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Anytime I see a lever-action rifle I start to daydream. My thoughts turn to Wild West shootouts. Bison hunts from horseback. Saloons full of loose women getting tight on whiskey. I start planning out hand-tooled saddle scabbards that match the obligatory chaps, hat and cowboy boots. Needless to say, in Casa de Finn this plan goes over like a Milli Vanilli Grammy Award. Apparently no one wants dad wandering around dressed like the Duke. Undeterred, I began my quest for a lever-action rifle. In the great tradition of Ernest Hemingway, I traded my chaps for Marlin fishing . . .

At the risk of offending purists, I narrowed my search to a lever-action gun with a semi-pistol grip, flat top receiver and side eject. The Winchester 94 or anything made by Henry was out. I eventually settled on a Marlin Model 336. And then I encountered an interesting concept: the Cowboy Assault Rifle (CAR). Uh-huh. A lever action with modern “tacticool” accessories. A potent combat weapon that maintains its “ladies and gentlemen of the jury, does this look like an assault rifle to you?” non-street cred. So I traded a dust-collecting shotgun for a Marlin 336 in .30-30.

A Little History

Marlin Firearms has been manufacturing the 336 since 1948. In all-time sales of high-powered rifles in the United States, the 336 is second only to the Winchester Model 94. Chambered in .30-30, Marlin’s potent Brady to Welker-esque hunting rifle combo has put venison on many a table across the country. It did so via a wide variety of handgun and rifle calibers, including .219 Zipper, .32 Special and .44 Magnum. These days you can buy a Marlin lever-action rifle in any caliber you like — as long as it’s in a .30-30 Winchester or .35 Remington chambering. Current models include the Marlin 336C (curly maple hardwood stock), Model 336SS (stainless steel), Model 336TDL Texan Deluxe (black walnut hardwood stock with Marlin horse and rider inlaid in gold), Model 336W (walnut-finished hardwood stock), Model 336W w/scope (factory-mounted 3-9x32mm riflescope), Model 336XLR (black and gray laminated hardwood stock), and Model 336Y (Youth). All have swivels, cut fore-end checkering, and side ejection.

In the 1950s, Marlin built its 336 lever guns with its proprietary “Micro-Groove” barrels. The technique ditches a small number of deep rifling grooves (a.k.a. Ballard rifling) for a larger number of shallow rifling grooves. The idea: Modern jacketed bullets would get into the micro-groove rifling better than they would with Ballard rifling (designed for non-jacketed lead bullets).

First Impressions 

The Marlin 336W boasts classic smooth lines with just enough aggressive overtones to let you know it means business. Classic and deadly. Like Ben, I’m a major-league tree hugger (re: his Weatherby PA-08 review). The warm tones of the Marlin’s walnut-finished hardwood stock had me in full embrace mode. It’s a no frills, all-smooth stock and forearm weapon, with just enough sheen to let you know this lady’s got class.

I’m not a fan of the action’s blued finish. Fingerprints on the bluing drive me crazy. I have to resist the urge to wipe the gun off after every time I reload it. Thanks to my OCD, I avoid blued firearms like a Red Sox fan avoids Yankee Stadium. On the aesthetic level, the Marlin’s bluing is beauteous. The receiver shines like a freshly Windex-ed mirror; the barrel bluing is deep, rich and flawless.

The Marlin is surprisingly light and nimble. It weighs considerably less than my old shotgun or Mosin and only a tenth of a pound more than your typical fully loaded “m4gery.” It snaps to the shoulder naturally; the 20-inch barrel gives this Marlin rifle near-perfect balance. A proper cheek weld is no sweat. It has a hardwood, not walnut stock.

Once you get this baby lined up on target, you notice that the Marlin’s sights, for lack of a better word, suck. The front post is all black and hooded; seeing it through the elevation adjustable semi-buckhorn folding rear sight is a challenge equal to spotting a bear in thick brush. The rear sight notch is also all black, of course. Aiming the lever gun at anything darker than my pasty Irish skin (not that I recommend violating Rule 1), you’re hard pressed to even see the Marlin’s front sight.   

Tacticool that. And you know I will. But first …

At the range

Fellow TTAG writer Ben Shotzberger and I headed to the range on a fine snowy Saturday to see if the Marlin could shoot as well as she looks. We got to Clarks Brothers, our favorite little range in the boonies, and picked up some Winchester 170gr and Remington 150gr Core-Lokt semi-jacketed soft points. For initial testing, we’d be firing at 50 yards (saving 100-yard shooting for the CAR conversion). Besides, neither of us felt like trudging through the snow to check a target at 100 yards. 

Like any “proper” lever-action carbine, you load the shells through a gate on the side of the receiver. You press in and forward, forcing the shells into the tubular magazine that is located under the barrel. One of the major upsides of this system: You can top off your rounds without having to take the rifle out of battery. After loading the Marlin with six centerfire rifle rounds in the magazine tube, you’re ready to boogie.

We took our time with the first shots, trying to get a feel for the rifle and how it liked the ammo. Felt recoil was pretty mild, but that muzzle has some jump (I’ll tell you what). Accuracy with the Winchester 170gr was acceptable, but nothing spectacular. As you can see in the photo, the 170gr bullets were kind of all over the place and mostly to the left, much like our friend “hizzoner” Michael Bloomberg.

The Remington 150gr ammo was a different story. Despite the always evident flyers, the Marlin loved this round. With stock sights, this particular load produced some decent groups. With good optics or a red dot, I’m sure they would only get tighter. Using polymer-pointed Hornady LeveRevolution rounds might work, too.

