View Full Version : A complete nooby to shotguns

North Bender
February 26, 2008, 02:01 AM

I post on a lot of forums and can get around most rifles, pistols, and automatic weapons, but ... I have my first shotgun and I need some advice.

My Father-in-Law just gave me a Marlin Model 42 in 12-guage. It's an old timer, with a 4-round magazine and a hammer.

I feel like I was given a rocket launcher! I don't know shotguns from shineohla.

It's in good shape, the bluing is fine, but when I rack the slide the bolt? has a tendency to come back a bit sideways. It goes into lockup fine so I think.

Any advice before I fire this fine old weapon?


February 26, 2008, 02:08 AM
Is that a pump action or a bolt action? I cannot give you any first hand knowledge but sure some here will help you...

chris in va
February 26, 2008, 02:17 AM
I think this is what he has. Best picture I could come up with on Google.


Appears to be a very old gun. I wouldn't shoot it until you get it checked out. Even then maybe you should look at a Mossberg or something to satisfy the shotgun itch.

North Bender
February 26, 2008, 02:49 AM
Perfect. Thanks Chris. Pump action, 4-round magazine, with a hammer.

Guys I'm not looking to fill a shotgun itch or looking to find the right gun, I'm thrown into the sport by being given this instrument and I'm looking for advice.

February 26, 2008, 08:42 AM
I'd save that one for posterity and get another to shoot if it was me....
Cheap shotguns are easy to find.


Dave McC
February 26, 2008, 11:49 AM
There's some shotguns that old that I'd shoot, but not a Marlin pump. Some were made before smokeless powders were common and do not handle the increased pressures of modern loads well. Some have let go and damaged people. Marlin quit making them for a reason.

Shotguns and grenades have similar working pressures.

It also has probably been cursed by The Demon Of Short Chambers. Shotguns that old, and it predates WWI almost certainly, were chambered for ammo of lesser length. Commonly these were 2 1/2, 2 5/8, 2 9/16" etc.

As with ALL old shotguns, a trip to Mr Gunsmith is in order. Have a smith you'd trust your life to (because you are) go over it and determine if it's shootable, and with what ammo.

Ammo for old shotguns, usually 2.5", is available from Polywad, Gamebore, et al. Polywad's Vintager series is both 2 1/2" and low pressure for older guns.


North Bender
February 26, 2008, 03:43 PM
Thanks Dave, I take your advice to heart. There's a pretty good smith in town.

February 26, 2008, 03:51 PM
That one would by my wall hanger. If you want to get serious about shotgunning, pick up a more modern specimen.

Dave McC
February 26, 2008, 05:36 PM
You're very welcome. Good luck with it....

March 3, 2008, 09:06 AM
That one probably should be relegated to the "Non-Shooting-Family-Heirloom" class.

While it MIGHT be safe with some very light modern loads, I would not be willing to wager my life-n-limbs on that.

You say it was passed to you from Father-in-law? Save it for the Family History.