Monday, November 22, 2010

I have a (GOOD) problem

It seems there isn't a Marlin 39 or 1897 that I don't want to buy... My budget keeps it in check for the most part but last week three of them came home with me...  A GOOD problem.

First I came into a 39 Century Ltd via a trade, and then I came into another in a trade with a friend - add those with the other one I got earlier this year and it made a nice set.  Circumstances, which will be more clear later in this post, didn't allow me to play that hand long but I had NO problem finding a home for the extra...  Leaving me with a pair of 39 Century Ltds which feels mighty good.

My first Century Ltd is probably the most accurate of the seven 39's I've owned.  I shot my best silhouette score with that rifle and it does impressive little groups on paper too when my eyes are fresh and there is good light.  I've packed it around my property on a good many walks and enjoyed plinking and Grouse hunting with it.  Very light and portable carbine sized rifle.

I de-badged the stock.  It is a preference thing.  I like the look of uncluttered wood.

The other Century Ltd is looking like it's a shooter too.  It arrived in better shape than my first one and it appears to have a lot less mileage on it.  The trigger is a little heavier and that did affect some of my early target efforts but once I adjusted I started shooting it very well.

Before the dust could settle on the Century Ltd's my local fun pusher said he had a client selling off some of his Marlin collection...  Life is GOOD!  I inquired about what was available and there were a number of gems he was willing to part with.

Sadly my wallet wasn't any fatter since the last time I opened it so I had to borrow some money from the boss -My lovely and understanding Wife is more proof to what a Lucky Man I am! 

I came home with a 1897 Cowboy (vintage 1999)

 I have been wanting one of these for a while.  Marlin didn't make enough of them (1999-2001) and their owners tend to hang onto them.  I was VERY pleased with price I got and even more pleased with the way it shoots

 Federal (bulk) Champion
The first targets I shot once I had it sighted in.  Not bad for the cheap stuff.

 It didn't take me long to get it sighted in - the Marlin octagonal barrels have been consistently excellent for me, front and rear sights centered and it just becomes a matter of elevation.  The Marbles rear sight has an inner reversible sight black that is also elevation adjustable.  I try to set it so on the lowest notch it shoots point of aim at 25 yards.  That usually gives me more than enough notches to reach out to 200 yards with a right on hold.

Early preliminary testing indicates that on the second notch I should have a 50 yard zero and the third notch up should be right on at 100 yards with two notches to spare.  Using the 100 yard zero there is about a 36" drop out to 200 so it will be interesting to see if the top two notches will get me all the way there.

I am REALLY liking the longer barreled Marlins.  They seem to just hang on the targets.  All I have to do is put the front sight where it goes and start squeezing.  The Marlin 1897 CB sure makes that easy to call my shots.  I was able to shoot a couple of offhand targets that I would have been proud of off the bench.

A friend of mine used his tang sight equipped 39A shoot a 3 shot 3" group at 300 yards off the sticks a couple of weeks ago.  Not something he could do every time but it does show the potential of these rifles.

Octagonal Barrels on a Marlin 39 / 1897 

Like my other "rebounding hammer" Marlin, the 39 TDS I did have some issues with light strikes on the Aquila, CCI and Winchester brands of ammo resulting in failures to fire.  A second hammer strike set them all off but that wasn't satisfactory to me.  Removing and inspecting the bolt I noticed the firing pin retention pin was over driven.  I pushed it out so it was flush with the top of the bolt and it greatly mitigated the issue, though I still had about 20% of the Aguila ammo require two strikes.  Some more tweaking and I suspect that will be remedied too.  The Federal ammo is 100% reliable.

I ran few varieties of ammo over the Chronograph.  Surprisingly the velocity was lower than my other Marlins, including the other 24" 39A - which shoots everything faster than the others except subsonic ammunition.

With the Federal ammo the 39 Century Ltd (20" barrel) gets 50 fps more than the 1897 CB.  With the Subsonic ammo the difference is about 60 fps.  Out of the 24" barrel the Subsonic ammo's report is noticeably reduced.

Overall I couldn't be more pleased.  I am really looking forward to the next Silhouette match and my expectations are very high for the 1897 CB. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Whit. I read your post about the Marlin rifle. I've had my Marlin 39 Century LTD since 1970. It was a Christmas gift from my father. He gave me and my brother the rifles in that year. I still have is gone. I'm not sure if they were sold in pairs or not...I don't believe so. My serial number is 16875. I'd live to find the other one. Anyway...enjoyed your post about them.
Charles in Silver Spring, MD

Whit Spurzon said...

Thanks for stopping by Charles.