Next we tried out some “rapid” fire with both load outs. Reloading as fast as practical, we fired a total of 13 rounds at the target with all but one getting on paper. Not the fastest or most impressive shooting, but everything was definitely minute of bad guy. Getting back on target in between shots was the biggest detriment to speed. Muzzle jump wasn’t the main issue. The stock sights were to target acquisition what Christina Aguilera is to lyric memorization. Perhaps something like this would be more attractive [Note to Mrs. Finn: both the previous sentence and the following video were inserted by TTAG’s editor-in-chief.]

Unlike the young lady’s trigger finger in the video above, my Marlin functioned flawlessly, with one hiccup. At one point it seemed that the final round just wouldn’t go into the magazine. Upon closer inspection one of us (i.e. not me) was a tad too delicate with the loading procedure. When the appropriate (i.e. not Ben) level of force was applied, the round went in just fine.

After that, every round chambered, fired and extracted. The Marlin’s lever action (a regular loop not a big loop) was ergonomically superb, as smooth as Bruce Willis’ head. With the hammer spur cocked, the trigger was absolutely phenomenal. Stock triggers on all the high-end ARs and bolt-action rifles I’ve shot don’t even come close. The Marlin’s got absolutely no trigger pull slack. It breaks so cleanly it could be the spokesperson for Clorox. No gunsmith work needed.


The Marlin 336 is popular and iconic — and for good reason. Its maneuverability, light weight and ease of use has earned the deer rifle a place near and dear to hunters’ hearts for over half a century. The rifle’s elegant simplicity and reliability, coupled with hard hitting .30-30 cartridges, make it a very potent threat to both black bear and whitetails or anyone bearing you ill will.

Accuracy with open sights is better than par and while six rounds isn’t 30, if you need more than that then you should probably consider moving out of Kandahar. This rifle is Marlin’s bread ’n butter and my new favorite gun. Now it’s time to accessorize.


 Caliber: .30-30 Winchester

 Barrel length: 20″, with barrel band

 Overall Length: 38.5”

 Weight: 7 lbs.

 Finish: Blued

 Capacity: 6

 Price: Between $300 to $400 new depending on where you buy

RATINGS (out of five)

Style * * * * *

This rifle oozes classic style that would make any cowboy (or girl) ready to saddle up.

Ergonomics * * *

Lightweight, comfortable and quick to the shoulder making it a real pleasure to shoot. No recoil pad. The sights are horrible. A ghost ring or riflescope, such as a Leupold low magnification glass, would be nice. 

Reliability * * * * *

Ate everything we fed it with unfailing dependability and ease.

Customizable * * * * *

Stocks, sights and scopes are readily available. Start adding Picatinny-railed scout mounts and then you enter into a whole new level of tactical accessories.

Overall Rating * * * * *

The stars say it all. This is a great weapon. For deer hunting and otherwise.

More lever-action love from The Truth About Guns:

Gun Review: Marlin 336 Cowboy Assault Rifle

Model 336BL Proves Marlin’s Back! In Theory…

New from Wild West Guns: Browning BLR Takedown Combo Rifle

Gun Review: Ruger 96/22

Big Horn Armory Introduces the Scout Lever-Action Rifle in 500 Smith & Wesson

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  1. In my defense; my gloves suck, kept getting stuck in the damned feeder .. and you never want to break a friends rifle on it’s first day at the range.

    I’ll hold my tongue otherwise 🙂 ..

    • Haha, you’re going to hate me even more Ralph when you see the piece on the Marlin Cowboy Assault Rifle.

      • Hey ryan, was wanting your opinion on the rossi rio grande. I like the looks of the ss just like the marlin336ss and the lesser price. But, is it naturally a lower price due to lower quality and accuracy..etc…? Thoughts?

      • RYAN,
        What is a good website for 336 tac accessories, ie stocks, rails, lights, and optics? I am an Army guy so love the tactical but love my 1911 and traditional old school weapons. The Marlin 336 will be my next purchase. Not sure if new or pawn shop and give one a new life.

  2. Cool gun. I’ve been wondering about one, but in 357Mag. For 50-100 yards, would I need more? A full house 357, or a plinkin’ 38. And I think the pistol ammo versions hold more rounds, too. I wonder if a lighter round would reduce muzzle flip (or if those guns are simply lighter also).

    Also: if you want to “cowboy up”, think about this: having your rifle *and* your pistol take the same ammunition. I’d think that would be in the cowboy way–that way, the ammo loops on your belt works in either gun.

    • A brother of a friend of mine has the Marlin 1894 chambered for the .357 Mag. He swears it’s the best pig gun out there and keeps it holstered in the cab of his pickup while he works his central Texas farm. The magazine holds 10 rounds.

      • I have that very model. Marlin 1894 Lever in .357. Damn straight shooter, light, quick. Giving that .357 Mag revolver round an additional 12 inches of barrel really puts up some impressive FPS/speed. Spent some time on my dad’s ranch shooting a target tacked to a 6 inch fence pole. It shot completely through the post from about 25 yards away. Of all my guns, this one definitely ranks at the top of my list of favs.

  3. Nice review. The reference to hizzhoner gave me a chuckle. I have the 336 XLR in stainless and I love it. The extra long barrel makes me feel like more of a crack shot. I got it for all the reasons you put forth in the second paragraph. Though a bit sacrilegious for a cowboy gun, I put a scope on it that’s way too powerful. I’m hoping it will go on a 308 at some point. I bought it with the Hornaday Leverevolution round in mind. The round is superb and it’s superior ballistics make it decent out to almost 300 yrds in 30-30. There are videos on youtube of 400 yrd hits with the round, but energy starts to drop off at that range. The rubber points make it ok to load in a tubular magazine for short periods, as well as aerodynamically superior to the standard 30-30. You might want to pick up a hammer spur if you mount a scope on it.

