me! He told me that he had purchased a rifle and a shot gun many years ago. He had always kept them (successfully!) hidden from his three boys while we were growing up. I asked him whatever happened to the rifles, and he said he still had them! I was shocked! I remember him talking about guns on a very rare occasion, and mostly it was about removing bullets from people in the operating room. He was a general surgeon and attended to many Friday and Saturday night “specials.” Those seem to be the favorite days for people to shoot each other. But I never saw him involved in shooting sports in any way, shape or form.

He asked if I wanted to see the rifles and I said, “Sure!”. He went up into the attic and came down with a rusty old shotgun, and with a .22 caliber, single shot, bolt action rifle that looked like it was brand new. And that’s because it was as good as new. He told me the rifle had never been shot! He even showed me a little box of bullets that he bought at the same time as the rifle, with all of the bullets still inside. He bought these things in 1962, fifty years ago!

The best part? My dad offered me the rifles, and I eagerly accepted his generosity! :D

The .22 rifle has the words “J.C. Higgins Model 41″ on the barrel. I have since found out that this was a rifle made by Marlin Firearms, a North Carolina company. Marlin rebranded the rifles as “J.C. Higgins” exclusively for Sears. The little box of .22 Long ammunition also was in a Sears box.

I wrote Marlin and was able to get a users manual for the rifle. Though he can’t remember, I was able to find out that my father probably paid about $19 for the rifle in 1962. It is now worth about $125 – $150. I learned from various gun blogs and sites that this was a rifle many kids got from their fathers as their first rifle, to learn about shooting. It is reportedly easy to shoot and remarkably accurate.

So I brought it home and dropped it off at ProShots Range for a cleaning and inspection. The guys at the range had a good little time with it. They said it was in perfect operating condition. I think they were a little jealous. ;-)

I have had a chance to shoot the little rifle, and it is indeed very accurate. More than that, it is really fun to shoot! Since it is a .22, there is essentially no kick. It is very quiet. The single shot bolt action is actually fun to work/play with. And the very best part, I know the rifle will always remind me of my father. What a treasure! :D

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  • Mike Golch April 1, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    I bet you will keep that treasure.I know it will remind you of your Dad.

    • Ferd April 2, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      Yep. That’s what makes it a treasure! :-)

  • Katherine April 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    OH NO WAY! That looks AWESOME!!!! I would love to shoot a rifle – never have before… and with it being a .22, that would be PERFECT for me as my first. My son has one but it has a good kickback. Not really interested in tearing out my shoulder right now LOL! “I’m just a GIRLLLL.” What a GREAT story too – what an honor to have that gun!

    • Ferd April 2, 2012 at 11:03 PM

      Katherine, I think you would love it! You are such an outdoors girl. You even have the camo pants! You NEED a rifle! LOL

      Why don’t you look into it. Here is a link to the Ruger .22 rifles that hold ten shots. They are inexpensive. There is essentially no kick, so your little shoulder would love it, too! :-)

      http://www.ruger.com/products/1022/index.html

  • Pat M May 17, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Ferd,
    I just came upon this blog post by seaching “Marlin 101.” That’s the first rifle I learned to shoot, and you are correct, it is incredibly accurate for a relatively cheap singe-shot. Unfortunately, my Dad gave mine to my cousin’s son when I was away at school. Take good care of it and enjoy!

    • Ferd June 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      Pat, too bad your dad gave it away! I hope your cousin’s son enjoys it as much as you obviously did! Maybe if you have a son (or daughter) of your own…

  • KC June 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    The Marlin version was my very first gun, got it when I was 9. I still have it and will always. Still take it out shooting once in awhile.

    • Ferd June 21, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      KC, I can so see why you still take it out shooting once in a while. It is super fun to shoot! :-)

  • WD December 2, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    I have one of these that was my mother’s snake gun. My dad & mom moved from Los Angeles in 1969 to a small town in Texas of 300 people. My mom hated snakes and wanted a way to protect the place. Dad bought her a Sears Roebuck Mod 41 single shot and it passed through several relatives hands before I got it back. It is now my armadillo gun because it is very accurate & quiet. I found this blog looking for information on mine trying to find some replacement parts to restore it. One of the best guns for starting out and it is truly an heirloom.

  • Roger June 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    That looks like the first gun I ever owned, a Marlin 101T, which was a single shot, .22 cal rifle that one cocked by pulling back on the T-handle on the end of the bolt.

    When I grew up in the 60’s, our neighborhood in Covina, CA, was like Erma Bombeck described in her books as “Suburban Gems.” It was idyllic living, though we didn’t know it. All the houses in the neighborhood were the same age, occupied by young couples with their first child; most were WWII veterans, buying on the Cal Vet program or GI benefits.

    The Christmas of the year in which all us boys turned 8 or 9, all of our Dads got us a .22 rifle, but we weren’t allowed to shoot it until we finished the NRA Hunter Safety class. My Dad gave me the Marlin, though some of the other kids got different guns. The class was held at night in the cafeteria of our grade school, and our Dads took the class with us. After passing a written exam, we all had to attend the range and prove that we could follow range safety rules, as well as hit a target. We got 100 rounds of ammo to use that day, and all proudly graduated!

    After that, we could ride our bikes to the sporting goods store and spend our allowances on ammunition to our hearts’ content. It never occurred to any of us to take a gun to school, and we understood that a gun is never to be pointed at anything one doesn’t intend to shoot. We saved – okay, hoarded – our precious ammo for the rare outings we had with our families in the desert, near Phelan, CA, where we gleefully executed uncountable soda cans and paper targets, all of which we picked up and brought home for proper disposal.

    Thanks for a wonderful trip down Memory Lane, to a happier time when this was still a strong, proud, free country guided by a rock solid Constitution. We may be the last generation to remember that such a thing once existed on this poor, suffering Earth.

    • Ferd July 5, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Thank you, Roger, for sharing that great story! What a wonderful memory for you! :-)

  • Bob June 25, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Fantastic!

  • Edward October 3, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I just bought one of these in a local gun shop. What a cool rifle! Very simple but nicely made. You can feel the quality. The stock has a ton of character and it’s clear this rifle was used a lot, but well loved and well cared for. I keep thinking there’s some family out there missing their heirloom. Well, it can make memories in my family for the next 50 years.