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Old October 13, 2008, 06:01 PM   #1751
Texas Boy
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Join Date: October 13, 2008
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Bought a 39A on Sunday!

I want to join!

Took my 10 year old shopping for his first rifle yesterday. Silly dad was thinking bolt action, but once my son saw the Marlin 39A, it was all over. I was thinking I could pick up a used 22 for $100-200, but seeing the Marlin I didn’t even flinch at the price. My son and I both agreed, that was THE gun. Since we live in California, he will have to wait 10 days...

So why is the 39A special to my son and me? About 5 years ago we took a family trip to Alaska in a small plane. It was the trip of a lifetime – two weeks traveling all over the state, stopping in remote locations like Anaktuvuk pass (no roads in or out, no waterways, only a dirt airstrip), and camping on the tundra. Bears (both Grizzly and Polar) were a very real concern, so a proper fire arm was essential (and, bless their hearts, legally required by Alaskan state law for traveling in a small plane). None of my existing fire arms were adequate for bear, so after a little research I discovered the ultimate bear rifle – the “Alaskan Co-Pilot” by Wild West Guns. It is a highly customized take down version of the Marlin 1895 with a modified 45-70 chamber that will accept “457 Magnum” rounds. It is by far my most special gun, and being a Marlin lever action, it is very similar to the 39A.


Here it is broken down and in it's special carry bag. Barrel was not slid all the way into the sleeve for this photo. Notice the magnum rounds next to the standard 45-70 rounds:

During our time in the back country, the gun was loaded, chambered, and by my side at all times – even lying in my sleeping bag. If a bear did decide we were toast, I figured there would be less than 5 seconds between the bear starting its charge and being on top of me (Grizzlies can sprint at over 40mph). Just enough time to un-shoulder the rifle, pull the hammer back, aim, and squeeze of a single round.

As much as I love this gun, it is expensive (and punishing) to shoot. Standard 45-70 rounds are like shooing a 12 ga. Hunting/premium 45-70 rounds have a similar recoil to 12ga slugs. The 457 Magnum or “Kodiak” round is a whole new story. Can’t wait to have a Marlin lever action that is affordable to shoot and easy on the shoulder! Even if it is my son’s, he will have to keep it in MY safe and only I know the combo, so he is going to have to let me shoot it!

Just looking at the 39A reminds me of that wonderful trip. Here is photo of me, my son (5 at the time) and my daughter standing on the tundra just north of the Brooks range, with nothing for hundreds of miles. Note the Marlin (Co-Pilot) on my left shoulder:


Thanks for letting me share!
Mark
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Old October 13, 2008, 06:50 PM   #1752
ShakyJake
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Family Lineage

Hi Mark
Phenomenal story!! Most welcome here with the Marlin family lineage in tact (they both have levers after all). And you do own the M39. When you and your son take possession you both will still have 7 days to take a shot at the October rimfire challenge in the Sticky. Loads of fun. We have had both Ladies and youngsters win and proud of it. They are our next generation of shootists. Again a hearty welcome to your whole family.
TaKe CaRe
Ted
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Old October 14, 2008, 03:32 AM   #1753
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Mark, great story! We love good intro stories here.

Welcome to the club and to THR.

I'm green with envy about your trip to AK. (I hope to live there someday, at least for part of the year.)

Congrats on the 39. You're right to compare those Marlin levers. I've got three (so far): 39, 1894C (.357 mag) & 336 (.30-30). Thinking about adding a guide gun in .45-70 someday even if those "punishing rnds" don't excite me much. If I reloaded, it could be worth it.

I might suggest <ahem> that you consider adding a medium caliber lever to your kit. A .30-30 would be a fine choice. If you do, come on over and join us at the 336 club, too.

Nem
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Old October 14, 2008, 09:38 PM   #1754
Terry Syd
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Jamming

First post - I've been a long time Marlin fan, owned a couple of 30-30s and a 45-70. Now I've got my first Model 39A.

