Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Marlin 39A .22LR cut & crowned?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by AStone, Nov 29, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    For several reasons (not the least of which is my goal to buy a Marlin 336 in .30-30 as my main centerfire rifle, and a desire to have a few guns in my main tool kit with similar actions), I've taken a liking to a Marlin 39A rifle.

    I'm actually considering selling my CZ 452 bolt to buy a 39A.

    There's one big problem: I don't want a gun that long (24" barrel, 40" overall).

    Because of the dense forest I hunt in, I want a short carbine length rifle. (Yes, I understand I'll lose a bit in accuracy at longer ranges, but most of my shots with this gun will be fairly close. Squirrels, rabbits, etc...)

    So, if I get one, I'd like to have it cut and crowned to no longer than 20", preferably 18.5".

    Can this be easily done by a skilled smith? How much accuracy loss at 50 yards?

    Opinions?

    Thanks,

    Nem
     
  2. Seven High

    Seven High Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    727
    Have you considered a used carbine version of the Marlin 39. I have a 39M which is very handy in the woods. A skilled gunsmith should be able to trim back the barrel without too much trouble.
     
  3. 51Cards

    51Cards Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    554
    Hmm --- have to trim back the magazine, and re-figure the spring length.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    21,957
    These days having a tube magazine rifle shortened would be an expensive proposition. Cut and crown the barrel, reset the front sight, reset the magazine hanger. Cut the magazine tube, notch for the latch, cut and reassemble the inner tube; trim the magazine spring. Phew. Then figure out how many rounds you could load, because you could not just fill it up to the slot.

    Hit the stores, shows, and www sites.
    My first Marlin was a Mountie; 20" barrel, straight grip. There have been several other short variations over the years.
     
  5. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,832
    Location:
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    Go for a Mountie and have a pair. I have my pair as a 39M and a 1894C and they are both about the same length.
     
  6. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,503
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    The shorter barrel won't cause an accurary loss in and of itself. In fact, shorter barrels are inherently more accurate than longer barrels, especially in .22's. Optimum length for a .22LR barrel is about 16.5".

    The only downside to the shorter barrel is the reduced sight radius if you are using irons. Still, for hunting and plinking, it's a worthwhile tradeoff. If you still want the longer sight radius, you can get it back by using a tang-mounted flip-up, or receiver mounted, peep sight for a rear instead of the barrel mounted rear.

    Look for a carbine length. They're out there and will be much less expensive in the long run than having a rifle length 39A chopped.
     
  7. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    This is all good advice, folks. Thanks a bunch.

    I'll start looking around for 39M's.

    Nem
     
  8. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    PS: I just found a couple of used ones on line. I noticed both are straight stocks.

    Was the 39M ever made with pistol grip stock (which I prefer) like the current versions of 39A?
     
  9. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    6,117
    There were a number of carbine versions of the Marlin 39-A. Many were limited production models with features like octagon barrels or half-length magazines.

    The two most common versions are:

    The standard model was the 39-M "Mountie", which has a 20" barrel and a straight stock and lever.
    The forearm has a typical carbine type band retention.

    The other carbine was the less common Marlin 39-D. This is essentially a rifle type rear with a pistol grip stock and lever, but the barrel and front end of the "M".

    I think the carbine version had lighter barrels than the 39-A rifles.
    I have seen 39-A rifles cut to shorter lengths, and these are fantastic shooters, with the heavier barrel balancing better than the carbine versions.

    Accuracy out of any Marlin is astounding, with one reviewer claiming to get 1" groups at 100 yards with a rifle.
    Quality is sky-high, and other then the new cross-bolt safety and rebounding hammer on the new 39-AS, they're still made pretty much the same way they were 100 years ago: from solid forged and milled steel, and American walnut.

    I'll go out on a study limb by claiming that the Marlin 39 is the finest lever action .22 ever made, or will ever be made, now that forged steel is becoming a thing of the past.
    These are true heirloom rifles of a type we'll never see again.
     
  10. Jackal

    Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,367
    Location:
    Northwest Washington
    If your gonna go 18.5, why not just cut down to a 16"?
     
  11. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    dfaris, thanks for that great overview. Much appreciated.

    Jackal, reasonable question.

