Opportunity to buy a new Marlin 39a. Good idea?


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Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 10:42 AM
There is a Marlin 39a at my local gunshop [$450]. New. So with the Remington buy out, and reports of quality issues, is it a good idea to buy it? I looked it over on Saturday, and it seemed to be good, but not sure if it is something [in the QC] that can't be seen on visual inspection.

What is your comment on this?

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Paladin7
February 11, 2013, 12:33 PM
I'd look at the gun very carefully and field strip it at the dealer to do so. You may want to bring a .22 dummy round to try it in the action. If everything checks out ok, fit and function, then go for it. The 39a is a GREAT rifle...

Here's a link to .22 dummy rounds for checking actions... http://www.amazon.com/A-Zoom-6-Pack-Precision-Rounds-Proving/dp/B0014VVHT2/ref=pd_sxp_grid_pt_1_0/189-2456504-1877110

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 12:41 PM
I heard that they have been made since the late 1890's. What a shame that a company, making them for such a long time, was bought out by another [Remington] who may not be making them as good today. Is there an area where I should be more focused on [known issues]? I'll see if they have any 22 dummy rounds.

Thanks for the input!

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 01:14 PM
Oh, . . . also, if you were going to sight it with something other than the OEM rear sight, . . . would you scope it, or use one of those Peep style sights that screw into the receiver [Skinner]?

Two options:

1. Scope - to see how accurate this can be at 100 yards. My 10/22 does about an inch at 100 yards with Velocitors. Can this rifle be more accurate?

2. The Peep sight would prove to be more accurate than the OEM rear site, and looks pretty neat as well.

Opinions?

alman
February 11, 2013, 01:29 PM
If the gun checks out , BUY IT . I 've been in the market for one for a year or so & the cheapest i've seen new is $599.00 .

Paladin7
February 11, 2013, 01:30 PM
To your first question, I'd check the general fit and finish first because that is very easy to do...parts all fit properly, wood to metal fit is good, no misaligned sights, bore is clean and no issues with rifling, muzzle is cut well with no dings or issues at the rifling, etc.

Then I would test the action for function with the .22 dummy rounds. Field strip it and look for any noticeable burrs or poorly machined parts. If the gun functions well with the .22 dummy rounds, fit and finish is good, and there are no visible problems seen when its field stripped, then go for it.

Now to the second question...
I have a Marlin 1894 CSS in 357 Magnum pre-Remington. Given my expected use for this rifle, which is NE Woods plinking and hunting, most shots within 50 to 100 yards, and my use of both 357 and 38 special ammo, I went with the FP series click adjustable Williams Peep Sights. They work great and the rifle is very easy to handle in the woods. There are also different apertures you can use for different conditions, which is great. There are also Skinner Peep sights and other manufacturers who produce a good product.

The 39a with Marlins micro groove barrel is very accurate. You could scope it. But that depends on your parameters for use. If you will be knocking around the woods with it, then it probably doesn't make sense.

Just one more point... If you go with a good set of Peep Sights, in most cases you will need a new front sight as well...

alman
February 11, 2013, 01:31 PM
1. Scope - to see how accurate this can be at 100 yards. My 10/22 does about an inch at 100 yards with Velocitors. Can this rifle be more accurate?

A vintage 39a will routinely out-shoot a stock 10/22.................

ApacheCoTodd
February 11, 2013, 01:32 PM
Without really seeing it it is hard to comment to accurately but here's both of my cents being a big fan of these:

One could absolutely be worth 450.

Micro-groove barrels can be damaged by neglect/abuse if it is fitted with one.

Crowning returns a lot of accuracy to beat up muzzles.

Deep cleaning can return a lot of reliability to one perceived to have mechanical feeding issues.

If the action is exceptionally sloppy on dry cycling you might be holding a pile-o-parts.

In any case, given the model and the price, I'd risk say, driving across town to look at one for that number but recognize the likelihood of going home empty handed too. Good luck with it.

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 01:50 PM
Since this is a new rifle, I will have them break it down so I can check for bad machining or burs, and will look down the bore. I hope they have some .22 dummies, but can get some if they don't. I think that sounds like good advice.

