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Old June 1, 2007, 04:09 PM   #301
ArmedBear
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It's not a moral issue to me.

I just think the gun shoots very, very well the way it is.

Since I wanted to try the thing out ASAP, I shot it at a nearby indoor range that's open 'til 9PM. I hung a little cardboard box, the kind that holds 50 .22LR cartridges inside a larger box sold as a "brick", from the target holder and ran it to the back of the range. I hit it consistently, offhand, mostly dead-center, with iron sights in low light. I was shooting relatively quickly for what I was doing.

As far as pointing, remember, I've put thousands more rounds through shotguns, at moving targets, than I have through rifles, in the past couple years. Many, many thousands. I appreciate pointing.

Of course, I also use my whole upper body as a result. A gun that's too short and/or too light is a liability.

The last game I shot before the seasons here ended was a cottontail. I shot it with a 49" long 8 lb. Remington 1100 (I was out for quail, but didn't find any in shooting distance). It was about 20 yards away. It popped out of the brush, I saw it, shouldered and pointed my gun, and I fired one shot. It rolled over dead instantly from a bunch of #6's in the head. That's a gun that weighs 1.5 lb. more and has 9" on the 39A. And I'm not some Sporting Clays champ, either.

Rapid, accurate target acquisition is not necessarily facilitated by a too-short gun. Yes, you can get too long and too heavy, and some guns just don't handle quickly. However, the 39A at 6.5 lb., 40" OAL, and with excellent balance, is nothing near too heavy, too long, nor too sluggish. At least for me.

Can you find one to try with a short barrel?

(Kicking myself daily for passing up an old but 99% condition 39 carbine with a nice peep sight added to it for $300. At the time, I thought, "Man, 300 bucks! It's nice, but for a .22, that's too much for me." Oops.)
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Old June 1, 2007, 04:25 PM   #302
.45&TKD
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Nematocyst-870,

Why don't you just sell it and buy a shorter rifle?
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Old June 1, 2007, 05:44 PM   #303
Nematocyst
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I considered that, but Marlin does not currently produce a shorter rifle with a pistol grip stock. (The 39M is straight stock.)

Besides, I like this one. I like the fore end MUCH better than the older ones that I might find with PG.
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Old June 1, 2007, 05:47 PM   #304
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Wait...

Does Marlin make the 39M currently?
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Old June 1, 2007, 06:22 PM   #305
tubeshooter
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I say go ahead and cut it. You obviously want to... if it doesn't work out like you envisioned you can always get another.


I'm curious as to how much of a hit you would take on resale value, though. Does anybody know or have a good idea? I don't think about resale value much because I keep everything I get pretty much.


[EDIT: I don't think the 39M is in current production, I think the 39A with a 24" barrel is all you can buy new. No other variants. I wish it wasn't the case.]
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Old June 1, 2007, 09:04 PM   #306
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I also considered buying a 39-D, which is the rifle rear end with the pistol grip stock, and a short carbine front end.

I thought about this until I got a closer look at a "D" and realized they actually used a carbine front end, with the barrel band setup, and possibly a lighter barrel.

After once again holding and shooting a 39-A rifle, I'm glade I got the one I just finished rebuilding.

In your case, I wouldn't hesitate to cut it down.
Resale value is a non-issue, because you'll never sell it any way.
I personally think the ultimate in a carbine version would be the pistol grip rear with a shortened rifle front end, with the heavy rifle barrel simply shortened and the rifle type forearm cap.
In other words, exactly what you're thinking about: A cut down rifle.

The Marlin is not so much a rarity that you'd be destroying an irreplaceable rifle, and this falls under the acceptable range of custom work.