    My reasoning for an 18 or 18.5" barrel is this: my 870 has that length barrel, and I'm very comfortable with it. I hope to have a 336 cut to that same length, so would prefer to stay with the same length for all three of my main long guns. That length of barrel is short enough for the type of terrain (brushy, heavy forest): it'll carry well on a sling without getting hung up on overhanging branches (or dragging the muzzle in the dirt when carrying "African style").

    I understand that an inch or two here or there will not making much difference in terms of ballistics, especially for shorter ranges that I'm interested in. But I just don't feel the need to go all the way to 16" with it.

    Plus, as dfariswheel points out, having a little heavier barrel will improve the handling. An extra couple of inches is only a few grams, but everybit helps.

    Finally, it's always easier to take more off at a later time than put some back on ... :)
     
  12. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,832
    Location:
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    Nem, a 20" Mountie is the same length as a 18.5 1894, and the 336 is an even longer receiver. So a 16" 336 would probably be the same length as a 20" marlin 39m.
    From the Marlin web sight http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/Centerfire/336A.aspx
    Marlin 336 20" is 38.35" overall
    Marlin 39a 24" is 40" overall


    Marlin 1894c with a 18.5 barrel is 36"
     
  13. moewadle

    moewadle Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    848
    There is a very, very nice Mountie for sale

    on the website, Guns America for $460. It looks worth it to me and you should buy that before I pawn my spouse in order to buy it for myself. :)
     
  14. CZguy

    CZguy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    3,975
    Location:
    Missouri
    :what: I think that's why they invented gun safes. So you can have both.


    :) You can do that?
     
  15. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    CZGuy, I'm only interested in one.

    My lifestyle (relatively nomadic) and my practice time (limited) with my main guns motivates me to have one gun of a few categories (one shotgun, one centerfire rifle, one rimfire rifle, one pistol, one revolver) with which I can become relatively proficient for a variety of needs.

    YMMV. If you've got the time, go for multiples. Enjoy.

    But I have neither need nor desire for multiple guns in any category.
    I find multiples to be a detiment to my skills with any of them.
     
  16. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Good news!

    So, I thought I'd update this heretical thread with some interesting news.

    I just called "THE" local gunsmith. In my little city, everyone (bar none) says he's the one to do the work, especially when it comes to cut and crowning rifle barrels.

    Very nice guy, informative, funny. But that's beside the point.

    The good news is, when I told him I'm considering cutting and crowning a 39A, including cutting down the magazine and resetting the front sight, and asked how much, he said, "About $50 to $75."

    $75? Based on some earlier posts in this thread, I was expecting $150 or $200.

    $75 is chump change for such a project. I'm delighted! :D

    Yes, I've heard and considered all the great advice about mounties. Brian, I have been listening to your suggestions, and understand their similarity to the 1894C that would shoot .357 ammo (same as a planned revolver).

    But after a LOT of reading :what: and a lot of fondling rifles, I've learned two things:

    1) Even though it's almost a given now that I'll be getting a .357 mag revolver, and it would be cool to have a rifle that could shoot the same ammo, I'm just not quite convinced that a .357 carbine is what I'm wanting. I still think that, even though it means hauling around another ammo type, I'm going to be better off with a .30-30 than a .357 for the rifle. (Even though I know that most of my shots will be less than 100 m, I want the ability to take those 150 m shots, and with Hornady LE, 200 m.) For me, that spells one thing: 336.

    2) I just can't warm up to straight stocks. I'm a pistol grip guy. Every long gun I've ever owned (except for an 1865 .58 muzzle loader) has had a pistol grip stock. It's just a comfortable, familiar feeling to me.

    I put a high value on having both rifles with similar build, feeling and action. The fact that I want a 336 (almost certainly a 336A) suggests the perfect match to be a 39A (since the 39M has a straight stock).

    PLUS, I only today snapped to the fact that the 39A is a takedown! Yes, yes, it's right there on the Marlin web site description, but somehow I overlooked that fact (or maybe didn't fully understand what it meant).

    This is VERY important to me since the ability to take down a .22 rifle to fit into a backpack is quite important for me. (Why is another story.) For a full lenght 39A, the two pieces resulting from takedown are of unequal length, and the longer of the two would be more difficult to get into my medium-sized day pack. Cutting down the barrel would solve that easily.