On my 10/22 [as a side note], it is a fairly moddified rifle. Bull barrel [16"], free floated, Volquartzen trigger.

I will shoot it with the OEM sights for a while, but will contemplate if I want the peeps or run a scope for more pin point accuracy. At this point, I may go with the peeps and keep it in that more "western" look.

SGW42
February 11, 2013, 02:06 PM
The good thing about 39As is if you have a quarter in your pocket you can break it open right there. The pictures I've seen of the new ones have ridiculous machining marks inside of them, I would be careful.

If everything checks out though, terrific rifle!

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 02:36 PM
Does anyone have a link to pics showing bad machining? What would I be looking for? Or rather, what SHOULD I see inside? Should it be smooth surfices in there?

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 09:07 PM
Well, . . . I left the gunstore without the Marlin. First of all, it wasn't $450 [not sure where I got that price from], . . . but $530. There was some slightly ill fitting wood on it. But the most offending part was that the front sight was slightly off center to the left.

I think I will just wait until I can find a used one someday. :(

bikemutt
February 11, 2013, 09:13 PM
Based on my recent purchase of a 2009 336 with an off-center front sight, and then to learn today my buddy just bought a newer 336CS in .35 Rem and discovered the same problem, I wouldn't buy one. I don't know what is going on with that company but it sure doesn't seem to me that quality control is high on their list of priorities.

I'm still a bit hot under the collar about a gun that came with iron sights that don't line up real good, just seems like they should get that part right.

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 09:20 PM
Well, I have to say that it is disheartening that Marlin has come to this place, especially since they've been made for so long. Yeah, . . . I'll just have to hope I can find an older 39a.

I DID put an XT-22TR on order. I heard that they are usually good to go, coming form the KY plant.

bikemutt
February 11, 2013, 09:54 PM
I had very high hopes for the one I bought, I'd been following the older ones on gunbroker.com for a few weeks and did not want to chase a blued gun for almost $1000, and certainly not a stainless one for $2000.

Well, now I know why the older ones cost more I guess, shame on me.

Not to pile on but I took the gun to my local range to have the rifle expert look at it, he is quite the Marlin guy. He quipped "ya got a Remlin". Then directed me to an older, retired gunsmith we all know who's "fixed a few of these".

It's not often I find myself being the last one to know something, it is humbling however.

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 10:06 PM
I feel for ya. It just sucks that Remington destroyed what was a once great company. I won't buy a Remington product now, because of that. Buy a company out if you must. But at least have the decency to release quality!

I'm going to risk the XT-22TR, but will be scoping it anyway.

Jackal
February 11, 2013, 10:19 PM
I just paid $550 for a clean 1983 39M Mountie (short carbine) with a brass Skinner peep. I think I did well even at that price.:D Amazing little rifles.

bikemutt
February 11, 2013, 10:22 PM
I just purchased a Rem 700 SPS tactical AAC-SD myself, incoming to my FFL. I have VERY high expectations for that rifle. I sure hope I'm not disappointed, I'm too old to absorb the old one-two punch these days.

Orion8472
February 11, 2013, 11:09 PM
Jackal, can you post a pic of the rifle you have? I would very much like to see it.

Jackal
February 12, 2013, 12:00 AM
Ya, here's a quick pic I just took. I have the sight hood, just not on it right now. This rifle deserves better pictures.:( One thing to bear in mind, these have a surprisingly tight action, when compared to other .22 levers like Henry.

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 12:07 AM
Nice! Carbine AND Cowboy style. I really would rather find one like that, actually. Maybe someday. Thanks for posting the pic! :)

76shuvlinoff
February 12, 2013, 06:48 AM
There's a Marlin 39A thread here on the Rifle board that's been going on for years. Lots of pics and reading to enjoy if you wish.

I have a 79 and a 56, both are fantastic .22s. The 79 is cosmetically in nearly perfect shape, the 56 was Dad's, runs like melted butter and is just as accurate as the 79.

They're not cheap, but on the other hand they're not cheap.

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 10:15 AM
Well, I hope to get lucky, one day, and find an older one. Still pretty sad about the new ones.