I was disappointed in the quality control of this latest acquisition. The action was very rough. The biggest offender was the top of the bolt. The rivet to hold the firing pin was standing up along with the ejector spring. I filed them down a bit and then used a hone stone along the top to clean up everything.

At the range I had a bunch of internal jams. It came down to the lever mounting bolt being loose and being able to move sideways away from the cartridge lifter.

Now comes my question for the board. I also had a number of jams of the rounds trying to enter the chamber. I looked at the entrance of the chamber and there is a small leaf spring mounted at the top of the receiver - this also has not been tightened down and is loose. Is this the cause of my jams?

I would have tightened it up, but the clever gunsmith who prepped my rifle before sale has mounted the scope mount with a locktite that works more like silver solder. I can't get the scope mount off to tighten the leaf spring - but do I need to?

Other issues, I had a number of misfires, especially with one brand of ammo. The 'bounce back' hammer appeared to me to have a bit too much 'bounce back'. I have trimmed the lower arm of the 'Y' piece that holds the trigger spring. I reduced the bounce back so that it will come back just enough to pick up the half-cock notch. The firing pin is moving freely. Hopefully this slight increase in the striking pressure will cure the misfires. If not, has anybody ever just eliminated the 'bounce back' arm on the 'Y' to increase the striking force?

I tried some of the recommended ammo I found on this forum. The CCI Minimags and Federal 510s worked the best for high velocity. For subsonic I found the Remington and RWS to work the best. I like to shoot for accuracy, so if anyone knows of some great ammo for the M39 (even if rather expensive) please let me know.

Regarding the barrel, how often (number of shots) do you guys recommend between cleaning. I know there is a variation between different brands of ammo, but some guidelines could help. Also, any tips on cleaning to maintain accuracy?
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Old October 14, 2008, 10:27 PM   #1755
bsaride
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Quote:
Now comes my question for the board. I also had a number of jams of the rounds trying to enter the chamber. I looked at the entrance of the chamber and there is a small leaf spring mounted at the top of the receiver - this also has not been tightened down and is loose. Is this the cause of my jams?
Can't answer that one, mine is a 1927 Pre-A M39.

Quote:
I would have tightened it up, but the clever gunsmith who prepped my rifle before sale has mounted the scope mount with a locktite that works more like silver solder. I can't get the scope mount off to tighten the leaf spring - but do I need to?
Sometimes a little heat will help.

Quote:
Other issues, I had a number of misfires, especially with one brand of ammo. The 'bounce back' hammer appeared to me to have a bit too much 'bounce back'. I have trimmed the lower arm of the 'Y' piece that holds the trigger spring. I reduced the bounce back so that it will come back just enough to pick up the half-cock notch. The firing pin is moving freely. Hopefully this slight increase in the striking pressure will cure the misfires. If not, has anybody ever just eliminated the 'bounce back' arm on the 'Y' to increase the striking force?
See answer to first question.

Quote:
I tried some of the recommended ammo I found on this forum. The CCI Minimags and Federal 510s worked the best for high velocity. For subsonic I found the Remington and RWS to work the best. I like to shoot for accuracy, so if anyone knows of some great ammo for the M39 (even if rather expensive) please let me know.
My rifle, along with my Winchester M52 like Winchester T22 target ammo.

Quote:
Regarding the barrel, how often (number of shots) do you guys recommend between cleaning. I know there is a variation between different brands of ammo, but some guidelines could help. Also, any tips on cleaning to maintain accuracy?
Not very often, what I do is run a dry patch through the bore after each range session. We don't have a humidity problem here in SoCal, if we did I would follow up with an oiled patch.
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Old October 14, 2008, 11:13 PM   #1756
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I never had problems with FTFs or jams, so I haven't played with any of the internals, aside from replacing the grease with a thin coat of oil. To be honest I don't even notice the "rebound" of the hammer.

