I'm a newer member to the Marlin Forums and have owned a Marlin 1894c for a few years but with the rising price of ammo I wanted a lever .22 to plink with. I debated between a 9422, Henry and Marlin 39a for a while and then ran across a 39A at a pawn shop on the cheaper side. I really wanted a gun that mimicked the 1894c but no 39a Mounties were to be found locally. This pawn shop 39a was in good condition, not great, and had some damage/wear around the muzzle area. It's an early 1980's vintage so nothing too special. After some investigating, some member questions and some reading I decided to try to transform in to a Mountie style rifle. It only takes time and I have some of that, right?
I get a lot of great info from these forums and other members on these forums so I figured I'd share the transformation process as some fun and maybe info for others. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture before the tear down but it was a run of mill 24" barrel 39a with the pistol grip and no checkering on the stock. As a bonus, it was a pre-safety model as well.
Unfortunately, I jump the gun, no pun intended, and did not get a picture of the M39a before I started the project. This is a picture of a similiar M39a which best represents the M39a before the modifications, although mine was not nearly in as good of condition. It was a standard 1980's era Golden M39a with a 24" micro-grooved barrel and pistol stock with no checkering.
The results after the complete disassembly.
4 inches were cut of the barrel.
The barrel was indicated in the lathe off of the rifling lands. Luckily the barrel fit in the lathe headstock without the need to remove the barrel from the action.
The barrel was turned with a recessed 11 degree crown. I like the 11 degree crown and the 0.050" of recess gives it a little more protection.
The finished barrel.
The front sight had to be relocated and remounted so it was transferred to the mill and indicated in.
The front sight holes were drilled. The sight was kept about the same offset from the muzzle face as the stock version.
... And then the holes tapped for #6-48.
The tube magazine support dovetail was relocated and machined. This location was determined by looking at pictures of M39a mountie versions and picking a logical spot. The mag tube cross pin notch is added to afterwards so exact location did not matter.
Finally, the completed exploded view of the barrel parts.
Fitting of the magazine tube before shortening. The magazine tube was cut so it was just offset from the muzzle end
The same amount was cut off the spring tube as the outer magazine tube. The cross hole was re-drilled.
The magazine tube cross notch was filed in the location where the barrel tube support cross pin locates to it.
The completed exploded view of the mag tube and it's parts, including the shortened magazine spring.
Phase Two - Stripping the stock finish to remove the pistol grip detail.
Layout of the stock for cutting the stock.
That completed the first nights work. Hopefully, more work to continue over the weekend. I did already breakdown and order a Skinner Peep Sight. I like the use of peeps and have been looking for a reason to try out a Skinner sight...
This evening started the stock shaping work...
Removal of the pistol grip. Hoping I guessed right and left enough wood.
Shaping the stock with a rough wood rasp.
The 95% completed stock work with the original receiver lower tang.
Rough machining the lower tang down.
Starting to shape the tang with a file.
Completed stock with lower tang modified. 98% complete, maybe a little more shaping needed.
That's it for tonight. Next comes the bending of the lever to straighten it out. Marlinowner's Member 'Swany' gave me some good advise on the lever and we'll see if I can follow through and get the lever modified.
Tonight it was time to re-shape the lever...
The lever before modification as attached to the modified receiver.
Heating the lever to begin the re-shaping.
Using a mandrel to aid in moving and shaping the heated lever. Thanks 'Swany' for the tip.
The completed lever as attached to the modified receiver. After re-shaping with heat a little handwork with a file and emery cloth helped make it look almost factory. Close enough....
Trying to keep things on track meant a little more stock work. Some finishing sanding and a coat of stain. Next comes a few coats of tung oil and the stock is done...
Getting closer to the finished project...
The stock tang screw needed to be shortened a little after the receiver lower tang modifications.
All the parts that needed bluing were cleaned and prepped.
The barrel was re-assembled with the magazine tube support and front sight.
Since the action was apart, I took the the opportunity to clean, deburr and polish all the pivot points and mating contact surfaces.
The completed metal which includes the shortened barrel and magazine tube and the modified receiver lower tang and finger lever.
Re-finishing the wood with the first coat of tung oil to the stock. Sorry about low picture quality, the lighting doesn't do it justice.
Almost there. A few more coats of tung oil and some dry time and it should be done.
Applied another coat of tung oil on in the morning which dried pretty quickly in the sun. The stock was able to be assemblied late in the evening.
The completed Mountie-style M39a
The only remaining item is to get to the range and cycle a few rounds through it...