*Updated - DANG guys, . . . that is a LOT of pages for the "Marlin 39" thread. It makes me want to hold out for a Cowboy style, in good condition. Carbine, perhaps, . . . dark wood a plus, . . . . hex barrel would be nice, but probably ungodly expensive. That will be my wish list for a future .22 caliber lever action rifle.

Roadking Rider
February 12, 2013, 10:48 AM
Honestly If I was to buy a new 22 lever action rifle today. I'd buy a Henry. There a great company that puts out a good quality rifle that is priced right and 100% American Made. I have never met anyone who has one that had a bad word to say about there purchase of a Henry rifle. It might sound like I work for them, but the truth is I'm retired and do not work for anyone.(yes life is good) I've been on the fence about buying another 22 rifle with the prices of ammo going up,and that Hoo1 Henry is looking better to me all the time.

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 11:35 AM
We have a Henry in the family. Good rifle. Rear sight was bent, though, and I had to fix that. Only have had it out to the range once and it shot to the left. I plan on taking it to the Bass Pro tube to get it hitting POA.

However, I want to find an older cowboy style 39a now. I love the mechanism and take down, . . . and heavy barrel. Though the Henry is fine, it looks much cheaper [materials used], . . . which isn't surprising, since it doesn't cost much to buy one.

Sav .250
February 12, 2013, 12:32 PM
Indecision on your part gives others a chance at buying it.

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 12:43 PM
I will let them. I would rather find what I really want, rather than settling for a slightly off center front sight and minor wood imperfections.

Again, after looking at the pic thread, I am [now] more interested in the cowboy style.

I DID notice that on gunbroker, many of these older ones are pretty high priced.

bergmen
February 12, 2013, 03:47 PM
The 39a has a forged (and hardened) steel receiver (two parts) bolt, lever and trigger. Although there may be others, I know of no other .22 that is made this way. It will last for generations if cared for properly.

I bought a brand new 39a in the early 70s for $120.00. Even then I had to go through several to settle on one with an action I could work with, every rifle was different (tight, loose, sticky at certain points, imprecise in function, etc.). I considered it (and do to this day) as a basis for refinement into the rifle of choice.

One must realize that the basis for this rifle was designed in the 1890s (or before). The design has not been modernized to make use of state-of-the-art CNC machining methods (like the 336 line has). These were roughed out and hand fitted by seasoned craftsmen that were masters of their trade (even though they were still roughly fitted in the 70s). Lots of hand work that resulted in an inconsistency in quality but capable of being refined. When Remington bought Marlin and moved the manufacturing, most of the masters didn't go with the move. Hence the quality issues while the new owners scratch their collective heads trying to figure out how to make these things.

Last year I spent upwards of $800.00 (and 3-4 months) to have a local expert gunsmith do a complete makeover (see my posts in the other long thread). I did a lot of work prior to handing it over (smoothed the rough edges on the lever and trigger) and had all of the steel parts mirror polished and deep, dark blued. A new checkered black walnut stock hand fitted and hand polished.

It now is a sight to behold (and an absolute joy to shoot) and will be an heirloom for my family to enjoy long after I'm gone.

I can post pics here if desired but they are in the other thread...

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=261635&page=157 post #3914.

Dan

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 04:29 PM
bergmen, that is one FINE looking 39a. If you found the one I did [with the slightly, but noticablely leaning front sight], would you buy it to "fix" later, or pass for one that has a good front sight?

And would the $530 price tag be worth it for one of these new ones?

bergmen
February 12, 2013, 05:11 PM
bergmen, that is one FINE looking 39a. If you found the one I did [with the slightly, but noticablely leaning front sight], would you buy it to "fix" later, or pass for one that has a good front sight?

And would the $530 price tag be worth it for one of these new ones?

Boy, these are very good questions. And this would be hard for me to advise not having the ability to inspect first hand. The front sight being off like you describe is a big red flag as far as I'm concerned since it is a sign that there may be other much more serious internal flaws.

The only thing that I might suggest is to engage a very knowledgeable gunsmith (or someone with many years of Marlin experience) to accompany you and inspect the rifle in question.

There seem to be too many substantiated reports of various quality issues after the Remington acquisition to feel comfortable in assuming all is well unless thoroughly inspected.