Federal 510s have been "pretty good" for me. I buy them in bricks because they function and shoot accurately in all of my .22s (now up to 5). Federal Bulk has been average, Winchester Wildcats have been below average. The best ammo so far has actually been CCI Short (standard velocity). I am very accurate with these. 24 rounds in the tube is pretty nice too!

I clean the gun completely every time after I shoot it, including the bore. But from reading around THR it seems that I am the exception to the rule. I dunno, I can't stand to have a dirty gun in the house. Heck I cleaned my Red Ryder when I was a kid. (I also completely strip my Ruger Mark II every time, which I almost take as a point of pride the way people complain about it.) When I get to the range I typically throw one or two bulk rounds down the barrel just to get things warmed up before I hunker down and get to business.
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Old October 14, 2008, 11:31 PM   #1757
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I have a new toy coming. I am very excited. I have been looking for another one for a while. I can't wait to get her home!

http://www.auctionarms.com/Closed/Di...mNum=8831008.0
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Old October 14, 2008, 11:45 PM   #1758
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Quote:
I have a new toy coming. I am very excited. I have been looking for another one for a while. I can't wait to get her home!

http://www.auctionarms.com/Closed/Di...mNum=8831008.0
Looks like ya dun good, pilgrim
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Old October 15, 2008, 12:10 AM   #1759
ShakyJake
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Jammin

Hi Jerry Syd
A warm welcome to the Marlin 39 forum. The problems you are explaining are rare and I have read about them before but you seem to be unfortunate enough to corral them all in one rifle. They are all fixable though and the resident experts will quickly help you resolve your situations. One thing I found through trial and error was that the feed tube was easing outward. Each time I load it, when I close the inner tube I give an extra push to make sure the outer tube is in as far as it will go. My problem was the last shot jamming. Hope we can get you fixed up quick and enjoying a really wonderful rifle. Ammo wise. Many are not as sensitive as some rifles, but they are .22s. Mine seems to like standard velocity and does best with Winnie Target Dynapoints. The fun is in the testing. With my 65+ yo eyes I finally gave in to a 2.5X scope. Has helped quite a bit. Again welcome and join our October rimfire match in the Sticky.
TaKe CaRe
Ted
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Old October 15, 2008, 02:34 AM   #1760
Terry Syd
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Jams

Thanks guys, yeah it's hard to believe all the poorly assembled components of this rifle. I thought the gunsmith would have checked it out before letting it leave the shop. Heck, he could have a least checked that leaf spring bolt before he welded the scope mount over the top of the screw. - I won't be going back to his shop.

I've been around guns for most of my life, so the problems are only temporary for me. However, if this gun had been sold to someone new to firearms it would be a disaster. The rifle would have ended up in a closet someplace gathering dust.

I asked the question about the leaf spring, but I already know the answer - I'm just going to have to get the scope mount off and tighten the screw....... aauurrgh! I won't put the scope back on until I have it feeding properly.

I tried the T22 rounds and they were average in my gun. That's the way it is with rifles, some guns shoot different ammo better than others.

The most consistent round was the RWS subsonics. They are a bit more expensive, but I can save them for when it counts - like popping a rabbit for dinner. The Remington Subsonics gave me the tightest group (5 shots, one hole, 25 meters), but I occasionally had a flyer that turned me off of the Remingtons.
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Old October 15, 2008, 03:24 AM   #1761
Nematocyst
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TCB, great looking 39M for a very nice price (assuming all is well inside). Congrats! Keep us posted when you get her.

Terry, I, too, have had jams in my new 39A. I took it to my smith, whom I trust.
He checked it out thoroughly, found no jams with his ammo. He blames my ammo
(I was using American Eagle & CCI; he favors Rem & Winchester.)

I confess I haven't had time to get it back to the range since it left his shop.

I'll follow your story with interest. Thanks for joining us.

