Review: Marlin Model 39A Mountie


Among the most respected gunmakers in America is Marlin Firearms. They are well-known for a long line of rifles and shotguns.

The single most famous rifle they make is the Marlin 39A .22-caliber rifle.

This rimfire has been in production longer than practically any other rifle in America.

This rifle has always been appreciated by those needing an accurate and reliable small-game rifle.

The piece is well-suited for target shooting, practice and training young shooters.

Since about 1910, the sameness of society and manufacture underwent a tremendous change.

Mankind in developed nations could no longer expect generations to live out much the same life among grandparents, parents and children.

Change became the rule, but the Marlin 39A remained the same.

lever-action rifle
The Marlin rifle is well-made of good material and always accurate.

The Mountie Version

My rifle is a carbine version known as the Mountie. This rifle is a little shorter than the usual 24-inch barrel Marlin 39.

The Mountie is practically as accurate as the full-size Marlin and a fine handling rifle.

These are pretty ordinary rifles in a way with a bead front post and adjustable rear sight. The standard sights are fine for most uses to 50 yards.

I think the Skinner Sights aperture sight is a great improvement for any lever-action rifle.

The magazine may hold as many as 17 rounds of ammunition.

This is a pleasant amount of reserve when plinking and all you will need for most days of hunting squirrel or rabbit.

Not running rabbits, but bedded rabbit. I have taken quite a few in this manner.

marlin sights
Simple fixed sights give good results.

Features and Function

The rifle loads by means of the typical under-the-barrel magazine.

Take the spring-loaded inner tube out of the magazine tube and drop cartridges straight down the tube, or simply move it to the spot where you may load cartridges into the opening in the loading tube body.

.22 Long Rifle, .22 Long, CB caps, .22 Short, shotshells — they all feed effortlessly in this lever-action rifle.

The leverage of the short-throw rifle is excellent.

Considering the design has changed little since 1892, this is a neat operating system that has proven trouble-free.

The rifle was modified into a takedown design a few years after its introduction.

When many traveled to the hunting grounds by buckboard or horseback, a takedown or folding rifle was an advantage.

Simply unscrewing the takedown lever allows the rifle to be separated into two pieces.

You don’t need a tool for turning the takedown screw, a coin will work fine.

The rifle we know as the Marlin Model 39 rimfire rifle was finalized as far as design is concerned in 1921.

The Marlin 39 has been universally acclaimed as a reliable and accurate rifle.

Work the lever pressing forward, not down, and the hammer is cocked and the rifle is ready to fire.

If you are going hunting, carefully lower the hammer by keeping the thumb on the hammer as you press the trigger.

Simply cock the hammer fully to the rear and you are ready to fire.

Fit and finish have remained remarkably consistently during the Marlin’s production life.

And this has ensured the Model 39 will never be a cheap rifle. Fit of the internal parts and the fit of the wood to metal is excellent.

My rifle has been well taken care of and, while it was manufactured in 1955, it remains a great all-around rifle.

Marlin Model 39
The lever throw is short and fast.

How It Fires

Lever-action rifles are not famous for having great trigger actions.

The Marlin trigger is usually crisp with the typical lever-action take-up, while it breaks at 3.4 pounds in my example.

I have fired the rifle for accuracy at a long 50 yards. Results were good before fitting the Skinner Sights aperture, and excellent afterward.

A five-shot group of 2.0 inches at 50 yards was achieved with the Winchester 37-grain Super X.

The new Winchester Silvertip posted similar results. The Marlin 39 is a great rifle, a classic with much to recommend.

What do you think of the historic Marlin 39A? Let us know in the comments section below!

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