It's going to cost you, but I think the result will be well worth it.
In other words......go for it, but don't fail to post plenty of before and after photos.
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Old June 3, 2007, 12:18 AM   #307
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Ok sign me up. I may be the luckiest guy in the club. My wife closed her business and as we were cleaning out the office, I found a Marlin 39a(1952) in the back office. It needed a magazine tube, a butt plate and a good cleaning, a little rust removal in places. Fortunately I am a retired toolmaker so I can do this stuff. The rifle is in perfect condition now, but I haven't fired it yet. I'm waiting for Numrich to send me an outer magazine tube. I will keep you posted on a range report when I get it out to the range.

By the way, my Marlin is almost the newest gun in my collection, I have an FN Mauser Ca.1951 and a new Savage .17HMR, All of the resto of my guns are 60 years old or older. I am going to compare the Marlin to my M46 Mossberg bolt gun.(1935) Should be interesting.
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Last edited by Macgille; June 3, 2007 at 12:44 AM. Reason: add
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Old June 3, 2007, 12:26 AM   #308
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Incidentally, I found a downloadable owners manual for the 39A on the Marlin.com site. If you need a manual you can get it free from marlin. just go to their site and download it.
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Old June 3, 2007, 12:48 AM   #309
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Quote:
...as we were cleaning out the office, I found a Marlin 39a(1952) in the back office
Hey Mac,

Well, that story's just gotta top any that the rest of us can offer. Lucky, indeed.

Welcome in.
I (and I suspect the rest of us, but especially D'wheel)
look forward to hearing how your project turns out.

Nem
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Old June 3, 2007, 01:18 AM   #310
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So, what do you folks look like?
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Old June 9, 2007, 11:18 PM   #311
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I think I've created a new game. Shooting golf balls off the tops of tin cans at 25-30 yards without touching the can. That's pretty good for me, how about you guys? I couldn't do this with buckhorns, but it's easy with a Skinner aperture. I can't believe out of about 10 shots, only 1 shot was low by about 1 inch.
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Old June 9, 2007, 11:27 PM   #312
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That's either a great endorsement for Skinners or a testament to your skills, or (most likely) both.

Dang, I've got to find time to get my firing pin fixed. My current term is up in 3 weeks. Then ...
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Old June 10, 2007, 08:09 AM   #313
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Nem

To tell you the truth, when I set those golf balls up on the cans I thought, you idiot, you can't do this, not off hand. Then I did it about 6 or 8 times in a row. Like I said, the whole time I was shooting there was only one low shot. The only reason I stopped is the balls got lost in the weeds and I didn't have anything but the cans to perforate afterwards. With buckhorns there would have been no way. With the Skinner, LOOK OUT SQUIRRELS!
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Old June 15, 2007, 12:39 AM   #314
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Cut the barrel!

Hi Nem,

Just back online after a long four months of 'catch as catch can' access.

I have a 39A made in 1979 that has fired thousands of rounds since I got it back in 1999 - and no doubt many more than that before.

Flawless performance and a joy to shoot.

Similar to what you relate, the rifle felt muzzle-heavy to me and too darn long for a .22 'walkin' rifle'.

I lopped seven inches off the barrel and shortened the magazine tube to match, dovetailed a new front sight directly to the barrel (which allowed the lowest positioning of the Lyman 66 aperture sight) and recut a dovetail for the magazine tube ring. I also copied a feature from the Colt Stagecoach rifle I owned as a youngster. The loading aperture on the magazine tube is on the right side, not bottom of the tube. This allows one to slide the cartridges along the 'groove' between the barrel and magazine rather than have to push them into the aperture.

The handiness is much improved. Magazine capacity is reduced to 12 L.R.'s, but that's enough for my requirements. The muzzle was carefully recrowned and there has been no loss of accuracy as far as I can tell. I didn't chrono the CCI standard velocity ammo I use in the longer barrel, but I'd be surprised if there was any significant loss of velocity with the shorter tube. There is more report with the short tube.

I can post a photo once I get my firearms back from the local club safe.
The bureaucrats in the A.C.T. require a 28 day 'cooling off period' for all new
ACT licences...even for those of us coming from another Australian state with the appropriate licence in possession.
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Old June 15, 2007, 12:48 AM   #315
dfariswheel
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Please post photos when possible.