    You should check out the Browning lever gun. It’s a blue finish, but it’s a piece of artwork. Built like a fine watch, for basically the same price. It’s too pretty for me to put a scope on though.

  4. I picked up a 35 rem model this summer. It is truly wonderful with the remington 200 gr. rnsp. my 13 yr old son love it . Its his up north deer gun for next year.
    I painted the front sight white. the stoping power of the 35 and 30/30 are truly wonderful . the slugs expand a Lot and penetration is good too. good find.
    side benefit: 30/30 ammo is always the cheapest centerfire rifle ammo in any store.
    I saw it under $10 a box on sale during deer season last year.

    • I just recently bought a Marlin model 336 RC made in 1957 in 35 Rem cal.and when i compare it to my friends brand new 336 30-30 I cant believe how rough the new ones are compared to the older ones.The new one functions and shoots just fine but it feels junky and the wood and metal finish is third rate.I love Marlins but I hope they click it up a few notches in the quality department.

    • Scopes are great onthe 336. Unlike the Win. M94, the Marlin has full side ejection and later models are tapped for standard eye relief. A fixed power, low mag., light scope like the old Weaver K2.5X or Leupold compact M8 2.5X would be perfect. Optically superior, low power, durable scopes take maximum advantage of the low-power round and keep the shooter in the 200 to 250 yd. or so effective range. I love my 336T and feel it is superior to the M94. Quick field take-down into few parts, clean from the breech, accurate and light carbine.

      • hi how you alldoing I bought is gun its a barker and has problems with the feed it holds slugs in the mag it started with six shots and in the end only 5 in the mag it dose not feed proper whats up with that yes this is years after you al made the posts on how great this gun was but whats up with the feed prob. in real life even the dealer says go shoot it. hey that’s fine if you can get it to chamber around… with good bullets no joke whats up like to get it fixed..

  5. Looking at the price of the Browning I see now it’s a bit more than the Marlin, but still a beautiful rifle. (Also comes in stainless)

    Here is the video I mentioned. 550 yrds wth The Hornaday round in a Winchester 94. Same scope I have, although I wont be trying a shot that far. There is also a vid of a 50 year old guy making a hit at 400 yards using the iron sights on a 336 in 30/30!!

  6. PERDY, ain’t she? You guys keep this up you’re going to cost me my mariage. My list is getting really long………………………………………. Any reviews on CZ’s ?

  7. I appreciate the editors note on the pic! We need to get Ben to babysit so I can head with my handsome husband to the range…but I highly doubt Ben would want to reload sippy cups and change diapers and miss out on seeing my impressive shooting skills. By impressive I mean I can hold a gun. But I can do things with my breasts that no gun can. Feed babies. Booya.

  8. Hey, that’s my gun (one of them)! It’s a terrific firearm. Your review has inspired me to send some lead downrange with it, which I haven’t done in too many years.

    You are spot-on about the blued finish. I usually put gloves on when I handle my 336 so I don’t get it all smudged up.

  9. I’m badly regretting the sale of my Model 36 fifteen years ago. (Same gun, shorter barrel, shorter magazine tube.) The finish was beautiful but the trigger was horrible. Now I’m desperately seeking the 1894 in .357, and hoping my wife won’t notice it in the gun safe. The .357 reaches amazing velocities from long barrels; more than enough power for hogs or even small deer.

  10. Another advantage to the Browning are the take downs.

    My oldest son has a Marlin in .44 and his younger brother has one in .357. The original idea was to compliment their Black Hawks. I had not thought about hogging with them but they should do the trick. The .357 pushed through the long barrel does everything that was said about it thirty years ago coming out of a revolver. Gun writers over hype, I am starting to get used to it. Its the reason I like TTAG.

    The oldest son currently is making a living as a TAC-P over in the sandbox. For those who are clueless, search it through Wikipedia. Nacho regular job.

    I have a brother-in-law who has lived in California for the past 40 years. While at a family reunion he overheard something about my AR. He asked me “why would you want one of THOSE??” I said that I bought it the day I found out what my son would be doing in the Air Force. I spent $800 on the gun and $200 more on ammo. By the time we burned through the ammo we were both getting pretty good dropping prairie dogs in north Texas. My son later went to Ft. Leonard Wood for training on the Barrett .50. On the 1500 meter range, he hit the target’s bulls-eye on the second shot (the bulls-eye in this case was the driver’s door of a Suburban painted onto the back stop). His instructor had looked at his training file and new this was the first time the government had trained him on the .50. The sergeant said “Wow, that is really good for someone who has never shot one of these before.” My boy said “grew up in Tennessee. Barrett is kind of a big thing there.” “Oh”.

    I didn’t spring for a Barrett but a friend of mine contributed one to the prep effort.

    My point with all of this bragging is that with all of the reasons I hear about for the civilian ownership of guns, I never hear about military prep. When one of my boys (I have four) graduates from basic, I want to know he was the best shooter there. Spare me the crap about “why would you need…”. I have never had anyone say preparing a son for war is not a worthwhile reason for having a weapon.