Nem
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Old October 15, 2008, 04:25 AM   #1762
Terry Syd
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Gunsmithing

I have given up on getting the scope mount off. The screws are too soft for the torque required and I am stripping out the slot.

I decided as an alternative I simply bent the leaf spring up about 1/2 a millimeter. The action of the bolt still feels the same, but the nose of the rounds should be prevented from hitting the entrance of the chamber when they are fed up into the chamber. I know, it's half-ass, but I will go with this mod until the leaf spring drops out from wear and tear on the loose screw threads. Then I will have to get the receiver tightened down in a vise with soft metal and use an impact driver to get the screws out. The receiver will likely get scratched doing that - I'm not happy.

This should have never happened, I'm really irked by all these little problems that could have been fixed prior to delivery. The gunsmith is new in the area and I wanted to do him a favour by selling my .577 3-band Snider-Enfield through him and then purchasing the Marlin at full price to help him get some cash flow. - Now I don't give a damn if he goes out of business.

Oh well, I'm 60 years old now, the leaf spring will probably see me out.
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Old October 15, 2008, 05:11 PM   #1763
vicdotcom
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Quote:
Terry, I, too, have had jams in my new 39A. I took it to my smith, whom I trust.
He checked it out thoroughly, found no jams with his ammo. He blames my ammo
(I was using American Eagle & CCI; he favors Rem & Winchester.)
I used to have jams here also. But since I took a close look at what was causing it, I saw it was dirty ammo. Since I started shooting CCI i havent had a single jam.

When I took a closer look at what was causing the jam, I saw sticky buildup in the chamber. I wondered what caused it and then I took a look at my unfired ammo shells and noticed the waxy buildup on the casings. This is probably from the coating that the bullets get. But it made the casings filthy. That resudue built up in the chamber and caused the spent shell to stick in the chamber causingextraction problems them jams.

Since the new and cleaner ammo, not one problem.
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Old October 15, 2008, 06:56 PM   #1764
jkingrph
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Texasboy good story. My father bought mine back in 1952. I have no idea as to how many rounds have gone down that barrel, a lot, and I remember the good times we had with it. I also have his old 336 SC in 35 Rem which he got about a year later to do a bit of deer hunting. Then there are the 45-70's, none in takedown like that nice one you showed, and a sweet 336 Cowboy in 38-55.
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Old October 15, 2008, 09:41 PM   #1765
Burke
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Texas Boy,

Are those ghost sights on your Co-pilot, and can you reload the ammo?
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Old October 15, 2008, 10:35 PM   #1766
Terry Syd
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Jams

vicdotcom, this is a brand new rifle with no build up. The nose of the rounds were hitting the edge of the barrel as it entered the chamber. Hopefully I have tweaked a fix for the problem by bending the leaf spring up a tad.

If I could cut a notch in the underside of the bolt for the leaf spring I might be able to tighten it just enough to seat the spring in the receiver, then I might be able to expand the end of the bolt enough to keep it from working loose over the years. I'm looking into it....

Casting loads for the Marlins (because of the Micro-groove rifling), use a bore-riding projectile, it improves the accuracy significantly. For the 30-30 I used a 180 grain Saeco (sp?) mould for a .303, the bullets shot as accurate as jacketed rounds even though I was running them hot with 34 grains of W748.

Same with the 45-70. I used a 425 grain mould that I lapped out the nose to be bore riding. Very accurate and plenty powerful with 57.5 grains of W748. W748 is a double base powder that has a slightly flatter combustion curve, with the cast loads being able to easily enter the rifling the pressures are kept to a reasonable level.

The bore-riding nose keeps the nose from slumping over during hard acceleration. A 400 grain projectile with 29 grains of AR2207 makes a very accurate subsonic load. You can cast your loads with a piece of cigarette paper clamped in the first 1/3 of the nose of the mould to split the nose so that the round breaks into three pieces on contact. Sometimes the cigarette paper trick is enough to expand the nose so that it is bore-riding.

