Finicky Marlin 39A


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Old 10-10-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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Default Finicky Marlin 39A

So we've recently got a brand new 39A and boy is it acting up. We've been shooting some Federal bulk that we've had on hand for the Ruger Mk III. I should note here that I can't remember the Ruger ever malfunctioning. In the 39A, it's hard to shoot more than 5 shots without some kind of malfunction.


a)binds in the chamber (failure to eject)
b)The rod which is supposed to push the round into the chamber is getting underneath the round, causing it to nose down and jam in the action.
c)weak primer strikes.

A nice stranger at the range let us try some Winchester stuff and that didn't bind but we were still getting weak primer strikes and jam ups on the loading ramp.

I'm hoping that, short of sending is back to Marlin, their might be something that can be done to help resolve these problems. Thanks for your attention!



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Old 10-10-2011, 11:30 PM   #2
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My standard break-in round for any rimfire are CCI Minimags.
Bulk packs are for the most part, Factory Seconds...which may or may not be within proper specs.
Ruger's are made with loose tolerances so that they will eat ANYTHING...much like an AK.
Marlins are made like AR's...picky & finicky until broken in well.

First question, serial number...is it all numerical or does it start with MM or MR?
The MM & MR ones are from the new factories. Hate to say it, but the all-number CT ones from 2005-2010 ain't no better.
QC at New Haven was almost non-existant from 2005-2010...and things got worse during those years.
The QC issues at Marlin's KY plant are being nipped as they are reported...
the guy who is heading up that branch is VERY highly dedicated to getting the guns made right.
They will eventually be producing the Marlins to the standard that we know and love...meanwhile, there are growing pains as the new guys learn.


Second...oil in the chamber will cause binding as heat, pressure, & oil combine to make Glue.
Make sure the chamber is totally clear of oil/lube/etc.
While yer in there, after swabbing with many dry patches, take a Q-tip and see if you have a Burr in the chamber.

Third, work the lever with FORCE & Speed...no weak sister-ing it.
Work it like yer in a John Wayne Movie, with Authority!
If that solves it, great...
If not, have another person familiar with Lever-actions look it over...
If they can't figure it out, send it back to Marlin as something is likely out of alignment.

Don't feel bad about sending a rifle back to Marlin if need be...two new plants mean a ton of new workers who need to learn.
As with any new MFR'ing, when you are working with high volumes of metal gear, things happen.
Why do you think the first year of any new car tends to suck?? New assembly lines mean new folks trying to figure things out.
With time, it'll become a seamless operation...just like Toyota's US plant

That being said, prepare for your phone call to customer service...write down the issues on a pad, sit it in front of you with a pen,
get the gun and sit it next to you, THEN make the call. Be nice, but firm about getting the issue resolved.
Be aware it may take some time, so pick a day when you have nothing to do and call Early.
Be aware that some of the phone persons know Bupkiss about guns, and some are experienced.
The experienced ones will probably ask you a few questions about function and get you to try a few things which may/may not fix it.
If you feel that the Rep isn't getting you what you need, Ask for a Supervisor.
This will take more time, but they have more leeway to resolve issues.

I wish I had a few quick answers, like I usually do for the semi-auto & bolt actions, but I have yet to work on a Lever-action,
other than to field-strip & clean the two big bore Marlins I own. I gotta get a 39-series rifle one of these days...

Marlin Owners and Rimfire Central have HUGE Marlin info/repair sections which may resolve your problem a lot quicker.
Chances are they've seen it and answered it about 100 times...

Good Luck



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Old 10-10-2011, 11:59 PM   #3
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Many post and treads on many sites report such instances with newer Marlin 39's.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:14 AM   #4
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I think Brownells might have extra power hammer springs that might fix the light firing pin strikes.

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:22 AM   #5
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As Bug Shrek said- clean it GOOD. Lube lightly. Cycle the actions smartly. If that does not do it, send it back. I have two 50+ year old 39A's that cycle like the action is full of butter. NEVER fail to feed, fire, extract or eject.

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:13 AM   #6
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We keep our guns pretty spotless, no matter what they are. We tried removing the oil completely from the chamber, though we only lightly oil anyway. It didn't seem to make a difference. We tested Winchester Super High Velocity with the same result. Binding in the chamber. The jam ups in the action were almost non-existent this time. No clue why, we didn't do anything differently. Hoping that it continues to clear up after a couple hundred more rounds.

Following that, we shot 200 rounds of CCI minimags and got away with none getting stuck in the chamber. For some reason they made the action a little more stiff to cycle though.

We kept stats on all our failures this time, and the only thing that stayed consistent was weak primer strikes, which tells me that's going to need attention. Again, thanks for the input guys!

For those interested, today's range numbers:
We got about 3 shots per tube of 19 binding in the chamber with bulk ammo.
About 1.5 - 3 shots per tube of 19 would fail to fire with any type of ammo used.
Only 2 jammed up in the action over roughly 500 shots tonight.

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Old 10-12-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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I will admit to being slightly OCD about my ammo...I've been known to sit and Micrometer several boxes of .22lr & .22WMR,
then rebox them according to bullet width size...

You will find variences within the same box of ammo...believe it or micro it yourself

That's why I preach about CCI/Blazer...most consistant inexpensive bulk .22lr ammo I've ever found.
Wolf Match is also very regular...but stinky



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