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The highly-prized rimfire Marlin 39A .22 tube magazine lever-action debuted in 1891. The world “timeless” is easily bandied about, but this literally was world’s first ever .22 lever-action. It remained in production decades and earned records for longest continuous production by a company that originated a gun. It also held the record for most sold .22 lever-action with over 2,000,000 being delivered to delighted customers. The 39A was a high-quality .22 that could quickly empty its 26 x .22 Short, 21 x .22 Long or 19 x .22 Long Rifle ammo. Other versions included the Marlin Golden 39A and the Golden 39M straight-grip carbine.

Construction was rugged. The materials looked great. The styling was classic. Early on, there was a 16” barrel bicycle version you could take down and transport in a carrying case strapped to the bike’s crossbar! But other versions were longer 24” round-tapered blued barrel guns with a 41” overall length weighing 6.5 pounds. Some had Ballard-Type rifling, and some had Micro-Groove rifling depending on production year. Both conveyed exceptional accuracies.

Marlin loves both round barrels and the more powerful looking octagonal ones too. With the 39A, you could get either. It’s worth noting that the octagonal barrels increased strength and surface area, which is always nice for expedited heat-dissipation. In the good old days, this was a great way to over-strengthen a barrel. It was an expensive process so guns having them sold for a premium. Even now, there is something breathtaking about an octagonal barrel.

The 39A enjoyed beautiful American black walnut with nice contours and smooth flanks devoid of hatching, sling swivels, solid steel forged metal parts and simple one-step takedown. The semi-beavertail forend swelled gently and ergonomically from front to back. The side-ejection receiver was slim compared to what we often see today. It was punctuated by a large takedown screw on the receiver’s right flank. This screw had an oversize flat-head slot you could twist with coins. This thoughtful feature sometimes invited criticism for breaking the gun’s smooth lines, but form follows function fans admire it plenty.

The receiver featured a scope-friendly low profile and a mounting bar for 3/4”, 7/8” and 1.0” tube scopes. Some 39As featured a classic brass bead in front. Others had a ramped front sight with a Wide-Scan hood. In back you’d find a fully adjustable Semi-Buckhorn sight you could adjust for windage and elevation.

The timeless Marlin 39A .22 tube magazine lever-action guns were made in North Haven, Connecticut, and are thus Made in USA.

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