History of Marlin 39a


July 24, 2006, 06:41 PM
I acquired this rifle due to a family death. It is a "Marlin Golden 39-A, 22lr/l/s" in gold lettering, as printed on the barrel. The serial number is 8881 under the action lever. The barrel half has 881 printed inside. The barrel has a hooded front site and the rear looks like a buckhorn style. The stock has a pistol grip that is wavy (no other way to describe it)on the bottom witha plastic (I think) black butt plate. It is in great condition with only a small ding in the rear stock and a small scratch on the reciever. Any idea on its age and value?

Thanks, Rob

If you enjoyed reading about "History of Marlin 39a" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Ron James
July 24, 2006, 08:15 PM
Rob, perchance is there a letter code in front of the serial number? If not it may have been made late 1968 or early 1969. They went from a letter dating code in 1969 but useing the current system your number doesn't work out, also the 4 digit number is allfull low for a Golden 39A, unless there is a letter code.

July 24, 2006, 09:03 PM
The Marlin 39 is arguably the finest .22LR lever action rifle ever built.

Marlin first started making an early version of the 39-A in the early 1890's up until the slightly revised Model 39 was introduced in 1922.
The actual Model 39-A was introduced in 1939.
They're still made today, and still made from forged and milled steel and American walnut.

The 39-A was always known for astounding accuracy, especially after 1953 when the "Micro-Groove" rifling was introduced.
That, coupled with the heavy barrel and the high quality give it near-Target rifle accuracy.

Values on the 39-A are running higher these days, and seem to be in the $350 to $450 range for one in good condition.
You don't see these for sale too often, since owners tend to KEEP them.

Here's a link to an owner's manual. This shows disassembly, which is quite different than most lever rifles:

July 24, 2006, 09:55 PM
No letter, just numbers. I looked up the number on a different gun website that showed it made in 1885, but that can not be correct. It looks as though it is near new but, after doing some research on it maybe not.

Ron James
July 24, 2006, 10:54 PM
Then I would say that your Marlin was made during the change over in the lettering system, other wise it doesn't make sense. I'll quote what the Standard Catalong of Firearms reads. From 1946 untill 1968 they used a letter code, example my Marlin 39A's ( not the Golden) serial number is G869 made in 1950. " from 1969 to 1972 the first digit of the serial number indicates the year of manufacture .In 1973, the system was changed by having the first two digits subracted from 100 to find the year of production. For example : serial number 2717793 = 100-27 =1973". If we used that method then your rilfle was made in 1922. No way, they only made the Golden 39A from 1960 untill 1983, Your first digit is 8 , Made in at the end of 1968 as the change over took place. It may have even gone out the door in early 1969. As was already stated above I also consider the Marlin 39 one of the best .22s made. All steel and wood, very accurate and a joy to shoot. Hope that helps.

July 24, 2006, 11:52 PM
I'm looking at a 39D. Anyone know when those were made.
Don't have the serial no., so an approximate date would be fine.

Ron James
July 25, 2006, 12:08 AM
Don't know, they were introduced in 1971 and I beleive they are still in production, I don't have a cut off date. When you get the serial number use the information above to find the date.

Steven Mace
July 25, 2006, 12:14 AM
The Marlin Model 39D was made from 1971-1973 and was not even cataloged in 1972. The were two variations to the Model 39D. The first variation in 1971 included white line spacers at the grip cap and the buttplate. With the second variation in 1973 the white line spacer & grip cap was eliminated as well as the white line spacer at the buttplate. Hope this helps!

Steve Mace

July 25, 2006, 02:16 AM
That is great info, thanks! You guys really know your Marlin history.

Ron James
July 25, 2006, 07:07 PM
Naw, just a bunch of reference books.

If you enjoyed reading about "History of Marlin 39a" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!