    And I am E. Zach Lee-Wright

  11. Confession time: 4 Marlin leverguns. First was an 1895 in .45-70, bought in 1975. I load that with 48gr of 3031 behind a 350gr JSP bullet. Out to about 150 yards, that will drop an elk pretty quickly. Admittedly, you don’t want to fire a whole bunch of those from the bench. Leopold 1.5-4.5X short scope, or an XS ghost-ring peep with their front sight for hogs or black bears at short ranges.

    For cowboy (SASS) shoots, a Marlin Cowboy in .45LC – octagonal barrel, 10 rounds, tang sight. Hey, had to have something to go with my colt SAA in .45, right?

    Marlin 1894Classic in .32-20, just ’cause I like the cartridge.

    Marlin 1894 in .357 Mag, as an emergency SHTF gun when I drive back east to see the family – “gee, it’s just a little lever action, officer. I’m going deer hunting with some folks in Ohio.” Williams peep and a fiber optic front sight, loaded with 150gr JHP or JSP, this is an accurate, hard hitting round out to 150 yards – very little drop, and you pick up a LOT of extra velocity from an 18-inch barrel compared to a 4″ or 6″ revolver. Besides, I needed something to go with the .357 revolver, right? Decent hunting round on deer, looks less threatening than an AR when you are traveling through anti-gun jurisdictions. (Carried unloaded in a locked hard case in the back of the truck when going through, say, the Peoples Republic of Illinois, in accordance with Federal firearms transport laws. And I never exceed the posted speed limits on the freeways in the PRIL) .

    AND the final benefit of the Marlins is the dis-assembly procedure for cleaning: Take out the large screw that holds the lever in the frame – lever and bolt both drop out so you can run a cleaning rod through from the chamber. ONE screw to remove and put back. Ever take an old Winchester ’94 apart? After all of the 15,000 screws and pieces are out, you better have a manual or a gunsmith friend handy to get it back together.

  12. I always get giddy when I read about the Marlin 336. I got one a couple of years ago from a major retailer for $319. I used the iron sights for about 6 months then put a cheap 3×9(?) scope on it so I could see nicely past 100yds. Like the Author, the 336 gives me visions of the old west and growing up in southern AZ it fits. All the Louis L’Amour books I read when I was little just adds to the cowboy persona.

    Thanks for the review!


  13. I imagine the Marlin Model 336 remains popular in Alaska too. Along with the
    venerable Winchester Model 1894 or ’94 (designed by John M. Browning) and
    perhaps also the Savage Model 99 chambered in .300 Savage. I was told of
    a shooter dropping a large Alaskan moose with one shot fired from a Marlin
    Model 336 in .35 Remington. If a person properly places their shots with
    practical accuracy and don’t over extend the range of their rifle, then they
    shouldn’t need a magnum. Classic lever action rifles have put alot of fresh
    meat on the table and in the freezer over the generations. They are like
    the K-Frame Smith and Wesson Model 10 .38 Special Military and Police
    revolver originally introduced in 1899: they remain in vogue even today despite
    much newer firearms designs.

  14. Had mine since ’77. Loved it since they day I got. Never had a bit of trouble out of it. Never a better brush gun if you ask me. Enjoyed your story…

  15. I set up my 336 /.30-30 with a square post/white line front sight. Then opened and squared the rear sight notch for a fast clear sight picture. To make the most of the rifles’ accuracy potential, I mounted a 2.5x Leupold Compact scope in Weaver quick detachable low ring mounts on a Weaver base. This is the lowest and lightest scope/ mount combination available, adding just over 10 ounces of additonal weight. With the scope removed the modified open sights are clearly visable through the grooved Weaver scope base.

    The rifle scope is sighted in to place Winchester 170 grain Power Point ammo 3 inches above the duplex crosshair at 100 yards. So sighted the commonly available WW Power Points give the little carbine a 200 yard point blank range, striking just 3.5″ below the crosshair at that distance.

  16. I have owned about 6 of these over the years, going back to when they called it something else and had a really fat foreend…Problems with the factory sights?
    Not really-put in some range time with the open sights and invest a few boxes of 150 grain ammo and you will find how good they really are. They are meant for offhand shooting at game, and are very quick to pick up and re-aquire. FWIW, the .35 Rem version is a tad more accurate than the .30-30, but the ammo costs about 3x as much and is harder to find. You can generally find 20 or so of them used in a 50 mile radius of wherever you are, and they are not collectable like the W. brand so they are still cheap.
    A great rifle.


  17. A complete bolt action rifle hunter, I bought one of these over 12 years ago as a kind of, semi-, almost, Assault Rifle. I figured having it around, or even in a courtroom, would cause fewer side-looks from people who might be deciding my fate. As a result, I added nothing tacti-cool to it. I did put some money into gunsmithing, though.

    The stock was entirely too long out of the box and I found that made my second and subsequent shots slower than from my bolt actions – kind of destroying the ideal… I had Sandy Garrett (Northern Virginia Gun Works) reduce the Length of Pull to a more standard 13.5″ with one of the Pachmayr Sporting Clay recoil pads – a hard insert in the pad material at the heel prevents the snagging that’s common when mounting other pads. The trigger is a crisp, 3.5 pounds, though I don’t recall if Sandy fixed it or it came out of the box that way. (Normally, I’d say Sandy had done it, but the rifle really appears to have been destined to be a commemorative with fantastic wood, and who knows what Marlin does to such triggers…)

    Unlike you, I left the sights alone, though I’ve been tempted to install a Williams or Lyman side-mounted receiver sight, just to see if I can improve on the 3-inch, 100-yard, groupings the factory open sights allow with the Remington 150 gr loads I chose as well. I was okay with the rear sights, and I like the hooded front sights for protection for my pseudo-AR, but I can never get used to the front sight bead profile – a good sight should be flat at the top, and not gold. Still, though, the sights are pretty robust and work fine at 100 yards, and the whole package points instinctively like a fine shotgun out to 25 yards or so without sights, so it’s better than a pistol in almost all cases. I’m still thinking about a receiver-mounted red dot, as that position won’t change the superb balance as much as the forward mount, and also won’t require a search for a rail.

