Older Marlin 336 better than new? - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 08-21-2017, 17:13   #1
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Older Marlin 336 better than new?

How is the quality of the newer marlin 336 compared to the older rifles?

A local pawn shop had an older Marlin 336 in stock. Serial put it at a 1976 production.

In all honesty, I have no experience with new Marlin 336 lever action rifles. My son has one that was bought for him around 2002. My brother and nephew all have a 336, but are several years old.

So, how do the new Marlin lever action rifles made under freedom group compare to the older rifles?
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Old 08-22-2017, 15:35   #2
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Hit or miss I would say, but much better then when Freedom first purchased them. I purchased a new 1894 in 45 Colt over the Winter and it is pretty good. I speak with my friends regularly that work at the factory and the same thing keeps repeating in most things they say. Its "ship first, fix later". So if a bad batch of something gets into the parts bin, they tend to say ship versus the other. The line for Marlin has been retooled from the equipment that was brought over from Marlin. I was born in Ilion and have friends and relatives that live in the town so I interact regularly.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:48   #3
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no expert here, but the rumblings were loud and angry when the first "remlins" came off the line. I think this was a bit of a "don't know what you got till its gone" story.

original marlins thus skyrocketed in price for the most part. the first remlin I laid hands on didn't even really look or feel quite like the originals did. recently, I looked them over and aesthetically, they appear to be back on par...but I can't vouch for their function.

I can vouch for the beauty and function of my original 336 ss. the craftsmanship is superb and the it has been flawless. my only complaint of it is that the stock, although gorgeous, is quite tender and way too easy to ding and scratch imo.
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:04   #4
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I have an older Marlin, but even though I have never shot the new ones, they really feel and look cheaply made. Lots of people will say to stay away from used guns, but I haven't came across an old used marlin that wasn't a good gun. They hold up pretty good, and if you can find a decent used one at a good price I would go with that. The Remington Brand has really tanked from what they use to be. I personally wont buy a new Marlin or Remington, I can find old ones that still work great.
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:10   #5
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Older Marlins have their own set of issues. The carrier lock problem impacts them. This is where the pivot point of the level wears into the carrier and can cause it to lock up. I have an older 2000 year model 1895G and a new 1894 and the quality on both is pretty good. But as I said earlier, there are potential problems under the surface that might cause one to consider looking at the rifle first. Checking the fit and finish, cycling the action, and such.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:10   #6
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I got into lever guns fairly late in life, so my first Marlin lever was one of the last "true" Marlins, a plain-Jane Walmart grade 336. The others have been "Remlins", so my data set is small thus of very limited utility. That said, my "Walmart grade" 336 was a champ from day one, good fit and finish, smooth, clean action, good accuracy. Wish I had bought more back then, but I hadn't really caught the lever-gun bug yet. If I could only save one lever-gun from a fire or some such, that plain-Jane Walmart grade 336 would be the one saved.

As it is, both my 1895 Guide Gun and my 1894C (.357) had to go back for warranty repairs for out-of-the-box "issues". The 1895G had a lever that would occasionally lock up, and the 1894 was double feeding from the factory. Both seem okay now, but I don't really trust either of 'em as much as I do my Walmart grade 336. Maybe in a few years with enough lead down-range that will be different. I do like both of the "Remlins", just the fact that they needed so much TLC out of the box was a bit jarring. It probably won't keep me from scratching that itch for an 1894 in .45 Colt some time, but I probably would have got one some time ago if not for the problems I had with my other 1894.

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Old 08-26-2017, 06:23   #7
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I would go for the older model,no extra lawyer safety. You can make it feel like a new one just by pouring a cup of sand in the action.
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Old 08-31-2017, 19:03   #8
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Originally Posted by dh1633pm View Post
Older Marlins have their own set of issues. The carrier lock problem impacts them. This is where the pivot point of the level wears into the carrier and can cause it to lock up. I have an older 2000 year model 1895G and a new 1894 and the quality on both is pretty good. But as I said earlier, there are potential problems under the surface that might cause one to consider looking at the rifle first. Checking the fit and finish, cycling the action, and such.
DH: the simple fix for this problem is to stone a .015 radius on the tip of the cam on the lever that runs the lifter. This is a well known fix for the "Marlin Jam" which occurs when the sharp point on the cam on the lever wears into the Lifter. The radius stops this from happening.

