Marlin's 336Y SpikeHorn For Home Defense?


May 27, 2005, 09:18 AM
I'd appreciate any opinions on Marlin's 336Y "SpikeHorn" in general, and as a home defense rifle specifically.

Is the 336Y well made and reliable? How difficult is it to field-strip and clean? How are it's sights, and can it be fitted with an aperture/ghost-ring type sights? How does the ballistics of the .30-.30 cartridge compare with the 7.62x39mm? How would you'll rate the Marlin 336Y as a home defense rifle? (I currently live in a rather populated area-Tampa Bay area, but I am planning on moving into a rural area of north florida in a few years.) Thanks.


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May 27, 2005, 10:10 AM
.30-30 is slightly superior to 7.62x39mm ballistically. For defensive purposes, I'd personally try to find a good 125ish-gr JHP (PMC made a 125-gr Starfire in .30-30, IIRC). Obviously avoid anything too pointy.

Tom C.
May 27, 2005, 10:13 AM
I have several Marlin rifles, but not a 336 yet. They are generally simple rifles, easily taken down and cleaned from the breach. The sights are typical open sights, that I don't care for, but I put aperture sights on mine. I kind of like the Williams best. I also like a square blade on the front instead of the bead sight.
The power of the .30-30 is greater than the 7.62x39. It shoots a 150 gr. bullet about as fast as the 125 gr. from the Russian round. They are both probably more then you need in an urban situation. Overpenetration could be a potential issue. An alternative, similar size and weight, is the 1894C in .357 Mag.
A good lever gun makes a very nice urban defense rifle. The rifles come a little stiff, but they are easily smoothed up. There are articles out on the net about using a lever as a combat rifle. They certainly have the advantage of not having the negative look of the black rifles. If you want to see what kind of speed they are capable of, take a look at some cowboy shooters. They can make them fly.

May 27, 2005, 02:28 PM
Marlin lever-action rifles are excellent guns, irrespective of model, so the 336Y should be just fine. As for the caliber, .30-30 is really a bit much for urban use, as it can easily penetrate several sheetrock walls, studs, etc. - but then, the same can be said for most rifle rounds. The .223, oddly enough, has relatively little over-penetration problems, and is probably the safest from this point of view.

If you're in an urban area, you'll have to call your shots VERY carefully with any .30-caliber centerfire rifle round, to avoid this problem. I agree that the 125gr. loads should have less risk of overpenetration in a human body, but even these can do so, so the problem remains. For rural use, of course, there's less of a problem.

I agree that the .357 Magnum in a lever-action carbine (e.g. Marlin's 1894CS) is an excellent choice for close-range personal defence. Out to 100 yards, it should do the job, and if JHP's are used, it has less of an over-penetration problem than a full-size rifle round (although the risk is not eliminated). However, don't use the light (125gr. or less) rounds in the carbine: the velocity gets so high that the bullet is likely to fragment on impact, giving much less terminal effectiveness. Stay with the 140-158gr. loads.

May 27, 2005, 03:31 PM
You're considering a .357mag for potentially firing inside your house!? Have you picked out any hearing aids yet? ;)

You will definitely have over-penetration issues with a .30-30.

I recommend a short 12ga pump with birdshot. At household ranges birdshot is just as effective as anything else, but once it goes through sheetrock and panelling and 20 yards across the street it is basically harmless.

May 27, 2005, 03:50 PM
Did I just fall off the potatoe truck? Did I smack my head on the fence along the way. Since when is a .30 cal carbine used as a home defense weapon? What the heck do you think is coming through the door? Most state laws indicate that when confronted, equal force is allowed. That said, any gun will kill. But, to purchase a hunting rifle as a home defense weapon, -Well, it's a bit of overkill. There's been mention of over penetration on a human body. Yeah, if you're on one side of the bedroom, the perp's on the other... Duh, ya think the bullet might kill the perp and the kid in bed the next room over? The house next door? Just maybe!!! And that's if you hit the guy center mass. What if you do miss? You know that good lookin college girl that lives three doors down. You could kill her too. Even the .357 in a long barrelled carbine is too much for home defense. And, most people can't shoot as quick with a lever (like the cowboy action shooters), as they can with a pistola in a home defense situation. It takes a lot of practice.

So, specifically as a home defense weapon, I'd think you've got many other choices better suited for the task.

But, the Marlin Lever actions are nice. Very reliable. Field stripping is a bit different, and some would say more difficult than other traditional repeating or bolt action rifles. It's a perfect hunting rifle for short ranges, (150yrds or less), or what most of us commonly refer to as a brush gun. I love my Marlin.

So, pistola, or Shotgun for home defense. If'n you're movin to the burbs, then the shotgun. 12ga with 00buck. That'll take any perp. And if'n you're afear'd of the bears comin in the front door, Put a one ounce slug in the pipe. That'll put ole' smokey out to pasture fur good! So, I'd recommend a Mossberg interchangable. One short barrel for home. One long barrel for the birdies if you git a whim for dinner.