    The thuty-thuty’s pretty much gone out of style now, with everyone needing a 300 magnum to hunt whitetails. I’ll note that in my years of deer hunting the vast majority of my kills have been within 100 yards, and only one over 400 yards, and I wouldn’t take that shot today – there was too much luck involved. It’s only style that changed on hunting rifles, not need.

  18. I will second that Jaywalker, All this tacticon crap, hasn’t changed anything except cosmetics of the rifle. Old-timers had it right long time ago. It was simple and effective, And cost alot less.

  19. Please email me your info on the Marlin Cowboy Assault Rifle. Looking to have N VA gunworks do my marlin up. Grizzly has good package for these over 1k to mod it.

  20. my wife just bought me a marlin 336 35 remington used from cabelas and the lever was zip tied. once i got it home and cut the zip tie off it seems that the lever is quite sensitive. once you close the chamber if you barely bump the lever it pops away from the stock. is that normal or anything that i should worry about?

    • I just bought one new in 30-30 and have the same ‘issue’. At first I thought it was a safety feature to have to hold the lever against the stock or something. It will stay – just don’t be gentle with it when you cycle the action. I”m figuring (hoping?) it gets better with wear, but your experience hint otherwise.

  21. Very Good piece ! There just is not a better rifle for Tree Stand Hunting Whitetail deer at close to medium range. My 30-30 Balances Perfectly with a bit of forward weight, which is what a person needs. Short, Quick, and all the power needed for how I hunt Deer.

  22. I bought a new 336 in 35 caliber in 1960. My lever would not want to stay completely closed. The trouble was the trigger safety spring was a little strong and would push the lever down. A wire spring you can bend a little to adjust. No more troube in all these years.

  23. I just got my 336A 30-30 about 2 months ago and I couldn’t be happier with it. I was at the Cove and there were a couple of firefighters (God bless ’em) shooting an AR-15 6.8 and an AR-15 .223 at some bottles and one of those plastic pumpkins that kids put Halloween candy in at about 75 yards. They have 30 round mags and were popping off shots left and right from a crouch or prone and they missed consistently. I walk up parallel to them with the Marlin with my 6 150 grain Remington rounds (standing, mind you), and popped off the rounds rapid fire. The pumpkin didn’t stand still for the 4 rounds I shot at it and one of the Budweiser bottles bit it, and the other bottle escaped (barely). Lets just say that the firemen felt emasculated, especially after commenting on my “old cowboy gun”. That was with the stock sights, by the way. I agree that the front sight shouldn’t be gold and is difficult to see in low light, but I got a True-Glow sight for Xmas that is basically a cheap ACOG and now the Marlin really is an AR. Overall, this is a great, pretty gun that I will pass down to my unborn son one day.

  24. picked up new 336 in 35 cal 2 years ago,Brother gave me his 3yr old 336 30-30 2 yrs ago and i still have my 336 30-30 straight pistol grip produced in 1955 pickup about 25 yrs ago

  25. Good review and comments. I’m looking for a decent deer rifle for N.C., and I’m on a tight budget. My wife will have me shot and mounted if I come home with another $1,000 or more firearm.


  27. My dad had one of the 336’s long before I did, but I first shot one at least 40 yrs ago. The one I own is a 336C, the delux model, with black walnut stock/fore end, and fancy detaling (not that that makes it shoot better) circa 1976. At 50 yards if you can miss a small pie plate you are blind. I have many Wins. and at 100 yds or less my antique 1894 sporting rifle is the most accurate of them all (I only shoot offhand). The 336 Marlin is very close. It is much easier to break down and clean, and if I had to wander off into the wild and fend or myself, this is the rifle I’d take. Stout, on the money, and all business – definitley not a diva.

    • I’m thinking of ordering a new marlin 336ss for hunting, following all the good reviews and comments the rifle has, but being new to this I’m a little confused about ammunition. Comments about ammunition makes it sound as though .30-30 and .35 are readily inter-changeable. What is involved in changing ammo from .30-30 to .35 or vice versa? Are changes in the rifle required or possible when calibrated for one and changing to the other? Can 336 ammunition be used in handguns as I understand is possible / desirable for other firearms? Fasinating reading and enjoying comments and experiences being related.

      • 30-30 and .35 Whelen are not interchangeable and 30-30 can’t be used in pistols. You can get a Marlin model 1894 this rifle shoots a .357 magnum handgun cartridge and therefore you could have a pistol and a rifle that shared the same ammo. A review of that rifle can also be found in our gun reviews section. Good luck with whatever you choose and have fun with it!

  28. Remove the front site hood and carefully drill a hole in the top to increase the light available to illuminate the post. Start small and go up in size slowly to prevent bending it.

  29. @Peter, The Marlin 336 comes in 30-30 and the 336 comes in 35 remington …And then there are many different caliber Marlin lever action rifles that shoot handgun rounds…go to the Marlin Firearms page and you will see what they have to offer..but this article and comments are referring to the 336 30-30 and 336 35 remington two separate rifles. I have a 1974 Marlin 336 in 35 remington…and I am in love with it. It looks like it’s brand new and shoots that way too 🙂

  30. Thank you very much for the article. I just bought a 336 a few hours ago at a gun show in Slinger, WI. I just cannot stop playing with it and I am really looking forward to shooting it soon.