    So, no final decision has been made yet. (And even if I had, the money isn't here yet. :uhoh: )

    But I'm now leaning very strongly towards a 39A, cut and crowned.

    Ah, life is good. :)

    Nem

    PS: Thanks again for all your help with this. Please continue discussion if you'd like.
     
  17. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    17,053
    Location:
    Somewhere in the woods of Northern VA
    $75??!!

    That is amazing. I also thought it would be much more. Not because of the barrel cutting and crowning, but because of what would need to be done to the tubular magazine. How is he going to deal with the mag insert tube (for lack of a better name)?
     
  18. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Thanks for pressing this, Mal.

    I didn't really press him on the issue when I spoke with him by phone. He sounded quite familiar with the 39A, and he explicitly said, "Well, the magazine will have to be cut, too", so I took him at his word that he knows the challenge, and any complexities that it would involve. (Word on the street is, this guy's been a gunsmith for life, and he's clearly an older man from the sound of his voice.)

    He didn't even hesitate before he said $75.

    Maybe others will chime in. It'd be great if someone on THR has actually had it done so they could tell us what it cost them. (Some posted above that they'd seen 39A's that had been cut down, but no one mentioned actually having it done).

    This purchase is still likely a ways off yet, so once I get some more details from folks and understand the complexities of the magazine better, then perhaps I'll give him another call, or go by his shop and press a little further to make sure he's not grossly underestimating the job.

    Nem
     
  19. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    6,117
    Chopping a 39-A rifle to a shorter length is composed of:

    Shortening the barrel and re-crowning the muzzle.
    Shortening the magazine tube.
    Shortening the magazine spring.
    Shortening the outer magazine tube. (usually from the rear end so as not to have to re-do the magazine locking system).
    Resetting the magazine tube band, which requires machining a new dovetail.
    Resetting the front sight by drilling and tapping two holes.

    The only major part is re-setting the magazine tube band, which does require milling a new dovetail.
    I think that if he's going to do this, AND do it right, then his pricing is excellent.
     
  20. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Dfariswheel, thanks. As always, your information is very helpful.

    I'll copy that list and take it with me when I visit him, which I'll do before actually buying the gun just to double check the process and price.

    I'll keep this thread posted of any developments.

    In the mean time, if anyone knows of anyone who's had this done before, please ask them what price they paid (maybe when, too; $75 in 1968 was different from now), and let me know.

    I may also try to get a second estimate from another smith, just for comparison.

    Nem
     
  21. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,832
    Location:
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    even with a Mountie and a 20" barrel it does not match up. you would have to take it right down to 16" or less to truely match up.
     
  22. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Good point, Brian.

    I wasn't completely clear there. What I'm mainly interested in "matching up" are the stocks and grips (and actions, of course), more so than total length. I want them to feel about the same, even if one ends up being an inch or two longer. (Like I've said before though, a 24" barrel just feels too long.)

    On the other hand, I'm learning here and elsewhere that optimal barrel length for a .22 LR is 16". If I understand correctly, there's no significant improvement in accuracy and less energy with longer barrels.

    (That's led me to wonder about Marlin's motivation for a 24" barrel. That just seems extreme in any case. Am I missing something?)

    So the only reason not to just cut it to 16" as someone above suggested would be the loss of another two or three rnds in the magazine.

    I'll just have to see how that trade off balances out.
     
  23. CB900F

    CB900F Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Messages:
    4,651
    Nema;

    It's obvious that you haven't been told about the Marlin 39TDS, or Take Down System. It's already cut down, 16.5" barrel. Now then, buy two Marlin 39's. One 39A and one TDS, mate the two & you'll have the pistol grip and the short barrel without invoking screams of "heresy!!" from the uber-faithful Marlin camp.

    I don't know of anybody who's done this, mind you. And the 'spare' parts put together would best be described as a morphadite :eek: . But you'd fer sure, fer sure, have the only two in existance.

    :D 900F
     
  24. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    900F, actually I have investigated the TDS.

    Interesting concept, both in the original and in your plan. But here's the rub:
    Um, let me give Donald Trump a ring and see if he'll spot me on that one. :rolleyes:

    :D

    Neat idea, but I may let you have the honor of being the first to own one.

    Nem
     
  25. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,732
    Make sure you post pictures of her in the Trading Post section before you pawn her. You'll likely get a better offer. ;) :D
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page