May 27, 2005, 05:10 PM
Thanks for the helpful/informative replies.

I do currently live in a urban area, but I plan on buying 10-15 acres in the sticks of north florida and put a manufactured home (trailer) ;) on it in a few years. Right now I'm looking at Calhoun, Washington, Liberty, and Lafayette counties, anyone familar with these counties knows that they're very rural. I am primarily interested in buying the Marlin 336Y as an all around defense and hunting rifle for up there, not here in the Tampa Bay Area.

How difficult is it to retrofit ghost-ring sights on a Marlin 336Y? Thanks.


George Hill
May 27, 2005, 05:34 PM
You can order ghost ring sights for your 336 from a couple places. The most popular are from Wild West Guns out of Anchorage Alaska and they just screw in to the top of the receiver... very easy.
Don't get any loads heavier than 150 grains max and that will work for Home Defense. Still, with 150gr rounds, if you can, take a knee before firing.
Kneeling on one knee will give your shot an upward trajectory which will reduce the chances of harming others on an overpentration.

May 27, 2005, 06:06 PM
I'm not going to get in the debate about your choice of a rifle. In answer to your question about field stripping. Lower the lever about half way, take out the screw the lever pivits on, pull the lever straight down, pull the bolt out the rear of the receiver. There you go. To reassimble just reverse the proceedure. As far as sights, the receiver is pre-drilled/tapped, and there are numerous sights that fit, just use Marlin 336, they are all the same. I have an old Model 30TK, which is the forerunner of the Y model. I really like Marlin leveractions, they won't let you down.

Fred Fuller
May 27, 2005, 07:36 PM
AKA the 'redneck assault rifle.' They work fine for the purpose, PDs/SOs issue lever action .30-30s as patrol carbines in some areas. They are low profile and unobtrusive as any long gun can be.

There are definitely issues with range and penetration as a house gun, so safety in use is a primary consideration. That said, it would be hard to go wrong with it as a hunting rifle as along as your potential range for use is 175 yards or less. I like the 336 for deer, I would consider it a bit much for a house gun myself but if that's what you want and you are willing to be responsible for where your bullets come to rest... .

Personally I like AO's ghost rings for the Marlins- see the pic at;jsessionid=0Q30YM4JZT4FVTQSNOLSCOWOCJVYQIWE?id=0014955223040a&navCount=0&cmCat=srchdx&cm_ven=srchdx&cm_ite=srchdx&_requestid=31517 . They go on easily and sight in easily also. They are mucho quick in use.

Field stripping is dead simple, just RTFM and follow directions.

Could I talk you into a good used Remington 870 as a house gun tho??? C'mon over to the shotgun forum and let's talk about it.


May 27, 2005, 08:48 PM
For defense purposes, thye 336Y is a good choice. For hunting the 336C is better.
For double duty, the 336Y will do fine.

They aren't hard to field strip or clean, and since half the action doesn't drop out of the receiver like a Winchester, they're less prone to getting huge amounts of gunk in them.
Ghost ring sights are easy to put in. Most just screw right in.

For rural defense/hunting, might I suggest two rifles? Since you obviously have class and like leverguns, I'd suggest the 1894c in .357 magnum as the inside the house gun. It's about the size of the spikehorn, but you get a 9-round magazine, and you can have a nice revolver in the same caliber handy as well. This is also a good gun for outside the house defense against both people and critters (except the larger hogs).
Then for hunting, get a 336C in .35 Remington. It has more oomph than the .30-30, and is a great hunting piece for the south, as it can put down all of our game very well.

However, if you want to stick with one rifle, the 336Y will serve your needs.

A good read: The Tactical .30-30 Lever Action Rifle (

May 27, 2005, 09:00 PM
I hope no one minds, but I'd like to address a few things.

1.) Defending your home does NOT automatically mean firing at someone inside the house (especially in a rural setting (which is what he's moving to, and asking about).
2.) "Innocent bystanders" don't line up, shoulder to shoulder behind the bad guys and surrounding your house to catch any stray that might come along. I don't know how many police, sheriff's deputies, FBI agents, etc I've interviewed who've been involved in shootings and investigated them, and in NOT ONE CASE was a bystander hit by strays, and most of this was inner city experience. Not saying it CAN'T happen, or that it's not something to consider, but reading things in the gun rags and (even worse) on the net, you'd believe it happens all the time.
3.) People use 30 caliber carbines for home defense a LOT. Look at all those guys that plan on being able to take out an invading SWAT team and hold off a light infantry platoon with their AK/FAL/CETME/etc -- or ARs for that matter. Not to mention the .30-30 has been the "redneck assault rifle" as one poster said, for quite some time now.
4.) Complaining about the noise of a .357 fired inside and offering a shotgun, 12-gauge at that, as an alternative, is just funny.
5.) Bird shot is a BAD idea for defensive purposes. Old, soft lead shot used to clump a bit and might do some decent penetrating. But the higher antimony shot, and buffered shot doesn't "clump" much and often gives very poor penetration, and will often cause horrendous shallow wounds that are good at maiming, but probably won't stop a doper/fatguy/whatever. If you're worried about shotgun penetration, use #4 Buck.