Back to M39 issues...
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Old October 17, 2008, 09:02 PM   #1767
Nematocyst
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Farewell ... for a while ...

I've decided to take some time away from this particular forum.
The drama, politics & interpersonal tensions are just too high for me right now.

So I'll be gone for at least a while.

I'll probably be back around some day.
Not sure yet. We'll just have to see how things play out.

If When I do make it back, we'll continue our fun discussion
sans politics & drama as we've always done.

If not, then maybe we'll meet again in some other cyberspace.

In either case, I'll relish what I've learned
about my beloved 39A here,
and the friends I've made.

Best of luck to all,
regardless of which side of any debate you may be on,
and good shooting.

Nem
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Old October 17, 2008, 09:40 PM   #1768
tubeshooter
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Wow... sorry to hear that Nem. This thread won't be the same until you get back. You'll be missed! Hope you can come back soon.


I understand. I can't fault you for doing what's best for you, even though you're an integral part of this thread and others - indeed, the board as a whole.
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Old October 18, 2008, 09:18 AM   #1769
xd9fan
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Quote:
The drama, politics & interpersonal tensions are just too high for me right now.
really??? where??
The politics section has been closed for awhile now. I have seen it at other places but not here as much. All I can say is thanks for starting these threads....they are a joy to watch grow.

(america is de-evolving into groups fight each other to control each other via Govt force...it is sad.....gone is individual liberty and dignity)

Good Luck you will be missed
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Old October 18, 2008, 06:20 PM   #1770
SandyEggo53
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I need some help!

Just took my new 1969 Mountie to the range, it wouldn't feed any rounds, unless I turned it upside down. Shot 5 shots, called it a day....

I took it apart, it looks like it is the Carrier Rocker (the part in the middle of the Carrier?) that is broken. When you lever the gun, there's nothing there for the Carrier to link to the lever, so no rounds can feed.

Looking at Numrich, I have a choice of Early Model or Late Model. I found a place that stated that Late Model is 1973 or newer, but the diagram for the Late Model looks more like my innards than the Early Model....

Any ideas? Is this a Late Model (1969)? Is Numrich the best place for parts?

Where is the best place for parts?

Now I know why this was turned in to the shop, but it looks like a very easy fix. If this is an inexpensive part, I'd rather replace it myself, not have to wait a month or two for the shop to fix it....

THANKS for the help!

Last edited by SandyEggo53; October 19, 2008 at 01:04 AM.
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Old October 24, 2008, 06:20 PM   #1771
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Fixed it!

Was able to fix the Carrier Rocker. Jack's First Gun Shop had the parts, they shipped very quickly, I installed the part today.

Still need to replace the dummy screws for the peep sight, forgot to add them to the order for the carrier rocker.

Can't wait to take it out to shoot.
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:01 PM   #1772
MINI SSS
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39 ejector problem

Just took apart my new to me 1970 39 century limited. I can't seem to turn the ejector screw hold down to secure the ejector out of the way. I'd like to clean the receiver properly for a fresh start with me.. Any ideas? John
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:10 PM   #1773
bsaride
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remove the ejector, older M39s don't have that feature and that is what I do with mine.
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:35 PM   #1774
SandyEggo53
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Mini SSS

Sounds like a similar problem I had with my 1969 Mountie....

I ended up using two small screwdrivers.

First, working about 1/4" back from the end of the ejector with the first screwdriver, I pressed the ejector down (but not quite all the way down).

Then I used the second screwdriver closer to the end of the ejector to push it all the way down, then used the first screwdriver to turn the screw.

Kind of leap frogged my way along...

Once it's re-assembled, you can lever the bolt open, turn the screw to release the ejector.

Here is one of the links posted earlier, which helped me with the Carrier:
http://books.google.com/books?id=Xwz...sult#PPA240,M1
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:54 PM   #1775
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ejector

Thanks guys. John
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