Another piece I"d like an opinion on. In pretty good shape, but feels a little "loose". Have not fired it.
You are watching: Marlin model 43 12 gauge shotgun
Serial # indicates earlier production (1920"s?)
That is a sweet old piece!
The Model 43 was introduced in 1922 by the short-lived Marlin Firearms Corporation. It was an improved version of the Model 28, introduced by the original Marlin Fire-Arms Company in 1913. The Model 43 carried many of the same patents (and dates) as the Model 28, but also had Patent Pending for a new patent filed by the Corporation which, apparently, was never issued before the Corporation failed.
Production of the Model 43 continued after the reorganized Marlin Firearms Company came into being and did not stop until 1930. However, many of the shotguns made by the new Company had barrels with the Corporation name roll-stamped on them. With a four digit serial number, your shotgun was almost certainly made during the Corporation period, very likely in 1922-23. The lowest known serial number on a Model 43 is 537 and the highest is 17,411. Incidentally, the trademark Bullseye in the underside of the stock was introduced by the Corporation in 1922, the same year the Model 43 made its appearance.
The Model 43 was made in 12 ga. only. The standard grade guns (like yours) comprised most of the production. Two versions of a trap gun were also offered on special order only. We have no idea how many were actually produced, but it is likely there were not many.
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You might be interested to know that at the 1925 Grand American Handicap Trapshooting Tournament, shooter Mark Arie set the World"s Record by breaking 528 consecutive clay birds, using a Marlin Model 43 standard grade gun. These included his 200 out of 200 in the Double A Championship event.
In 1923, your shotgun retailed for $48. Not being a shotgun collector, I really don"t know what this one is worth today. The Blue Book of Gun Values (32d Edition) puts one in 100% original condition at $325, but I don"t credit the BB values with much validity. In my humble opinion, the Blue Book exists only to enable dealers to gouge customers. That said, you won"t get rich selling your old shotgun. But why in the world would you want to sell it? It"s a piece of history.