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Historical Lever Action Reviews Rifles

Marlin Model 336BL Review

by Stan Trzoniec   |  September 3rd, 2013 12

Ever since I was a kid patrolling the barn with my Red Ryder lever gun, this type of rifle has always been a big part of my life, followed by the Marlin Model 39—a neat and trim rimfire. Over the years, between testing rifles, hunting and shooting, a Marlin lever gun of one kind or another has been in my gun rack. Plenty of deer and other critters have fallen over the sights of my Marlin Model 336, a model that was chambered for .30-30 Win. and .35 Rem.

As a direct descendent from the Model 1893, the Model 1936 (later renamed the Model 36) featured a solid-top receiver complete with a full pistol grip-type stock. In 1948, the gun became the Model 336 and was sold under both the Marlin and Glenfield brands. Today Marlin produces six variants of the 336, and one of the most recent is the Model 336BL (for “big loop”). Unlike 336s past, it’s chambered for the .30-30 only.

Shades of “The Rifleman”? Maybe, but this gun can be fired only via the trigger and not the lever as was set up for the popular television show. The intent here is to offer a gun for those who hunt in cold weather: Marlin enlarged the operating lever to accommodate the wearing of gloves. I put on a pair of medium-weight gloves for some of my testing, and the gun functioned without hesitation.

With its shorter-than-normal 18.5-inch barrel, which employs Marlin’s proprietary Micro-Groove rifling, this rifle will be the choice of many who ply their hunting skills in dense, cold forests.

The lever is closely fit, and the receiver is forged and features the solid top and side ejection that permit easy scope mounting. The bolt is left in the white, and it boasts a massive extractor to pull even the most stubborn cartridge out of the chamber. The mechanical ejector is located deep within the receiver.

Marlin says the full-length tubular magazine holds six rounds, and it does, but loading that last round is a bear—to the point I needed a tool to push the sixth round’s rim past the loading gate. If it were my gun, I’d simply load five in the magazine and have one in the chamber.

For an initial function check, I loaded five dummy rounds into the rifle and worked the action; all ejected without any problems or malfunctions. On the negative side, Marlins have never been known for good trigger pulls, and the trigger on my sample broke at 10 pounds with just a bit of slack before the sear released.

The 336BL has a cross-bolt safety that rides near the tang of the rifle, and there’s a trigger disconnector that requires the lever to be in the fully closed position in order to fire.

The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases, and Marlin includes an offset hammer spur to allow you to access the hammer spur with a scope mounted. The spur can be mounted on either side of the hammer and attaches with an Allen screw and included wrench.

I prefer open sights on lever-action rifles, and as with most Marlin lever guns, the 336BL has an adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight that can be moved for windage via a brass drift. For elevation, lift the rear part of the assembly while sliding the elevation blade fore or aft to get the desired impact on the target. For those who mount a scope, the rear sight blade folds down.

Up front you have the traditional brass bead protected by Marlin’s Wide-Scan hood. On my Marlins I find the brass bead a little wanting, especially in the early morning or evening light, so a dab of white or yellow paint solves the problem while enhancing the dot between the blades of the rear sight notch.

With the trend today for more durable rifles, the Model 336BL has a brown laminated hardwood stock that covers both the buttstock and fore-end. The fore-end of the gun is rather full, which makes it feel good in the hand especially with gloves on. It is nicely finished and inletted and has the typical Marlin point checkering complete with a diamond centered within the pattern.

The stock’s pistol grip has more than ample checkering, the grip is finished with a cap, and the buttstock sports a black recoil pad with black spacer. The stock has a satin finish, which nicely complements the satin-finished blue metal.

I tested the Marlin Model 336BL at 50 yards with open sights, and the gun proved easy to handle and never missed a beat either loading or ejecting. I would rate it a nine out of 10, my only complaint being the horrendous trigger pull. For hunters looking for a lever action gun with some extra breathing room in the operating lever, take a closer look at this Marlin.

  • Hunter5567

    What kind of groups did you get?

