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Thread: Marlin 39A upgrade.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Marlin 39A upgrade.

    I haven't been on the .22 forum since I've been here, but I have a bunch of .22's.

    One of my favorites is my Marlin 39A, I got it for $300 about a year and a half ago.

    It was made in 1991 and is in pretty nice shape, and it had been shot very little.

    I have been working on it refining it like I do with all my Marlin Rifles.

    Really I just buy Marlin rifles so I can work on them.

    Anyway I spent a considerable amount of time working the action and smoothing it out.
    The .22 action works almost exactly the same way as the larger caliber guns do except for a few minor differences. Still I've got 6-8 hours in this one, and it runs pretty smooth.

    I installed a Brownells spring kit, and de-burred everything. Today I installed a Lyman 66LA that I bought off Ebay last year. I also broke all the sharp edges on the lever and reblued it.

    The sight was a big deal, and will help shooting at the .22 silhouettes.

    One of the things I did that I had to back out of, was in dealing with the rebounding hammer. The rebounding hammer on this gun goes "boing" everytime you pull the trigger and it drives me nuts! Guns are not supposed to have an audible "boing" everytime you pull the trigger! I just should not be so!

    I wisely bought an extra hammer spring strut, and modified it by removing the rebound side. This worked perfectly except for one minor problem.

    The half cock part of the rebounding hammer is a step not a slot. As a result you can lower the hammer to half cock and pull the trigger which just slides off the step which fires the gun. Not a real safe safety!

    So I put the original part back in the gun and left it. I have been looking for an early pre-safety hammer and trigger kind of half heartedly so I wouldn't have to modify the existing parts. I may just mod the existing parts and be done with it.

    The last thing to do with this gun is to refinish the stocks and cut down the fore-end.

    These guns have had way too generous forends for ever ! I will remove a considerable amount of wood from the fore-end to make the shape more pleasing, and then refinish it with a nice oil finish replacing the Marshield goo they put on the stocks from the factory.

    These stocks should come out rather nice as the pistol grip has some interesting figure in it, and it looks like there may be some hiding in the fore end as well. We'll see.

    More to come.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 09-28-2012 at 01:32 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    I love my 39A just as it is. I had wanted one forever, but wouldn't buy one with the safety and wouldn't pay what most were asking. Found this nice one in alocal shop and dropped $400 on it. I've been very pleased with it and I think I'll just leave the open sights on it, I have other .22s to hunt squirrels with, this one is mainly for busting golf balls on the range berm and it sure is fun for doing that!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    That's some very pretty figure on that stock, by the way. Mine is nice, but much plainer.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Rich: Surprisingly most all of the Marlin stocks that look pretty plain reveal some interesting figure when you remove the goo that the factory puts on.

    I have an 1894 Cowboy that had the most mundane wood on it I thought I had ever seen, in fact to call it "fence post grade" would have been an insult to fence posts everywhere!.

    I literally scraped the factory finish off it, sanded it, added some stain and then many coats of Tru-oil and it revealed lots of grain structure and a bunch of fiddleback that was obscured by the paint. Night and day difference.

    I have found that the simple act of refinishing the wood on most guns makes them much more interesting. It's something I do to all the Marlins I buy just cuz it's easy and it is something I can do to increase the value of the gun.

    I also rework the actions to make them smoother which is also a simple process.

    These guns are all generic guns, IE they are made to a price point and don't get alot of hand work put into them. Putting that hand work into the gun makes it what it would be if the factory didn't have to make a profit.

    For a while Marlin was offering 1894 Cowboy Competition rifles for sale. They already had the actions slicked up and a little more pleasing wood. They were around $900 when the basic gun was around $550.

    They sold everyone they made. I wish they'd do it again, and so do alot of other people..

    I put the before pics up so people could see the difference after the wood is refinished with oil as opposed to the paint they use at the factory.

    It will be dramatically different.

    Here's a pic of the 1894 Cowboy stock after redoing.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 09-28-2012 at 01:32 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    One other thing I did to this gun yesterday was to file on the brass bead a little. It is surprising how bright they get when you do that.

    You have to be careful as on mine the entire front sight was brass and most all of it was painted black. I had a small overrun with the file and had to get out the Magic marker to fix it.

    A popsicle stick with some fine sand paper glued to it would be the proper touch up tool for that job.

    I also removed the sight hood as it was obscurring the FS. It is much easier to see now.

    I keep all of my Sight parts in a plastic divider box so I can find them when I need them.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Cool

    A Ladys fine emery board works very well to dress up brass sights. You can keep it in the range box & not have to worry bout rust. They also work for odd shaped areas as you can cut them to any shape needed.
    Gun control 1ST ROUND ON TARGET.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Randy,

    That is nice, VERY NICE ! !

    Ben

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Ben: These stocks should come out pretty !

    I'm going with French Red stain from Brownells on these and resisting the urge to use other colors too, just one color this time.

    Might do some "Sharpie" grain enhancement on the fore-end after I get it reshaped.

    6.5: one just hit the bathroom floor, and has been relocated to the range bag!

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 07-06-2012 at 01:52 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Shot .22 Silhouette today at the range with the Marlin and then shot the second round with my Browning .22 Auto.

    Shot 24 with the Marlin and the Peep sight is a definate improvement. Still need to do a formal sight in on paper to get the thing right.

    I have a few small issues to deal with on that gun, like removing the open sight from the barrel which keeps popping up in the way.

