Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Featured Gun: Marlin model 39A

The Marlin model 39A is .22 rimfire lever action rifle. 
Over the years this gun has a very popular rifle, over 2 Million have been sold since it was given the model number 39  in 1922.

It also happens to hold a few titles:

The Model 39 was  the first side ejecting lever action rifle having been created in 1891 from the 1889 design.
Until recently it was  the oldest and longest continuously produced shoulder fired gun still in production, that distinction now falls to its bigger brother the Model 336.
The 39A was also the first lever action chambered in .22 LR.

The history of the 39A started with the model of 1891

Then it was renamed the 1892, when they removed the side loading gate in favor of a removable magazine tube follower.

It was renamed again in 1897 and finally becoming the model 39 in 1922. 

It went through some variations becoming the model 39A which was available up until 2014 or so. While still listed on the Marlin website, I am told you can no longer get a new one.

One of the most famous owners of the rifle was Annie Oakley. She was noted for preferring the model 39 to other rifles in her collection. She once used on to put 25 rounds into one hole at 36 feet in 27 seconds.
They also made a special edition 39A commemorating Little Miss Sure Shot:

The most common version of the 39 has always been the long 24" barreled 39A, the carbine version was usually called the 39M and Marlin began calling the rifle the "Golden 39A" in the last few years of its production. 
Below is a list of variations on the gun since being named the model 39:

.22 S, L, or LR cal., 24 in. octagon barrel with tube mag. open sights, takedown, case hardened receiver and lever, S-shaped pistol grip stock, bluing on barrel, forend tip, mag. tube, bolt, hammer, and screws, various qualities of walnut (X, 2X, or 3X), hard rubber buttplate. Approx. 40-50,000 mfg. 1922-38.

Similar to Model 39, with case hardened receiver (mfg. 1939-1945), includes 1st and 2nd Models with round barrel. 3rd Model 1st Variation was introduced in 1946 and has blue receiver, 3rd Model 2nd Variation has flutes in buttstock comb and was introduced in 1951, and 3rd Model 3rd Variation has Micro-Groove rifling, no pistol grip cap, and was introduced in 1954.

Model 39A 2nd Model
Case colored frame, "B" prefix. Mfg. 1941

Model 39A 3rd Model 1st Variation
Blued receiver, new ramp front sight, hard rubber buttplate, and Ballard rifling. Mfg. 1946-1950.

Model 39A 3rd Model 2nd Variation
Similar to 3rd Model 1st Variation, except has flutes in buttstock comb, white plastic spacer next to buttplate, and pistol grip cap with white spacer and brass insert. Mfg. 1951-53.

Model 39A 3rd Model 3rd Variation
Similar to 3rd Model 2nd Variation, except has Micro-Groove rifling, and no pistol grip cap. Mfg. 1954-57.

Similar to Model 39A, with gold-plated trigger, sling swivels. Mfg. 1957-87.

Similar to Golden 39A, except is carbine variation. Mfg. 1972-1987

Straight grip stock, slim forearm, 20" barrel, otherwise similar to 39A. Mfg. 1953-1957.

Model 39A "MOUNTIE" with K prefix
24 in. barrel and slender forearm. 4,335 mfg. 1953 only.

Mfg. 1957-1972.

24 in. chrome barrel and action, select checkered walnut stock, carved squirrel on side of buttstock. 500 mfg. in 1960.

Similar to 90th Anniversary Model 39A, except 20 in. barrel, straight stock. 500 mfg. in 1960.

Special model made exclusively for Wal-Mart, supporting the Wildlife Management Institution and Wildlife Forever, features similar to Marlin 1897CL CLassic, 24 in. half-round, half-octagon barrel, half mag., checkered black American walnut pistol grip stock, adj. semi-buckhorn rear sight, engraved receiver with scroll and "Wildlife for Tomorrow" and "Sportsmen Supporting Conservation". 2,000 mfg. 1997 only.

Similar to 90th Anniversary, with blue barrel and action, regular production. Mfg. 1961-1963.

.22 cal., one of the pair in the "Brace of 1,000," engraved receiver, 20 in. tapered octagon barrel, select fancy walnut straight grip stock and forend. Mfg. 1970 only.

Similar to Golden 39A, with octagon barrel, no pistol grip cap, 2,551 rifles and 2,140 carbines were produced. Mfg. 1973.

Similar to 39M, with light barrel, 3/4 tube mag. 9,695 mfg. 1963-67

Similar to 39M, with pistol grip stock. Mfg. 1971-73.

.22 LR cal., current production model, lever action, 19-26 shot tube mag., 24 in. barrel, walnut stock (cut checkering became standard 1994), open sights, gold trigger, takedown, 6 1/2 lbs.

.22 LR cal., carbine variation of the Model 39AS, 16 1/2 in. barrel with open sights, 5 1/4 lbs. Mfg. 1988-95.

Carbine version of Model 39A, 20 in. lightweight barrel, 16 shot tube mag., squared finger lever, 6 lbs. Disc. 1987

Similar to Model 39M, with octagon barrel. 2,140 mfg. 1973.

Marlin Centennial 1870-1970 Commemorative, 20 in. octagon barrel, select walnut straight stock, brass forearm cap and buttplate, name plate in butt. 35,388 mfg. 1970.

NRA Centennial Commemorative 1871-1971, "Right to Bear Arms" medallion in receiver, 24 in. octagon barrel, fancy pistol grip stock, brass buttplate and forearm cap. 6,244 mfg. 1971.

Similar to 39A Article II, with 20 in. barrel, straight grip stock. Mfg. 3,824.

From Marlin's website the specs for the last model 39A to be produced:

This particular Marlin 39A is the special edition Article II which was produced in 1971 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Rifle Association. My Father bought this gun in a collection of guns from a neighbor.

The rifle sports a 24" octagonal barrel with the model inscription: "Marlin 39 Article II" in obvious reference to the Second Amendment. The stock is a pistol grip style.

The emblem affixed to the right side of the receiver shows a crest with an eagle holding two rifles, which is similar to the NRA's current insignia, but not their official logo. Also the outside of the emblem has the words " the Right to Bear Arms, 1871-1971" which is a clear reference to the founding of the National Rifle Association, yet curiously the NRA's name is not mentioned anywhere. 

For the record the Constitution was written in 1787 and ratified a year later. Also of note is that the Marlin Firearms Company was founded in 1870, 1 year before the NRA.

For comparison, the current NRA logo

As a side note Marlin did produce some 100th anniversary guns with this medallion on the butt stock, but I have yet to find a 39A 100th anniversary model

Some additional features; The forend cap and butt plate are brass or brass plated.

As with most 39As the rifle breaks down into two pieces with the thumb screw located on the right side of the receiver. The wood is walnut, but you wouldn't know it as the finish is cloudy and prevents one from clearly seeing the grain of the wood.
Also the gun originally came with a leaf style buckhorn rear sight, a previous owner removed it and installed a Lyman Peep Sight.

According to the "Blue Book" there were 6,244 of the 39A with pistol grip and 24" barrel manufactured and 3,824 of the 39M with straight grip and 20" barrel manufactured.

The guns have a "71" prefix to the serial numbers. Below is the owner's manual.

The guns came shipped in a full color box, marked with the model number and special edition background graphics


We'll finish this post off with some pictures of model 39As

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