Turning the magazine tube and re-pinning it so the loading port is on the side is an old Marlin .22 trick. It does make reloading much easier, especially with cold hands.
I considered doing it to my restored Model 39A, but over the years the tube has opened up just enough to make the seam too noticeable and I didn't want to replace anything more than I had too.
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Old June 15, 2007, 01:06 AM   #316
Nematocyst
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FB, great to hear from you again.

And this rifle sounds like a really great project. Really looking forward to seeing photos.

Wow, 7". So you're barrel is <calculating> 17".

I was thinking only 18" or maybe even 20". But that's intriguing.

And the tube rotation trick that you and Wheel describe sounds very useful. I'll try to incorporate that, too.

Like I say, look forward to picks.

Welcome back.

Nem
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Old June 15, 2007, 01:34 AM   #317
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Yep, 17" barrel now.

dfarriswheel is right about the Marlin magazine tube.

I wonder why they went with the open-seam tube rather than
seamless? It does make modification tricky.

The Colt Stagecoach was the only rifle I've owned that had the side-loading tube from the factory. Did Marlin offer the feature at one time?

Good to be back Nem.

Once I get my little plastic card from the Australian Federal Police
(I saw it created three weeks ago - just not allowed to touch it)
and present it to the club armorer to reclaim my guns, I'll put some pics up.
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Old June 15, 2007, 03:14 AM   #318
Nematocyst
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Hang in there, FB.

While we're waiting ... what do you "do" with your 39?
Range? Plinking? Hunting? (If latter, what do you hunt?)

Your system there sounds fairly draconian in its limitations.
I'm just wondering how easy it is to go to a range, or plinking, or hunting.
Can you just drive into the outback (or just the edge of town) with it and hunt or plink?

And buying ammo: is it easy to get .22 rnds?
Do you need us to send you some?
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Old June 15, 2007, 11:11 AM   #319
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Looking forward to the pic from fallingblock....
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Old June 15, 2007, 08:32 PM   #320
dfariswheel
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Be aware that there's often more to rotating the Marlin magazine tube and sticking the pin back in.

Often when you just do this, the inner magazine tube won't go back in the outer tube.
If you just put the pin back, it may compress the outer magazine tube in that spot and block the brass inner tube from sliding in.
The factory actually cut a tiny groove for the pin in the outer blued tube, and you may need to do this if you rotate the tube.
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Old June 15, 2007, 10:40 PM   #321
fallingblock
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One of my most used rifles....

I'll use my M39A here in the Australian Capital Territory mostly for plinking and target shooting at the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia range located northeast of Canberra. Hunting is all but prohibited in the ACT, but while I lived in the Northern Territory outside Alice Springs the M39A accounted for a goodly number of feral cats and a rabbit or five.

If one owns a substantial chunk of rural real estate or has permission from the owner/leassee to shoot on same, there is no limit or season on ferals. Duck hunting is now totally banned in four Australian states, thanks to the efforts of the RSPCA and PETA-type organisations. Driving into the country and discharging a firearm without the above conditions being met could result in an "armed offender' squad showing up and the permanent loss of both firearms and licence, along with a conviction.

Nem, "draconian" is a euphemism for the Australian system! Until the Port Arthur shootings in 1996, most Australian states were pretty reasonable with their firearms regulations - Tasmania even allowed full-auto firearms. The P.M. - John Howard - while a fairly reliable conservative in most respects has demonstrated repeatedly that he really meant it when he announced publicly:
"I HATE guns". He considers his legislative assault on firearms one of his greatest achievments while in office and proudly assures the public that "Australia won't have a "gun culture".

Most brands of .22 ammo are available here - but more expensive than what you pay in the U.S. - 500 rounds of CCI standard vel. is about AUD$25.00 -
a bit less when purchased in quantity.

Thanks for the offer to send some ammo.

