Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1620: Marlin Arms Corp. 1917 Machine gun 30-06

Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Marlin Model 1917 "Potato Digger" Machine Gun with Tripod and Spare Parts, BATFE Registered Fully Transferrable

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $12,000

Marlin Model 1917 "Potato Digger" Machine Gun with Tripod and Spare Parts, BATFE Registered Fully Transferrable

Manufacturer: Marlin Arms Corp.
Model: 1917
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 30-06
Barrel: 28 inch finned round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 4025
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 263
Class: Class III

Originally developed as the Model 1895 by John M. Browning, the "Potato Digger" was an early development in gas-operated firearms, using a gas port near the muzzle of the barrel to power a spring loaded lever arm to cycle the action. This arm, which projects down and out from the weapon with significant force during the firing cycle, is the source of the weapon's nickname. Originally manufactured by Colt, the production of the arm was taken over by Marlin Rockwell, who received the rights, the tooling, and the standing military contracts to the Russian and Italian governments. Primarily used as a training weapon by American forces, the Marlin found additional use as aircraft and tank armament in addition to being issued to National Guard units and the North Russia and Siberia Expedition Forces sent to intervene in the Russian Civil War. Measuring 42 inches in overall length, the Marlin is fitted with a blade front and a flip-up elevation adjustable rear sight, with a heavily ribbed barrel and a wooden pistol grip. The barrel and receiver are separately marked with the Two-line New Haven address and caliber markings (the archaic "CAL 30 MODEL 1906" on the receiver to distinguish from the earlier 30 Krag and 30-03 rounds), and "J.A.D." on the receiver. A green painted brass tripod is included, properly configured to not interfere with the action arm, with traverse swivel, gear-driven elevation adjustment and a swiveling gunner seat/kneerest, as well as an extra barrel.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 85% of the original blue finish showing mild handling marks and areas of brown patina. The grip shows some mild dings and dents and the tripod is in good order. Some grind marks and weld spots are visible around the gas port assembly, suggesting that the arm may have been re-activated at some point. Mechanically fine. NOTE: This item is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives as a Machine Gun. It is the sole responsibility of the bidder to understand and comply with all relevant laws and restrictions, be they federal, state, local or other.

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