I Might Have Been Sold a FrankenGun

Discussion in 'Marlin Rimfires' started by CaptainBob, May 22, 2015.

  1. CaptainBob

    CaptainBob New Member

    I recently bought what was advertised as a 1964 Marlin 39A Golden for almost $600. When I was sixteen-years-old, the '64 was my first brand new rifle that I bought. I loved that gun. Four years later, while in the Navy, it and other guns got "sold" from my home while I was at sea for months. For the last few years I looked for one to replace it. I bought this from a gun forum member based on his description.

    When I got the gun I noticed the lever was loose as was the fore stock. Upon breaking it down, it appeared someone had put a newer (shorter)lever screw in place. I ordered a new one and decided to give it to my gunsmith for tightening and gong over. He got a bad feeling as soon as he broke it down. The hammer will cock and actually stick all the way to the back and it looks like someone might have built this "original Golden 39A" out of parts.

    The photo attached is of what I'll call the bottom front of the upper receiver. I know next to nothing about 39's other than the one I owned many years ago and my smith isn't an expert but he thinks he has seen ones where there is usually a serial number stamped on the area (circled in blue) to match the one under the tang. You'll notice in this photo that it looks like this area has been gone over with a power tool and you can feel something with your


    Also, should this model have a golden trigger? This one does not.

    It feeds fine and goes bang. However, the wrong lever screw and what looks like some other refinishing and overall looseness makes us wonder if this is an original 1964 Marlin 39A Golden (as advertised) or a Frankengun.

    My main questions are "Should a '64 model have a golden trigger if it is advertised as a Golden 39? Is the serial number stamped in more than one place on the gun so we can validate all original parts? And, should there be a serial number or something in the area circled in blue?"

    Again, I am including a photo of one area circled in blue, where someone definitely removed metal. Why it was removed is still up in the air. My gunsmith will try and reveal what what there - if anything.

    If it helps, the bullseye is there as well as two swivel points.

    Thanks for you help.
  2. FOUR4D4

    FOUR4D4 Well-Known Member

    Many Marlins have the gold trigger not just the golden39.I was told the gold triggers and other parts back in the day were used to prevent rust.I don't think the Goldens were named because of the trigger. I knew some one who worked at the old Marlin plant that said sometimes they would run out of parts and use what ever they had and would work.

  3. MattNH

    MattNH Well-Known Member

    The 39's are the only Marlin 22 rifle I know very little about.

    One thing I did find in the Brophy book, in 1964 Marlin dropped the use of the name "Golden" in the catalog. pp 289.

    As FOUR4D4 mentions, there are a lot of transition guns out there where something was changed and they continued to use old stock with some newer revision parts and put the rifles together with parts on hand. I have a S&W 28-2 with a non-pinned barrel, but a recessed cylinder, called a transitional.
  4. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

    Have you asked the forum member you bought it from? Maybe he does know answers to your questions. Maybe he didn't know except what he was told when he bought it.
  5. CaptainBob

    CaptainBob New Member

    I haven't asked the seller about it yet as I want to know what all is going on inside it first. I'm guessing he bought it from someone to make a buck on it and doesn't know much more that what he was told. But, what was advertised isn't what I got. So, we'll work that out when I find out exactly what's going on inside.

    Here is the latest from the smith:

    I just looked at your rifle again. Good news-I found the last three digits of the serial number inside the upper receiver. It is stamped in the circular cut that locks the two halves together. The location, looking at your photo is the circular cut at the left most end of the receiver, about on line with the large hole near the serial number. So, at least the upper and lower match.

    After reading that ad, (I sent him a copy of the seller's ad) I pulled your rifle off the rack and looked at the trigger very closely. It may have been gold-plated at one time, but under magnification, it is obvious that it has been refinished.

    I'm not sure why the hammer is over-rotating and standing past full cock, but I'll do some measuring and research, find out and correct it.
  6. mm93

    mm93 Well-Known Member

    Depending on the age, the serial number might not be located where you think. Many are marked on the top tang, behind the hammer. And the other half is marked inside the receiver, on the center of the other half.
    Not sure what the odd looking marks are on the bottom, but might be damage from resting in a rack while traveling in a truck? Or sitting on something while being fired?
  7. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporting

    Looking forward to what you find out Capt'...
  8. Groffeaston

    Groffeaston Active Member


    I am also not familiar with that specific model, but something does sound a little "Odd","Off" or "Suspicious". But some of the conditions you describe could have been possibly caused by heavy usage and/or being poorly or roughly handled. Why? I remember one TV show that mentioned about "repairing" some "defects" from "rough handling" that sounds very similar to some of the details you mention. But like someone else mentioned it could be one of those rifles were they had parts left over from a previous model and decided to use them up while waiting for the newer parts to be made or they were running out of parts and decided to use parts from a different model to fill in the "gaps" until more parts could be made.

    So, I would recommend do a little more research and have you gunsmith check it out a little more and see what turns up. You never know you might have a "rare" firearm! lol