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Using the Firearm


Read detailed instructions about loading, unloading, and other operation of your Bolt Action Rimfire Rifle.

Before You Use This Firearm

It is very important that you read and understand this manual before using your new rifle. Warnings should be read and heeded carefully. Also follow the safety rules listed in The Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety.

  • WARNING: Marlin firearms are designed and manufactured to handle standard factory-loaded ammunition which conforms to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute Inc.) standards with dependability and safety. Due to the many bullet and load options available, the element of judgement involved, the skill required, and the fact that serious injuries have resulted from dangerous handloads, Marlin does not make any recommendations with regard to handloaded ammunition.
  • WARNING: Your rifle was shipped completely assembled and should not be used or disassembled without fully reading and understanding the instructions in this manual.
  • WARNING: It is a violation of federal law to alter or deface the serial number of any firearm.

How Your Rifle is Made

Your rifle has been made to Marlin's strictest standards of safety and reliability. It has been proof tested with a high pressure load, function fired, and sighted-in at the factory. Built with tradition and engineered to last, your rifle is the product of over 100 years of Marlin technology.

How to Operate the Safety

  • WARNING: Prior to firing, know and understand the operation of the safety by practicing with the rifle unloaded.
  • WARNING: Never put the safety between the SAFE and FIRE positions. Always place it in either the forward position (FIRE) or rearward position (SAFE). Unless the safety is in either the forward or rearward position, you cannot be certain whether it is on SAFE or FIRE.

The safety button is round and located on the right side of the receiver behind the bolt handle. The words “FIRE” and “SAFE” are engraved on either side of the safety button. To put your rifle on SAFE, first cock it, by opening and closing the bolt (a red dot on top of the striker knob will be visible). Then pull the safety button back to the rear position (SAFE). The safety is now on SAFE (see A). To move the safety to the FIRE position, push the safety button to the forward position (FIRE). The safety is now in the FIRE position (see B). If the trigger is pulled with the safety button in this position, the rifle will fire.



  • WARNING: Never disassemble the safety. It has been correctly designed, fitted and tested. Any mechanical device can fail, however, so never rely on the safety to justify careless handling. Never use a firearm with a safety that does not function properly. (See Repair Instructions and Gun Safety Guide.)

Ammunition Note

Your rifle is chambered for 22 rimfire, 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, 17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, or 17 Mach 2. These cartridges are shown below, actual size. None of these cartridges are interchangeable with any other.


  • WARNING: Never attempt to load your rifle with ammunition that does not meet the cartridge designation stamped on the barrel. Use only clean, dry, factory loaded ammunition which conforms to industry standards.
  • WARNING: Before loading this firearm, always check the bore and chamber to be sure they are free of grease, oil or any other obstruction. Be sure the chamber is empty, bolt is open and the safety is on SAFE. Avoid having your hands near the muzzle of a loaded rifle.

How to Load

Loading A Single Cartridge

Your rifle may be loaded with a single cartridge, provided the magazine is empty. Open the bolt and put the safety on SAFE. Place the cartridge, bullet end toward the muzzle, directly into the chamber.

NOTE: Models 915YS and 915Y are single shot rifles and therefore have no magazine.

Models with Tubular Magazine

  • WARNING: Never add cartridges to a partially loaded tubular magazine. This rifle will not function properly unless the inner magazine tube is locked securely in place.
  • WARNING: Never remove the bolt (See G) while unloading, or when cartridges are in the tubular magazine. Cartridge misplacement can occur.

Open the bolt by lifting the bolt handle and pulling it all the way back. Then, with the safety on SAFE, keeping your fingers away from the muzzle, turn your rifle upside down and unlock the inner magazine tube by turning the knurled locking end plug (see C). Pull the inner tube out until the loading port is open. Insert the cartridges, bullet end toward the muzzle (see D). When you have loaded up to the magazine capacity (12 cartridges for 22 Win. Mag. Rimfire and 17 Hornady Mag. Rimfire models; 25 Short, 19 Long or 17 Long Rifle cartridges for the Model 981T), slide the inner tube back in place, turning it slightly to ease passage over the loaded rounds. DO NOT FORCE THE TUBE DOWN. Then rotate the knurled locking end plug to the locked position. Inner tube will not lock in place if the number of cartridges loaded exceeds the stated magazine capacity.



