The Marlin 336 has been a staple among lever-action guns for the past few decades.
The Marlin 336 is perhaps the second-most-popular lever-action rifle in history, trailing only the venerable Winchester 1894, which was also chambered in .30-30 Winchester.
The Marlin .30-30 is popular for a good reason: it’s a reasonably priced, powerful, accurate, easy-to-use, utilitarian rifle. These qualities have helped make it one of the most prolific hunting rifles in the United States. As a result, countless deer, elk, bear, and feral hogs have fallen to this great little rifle over the years.
As a deer hunter, especially one hunting in a thickly wooded area where long-range shots are unlikely, you could do a whole lot worse than choosing a Marlin 336 as your primary hunting rifle.
Scroll down to learn all about the Marlin 336 and why it’s such a popular hunting rifle.
The Marlin .30-30 was born in 1948 when Marlin introduced the Marlin 336 rifle. The lever-action Marlin 336 is a direct descendant of the Marlin Model 1893 and Marlin Model 36 rifles, sharing many common characteristics with them. However, one thing that sets the Marlin 336 apart from most other lever action rifles is the fact that it ejects from the side of the receiver instead of the top, a rare feature on a .30-30 rifle.
Over the years the Marlin 336 has been offered in a wide variety of calibers, including .219 Zipper, .32 Special, .44 Magnum, and .410 bore. However, the Marlin 336 is currently only produced in the legendary .30-30 Winchester and the highly underrated .35 Remington cartridges. The rifle is currently manufactured with either a 20-inch or 24-inch barrel and has a full-length tubular magazine that can hold six cartridges.
Scoped Marlin 336
The Marlin 336 comes standard with open sights and there are several types of peep or ghost ring sights available to use with it. However, because the Marlin 336 ejects spent cartridges from the side of the receiver and has a flat top, many hunters choose to mount a scope on the rifle.
Realizing this, Marlin builds the rifle with a reversible hammer spur to aid with the use of a scope.
Marlin 336 as a Woods Gun
Lever-action rifles are often lightweight, easy to carry, and quick-pointing. Weighing in at only 7 pounds, the Marlin 336 is no different. Though the .35 Remington and .30-30 Winchester are not great performers at long range, they are tough to beat at short to moderate range.
These characteristics make the Marlin 336 a great “woods gun” for hunters who need to take a fast, short-range shot on a big-game animal.
The Marlin 336 as a Deer Rifle
It’s tough to determine with certainty which particular cartridge has killed the most deer in the United States over the years. However, it’s a good bet that the .30-30 Winchester is in the top three (if it isn’t number one).
Since the Marlin 336 is arguably the most popular .30-30 rifle ever, it follows that it’s one of the most commonly used deer rifles of all time in the United States with untold numbers of whitetails falling to it over the years.
The great news is that a hunter armed with the .30-30 isn’t limited to just hunting deer. The .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington are both great cartridges for hunting a wide variety of North American big-game animals.
At reasonable ranges, you can use the Marlin 336 on feral hogs, black bears, elk, or even moose (especially when using the .35 Remington).
Marlin 336 Durability
The Marlin 336 is also a pretty darn accurate and durable rifle. There are plenty of old Marlin .30-30 rifles out there (the one in the photo was produced in 1949) that hunters are still using successfully every year.
As long as it’s properly cared for, the Marlin 336 is a rifle that’ll give you and your grandchildren many good years of service.
Marlin Model 1895
Due to the smashing success of the Marlin 336 rifle, Marlin has produced several similar rifles over the years. Of these, the big-bore Marlin Model 1895 chambered in .45-70 Government is the most common.
Several different versions of it are in current production, with a “Guide Gun” model sporting a short, 18.5-inch barrel being extremely popular among hunters and outfitters in Canada and Alaska for their effectiveness for defense against big bears at close range.
Chris Pratt even carried a Marlin 1895 in the movie “Jurassic World.” Heck, you could do a whole lot worse than a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 Government if you’re looking for a good rifle for dinosaur defense.
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