    I got alot of light primer strikes and misfires with the gun which are directly related to the lighter mainspring and the rebounding hammer feature. I have to fix this. Either put back the original spring or modify the hammer so the half cock knotch works as a safety, and get rid of the rebounding feature.

    Didn't shoot as well (14/40) with the Browning but I did hit 4 pigs in 15 seconds, and 4 Rams in 15 seconds. They really are the ultimate plinker. I really didn't care about score with that gun, I was having too much fun!

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I just put a peep on one of my 39,s...The peep is about .200 or so high,using the stock front sight,and this gives a 50 yard zero. Most of the guns i peep,need a taller front sight then factory,,so this is puzzling to me. I need to buy a shorter front sight,cause i dont like the peep that high from the receiver.

    The peep is the answer for failing-tired eyes,,,no doubt!!!!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I need to get mine to stop jamming then give the wood a going over like that!
    Aaron

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Mine is higher than .200 See pic . I'd say the aperature is actually about .4 above the top of the receiver. I don't see getting it much lower with the existing front sight, and the front sight isn't going to get much lower either.

    I am using the stock front sight, which is not very tall, with the hood removed.

    This allows more light around the front sight amd makes it easier to pic it up in failing light.

    I really want an XS style front sight with the white line on the back.

    IMHO they are the best front sights in the business.

    I like the Lyman for the rear, but for the cost, the adjustability is just not that usable a feature. Once the gun is sighted in 1" high at 50 yds it will be dead on at 75yds and 3" low at 100. The only change I would make would be to add the 3" on the sight for 100 yd shots, then back down to the mechanical stop

    I paid $125 off Ebay for that one, and for the amount it will get tweaked I could just as easily use and XS or Skinner Rear,,, sight it in once and be done with it.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 09-28-2012 at 01:37 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  13. #13
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    GOPHER SLAYER's Avatar
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    Marlin 39 sight

    I bought this rear sight for a Marlin many years ago at the Pomona gun show. I paid fifteen bucks for it and I really like it. I have never seen another like it.
    Last edited by GOPHER SLAYER; 09-17-2012 at 05:37 PM.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I see your gun does not have the rebounding hammer? But it has the crossbolt safety.

    Did it come that way? Does your half cock knotch work?

    What are the first two digits of the serial number?

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



    Bret4207's Avatar
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    I have a very, very old 39 with a very poor barrel. Someday I want to reline it and refurbish the rifle. I believe it's one of the higher grade rifles based on pictures in the Brophy book. It holds like a rifle ought to and is far, far slimmer than the current 39's. Lovely rifle.
    [COLOR="Blue"]Yes, I am cynical, contrary, opinionated and cranky. So what? Nobody much liked John Adams or Howard Hughes either.

    We need to quit waiting for someone else to protect our rights. NRA isn't going to do it for us. If you aren't emailing, calling, writing and visiting your reps, if you aren't pro-active in this fight, if you just sit in front of the TV complaining about things then you're just as guilty as the anti gun crowd. If that makes you uncomfortable GOOD! Now do something about it, get active! MAKE A STAND NOW!!! "[/COLOR]

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Jon K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    Mine is higher than .200 See pic . I'd say the aperature is actually about .4 above the top of the receiver. I don't see getting it much lower with the existing front sight, and the front sight isn't going to get much lower either.

    I am using the stock front sight, which is not very tall, with the hood removed.

    This allows more light around the front sight amd makes it easier to pic it up in failing light.

    I really want an XS style front sight with the white line on the back.

    IMHO they are the best front sights in the business.

    I like the Lyman for the rear, but for the cost, the adjustability is just not that usable a feature. Once the gun is sighted in 1" high at 50 yds it will be dead on at 75yds and 3" low at 100. The only change I would make would be to add the 3" on the sight for 100 yd shots, then back down to the mechanical stop

    I paid $125 off Ebay for that one, and for the amount it will get tweaked I could just as easily use and XS or Skinner Rear,,, sight it in once and be done with it.

    Randy
    You can remove the front sight and use a Williams low profile ramp, or just cut a dovetail in the barrel.

    Jon
    Isa 26:4

  17. #17
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    W.R. Buchanon, if you ever wish to take on a stock refinishing project, I would love to see what you could do with my 39D's wood. She's not fencepost material, but she sure is plain.
    Your's is stunning!
    Got-R-Did

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    The guy that lived next to me put a million rounds through his. Really. I have the Marlin ad to prove it.

    Doug

  19. #19
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Since when did the 39 have a rebounding hammer? None of mine do.

    Phil
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    Terrorists attack civilian populations for political ends. Now, just who is who at the Bundy Ranch?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Phil: mine was made in 1991 and it has a rebounding hammer. The hammer strut has two points on it and the top one shoves the hammer down and the lower one retracts the hammer.

    I bought an new hammer spring strut and ground off the rebound side and the gun worked perfectly except for one small thing. The half cock step on the hammer is a step not a notch. so when the gun is on half cock the trigger sear is not trapped, as a result when you pull the trigger the hammer drops.

    I put the stock strut back in and will live with it until I have time to change it.

    To fix this I either have to find a earlier hammer or modify mine so it traps the trigger sear for half cock.

    Got r Did: I haven't done the stock on the 39A yet the other picture is of my 1894 Cowboys stock which before refinish was an insult to "fence post grade " wood.

    The ones on the 39 should come out pretty spectacular as there is alot of grain visable thru the paint.

    I just have to make time to do the job, as I am currently burried in work.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check