I can just imagine how that would go over at Australia Post.

dfarriswheel:

Quote:
Often when you just do this, the inner magazine tube won't go back in the outer tube.
If you just put the pin back, it may compress the outer magazine tube in that spot and block the brass inner tube from sliding in.
The factory actually cut a tiny groove for the pin in the outer blued tube, and you may need to do this if you rotate the tube.
That's good advice. I cut enough off the original magazine tube that the port went with it, so I didn't have to rotate the outer tube but instead used a fine file to cut a new port into the tube while leaving the tube seam toward the barrel. When this is done, it's a good idea to locate the tube in its final position within the magazine ring and then use a drill press (or steady-hand drill) to drill the hole for the magazine tube retaining pin. If you take care when cutting the new loading port in the outer tube, you can get a real slick-
loading port without the factory-supplied excess which can allow a round to cant and hang up in the port.

Only another week to go and I can pick up my A.C.T. licence.
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Old June 17, 2007, 10:10 PM   #322
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I too am in. I didn't see this post until now and haven't had time to read all the entries but the first thing I did when I got mine two years ago was to smooth out the trigger.

It is now as sensitive as a target rifle and that is the way I like it. I can get a good group at 50 yards with a scope when held on a bench by hand.

I took the whole gun apart and used my experience in pistol triggers to get a good crisp trigger on the Marlin with no creep at all. It is like having a different gun.
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Old June 19, 2007, 03:19 AM   #323
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Mousegun, welcome.

Would you be willing to explain more about how you smoothed out the trigger?

I know that detailed explanations of technical work is difficult to impossible in text without pictures. But maybe you can give us some insight. At least one (Wheel) will probably understand your descriptions.

Thx.
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Old June 20, 2007, 09:24 PM   #324
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Quote:
Mousegun, welcome.

Would you be willing to explain more about how you smoothed out the trigger?

I know that detailed explanations of technical work is difficult to impossible in text without pictures. But maybe you can give us some insight. At least one (Wheel) will probably understand your descriptions.

Thx.
Sorry I can't provide pictures but here goes with the best verbal I can accomplish.

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement to jump in and do this whether you are mechanically inclined or not and it is meant as a description of what I did only and may not be suitable for you or children under the age of 90.

The hammer and sear are factory made to be as safe and lawerly immune as they can be and still provide a safe, workable gun.

I wanted it still to be safe but for me, more workable so I decided to do the trigger work described.

It is very important to maintain the angles between the sear and hammer or the gun could be made to fire with little or no encouragement.

To smooth the trigger I took 600 grit sandpaper and passed it over the sear and hammer notch a few times. Then went to 1000 grit paper to polish the metal to a polish finish.

This is the part that can cause the most trouble and where trigger experience comes in. If I recall properly (some triggers I did required this step and others didn't), I filed the face of the hammer notch a bit and filed the edge of the sear that goes into hammer notch about a 60 degree angle

to eliminate trigger creep. This actually reduces the contact point of the sear / hammer and if not done correctly, this could make the gun very unsafe and / or ruin the sear or hammer. These parts are gunsmith only parts from the factory if I am not mistaken and you may not be able to buy them from Marlin if you don't qualify.

The job was done on a rainy day that gave me a lot of time to do the work and constantly reassemble and try the gun in every phase of the operation but most of all GO SLOW and steady to get it just right.
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Old June 21, 2007, 04:31 AM   #325
Nematocyst
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MG, nice description. You use words well. I followed it pretty well.

Admittedly, I would have to have parts in front of me while reading to really get it, but ... I get the gist of it.

Nice hand drawing as well.

I'm not sure I'll ever try it. I may have a gunsmith do my trigger job. But still ...

And this last paragraph seems most important to me, and I appreciate you including it:

Quote:
The job was done on a rainy day that gave me a lot of time to do the work and constantly reassemble and try the gun in every phase of the operation but most of all GO SLOW and steady to get it just right.
Kinda like life: go slow and steady to get it just right.
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