Dating a gun by serial number
After 1968 all firearms manufactured or imported into the USA were required under US Federal law to have serial numbers on them.
There are many “legends” about why the historic serial number records for Winchester rifles and shotguns are not complete or why they are not always verifiable.They use these documents as a reference and the documents should be limited to that use.Click the image below to download the PDF document containing the serial number date-range information on many Winchester firearms.It is important to note that some “budget” Marlin Rimfire rifles that were manufactured prior to 1968 did not have a serial number.Many of these had letter “codes” on them that will help ID date of manufacture. model 336’s, and all other models of centerfire lever action rifles produced by Marlin, as well as lever action rimfire rifles (39, 39A, etc) made by them will have serial numbers. Some of which do not line up with this serial number - date of manufacture convention.As of late 2013, a Marlin .22 RF rifle (XT-22 Mag) had a serial number prefix of MM reported and verified.
It is unknown as of December 2013 how Marlin (”Remlin”) will continue with their serial numbering convention.
One such example is at least some of the OTASCO (Oklahoma Tire and Supply Co) rifles manufactured by Marlin.
While these rifles are in essence model 336’s, rebranded under the OTASCO name.
In addition to the first two characters of the serial number, it’s also imperative in many cases to know the model number.
EXAMPLES: If your rifle has the single letter “V” serial number prefix, that indicates a 1962 year of manufacture. (Notice there are no “I”, “O”, or “Q” serial number prefixes in use.
Their serial numbering convention was different from what is shown above.