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Thread: Marlin 39A vs Henry Frontier Long Barrel

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub pdgoutdoors's Avatar
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    Marlin 39A vs Henry Frontier Long Barrel

    I'm looking to get in to small bore lever action silhouette. I have narrowed my choice of gun down to a used 39A or a new Frontier long barrel. I have both brands in centerfire guns and have found both to be plenty accurate, but like the feel of my Marlins better. A lot of what I have read says the 39A is a more accurate rifle. Is it really worth the extra $500 plus or minus depending on what I can find one for?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


    stubshaft's Avatar
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    Yup! AND you will retain a higher resale value if you decide to get rid of it.
    Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway!

    Men who don't understand women fall into two categories: bachelors and husbands!

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    My Dad's near-mint 39a carbine is as accurate as some of my Ballard and Stevens target rifles, and with care a 39a will outlast your grandchildren and still shoot like new.

    It loves MiniMags. I've made shots on chucks with them in the Marlin that you'd call me a liar if I told you.
    Last edited by uscra112; 02-22-2024 at 11:46 PM.
    Cognitive Dissident

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Another vote for the Marlin. Head and shoulders above the Henry.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Not only is the Marlin a better built rifle, LOOK at the design of the 39A for the game you are intending to play:

    Pistol grip stock vs straight wrist

    Heavy barrel vs. pencil

    Wide forend vs. splinter.

    The 39A is basically a target bolt action in a cowboy suit.
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have both, a Marlin 39A and a Henry octagon barreled Frontier with 24" barrel. Henry has a better trigger, is just a tad smoother working, Marlin works better when laid on its side. I find no difference in accuracy at 100 yards using Aguila standard velocity, Federal bulk copper up later HP's, Agile Subsonic HP's. Both balance and hang about the same. For regular use get the Henry, to to show off at the range, handling with extreme care and worry about, spend another $500-700 and find a Marlin. I put a 4-12 Nikon Monarch with parallax adjustment on both for testing.
    Last edited by MostlyLeverGuns; 02-23-2024 at 05:16 AM.

  7. #7
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    I have the 39a and a Henry 22. For some reason I am not a fan of how the Henry's feel to me. As far as the $ difference, you will make that up if you ever decide to sell, which you won't do if you get the Marlin

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Most folks think of Henry's as the light, inexpensive, and very common H001 model that has a very different feel than the Octagon barreled models. Few have experienced the Frontier model with the Octagon 24" barrel, it handles like a 39A. I have a Henry 20" octagon 17 HMR, my most accurate rimfire, and also have the H001/'basic' model along with the Frontier 24" Octagon 22LR. There is a substantial difference in feel between the light H001 model and the much heavier Octagon barreled models. While rimfire rifles do go troublefree for tens of thousands of rounds, there is no customer support for the Marlin 39A while Henry has a lietime warranty that is highly rated. I have a bunch of Marlin's, almost all pre-safety, they are well-made but internal finish is not particularly great, comparable to other rifles of that era. Most more recent rifles are finished far better internall than the the 60's, 70's, 80's rifles.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    They both are good guns and they both are worth their cost. So if you want the best, pay the most.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master gc45's Avatar
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    Having owned several 39 and 39a Marlins they are very well made guns; but keep in mind all are used and for many years now so, when looking for one, I'd suggest the best condition one you can find and afford, check the barrel closely if possible along with the bolt face, extractor and muzzle. These 22 rifles were not so expensive not to many years ago, many have had hard use with poor care and I always wonder what someone has pushed down the bore, like a steel cleaning rod or nasty cleaner of some kind. I say this just so you are aware that not all of them are going to shoot well but most will. As for the Henry, the Wife and I bought one for our nephew awhaile back, it shoots lights out with several ammo brands but he mostly uses Blazer because I told him Lead Boolits are best!

  11. #11
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    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stubshaft View Post
    Yup! AND you will retain a higher resale value if you decide to get rid of it.
    My sentiments, exactly! I'd, too, suggest the Marlin!!! One perk if if you do not shoot very well -- you do have, at the very least, LOTS of respect from the others present !
    geo

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    my 39a mounties from the late 40's and early 50's are old and ugly probably rode hard and put up wet for decades, still work great and accuracy is never a problem., real walnut and blued steel and no paint on them anywhere. henry's do have smooth action but I got rid of the one Henry rimfire I did have because of 2 reasons, I didn't like the painted receiver and the front sight/magazine clamp was plastic and broke, when I called Henry for a new replacement I had to give them a credit card number to cover the part cost and shipping

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Correct me if necessary: I think I read a short while ago that the Henry receiver is a zinc injection casting, and that's why they're painted
    Cognitive Dissident

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    So what are the 39a's worth? I have an early 70's one, and one of the later ones made before Remington bought Marlin, with the checkered stock, that I am thinking of sticking on a table at our gun show coming up next weekend

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Prices around here range from 750 to 1000. The one in my safe belongs to my MIL but she wanted me to see that it gets use. It's a quality piece.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    Isn't this kind of like comparing a Weatherby and a Savage?

  17. #17
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    Another vote for the Marlin 39a. Iíve owned one for the last 40+ years , it is very accurate and a fine rifle. Itís never failed to function. One of the rifles on my list of those I will never sell.
    Keep your powder dry and watch your six !!

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub pdgoutdoors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockrat View Post
    So what are the 39a's worth? I have an early 70's one, and one of the later ones made before Remington bought Marlin, with the checkered stock, that I am thinking of sticking on a table at our gun show coming up next weekend
    The ones im looking at on gunbroker go anywhere from 600-1000 depending on the condition and exact model.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    The earlier 39's won't have the provision for optics mounts. Later on, no problem.

    The Weaver scope base will allow use of the irons if QD scope rings are used, but you may need to cut a slight groove in the underside of the base to allow max travel of the rear sight's elevator.
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Widen your choice to include a Winchester 9422... I know nothing about the Henry but do have 4 or5 Marlin 39's and about that many 9422's and prefer the Winchesters. Just my feelings...

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