  31. I have found that the hornady lever Revolution is the best ammo for the 30-30 and the .35 remington. i have the 336 in the .35 and my dads is a 30-30. We both use hornady and the balistics are amazing. I have not had a chance to shoot a deer with mine since rifle season was over when i got it, but i have seen my dad kill 2 deer with his and the hornady has done the job. I did however shoot a bowling pin at 100 yards standing off hand and it damn near exploaded. Im very excited to see what it does to a deer and pig this year.

  32. So nice to see a current active thread on this classic gun. You would think this is all old news but theres people just like me who just got there first one and love it. I got the texan model shorter barrel around 18″ 30/30, and a straight handle stock kinda like the current make Henry golden boys. The stock was thrashed and warn, so i refinished it. The engravings were already worn down so i sanded them down to barely visible, i painted it flat back and then put semi gloss polyurethane finish on it. Later i sanded it with 600 grit and switched to a satin finish poly. I didnt know what satin meant i thought it was opposite of gloss which was the only other option. It turns out its this silvery fine micro glitter effect. It turned my too shiny black into a dark dark gun metal grey. Now it looks pretty cool, the metalic look is like a fancy bowling ball, and makes some grain effect too. My inexperience with wood finishing resulted in a cool look. 200 cash out the door with a synthetic gel padded sling at gunshow. And he gave me 20 rds for 10$. Had it on my shoulder and other boothes kept asking about it, one guy asked to buy it off me, another chased me down 15 feet to ask me the caliber. I was surprized how accurate it was my first six shots were dead on clay at 50 yards, then clay at 100yds, then a 12gauge shot gun spent case stood up on a log at 50yds. I couldnt believe i hit the shotgun case. One try on my first loading on that sixth bullet. I am a fan.

  33. Oops, forgot to mention i shot from a bench rest and bag. Im no sniper or anything, But i had been shooting a mauser to sight in a scope most the day and then i brought out my new toy. Iron sights much were much simpler than a scope so it was aim, click, boom, and holy sh*#% dead on clay crushing.

  34. I agree, it is nice to see a new post on the old classic 30-30 and its all positive too! I own a 1974 Glenfield 30a that belonged to my Granddad it carries with it tremedous sentimental value and have aken two minnesota deer with it both of them went in the freezer one shot each, one fell to a 170 Remington core lokt and the other to a 160 Hornady leverevolution but im going back to the Remingtons just because it just dont seem right to shoot pointed bullets from that little rifle. For thick minnesota woods and shots under 100 yards it just cant be beat.

    Thanks to MR. Finn for an up beat post on an American classic.

  35. Was wanting info on a marlin 336rc 30 30 as far as mfgr year and whether a scope can be mounted on it. It does not have any mounting holes in the top. Thank You.
    Jimy T.

  36. You should be able to have it drilled and tapped, there is also several picatiny rail kits available some mount to the rear sight, i just bolted on one from utg, works great. If not then check out the different sights they have out, night sights fiber optic, target sights, lots of cool new tech stuff for this old gun.

    • If I drill and tap this marlin 336 will it bring down the value? According to the serial # it was made in 1950. Not that I am necessarily wanting it for investment purposes but I dont want to ruin an antique. Thank you for your response.

  37. I bought a Marlin 336 in 30-30 at the base store when my enlistment in the Navy ended in 1964.I hunted deer with it for 25 years.Open sights for a few years and then a Bushnell 3 to 9 scope.I took 16 deer with it.One of them at 200 plus yards.I kept the scope on 3 power for hunting.It cost$ 20 less than the civilian price(about $65 versus $85) . I sold it because it did not have the new hammer block safety and my grandsons are approaching hunting age..

  38. Bought the Marlin 336Y 30-30 last month. As a Petite 5′ 2″ lady, I love its size. Perfect for me.

  39. Just bought a Marlin Model 03030 at a gun show. I can’t find any information on this model, as it must be quite old. It’s in great condition, except the butt stock is cracked, so I need to replace it. Any suggestions as to where I can get a new wood stock? Thanks!

  40. Never been the rifle/shotgun type. HOWEVER on first sight of this piece I knew I just had to have it. Bought it at a shop with an indoor range and don’t ya know I went through 2 boxes of ammo. Love love love this weapon.

    I like your review style too.

  41. I came across a 336 at a gun shop a few years ago. Fell in love with it immediately. It’s a late 50’s production and was after market nickel plated. I had to have it! Couldn’t agree more with your review other than I love the sights on mine, but of course they are bright and shiny and easy to see due to the nickel. I’ve been meaning to try Hornaday rounds out. Need to get me some.

  42. I just purchased my first gun…and this was it! Ironically, I read this review AFTER buying it…but I’m glad I made the right choice..It just felt so right! Thanks for the great review…Im off to the shooting range!

  43. Dont even think about hitting anything with the iron sights on the stainless steel sdg limited edtion 30-30 they must of slapped on the wrong sights or sights for a 22inch or longer barrelalong with 4 other defects my gun is worthless without a scope sent it back still did not fix.

  44. BIG Marlin 336 fan! Love mine for it’s accuracy and reliability. This IS my AR, as far as I’m concerned.

  45. Glad you got a supernice 336. However the one I bought in 2011 sucks!!!
    the lever action is lousy, hard to reload in shooting position. Action more like a “Model T” than a 2011 “Caddy” Same high quality materials just sloppy mechanics..

