Marlin 39A or Ruger 10/22 International?


November 10, 2010, 02:53 PM
I found and picked up a beautiful used pre-CBS Marlin 39A for my 12 year old son for Christmas. He likes the action of my 336, hence, the 39A. I have an old Ruger 10/22 as well - and he likes it. He has told me he would prefer a lever-action, but he seems to like the look of the 10/22 International. I know they are both different animals, and more than likely he would be thrilled with either one. What would you get your son - the Marlin 39A or a new 10/22 International?

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November 10, 2010, 03:11 PM
The 39A.

But I've hated the 10/22 since the day it was introduced, so maybe you should ignore me. I already had a 39A Mountie at the time and thought the 10/22 was the answer to a question nobody had asked. And it was fat and inaccurate.

November 10, 2010, 03:49 PM
10/22---I wanted a 39A for forever---when I finally got one---it was way too heavy and a PITA to load---wound up ditching it. It was well made but I really didn't like it.

November 10, 2010, 03:55 PM
Get the 39a.
Honestly, I think he'd get more value out of it in the long run.
Plus having a 39a will keep him from going all tacticool and falling into that sort of mess.

November 10, 2010, 05:48 PM
I vote Marlin 39a. My dad bought me one at the ripe old age of 12. I still shoot it to this day and I love it. I really don't know what else to say other than it wont be a bad purchase.

November 10, 2010, 05:49 PM
I was thinking the International v. the normal 10/22 would keep him out of the tactical thing. I agree with the loading of the 39A. The 10/22 in that regard beats hands down - but once again, it is a different animal.

November 10, 2010, 05:52 PM
Also, the lack of a detachable magazine does have the benefit of making him learn the lesson of making every shot count.
Just saying.

November 10, 2010, 06:27 PM
Is a pre-CBS Marlin the same as a pre-Remington Fender Twin Reverb amp? :rolleyes:

November 10, 2010, 08:05 PM
The 39A would be my choice. Pre CBS? That would make it a Black Face, but that only occurs in Fender equipment... I don't see how it relates to Marlin.

stan rose
November 10, 2010, 09:33 PM
When I was 12 I skrimped and saved for a Winchester 9422, a few years later I bought a 10-22 deluxe, I have only shot it a couple of times. After shooting my friends 39 I "had" to have one, and now I am always torn between the 39a, 9422, and an old 69a bolt action. There is something about having more activty than just pulling the trigger, plus the 39a is a very accurate rifle right out of the box, not that the 10-22 is horrible.

November 11, 2010, 04:00 PM
I'll stick with the 39A. I was making a decision on something I have not shot. While I had the 39A, it was sitting in the safe and I decided to shoot it (never shot one before - but have shot the 10/22 many times). After cycling through a few rounds I new I'd give it to my son. It was just very smooth, refined and accurate. I live in a suburb and took it down to the finished basement and fired it into 2 2x4's. I forget how much of a punch a little .22 can have. I shot Winchester hollow points and it went through both 2x4's and stuck in the door jamb. I'll have to start saving phone books or Newark catalogs. My wife will not be happy. Time for a patch job.

November 11, 2010, 04:17 PM
I bought my 39A new in 1955. Nicely built and accurate. Some years late I bought a 10/22 when they came standard with walnut stocks. Never really liked it and it was inaccurate, at least when compared to the 39A andsome other rifles I had. Sold it about 2 years ago on consignment with a dealer. Hope the new owner is happy.

November 11, 2010, 04:18 PM
I have both, and I like both. I like the 10/22 because it is so customizable, and that rotary magazine pretty much rules. On the other hand, the 39A is pretty fun to shoot. In terms of accuracy, its pretty much a draw. Why don't you see what your boy likes between those two and let him make the decision? That way, he gets to feel like he is part of the process and has some real ownership of it.

November 11, 2010, 05:02 PM
Timbokhan: good idea. I need to stop looking though. Now I'm eye-balling the CZ-452 and the Savage MK II Classic. However, I think I'll stick with Marlin and if my son likes the 10/22 better, I'll keep it and he can have a new 10/22. I think my wife would like the CZ-452 for Christmas:D

November 11, 2010, 06:35 PM
Shot a few 10/22s but I've had the same 77 39A since the early 80's. A buddy didn't know what he had and I didn't know what I was buying but looking back this was one of the better deals I've ever made. I don't feel there is much out there that compares to an older 39A

If this was all about semi autos I'd probably go with the Marlin 60, or two of them, over a 10/22... unless I enjoyed modifyin which is not a bad thing either.

The 10/22 is a good time proven rifle but dollar for dollar make mine Marlin.

November 11, 2010, 07:09 PM
IMO a lever action repeater would be a better choice than a SA for young folks. It serves to teach them proper shooting technique. Both are fine rifles, and if I were a 12YO I would be thrilled with either...heck i'm not 12YOA and i'd be happy with either!


