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Old September 8, 2012, 07:13 AM   #1
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marlin 39a action very stiff

I picked up a 1957 Marlin 39a and the action is so stiff it's painful to work the lever as intended. I've cleaned and lubed but it's still too stuff.

I've worked the action close to 1000 times. I can't tell if I'm making much progress.

I'm thinking about polishing the bolt and the lever at all the wear marks. Nothing much, just a few passes with fine grit sandpaper. Bad idea?
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Marlin 795, 795ss, 39A Mountie, CZ-455 American, CZ-452 Scout, CZ-75 Kadet, AOM160 M1 Carbine, USGI M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, Dan Wesson PM7 1911
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:32 AM   #2
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Fill the action with white lithium grease and then work it a few hours.
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:21 AM   #3
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If you have a 1957 model and it is stiff, I would bet something is worn.

I have a much newer one that was stiff at first and has now smoothed up a lot.

Has your rifle been shot much? It is possible that the gun is virtually new "old" stock.

The lithium grease is a good idea. Before I went that route, I would be taking a close look without the grease for any signs of worn parts or galling.

Proceed based on what you observe from that inspection.

Please get back and let us know what you find out. The 39A is a very fun rifle to shoot and almost as accurate as my CZ452.

Carpe Cerveza
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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old oil?

could it be the the rifle has old oil that has turned into something that is more like varnish than oil and is gumming the action up?
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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Well, he said he cleaned and lubed it so there shouldn't be any "old oil" left. I agree with geetarman-a stiff model 39 made in 1957 suggests that something is worn out and might need replacing. If cleaning and lubing and operating the action hundreds of times doesn't work in terms of smoothing up the operation, it sounds like a trip to the gunsmith might be in order.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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Have you field stripped it? This just doesn't sound right. Maybe something is binding up?
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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What happens if you back off the take down screw just a little.Happened to mine and I had to use a nylon washer, worked like a charm. Cliff
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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Yup, mrt7024 (aka cliff) is saying what I was thinking. Crank down on that takedown screw too much and my 39A action gets really tight.
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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Another check is to look at the mainspring.
At some point in the past Marlin used a mainspring assembly that could be adjusted by moving the retention plate to a different slot.
If the plate is set to far forward the tension is too tight and the action is very tight.

Later rifles used a sort of "L" shaped retention design, and this can get screwed up by improper disassembly.

And as above, you want the action screw tight but not TOO tight.

For "off the wall" stuff, check to see if a screw in the receiver side wall or receiver top is too long. Sometimes replacements were installed that were too long.
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