21 November 2023

The Marlin 39A - Ruger Brought Back the Classics but Where is the 39A?

 After Ruger purchased Marlin from Remington, Ruger has been working diligently to restore the Marlin brand. A move I appreciate. As of November 2023, Marlin released three models of the popular lever action rifles. They started with the 1895 big bore, .45-70 and several versions. Then in 2023, they released the 336 and 1894 models. By November 2023, Ruger has nine SKUs for sale based on those models. A SKU for the Dark 1894 .357 Mag version hasn't been released but given the late announcement of the .357 Mag version, that SKU is likely been sorted out internally. I would argue that Ruger, by end of 2023, will have 10 total SKUs for lever action rifles in the popular calibers on their website. But they are missing one; the Model 39A.

The internet is awash in romanticization of the 39A and how it was the best lever action .22 rifle ever produced. A Google search will show you what I mean. 

I've never owned a 39A and I would like to. I considered the Chiappa LA-322 but my understanding is the internal parts are just different. If you want the looks, that could be a way to go. I have a Henry H001 that runs just fine but the materials quality and design aren't the same. The Henry uses an alloy internal frame with the outside part basically a painted shell. There are other manufacturers of lever action .22 rifles and I've fired none of them. 

The history of the 39A starts back in 1891 with the model of 1891 followed by a new model, the 1892, improving the loading system. Changes made to the design over the years eventually led to the model 39A released in 1939. When Marlin stopped making the 39A, I don't know. So the question on my mind is, when will Ruger bring back the 39A?

I think that will be a tall order. The current lever action .22 rifle market has several instances and they are inexpensive. Most of the base models appear to be under $400 making them pretty obtainable by most people. 

Most of the options on the market have engineered ways to make the guns cheaper. The Henry uses a shell over the internal frame. The Browning BL-22 is similar. The Rossi Rio Bravo follows suit. Chiappa uses what I call a cassette to make the action work and is very different to the Marlin 39A's action despite looking like a 39A. At one time, I considered a LA-322 from Chiappa to satisfy my desire for a look-a-like until I found out the action is so different. 

The Marlin 39A's action is complicated. Complicated means expensive. 

Speaking of expensive, let's look at the current Ruger lineup. The Marlin 336 used be available from Academy for around $499. Not anymore. Expect to pay at least $1000 for any of the new Marlin rifles. 

The machining and quality are why the new guns are so expensive. They're better made. If Ruger decides to make a 39A the same as the old ones, they won't be cheap. Don't expect a Marlin 39A to be $450 or less. In fact, if the 39A does come back, expect it be at least $1000. That's a lot of money to pay for a 22 rifle. Who's going to buy that? Honestly? Probably quite a few people. 

Let's look else where. The CZ 457 has versions such as the Varmint Trainer with an MSRP of $1315. The MTR version is $1600. Volqartsen plays in the same ball park with what are basically super high quality 10/22 rifles. That's pretty tame for a high quality .22 LR rifle. Vudoo Gun Works uses their V-22 action to produce a number of rifles. Their Sinister rifle series starts at $2925. Their single shot starts are $2040 and people pay for it. Feel free go to look at Anschutz. They have a model with an MSRP $4495. All of their Olympic style rifles have versions that push into the $6000 range. 

So will you pay $1000 for a high quality level action .22 LR? That's up to you. For me the 39A is a bucket list gun. I don't expect the accuracy to be on par with a NRL rifle but I expect the rifle will out last me. It would be something I can hand down to my kids. 

Man, I hope Ruger brings back the Marlin 39A.

No comments:

Post a Comment