  • huntingdave

    want a bigger loop? order one. ditto on trigger! don’t buy another 30-30 just for those reasons, get a different caliber .444 or 45-70 or 35 rem or a browning lever in a high velocity caliber:

    .22-250 Remington
    .223 Remington
    .243 Winchester
    .270 Winchester
    .270 Winchester Short Magnum
    .30-06 Springfield
    .300 Winchester Magnum
    .300 Winchester Short Magnum
    .308 Winchester
    .325 Winchester Short Magnum
    .358 Winchester
    .450 Marlin
    7mm Remington Magnum
    7mm Winchester Short Magnum
    7mm-08 Remington

  • monte whiteowl

    help me with the quality issue,since marlin has changed hands .I hope they are good rifles,i need a good 30-30 again as I have brass and componants

  • monte whiteowl

    if you have good evidence supporting me buying or not please send me an email with your thoughts as this is a critical and financial question for my wife and I..i had a mod 94 for 30 yrs and saved my brass.wife and kids could shoot it well.lost to house fire,need another rifle.please be serious and only reply with first hand knowledge of marlin rifles as of late.10-7-2013,sunday thanks

    • Randy

      I bought the model 336w last year and am very pleased with it.I have shot 4 deer this season with it.This is my first lever gun.I am going to put a big loop lever on it next.I think they should come with it anyway.Dont loose confidence with Marlin yet.

    • Mike G

      I recently purchased, the gun is extremely accurate, functioned well and has an awesome look. I use both levers in it big loop and standard depending on the situation. The 18.5 barrel is nice for maneuverability.

  • Canadian Whitetail Hunter

    If you want the honest-to-God truth: “The other side of the coin.)
    *The 30-30 is an awesome deer cartridge for up to 220 yards (MPBR)
    *Marlin had a great reputation “before” Remlins took over….
    *Remington QC will have to be seen to be believed by the hunting communities….”kicking the bankers off the production floor would help, or maybe have the QC personnel go on a guideless Alaskan Brown-Bear hunt with a rifle made on their shift and on a Friday afternoon or Monday morning.”
    *I bought one of those Remlins and it jammed regularly, scratched my hands and the cartridges, the front sight was loose-as-a-goose, the rear sight was crooked to the barrel due to bad machining, and the stock was loose and poorly fit. I’m not exaggerating here at all…
    *BUT, I loved the way it was balanced and it’s natural pointing characteristics, the design is a whitetail deer hunter’s dream rifle for woods hunting and I didn’t loose hope in getting it to work proper.
    *Upon close inspection of the rifle and doing a little research on the web, I proceeded to fully disassemble the rifle and file the rough edges and burrs off of all of the internal parts; which should have been done before leaving the factory….
    *After reassembly, the rifle functioned like a traditional Marlin should; smooth, fast, reliable, & dependable.
    *This rifle has become one of my first pick favorites, despite the initial impression I had. I also would strongly recommend a good peep-sight or low-power scope to compliment the gun; those supplied sights are for shooting under 50 yards….nuf said.
    *Long story short, I’m looking at buying another Marlin soon; quite possibly the 1895GBL and I sincerely hope, for Remington’s sakes, that it will be properly fitted & finished; otherwise I guess I’ll spend some “quality” time with it on my work bench again.
    *I’m just telling it like it is; total truth with no BS. I think that’s a fair kinda review. ;-)

    • Arf!

      Absolutely correct. It has a wonderful feel, shoots accurate, but comes with a list of problems. I’m very happy with the machining of my remlin, all of the parts fit flush, though I haven’t done a complete disassembly to look for burs.

      Just be aware that its not a perfectly made gun… It may need some work.

  • Glock – 9

    Spelling and puntuation please! You people make hunters and shooters look like 3rd graders.

    • Jarhead6541

      People, including you, are fallible. Correct spelling is “punctuation”.

    • Dub

      A duh puntuation…. U peple mak us shuters look like 3rd grderz

  • Arf!

    I love my new 336bl, but the 6th round cannot physically enter the magazine. You forgot to remove a second star… A lot of people have this problem. It is a five round magazine due to poor design. I hear the Ilion NY version is well made. It’s still a great gun to use.

    Also, tighten the screws before use. One of my receiver screws was about to fall out. You’ll need a high quality tool to fit the small notches..

    Actually this firearm has been a headache. It chambers and ejects rounds poorly. Often failing to do both.

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