Models with Clip Magazine

Open the bolt by lifting the bolt handle and pulling it all the way back. Then, with the safety on SAFE, remove the magazine by pressing release button shown in (E). Insert up to seven cartridges in the magazine. As you load, push cartridges down and rearward (see F). Replace loaded magazine, being sure it locks in place.



Cocked and Ready

To chamber a cartridge, lift the bolt handle and pull it all the way back Then push it all the way forward and down. A red dot on top of the striker knob will signify that the gun is cocked and ready to fire (See image A).

How To Fire

With the rifle pointed at the target, move the safety to the FIRE position and squeeze the trigger. Open and close the bolt completely for each repeat shot (except Models 915YS and 915Y, which are single shot). If you have not fired all cartridges at the target, be sure to put the safety on SAFE until you are ready to shoot again.

How to Unload

With the safety on SAFE, and the rifle pointed in a safe direction, open the bolt and eject the loaded cartridge from the chamber.

For models with a tubular magazine, cycle the action repeatedly by opening and closing the bolt, until the ejection of cartridges ceases. When the last cartridge has been ejected, the bright orange plastic follower will be visible in the feed throat. The inner magazine tube MUST be locked in place to unload the rifle.

  • WARNING: Completely open and fully close the bolt several more times to be certain that the chamber and feed mechanism are empty.

For models with a clip magazine, with the bolt still open, remove the magazine, and do not reinsert it until you are ready to shoot again. Finally, inspect interior of receiver visually. Leave the bolt in the open position.

What to do if Rifle Fails to Fire


If you squeeze the trigger and the cartridge does not fire, remain in the shooting position and count to 10. Then operate the bolt to eject the misfired cartridge from the gun.

Underpowered Shot

An underpowered shot is unusual if the ammunition is fresh, clean, and factory loaded. However, if you hear an unusual sound or low report, you should stop immediately and proceed as follows:

  • WARNING: Because the bullet may actually still be in the barrel, you must unload completely and then, with the bolt removed (See image G), use a cleaning rod from the breech end to see if there is any obstruction. If there is, it should be removed by a qualified gunsmith. Otherwise, personal injury or damage could result. Do not remove bolt prior to ensuring rifle is unloaded.
  • WARNING: Do not attempt to load another cartridge until you have ensured that the barrel and chamber are clear.


All models have receivers grooved for telescope sight rings and scopes. Heavy barrel varmint models do not have open sights and require a scope. If you would like to have open sights installed, see a competent gunsmith.

Models with open sights were pre-sighted at the factory. However, due to individual sighting characteristics, minor adjustments may be necessary.

Always ensure the rifle is pointed in a safe direction. Put the rifle on SAFE and open the bolt before making any sight changes.

Rear Sight Adjustment Rule

To make corrections, always remember to move the rear sight in the direction in which you wish to move the center of the group. That is, if you are shooting low, raise the rear sight. If you are shooting to the right, move the rear sight to the left.

For Models Equipped With Adjustable Open Rear Sights

Horizontal Correction (Windage)

Windage adjustments to the rear sight can be made by gently tapping the dovetail portion of the rear sight in the desired direction.

To move the point of impact to the left, move the rear sight base to the left. To move the point of impact to the right, move the rear sight base to the right.

Vertical Correction (Elevation)

To raise the point of impact, raise the rear sight. To lower the point of impact, lower the rear sight. The sight can be raised and lowered by moving the stepped elevator forward and back with your thumb.

For Models Equipped With Screw-Adjustable Rear Sights


Horizontal Correction (Windage)

To move the point of impact to the left or right, loosen the leaf binding screw until you can move the leaf manually. Move the leaf in the appropriate direction, retighten the screw and fire again. Continue this process until your shots are horizontally zeroed-in.

Vertical Correction (Elevation)

To raise the rear sight (if you are shooting low) turn the elevation adjustment screw clockwise. To lower the rear sight (if you are shooting high) turn the elevation adjustment screw counterclockwise. Continue adjusting and firing until your shots are vertically zeroed-in.

For Models Equipped With Fire Sights


Horizontal Correction (Windage)

To adjust the point of impact, loosen the dovetail screw until you can move the sight manually. To move the point of impact to the left, move the rear sight base to the left. To move the point of impact to the right, move the rear sight base to the right. Adjustments can be made by gently tapping the dovetail portion of the rear sight in the desired direction. Retighten the screw and fire again. Continue this process until your shots are horizontally zeroed-in.

