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Marlin Model 39 opinions

1672 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  NoBullseye
Hi, I've got an old Marlin Model 39 from the family collection that will likely end up on the auction block in the near future.
I've learned how particular the Marlin collectors out there are about their firearms and I want to make sure I know what
I've got here before I move forward. I can't even figure out what year it was made.

Here's the lowdown....
It's a Model 39, .22 cal.
The SN seems to be 24xx (Only 4 digits stamped under the lever)
Octagonal barrel
Case hardened receiver
In very good condition overall with the following exceptions:
- There are 4 or 5 spots on the barrel where the finish kind of bubbled. Not sure what caused it.
- The Rear sight has the same issue
- A few minor dings scratches on the stock, but not much.

It's a really nice rifle minus the spots on the barrel, the bore looks great too.

Any thoughts or opinions would really help.



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looks real nice!! looks like a possible refinish where the bluing didnt take just right maybe? case colors are nice!! are you sure you are going to be want to get rid of a "family" gun?

good luck!! but i'm sure it wouldnt take long... although you will probably kick yourself right after doing it!!

welcome to the forum and nice work on posting pics right off the bat!! you do need 25 posts before selling anything on this site too...
and by the way... that's awful purty!!!

Yeah, not looking to sell here, really just looking for some Marlin expertise. Who knows, I might just keep it. Sadly there's nobody left to tell me the provenance of the rifle. It's basically been in a gun safe for at least the last 30 years and in a display case for over a decade before that.

I sold Marlin 39A Golden a while back and the bidders hammered me with questions, I want to be sure I know what I'm doing before I move forward. It's been difficult finding any real info on the gun.
Check the serial number vs. date info on this forum. Beyond that, just let the gun speak for itself. It does look like some rust/pitting was cold-blued, but the low serial number suggests the gun is quite old. I don't know how well that translates into value, though.
I would NOT sell it, I would pass it down to another family member. If you have no family left, you can call me cousin.
The Marlin SN checker says "The year of manufacture for serial number 24xx is Before 1883."

That can't be right. I thought the Model 39's were all made from 1922-1934.

This gun is getting more and more interesting!
Welcome to MO NoBullseye! There is a wealth of information in the reference forum and collectors forum sections, but don't be afraid to ask questions as well. The serial number calculator obviously doesn't work for this model as you discovered ;)
The model 39 was introduced in 1922, and did not carry a prefix to the serial number (like yours). The S prefix likely was first used in the 1925-26 era, based on serial number ranges for the non and S prefixed rifles. The HS prefix was used beginning in 1932, until the introduction of the model 39A in 1939. Use only standard or target velocity ammunition in your model 39! You will crack the bolt with high speed ammunition (the change in 1932 of the bolt allowed high speed ammunition to be used, hence the "HS" serial code designation). The known non prefixed range of serial codes is 1002 - 12959, so I would place your rifle in the first year of production (1922). The front sight had an ivory bead at this time, and the rifle sold for ~$28.00!
From the looks of your rifle, I am not sure it has been reblued - the octagon edges appear crisp as well as the rollstamp. I would guess something corrosive may have been splashed onto it to cause the damage?
I would REALLY think hard about selling a nice family heirloom such as your rifle; once it's gone, it's gone forever.
Shoot straight and best regards, gewehr
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Thanks, your info backs up a lot of the things I've read about the rifle. It's cool that the 24xx is actually the first run of the Marlin 39, and the "xx" is very low too. I wish it didn't have those marks in the blueing but I wouldn't dare mess with the condition of the gun at this point. There's also about a zero chance you'll ever see me at the range with it.

I'm getting it appraised as we speak, I might really have something special here. I'll post the results here if it seems appropriate.
fwiw - I'd shoot it. Clean it up real good, all parts and use subsonic definately, start up with slow .22 shorts. They like to be shot and are well made... like gewehr says - it's reblued anyway and it won't get hurt by getting used a bit. And once you do, you´'ll think again about selling it. I got the predecessor - a Marlin 1897 from 1903. Event though it's quite used in the bore I love to shoot it. And my son at 11 also. There's something special about using these old guns. This is what they were made for. If one could ask them I'm sure they would prefer to be burned out rather that to fade away. And they don't burn out so.... keep it man.
That is a very nice looking gun in spite of the bad spots on the barrel. I would not be in to big of a hurry to sell this rifle either. I am 67 now and look back at all the guns and rifles I have had over the years and for the most part it is guns like this one I wish I had kept. What you have today you will look back and regret selling tomorrow. So unless you just need the money. Do yourself a favor and hang on to it. Speaking from Experience !

Welcome to MO

wonderful 39.
looks right as rain.
If i owned it, it would just not be for sale.
most of them were just used.....and show that in regards to the finish.

hate to place prices on things.

two similar 39's were at the Colorado Gun Collectors Show two years ago.
I was thinking maybe it was Steve Barnett that had them...prices were around $2650 and $2850 for each.
I was thinking at least one was them had an S or HS and came later than your rifle and one
them had similar coloring remaining (90% coverage, 40-60% vividness).

I remember thinking man thats a lot for a little marlin .22, but the truth is you just don't see them.

Last night a 39a (40's) b prefix gun went for $1510, with some minor marks in the wood (80-90% vividness on the case).

Last July I recall an excellent condition 39 selling for $2800...but I can't truthfull remember the age (prefix of lack there of).

So cautiously I would say...

$1950-2250 you will sell it.

$2250-$2600 you will hold it for a while, but will eventually sell it.

Don't know if this helps just an opinion, Lord knows no lack of those...
I think your best course of action is to acquire another....:tee:
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Wow, you guys really love your Marlins! Lol! I think I will go shoot it, (with some nice slow ammo) and see what the fuss is all about.

I got the online appraisal back, Darin, you we're about right on the money, $2000 - $2750. Much less if it turns out it was re-blued (which I doubt). I'm going to have to find a local expert to get the condition graded. The appraiser really didn't give me much information about the gun, except it was made between 1922 and 1938, which I believe is narrowing it down to the entire production run of the Model 39 (gee, thanks!). The low serial number says 1922-1923 to me.

I'm still leaning towards selling it at some point. I might regret it someday, but at least I'm sure I'll be passing it on to someone who will appreciate it.
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