  46. I bought a model 336 (mfg in 1975) from a woman whose son passed away. He used it for several years before he died. I gave her $125 as she just didn’t want a gun around her. The blueing was still perfect but the stock and hand guard showed signs of neglect. I stripped the gun down completely, gave the metal parts a thourough cleaning and refurbished the wood with sanding and Birchwood Oil. After several sandings and coatings the wood looked brand new. I also bought parts and mounted swivels for a strap. Then I mounted a Luopold VX1 scope. The work was worth it as it looks like right out of the box. And I shoot it at an indoor range (25 yds. max) . It is accurate as He**. Love it.

  47. Bought a 336 Texan saddle gun,30-30′ back in ’76 to celebrate the Bicentennial. Straight stock shaves aquarter pound off the 7 – pound weight and you get the Win. M94 look in a much better gun. True side ejection so you can mount a high quality, fixed low power scope directly over the bore with normal eye relief. Takes down quickly into four parts to clean from the breech end. People have talked about the accuracy. Packed this gun through a coastal wilderness and it brought home the venison and bacon. Wonderful lower-power big bore in carbine format will teach anyone to shoot with your expert help. Potentially less throat erosion. Stainless gun might last forever or until the last 30-30 round is fired. Get extra ejector springs since this small part may break or get lost some century.

  48. “I start planning out hand-tooled saddle scabbards that match the obligatory chaps, hat and cowboy boots.”

    Dood. My wife read that and said, That is so gay.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  49. I have a Marlin 336 with a fixed weaver scope but I don’t know what power it is no markings. It was my Dads and it is in great shape and very accurate even at a 100 yards. How do I find out when it was made and how much is it worth today? Where do I find the serial number? Also I was told it was a brush gun, did they make a shorter barrel 336? Thanks, Richard

  50. my problem is several marlins 39a mountie to a 45-70. the one i am having a problem with is 336rc in 35 rem ballard rifeling strignt oil finished stock s# L 10706 year 1954 its a 95% overall. i am looking for the value and cannot find any information on this gun, most people tells that this gun is nonexistent but i have it in my hand, thank yoa for your time.

    • Yes marlin did make a 336 in 35 rem with ballard rifling in 1954. It has a oiled western stock and the s# starts with the letter L which means it was produced in 1954. I reload and cast my bullets to keep my cost down and turned it into a nail driver at 175 yards. You should not sell this gun, but if you need to Email me. The 35 rem is a great brush gun for hogs, deer and black bear. I believe it was made from 1952 to 1954 with ballard rifling and you can special order a 35 rem from marlin today but I think it not in ballard rifling. Be safe and good shooting. Ron West

  51. I heard that Marlin ain’t as good as they used to be after they were sold to Remington. Anybody tried the new products? and what do you think of them?

    • Hey john, I went ahead and bought the the 336 shortly after I posted the question deciding on whether buying the marlin, rem, howa. I love them all but never had a lever action.I sighted the 336 with the first 15 rounds from various distances using a Nikon prostaff bdc. 25/50/100. The next 12 were just for fun, the sound and feel of putting a round in the chamber is a minor delight to some, but since this was my first lever, just made me want to sport a cowboy hat and jump on a horse. So,with that, Zero issues. 8 days later, south Georgia, 20 foot stand, 146 yds (approx), one shot, doe, meat in the freezer. I used 160 grain soft tip hornaday leverlution. The marlin came through nicely and it was my first hunt in nearly 15 years. Its still early, the jury is still out, but my initial response to my own question on whether to buy is that I am glad I picked up the 336.

  52. After reading all of the great reviews, I just knew that the Marlin 336cs was the rifle for me. I bought one off of Gunbroker and had an NRA gunsmith mount a scope and sight it in for me. I get a call from the gunsmith saying the rifle is shooting 4 to 5 inches off center at 25 yrds!
    Has anyone here ever heard of something like this?

  53. I traded a rancher and my end was a Marlin 336 30-30 and the sights in front broken with no bead lol now I know why it shoots high with new front sights aiming on bead rear sights low setting as it goes and still shoots high it was made in 1974 with jm on barrel so its not a Remington and knowing it shoots high I got a 9 point buck Jan 4th 2014 I’m getting a scope should solve my problem, but now I know why he broke the bead off front sights 🙂

  54. I realize this is a fairly old post but hey, I did not find your site until a few days ago. I just wanted to comment on my own Marlin 336. I bought it an an estate auction back in 2004 and could not believe my good fortune. While it was not a “Winchester” I thought it looked like a real cowboy gun. Mine has been tricked out with a nice Bushnell 3-9X40 scope with see thru mounts. While no MOA sharp shooting rifle, it is certainly respectable at 100 yards for an old fat guy who’s best shooting days are behind him. My Marlin has a born on date of 1977 and it doesn’t look a day over 98%. Amazing how good a firearm can look if you take a little pride in your maintenance.

    I had just pulled it out of the gun cabinet as I am writing a journal on my gun collection and wanted to make sure I was accurate in my description. I also have a pre 63 Winchester 94 also in 30-30 and a 94/AE in 357 magnum. Hey, someday I will fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a cowboy… More likely I will be the one taken to the stockyard for slaughter… Now, if I can just perfect the art of shooting the gun out of the bad guys’ hands….