November 11, 2010, 07:13 PM
Since I own both, I recommend.....owning both.

November 11, 2010, 07:21 PM
Go with the 39A. If it's his first gun, making him crank the lever every time will teach him to take care with each shot and avoid falling into the "pray and spray" method of shooting. Also, there is something purely Americana about a lever action rifle. I don't know about you but my hunting and shooting practices are ripe with traditions passed down to me from my father and from his. Picking up a good lever gun kind of connects me to all those days gone by. days of both family and Ameerican history. Finally, the 39A is all the gun any center fire lever gun is. It's a quality piece built to last a lifetime and then some. Some day, when your son is an old man and his sight is too poor to shoot, he could conceivably hand that 39A down to his own grandson. I have a couple of 10/22 rifles and while they are OK, when I handle them, heirloom quality does not come to mind.

November 11, 2010, 11:39 PM
Easy, the 39a hands down.

Can't stand the 10/22 unless you just want to go "tat...tat..tat..." real quick.

The ONLY good thing about the 10/22 is the "action". You can build a pretty decent rifle out of it....(after you've thrown all the rest of it away).

November 11, 2010, 11:43 PM
39a's are winning this by a great margin. I'm 32 years old and I would rather have a 39a than my 10/22. Lever guns are fun in general, more so than semis

November 12, 2010, 12:22 AM
It took me a while, but I see where this is really just wanna find out which one you should keep...gotta' feel sorry for the poor kid, only getting second best. :p

November 12, 2010, 12:27 AM
I've got both. Both are accurate. I use the Marlin more often though.

November 12, 2010, 05:39 PM
After shooting it, I think I would like that 39A. I actually found another older one in the local gun shop here. It has a really fat forearm and someone mounted a side-mount sight on the receiver so there are some additional holes in the left side of the reciever, but those can be plugged. I can probably get it cheap. Lever runs very smooth. Tempting...

November 12, 2010, 05:45 PM
Get it as fast as you can!

November 12, 2010, 08:44 PM
I bought a Marlin 30A in 2002 and now I godda ax. What is pre-CBS?

November 12, 2010, 09:00 PM
CBS = Cross Bolt Safety

November 12, 2010, 09:15 PM
Yeah, I should have known that.


November 13, 2010, 03:57 PM
IMO a lever action repeater would be a better choice than a SA for young folks. It serves to teach them proper shooting technique.

I don't know why this would be, exactly. I mean, other than being able to more easily monitor chambered rounds while instructing, I don't know that the lever has any particular advantage over the semi-automatic in terms of shooting technique.

That's not denigrating the lever action, either. As I mentioned earlier, I have both of the rifles being talked about here, and I like both a great deal. The Marlin has actually eclipsed the 10/22 in terms of what I grab first to shoot, so it's not like I am just a Ruger fanboy (though, outside of this discussion, I kind of am). I just don't see why the 10/22 would be any worse at teaching proper technique is all.

Thinking about this, outside of just fun, I can tell you exactly the difference between these two rifles for me. The 39 gets broken out when I want to go hunting or am shooting more challenging targets, the 10/22 gets broken out when I want to plink or shoot tiny groups. It's particularly fun when I want to whack spinners as fast as I can, which is pretty darn fast! Incidentally, I have a scope on my Ruger, which obviously allows me to more precisely aim, hence the smaller groups.

EDIT TO ADD: Also, just to throw it out there, have you ever ran the lever on a Henry Golden Boy? I love my Marlin and won't sell it for love or money, but those Golden Boys are smooth, man. I would also add that if you ever happen to run across one of the admittedly ghastly looking Ruger lever actions, they have a very nice and short throw. I am convinced if they weren't so ugly they would be perennial best-sellers. I do not now, nor have I ever, particularly cared for the Winchester lever actions in .22 or anything else. I know they are iconic and all, and I have a pre-64 94 in .30-30 that is pretty nice, but I think the Marlins have always been a better rifle.

November 13, 2010, 04:06 PM
I don't know why this would be, exactly. I mean, other than being able to more easily monitor chambered rounds while instructing, I don't know that the lever has any particular advantage over the semi-automatic in terms of shooting technique.I feel a manually operated repeater (or a single shot) promotes good marksmanship and teaches folks to take their time. Not to say that a SA couldn't be used (I learned on one), or that either is inferior (I really like both, though I don't own a 39A), just that a repeater would be my choice.


November 13, 2010, 04:12 PM
I've got both, and I'm a big fan of the 10/22, especially the DSP models (I've got four of them) and I'd really like to have an international, BUT the Marlin 39A is a classic. No, I don't use it much anymore. Yes, it's heavy, and a PITA to load, and especially to unload, but there isn't a better built 22 rifle, IMHO. Give him the international next year, or when he graduates from HS, or when he gets married or something.

November 13, 2010, 04:26 PM
I love the looks of the 10-22 RSI, but get him the 39A.

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