An Unexpected Jewel—Marlin MR-L

by GCA Member Robert Garr

An unexpected jewel. It’s one of those rifles that most of us would not consider as our first choice. It kinda gets passed over for the more standard, or advertised guns on the rack. But my buddy has a history of choosing guns just like that. You know the type. He always has the cash to buy a gun, but just shouldn’t do so alone. Well, I figured that this was no exception. A Marlin MR-L, a long action bolt gun in .270 Win. I knew of the rifle. Marlin had made similar rifles over the years, but they never stayed in production very long. What I didn’t know until after it came to me I found out on a tour of the Remington factory by the head  gunsmith of the custom shop. And that is that Marlin firearms are being manfactured at the Ilion N.Y plant that I was touring. And seeing is believing.

Well, not being convinced that it was a good buy, the drab black synthetic stocked rifle was being turned loose on my Duracoat talents to be refinished in a camouflage pattern of my choice.

Well, first thing first. A complete disassembly and a going over to understand design and function was in order. And I have to say that I was impressed. The design engineers that came up with this one really did their homework. The safety was Remington, the trigger was Savage, the barell with its locking collar is pure Savage, the bolt head is also Savage, the extractor is Sako-ish, the ejector is Remington and the bolt handle is sort of Winchester. There are many of the best features of other guns incorporated in this rifle.

Well after ordering a camo kit to supplement  my Duracoat  kit I’m ready to start. I won’t rehash the procedures needed to be followed in doing a Duracoat  project, but I will say MAKE SURE IT’S ENTIRELY DEGREASED! This is a time consuming project. If it takes you 6 hours to do a single color Duracoat job, be prepared to multiply that by however many colors you use.

After a base coat an adhesive pattern stencil is applied and your next color is sprayed on. Once the time safety margin is reached you apply the next stencil pattern and spray the next coat. You continue this until the desired pattern is reached. Peeling of the stencils will reveal the color of the previous coat, so some thought needs to be used to anticipate what your desired pattern will look like upon completion.

A Nikon scope and rings and base were also being done. It is critical to protect the ocular and objective lenses. I traced the bells onto cardboard and cut their shape out, with some trimming they were able to snugly fit inside of the lens openings. Use discretion when spraying onto the eye piece threads and it probably is best to keep the turret caps on while applying the finish. Also, you must leave yourself  enough time for total completion as once started you are committed. You can speed up your cure time  by hanging the parts in the oven at about 220-250° F for about 45 min. to 1 hour. Then, I still wait 7-10 days before assembly.

Strict adherence to the “Rules of Duracoating” will keep your fat out of the frying  pan for sure. The Marlin was well received upon presentation. She shot sub MOA groups at 100yds with Remington 130gn PSP factory ammo. Just before sunset that August  evening a foraging woodchuck succumbed to a130gn Remington from a standing position over the roof of a truck at 175yds. I have to say, the gun can shoot. And for the price I sure as heck wouldn’t pass one by. And now it looks kinda cool to boot.

3 Responses to An Unexpected Jewel—Marlin MR-L

    • If memory serves me correctly, when this was purchased, about 5 years ago. It went for about $350. It was well below any of the competition. In many cases by half! But I assure you, fit, finish and quality were not overlooked. A well made rifle. And i believe it was made for Marlin at the Remington Illion N.Y factory.

  1. Really cool and everything looks great!!!
    Nicely done Bob! You sure have a knack for DuraCoat.

    Some questions for ya:
    -Did you use DuraCoat’s True Strip for degreasing?
    -Have you tried using other degreasers, such as acetone, and if so how would you compare them to the True Strip?

    Good article. Looking forward to seeing more articles from you Sir. Thanks for sharing!

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