Micro-Groove rifling was the standard of the Marlin line from the mid-1950s up through the mid-1990s.Along about 1997 or so, Micro-Groove rifling was dropped from the big-bore 336s and 1894s, and Marlin returned to 6-groove "Ballard" rifling for these guns.The 1 in 38" twist used in the .44 Magnum limits this rifle to bullets no heavier than the 320 grain SSK FP, but the .45 Colt has a 1 in 16" twist and can easily handle a wide variety of bullet weights.The .357 Magnum version is one of my favorite plinking rifles when stoked with .38 special ammo, and makes a spectacular varmint rifle for game like jack rabbits and ground squirrels when loaded with ammo designed for rapid expansion.For example a Marlin model 39A with a serial number of N1255X would have been made in 1955 while a 1894 in 44 magnum with a serial number of 2510509X, would have equated to 1975 LEVER ACTIONS ALL FIREARMS 1945 = C 1957 = R 1968 = AD 1981 = 19 1993 = 7 1946 = D 1958 = S 1970 = 70 1982 = 18 1994 = 6 1947 = E 1959 = T 1971 = 71 1983 = 17 1995 = 5 1948 = F 1960 = U 1972 = 72 1984 = 16 1996 = 4 1949 = G 1961 = V 1973 = 73 & 27 1985 = 15 1997 = 3 1950 = H 1962 = W 1974 = 26 1986 = 14 1998 = 2 1951 = J 1963 = Y 1975 = 25 1987 = 13 1999 = 1 1952 = K 1964 = Z 1976 = 24 1988 = 12 2000 = 0 1953 = L 1965 = AA 1977 = 23 1989 = 11 1954 = M 1966 = AB 1978 = 22 1990 = 10 1955 = N 1967 = AC 1979 = 21 1991 = 9 1956 = P 1968 = AD 1980 = 20 1992 = 8 Something I didn't know until just the other day - if your M39 (not A) has a star stamped on the end of the upper tang, it means the factory gunsmithing inspector determined the rifle to be of higher grade manufacturing than the standard. i had pulled mine straight from rimfirecentral and have taken it as accurate.
Claims were made that Micro-Groove rifling produced better accuracy because it distorted the bullet less, but I have never been able to tell any significant difference in the accuracy between Ballard rifling and Micro-Groove rifling in my own group shooting.But the bottom line is that these two features allow one to pick out the Marlin leverguns from a jumbled up pile of rifles on a gunshow table, even without being able to see anything forward of the pistol grip. (22 caliber bolt action & semi-autos were not serial numbered prior to 1969) Firearm serial numbers were date coded by a prefix within the s/n, as signified below.When the hollow-point version of the Lyman 311041 is substituted into this load one gets a load that produces violent expansion and significant amounts of bloodshot meat (i.e.an explosive varmint load, but more destructive than some meat hunters care for). Rockwell became president of the new Marlin Arms Corporation, and in 1916 re-named it the Marlin Rockwell Corporation, which went on to become one of the largest machine gun manufacturers in the world.
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In 1910, John Barlow retired from his post leading the Ideal Reloading Tool Company, and Marlin bought Ideal, makers of the respected Ideal bullet moulds (Marlin also took over publication of the Ideal Handbooks, which they had been contributing to previously). As World War I ended, business faltered, and Marlin began to divest itself of the various other businesses that it had acquired during the war years (including the manufacture of ball bearings, roller bearings, radiators, automobiles, wire, bombs and high explosive projectiles).