  55. Always wanted a lever action rifle. Noticed an add for a used Marlin rifle. Called and it turned out to be a friend who had a used Marlin 336 for sale he had picked up at a pawn shop. He let me take it home to try out. It was manufactured in 1971. The bluing is not very good but the wood looks good. He gave me a handful of ammo to try it out. Always heard the lever guns were not very accurate. Took it down to my shooting bench yesterday and fired off 3 rounds. I don’t know if they were 150 or 170 grains. The 3 shot group was less than 1 and 1/2 inch at 100 yards. That’s is about as good as I can do with any of my rifles and 70 year old eyes and reflexes. Guess my fried has sold his rifle.

  56. I bought a 336 with a scope about three years ago. I loved the way it shot, it was as accurate as I am. Then, sold it, as I needed the money for some remodeling of my house. Then, yesterday I bought another one, looks identical to my first one, so even though I haven’t fired this one yet… I’m really happy once again for having another Marlin 336 in 30-30 caliber. Several of my friends have the same gun, and without exception, they all swear by them. Mine is going to be used on helping to eradicate some of the wild hogs that are taking over my neighbor’s pasture, then for deer season, when it finally rolls around again.

  57. Regarding the trigger on the Marlin 336, especially if it is of post-Cerebus, Remington manufacture, I find them abysmal. Hard pull with creep. Install a drop-in “Trigger Happy” kit from and it makes the 336 a nice crisp 3.5 lb. pull without the “flop”. It was worth the $85 to do this fix.

  58. I inherited my dad`s Marlin 336 in 30-30 ,of which he bought at Sears in 1952 under the J.C. Higgens brand.The rifle is a little rough but it has gotten quite a few deer over the years.But is still very accurate even with the factory sites. It has some trigger work done to it and replaced the firing pin.Not bad for 62 year old rifle. I do plan on refinishing the rifle .along with adding a sling and a 4x power scope.

  59. I inherited my grandfathers Marlin 336 RC in 30-30 caliber about 3 yrs ago and avidly use it for deer hunting every year. I have yet to miss, or even fire a second round using Hornady American Whitetail ammo. Can’t complain for a 48 yr old gun bought in 1967 and kept behind the seat of a pickup for 40 of them. Gun looks like its been through the mill, but shoots like a dream with all the original factory parts. Thought to get it all refinished, but will probably just get it reblued just so it keeps its integrity long enough so my future oldest grandson may use it the same way my grandfather and I have and continue to. It will have alot of stories to tell. After all, that’s what these guns were made to do.

  60. Looking for a 35 marlin XLR stainless steel lever action to buy. I’ll take two!

  61. The Marlin 336 is a fine piece. I did three things to mine:

    * added a Limbsaver buttpad to increase the length of pull to suit me

    * added a Marbles tang mounted peep sight, so I have irons with about a 30″ sight radius

    * added a XS sights mount with a Leupold scout sight

    That sets me up to engage anything out to about the 200 yard limit with a 30-30 with either irons or scope.
    I added a bit of instrument grade graphite to the action, and it is butter-smooth.

  62. “The sights are horrible.” No, they’re not. I suppose for anyone who has never used iron sights before, and who has always shot using scopes or red dots, it’s a new and different experience. Still, people put food on their table for hundreds of years using sights like these. Our military has taught millions of riflemen to shoot accurately at distances out to 400-500 yards using iron sights.

    With a little practice, anyone can learn to shoot a Marlin with stock sights out to 100 yards accurately enough to shoot a deer. With a bit more practice, it’s not all that hard to learn to shoot 3-5″ groups at 100 yards.

    Sure, the optics most shooters use these days are easier to use, and perhaps more enjoyable for many, but the sights that come on a Marlin are anything but bad.

  63. Good article. I owned several Model 336s in 30-30 and 35 Remington. I used the 180 gr Speer bullet with one grain over-charge in reloading the 35 Remington. . There was no pressure signs and no problems extracting the spent shell. The rifle–with a good scope–produced some of the tiniest 1 hole groups I have ever seen! The Range Personnel actually came over to inspect the rifle. A friend bought another 336 in 35 Remington–probably off the same line–and it DID NOT LIKE my reload. It wanted only factory 200 gr bullets. Every weapon has different personalities. Like a fool, I sold it.

  64. Just a thank you for all your reviews over the years. Most of them I read for fun and dreaming, but the 336 or something very similar is in my future. Already saving for it, and my wife is actually encouraging me to do so! Woot! She found out she likes deer in spaghetti sauce, tacos, and a lot of stuff just as much or more than beef, with lower fat… Remember that guys – “But Honey, if I bring home deer meat, it’ll help you keep your weight were you want it!”. Probably won’t work if you already have 12+ guns, but give it a shot anyways. 😀

  65. The marlin 336c in 30-30 was my first big game rifle I purchased as a teen at17yrs old . I was very fortunate to have picked the marlin . It turned out to be the MOST accurate rifle I’ve ever shot other than a couple of exceptional22s. There must be something to the micro groove rifling! The wood was very nicely finished and solid, it’s fit and finish were quite good , it was reliable I was able to pull off some amazing shots with it and surprise quite a few people with it’s accuracy. I kept it for over twenty yrs before I got a 10mm bug and had to sell it to fund my 1006 coming home with me. Someone got an exceptionally accurate rifle when I sold it!lucky him!,of coarse ,then I was shooting all my guns 2-3 times a week minimum even through college! I purchased a ruger super single six that same yr and taught myself how to shoot a handgun accurately. I still have the ruger , it’s also an extremely accurate gun. and it’s going to my grand kid I would not hesitate to get another 336 if I was on the market for a solid reliable,accurate rifle I feel I was lucky to have picked such a great rifle as my first .as a hunting gun I would recommend it!

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