As far as the older rifles are concerned they are talking about guns made prior to the Hammer Block safety 1990's and really before 1960. I have a 336 made in 1958 which was the first year for Micro Groove Rifling. The exterior finish of the gun is superior to my newer guns however the internal machining is pure SHIP! 30 miles of bad road!

There was a lot of hand fitting done on those guns because there had to be,,, as the internal parts were all over the place dimensionally. Some of the internal arts were intentionally made oversized so they could be fitted during assembly because the Machine Shop couldn't make two parts the same if they had to. This is one reason why the newest guns are superior.

The most recent guns I have seen (new guns made from 2016 on) have had excellent machining but the external finishes have been not as nice as older guns IE: the finish under the bluing was not as high a polish as earlier guns.

I saw one yesterday that had a Brown Laminated stock and fore end and a Flat Black Cerakote finish on all the metal. It was a good looking working gun but rather homely. Certainly not a Family Heirloom!

If you are looking for an older Marlin Search around until you find one that is pre 1958 as it will have Ballard Rifling and probably be well broken in. You can always refinish wood and the older guns tend to have pretty nicely grained walnut which refinishes nice and is easily done. AS far as the metal is concerned as long as it is not all rust pitted it can be reblued or touched up with Super Blue.

Virtually all older guns will require some cosmetic work to clean them up. Don't be afraid of this as it is not that hard to do, and there is a large amount of personal satisfaction to be gained by refinishing a gun yourself.

This guns are easy to work on and simple to take apart and put back together and there is a lot of videos on Youtube to see you thru it.

The really cool older Marlin 336's were made for Western Auto, and Montgomery Wards. If you see one grab it.

Randy
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:06   #9
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My 35 Rem will consistently shoot 2" or less groups of my select handloads at 100 Yds. It is 1983 vintage (No hammer block safety - gold colored trigger) they are great shooters, and IMHO better than the crap made now. Those older guns usually are walnut stocks. Good luck!
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Old 10-01-2017, 20:03   #10
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They are a very good gun. If keep up they are easer to eject the shells than the Winchester !
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Old 11-05-2017, 09:36   #11
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Being a left hander living in Wyoming, I got into the lever guns early on. I still have a 1951 336 in 32 Spcl that my Dad won on a punch board the year before I was born. I took my first deer with it in 1965. I recently passed it along to one of my three sons. I also have two newer Marlins: 1895 45-70 GG and 1894 Cowboy Competition in 45 Colt. Over the years, I've owned Brownings and Winchesters, but always come back to the Marlins. I think it's probably because of my initial experience with the old 336.
The Marlin action can be slicked up a bit on the newer version, but otherwise they are solid guns. My 45-70 has Ballard rifling and I cast my own bullets for it and the 45 Colt.
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Old 11-19-2017, 21:48   #12
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I think the older ones have better fit and finish. I have an older 336 and a 1894. Both nice blueing and fit. I was looking at a Remi the other day and it seemed fine but not nearly as smooth as the older ones. Again fit and finish is so so.I have heard they are much better than the early Remi's. The other thing to consider is they aren't making the older ones anymore. Their prices are on the way up. I think they will continue to climb. Don't think you will loose money on the older ones. The new ones not so much. The older ones are out there if you keep your eyes open. I personally would wait for a pre Remline.

Good luck
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:46   #13
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I went ahead and bought that rifle.

Have not shot it yet, but soon will.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:53   #14
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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
I went ahead and bought that rifle.

Have not shot it yet, but soon will.
Good deal. I would have done the same thing. In fact I did when I go my 1980 336. Looked at the new ones then found the used one on the rack. It had a few scratched on the furniture but the fit and metal finish was great. Took it home with the idea I would refinish the wood. Put some gun oil one the stock and it looked like new.
Just make sure to loctite the screws. They have a tendency to walk out.
Good luck with you "new" rifle you have a great one to hand down when the time comes.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:17   #15
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Originally Posted by thumbs View Post
Good luck with you "new" rifle you have a great one to hand down when the time comes.
Thank you.

There is something about those older firearms. If only they could talk and tell us their stories.
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Old 07-01-2018, 23:19   #16
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The '76 336 Dad gave me is the 2nd smoothest Lever gun i've ever operated (my '73 Winchester being best) and is far and away the most accurate .30/30 i've shot (i've had a few Winchesters and Marlin .35s that wouldn't hit chyt).
I'll never ever part with it and am awaiting deer season this year with baited breath as i'm going to cull some off my wifes land in Central Alabama.

It's an Otasco gun that Dad got new in '76 for $140
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