By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is classic, maybe even iconic. Marlin Model 39A lever action .22 take-down rifle.
This weapon has the distinction of being the oldest, continually produced rifle in the world, having first gone into production in 1922. Well over 2.2 million of them have been produced.
The basic weapon started life as the Model of 1891, the first lever action rifle produced for the .22 long rifle cartridge. The magazine was loaded thru a side gate in the receiver like its large bore brothers. This was very quickly changed to the front loading tube used today as there were engineering problems with the feeding of small cartridges thru the side gate.
This weapon morphed into the takedown model of 1897, which became the Model 39 in 1921 and was followed by the Model 39A. The differences in the weapon have been so slight that it is generally considered that all variations are basically the same gun since 1897 when it became a take-down design.
The weapon gained much notoriety in 1893 when Annie Oakley used one to put 25 shots in 27 seconds thru one ragged hole in a target in 27 seconds at 12 yards. The tubular magazine holds 26 .22 shorts or 18 .22 long rifle rounds. It was always considered a pretty accurate rifle, the addition of the micro-groove rifling in the mid-1950s making it even more so.
The standard barrel is 24 inches long though “Mountie” versions with 20” barrels were also produced.