Vertical Correction (Elevation)

To raise the rear sight (if you are shooting low) turn the elevation adjustment screw clockwise. To lower the rear sight (if you are shooting high) turn the elevation adjustment screw counterclockwise. Continue adjusting and firing until your shots are vertically zeroed-in.

Scope Mounting

Your rifle has a grooved receiver designed to handle tip-off-type 22 scope bases. They are made by several manufacturers in various heights, to accommodate different objective diameters, and are available through your local gun dealer. You may also order directly from Marlin Gun Service. See Repair Instructions and Gun Safety Guide.

How to Clean Your Rifle

  • WARNING: Before cleaning your rifle, be certain it is completely unloaded, and the bolt has been removed.
  • WARNING: Never attempt to wipe down or clean a loaded firearm. Follow instructions under “How to Unload” before cleaning.

NOTE for stainless steel models: Although stainless steel is corrosion resistant, it can rust. If the rifle gets wet, dirty, or is subject to excessive handling, remove all moisture and wipe down metal parts with oil or a rust-inhibitor.

Minor scratches can be “buffed out” of stainless steel with a “Scotch-BriteTM Very Fine” pad, available in hardware and automotive supply stores.

With normal use it is not necessary to clean the bore of your rifle. However, if the rifle gets wet, or if foreign material gets into the action or barrel, cleaning as described below is recommended.

Being sure your rifle is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction, open the bolt, pull the trigger fully to the rear and completely withdraw the bolt from the rear of the receiver, as shown in (G).


Clean the bore and barrel by using any standard 22 caliber (17 caliber for Models chambered in 17HMR or 17 Mach 2) commercial cleaning rod and cleaning patches. Clean the barrel with powder solvent and wipe lightly with gun oil after cleaning. Always clean the rifle from the breech (chamber end) to the muzzle.

Caution: Before using any solvent or other gun cleaning product, read the label carefully to be sure it will not damage either the finish or any parts of this firearm.

NOTE ON HEAVY USAGE: When your rifle has fired more than 1,000 rounds or is a year old, lubrication of the trigger mechanism and cocking cam will assure continued smooth operation.

Open the bolt and remove the clip magazine (if your rifle is a clip-loader). Remove the takedown screw on the underside of the forearm, and the forward trigger guard screw. Remove the barreled action from the stock.

Apply a small amount of good quality gun grease to the area shown in I.


Next, open the bolt and apply a small amount of grease to the cocking cam, as shown in J.


If the rifle continues to be fired extensively, repeat this lubrication about every 1,000 rounds or once a year.

NOTE: The safest possible way to store this, or any other Marlin bolt action rifle, is with the bolt removed and kept separately, under lock and key.

To replace the bolt assembly, align the tab on the left forward portion of the bolt (see H), with the corresponding groove in the rear of receiver. With trigger pulled, insert bolt into rear of receiver. Never force the breech bolt into the receiver, as serious damage may result. If you encounter difficulty, remove the bolt and re-check alignment. After cleaning, and before reinserting the bolt, ensure the barrel is clear.


  • WARNING: The breech bolt assemblies of Marlin 22 caliber and 17 caliber bolt action rifles are not interchangeable between rifles. (Do not disassemble the breech bolt.) Each breech bolt is individually fitted to the receiver at our factory to assure proper headspacing. Should the bolt assemblies be removed from the rifles for cleaning or safety reasons, be certain that they are reinstalled in the same rifle from which they were removed.
    The last three digits of the serial number appearing on the left side of the receiver, are inscribed on the breech bolt with an electric pencil. These three digits will help you to identify the proper rifle for reinstallation of the bolt.
    Failure to match the factory fitted breech bolt to the proper rifle could create an unsafe condition that could cause a malfunction of the firearm, or worse, personal injury to the shooter or a bystander.

Use a very thin coat of light oil during below freezing conditions. Condensation droplets will form soon after the rifle is brought into a warm room, or it may become wet during inclement weather. In any case, all moisture should be removed. Exterior metal finishes may be wiped down with a slightly oiled cloth. For long term storage, lightly oil the bore, barrel and action with gun oil. Remove the bolt (see G) and store it separately. Your firearm should be completely unloaded and stored in a dry area. Never store your firearm in a carrying case.

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