Dan

Orion8472
February 12, 2013, 05:38 PM
Unfortunately, I don't have that as an option. I think I will just rest on waiting for an older one in good shape.

Remington can bite me. Sorry if that offends anyone. Just a shame what has happened to Marlin.

Litefoot
February 13, 2013, 01:22 AM
I have a 39A that is very accurate and well-made. It and my Garand are the two rifles in my safe that might and well have a "NEVER FOR SALE" tag on them. I agree with your assessment of the Henry levers. But--if you're looking for a carbine-length .22LR levergun, don't forget the Winchester 9422, a very nice handling well-constructed unit that unfortunately is even more rare then the Marlin.

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 09:57 AM
Thanks for the input, Litefoot. I don't really want to blow the bank on one, but just would like to find a used one in good shape.

I found two on gunbroker that I MAY consider [one of them, that is]. It is one of those situations where . . . not seeing it in person. . . there may be flaws that images can't reveal. They are at the $600 mark and LOOK good in the images, anyway. Is that a fair price for an older one is [seemingly] very good shape?

What to do? :uhoh:

Jackal
February 13, 2013, 12:15 PM
Wait around a little while. Ive been looking for about 2 years before I found mine. Right before I was going to order a new one, the carbine fell in my lap.

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 12:25 PM
Hmmmm. . . . yeah. BTW, how many long rifle rounds fit in the carbine tube?

bergmen
February 13, 2013, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the input, Litefoot. I don't really want to blow the bank on one, but just would like to find a used one in good shape.

I found two on gunbroker that I MAY consider [one of them, that is]. It is one of those situations where . . . not seeing it in person. . . there may be flaws that images can't reveal. They are at the $600 mark and LOOK good in the images, anyway. Is that a fair price for an older one is [seemingly] very good shape?

What to do? :uhoh:

I looked at one of them (about the fifth one down in the list) and it looks to be in excellent shape. Good price too (although there is no "buy it now" price).

If you could snag this one at $600.00 I think it would be an excellent deal.

Dan

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 12:44 PM
bergmen, do you recall which seller it was? Was it from Vito? If so, that is the one I was looking at.

bergmen
February 13, 2013, 01:36 PM
bergmen, do you recall which seller it was? Was it from Vito? If so, that is the one I was looking at.

These are the ones I see:

328998424
328831827
329519349

Dan

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 01:39 PM
The first one listed is the one I was most interested in. I DO like the darker wood of the last one listed, though. Decisions...... :confused:

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 02:33 PM
Disregard.

moonzapa
February 13, 2013, 02:36 PM
I used to have a Marlin 39A years ago and it was a fine rifle. It shot well but does not compare with the accuracy of my CZ-452 bolt gun. The trigger pull on my Marlin 39A was heavy, around 7-10 pounds. I should have taken it to a good smith and had the trigger re-worked. When I was serving in the military service, I had my storage locker broken into and this rifle, among others, was stolen. It was a terrible feeling, it felt like someone had sucker punched me in the gut!

If you are into 22 LR lever guns, the Marlin 39A is a classic. Go for it!

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 02:44 PM
What about the 39D?

Jackal
February 13, 2013, 03:42 PM
My Mountie carbine holds 15LR's. Here's a better pic. The 39M is the best of both worlds. Accuracy/quality and a nice handy size. Keep in mind: Do not let small cracks in the wrist put you off older 39's. Most of them have a crack or two behind the tang, due to the factories recommended method of takedown (loosen thumb screw and whack barrel against something). Mine has 2 small cracks that have been stabilized (by me). Once a crack has been fixed, it will not crack further and is actually stronger than the surrounding wood.

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 03:57 PM
I like the 39M a lot, . . . but may have to wait until I'm good with dropping a fair chunck of change for one. I prefer that cowboy style, but will settle for the other design for a while.

Zeke/PA
February 13, 2013, 04:09 PM
Well, . . . I left the gunstore without the Marlin. First of all, it wasn't $450 [not sure where I got that price from], . . . but $530. There was some slightly ill fitting wood on it. But the most offending part was that the front sight was slightly off center to the left.

