Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1401: Marlin 1917 Potato Digger Machine Gun with Tripod

Auction Date: May 14, 2022

Marlin Model 1917 "Potato Digger" Machine Gun with Tripod, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,000 - $14,000

Marlin Model 1917 "Potato Digger" Machine Gun with Tripod, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Manufacturer: Marlin Arms Corp.
Model: 1917
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 30-06 Springfield
Barrel: 27 inch ribbed
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1048
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 280
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 matching serial numbered 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. A tripod is included, black painted steel legs with brass carriage hardware properly configured to not interfere with the action arm, with traverse swivel, gear-driven elevation adjustment and a swiveling gunner seat/knee rest.

Rating Definition:

Fine, retaining 90% refinished blue finish with scattered moderate pitting on the barrel, and clear markings. The grips are very good with scattered dents and scratches, and some light crazing. The tripod is in good order, retaining 97% applied black paint on the legs, the wood knee rest has some light scratches and wear, and the brass carriage is bright. Mechanically excellent. NOTE: This weapon is a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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