I think I will just wait until I can find a used one someday. :(
I purchased a 39-A about a year or so ago that my local FFl had on consignment.
The Rifle was made in 1968 but was very well cared for and the price was right.
After some dickering I got the rifle for $300.00 out the door.
I topped it with a vintage Weaver 6X glass and the rifle is VERY accurate.
I haven't heard good things about the new Marlins.
Keep looking for a used one and good luck in your quest.

Orion8472
February 13, 2013, 04:21 PM
Zeke, I have one in the works. Don't know if I'll get it, but there is a bid out. I'm hoping to get it!

bergmen
February 13, 2013, 04:49 PM
Zeke, I have one in the works. Don't know if I'll get it, but there is a bid out. I'm hoping to get it!

Hey, were pullin' for ya!

Let's hope you are successful, this is one of the finest rifles I've ever owned (and I own many fine rifles).

Dan

crow killer
February 13, 2013, 05:42 PM
what serial # would make it a pre-remington? any other features to tell a real marlin from a newer one? thanks

soonerfan85
February 13, 2013, 07:02 PM
Those are nice looking rifles bergman. Thanks for the links. I just bought all three.

As the owner of a 1969 Marlin 336 in 35 Remington and a 1978 336 in 30-30 Win., I too have been on the lookout for a 39A. Sadly there are too many reports of shoddy workmanship on the new Marlin lever action rifles coming out of Ilion to ignore. As much as I like the Marlin rifles I have, I would not buy a new one if I could find one made in North Haven, CT for only $100 or so more. If you do find a used one, just make sure you check the serial number to verify it was made in 2008 or earlier. I assume the 39A, like the 336, would have a JM stamped on the barrel if made by Marlin in North Haven. The Remington made rifles have REP stamped on the barrel to indicate they were made in Ilion, NY.


Oh, and I was just kidding about buying them. :neener:

Orion8472
February 14, 2013, 12:17 PM
Was outbid on the 39D I bid on. That's okay. It was one that someone duracoated black. After I bid on it, I started to wonder WHY someone felt the need to put a coating on it. If I had won it, I was going to take it to a gunsmith in my city to strip and reblue it. But not sure how much something like it would be worth. It had a "buy now" set at $400. Not sure how much it would cost to have it reblued. What would YOU do with that deal?

bergmen
February 14, 2013, 01:17 PM
Was outbid on the 39D I bid on. That's okay. It was one that someone duracoated black. After I bid on it, I started to wonder WHY someone felt the need to put a coating on it. If I had won it, I was going to take it to a gunsmith in my city to strip and reblue it. But not sure how much something like it would be worth. It had a "buy now" set at $400. Not sure how much it would cost to have it reblued. What would YOU do with that deal?

It looks like the 39D is the same as 39A except for a 20" barrel (and respective shorter magazine tube) vs. 24" barrel, right? I could look it up (I have the thick Marlin Firearms book by Brophy but this is easier).

Personally, I would pass on a Duracoated rifle because you really don't know if the owner was trying to cover up some sort of damage. Plus, this is not historically correct.

Many of the 39As on Buds look pretty good, I would recommend being patient and keep your fingers on the pulse of these auctions. You will be successful at some point.

Dan

Jackal
February 14, 2013, 01:40 PM
There's one local gun shop here (same place where I got the Mountie). Its a 39A and I'm going off memory after looking at it last week. Condition is original, not a showpiece, but it looks to have been carried/used maybe for grouse. Its missing the rear sight elevator (easy/cheap fix). Super dirty though, needs a good cleaning/oiling. It does need a new stock, the original is functional, but really ugly. Stocks from a 336 fit, so no issue there. Its been epoxied together at the wrist, looks like someone fell on it years ago. I think the price was in the $350 range though, which would allow lots of room for fixing the issues. I think it was from the 60's-80's. If I head out there today, I'll stop by and take a look at it again.

Orion8472
February 14, 2013, 01:44 PM
I am a 39a novice, so greatly appreciate this level of advice. I tend to TRY to find a decent one for less than the almost $600 range I've seen on gunbroker, but it may be that if I want a good example, I may have to just jump in.

So, I just bid on another one. Metal is in good shape. Stock okay. Have to wait 4 days [though] to see if I get it.

Art Eatman
February 14, 2013, 02:04 PM
Let us know how you make out, and how it shoots. :)

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