6.) I will freely admit that for defense INSIDE the house, one is probably best off with a handgun.

But all of the above is one man's view, YMMV.

George Hill
May 27, 2005, 09:07 PM
"But the higher antimony shot, and buffered shot doesn't "clump" much and often gives very poor penetration, and will often cause horrendous shallow wounds that are good at maiming, but probably won't stop a doper/fatguy/whatever."
Are you kidding? Have you seen shotgun wounds from birdshot at close range?
It'll do.

May 28, 2005, 02:17 AM
I said Double Ott buck before. And I will still stand by that. I've taken Coyotes with #7 bird shot at close range. And yes, it makes a mess. But.... And I say this to make one think... If'n the perp's in my house.. Threatening the life and well being of my family, I want him dead!, If I have to pull the trigger. No, I don't want him to come sue me later for being maimed, blind or whatever.

I think we all realize that bystanders don't line up waiting for a perp to be shot, and still stand or lie by waiting to share the bullet. I for one, do not ever want to take that chance. There's a reason, (or several), that law enforcement doesn't carry magnum pistola's any more. Luckily, I live rural, and since I've been carrying for the last twenty years, (since we've been mugged and accosted), I have not been in that situation. That said, I think that there are better choices for home defense than a lever action carbine.

But to support the lever Marlin, a Redneck's assault rifle, you won't go wrong. They're very dependable, and yes, they'll take any critter the good ole' state of Florida has to dish out.


May 28, 2005, 07:35 AM
There appears to be some misconceptions about different guns and penetration potential there of.

A magnum pistol firing hollow point bullets will not penetrate more than a standard caliber firing hollow points. The extra velocity causes the bullet to expand more, reducing penetration. Using a long barrelled carbine magnifies this tendency. With a .357 magnum carbine and hollow point bullets, I would worry more about under penetration than I would over penetration.

With full metal jacket bullets, and cast bullets, this situation reverses. It may also reverse if the target is hard, such as automobile sheet metal. In a soft target though, (such as flesh, or that case of beverages in the cabinet), penetration declines with the increase in velocity.

The .223 works well at close range. It offers good stopping power with minimal penetration, and while the bullet may penetrate a wall, it usually fragments while doing so, and is not going far after it does.

Perhaps we need to re-introduce some of the old .22 caliber lever action rounds just for such use. Food for thought. :D

May 28, 2005, 09:41 AM
I have also considered a AO/Kahr M1 Carbine, or a Ruger Ranch Rifle in either .223 or 7.62x39mm, but I figured that the Marlin 336Y in .30-.30 would be a more versatile rifle in a rural setting.

***I have been shooting handguns for about 20 years, but I have little experience with long guns. Partly because I've lived in a urban area all my life, and partly because I just enjoy shooting handguns more. So you'll will have to excuse my ignorance concerning long guns.***



May 28, 2005, 09:34 PM
Put me down for one vote for a shotguns and handguns for HD.
What about a marlin model 1894 in .44 mag/spec.?

May 28, 2005, 11:01 PM
There appears to be some misconceptions about different guns and penetration potential there of.

May 28, 2005, 11:17 PM
That gun will work fine for what you want. Just make sure if you use it, you are aware of the possibility of overpenetration when using it indoors or in an urban environment.

If I only had one rifle, it would be a 30-30 levergun.

May 29, 2005, 01:52 AM
For rural use, a 30-30 wouldn't be a bad choice for overall defense. I would store earplugs or electronic shooting muffs next to the rifle. Firing a centerfire rifle indoors is going to cause hearing damage.

For urban, indoor use, I'd choose a pistol caliber carbine or shotgun (with buckshot) as first choices. If you had to use a 30-30 in that situation, I'd look into some custom handloads of a blunt-tip 100-110 grain JHP loaded to about 2000 fps. The blunt-tip is for safety in a tubular magazine. Limiting the bullet velocity to 2000 fps keeps the bullet within design tolerences. The specific bullet I'm thinking of is a speer 110 grain JHP in 30 caliber that looks like a little revolver bullet. Effectively you'd be downloading the 30-30 to 30 carbine levels with a bullet that'll expand quickly. Since it wouldn't be a full-power load, the recoil would be reduced for faster follow-on shots.

If you were my next-door neighbor (in town) and I knew you were using 150-170 grain 30-30 (or 30-06, 308, 7mm Mag, etc.) deer loads for house use, then I'd try to talk you out of it. If I couldn't do that, I'd be building reinforced concrete walls using 8 inch thick cinder blocks and filling the empty spaces in the middle with concrete and rebar. These walls would be strategically placed between your house and every bedroom in my house. The overpenetration hazzard is that great. If a rifle bullet did leave your house and harm someone in mine, then you'd better have a damn good lawyer and a great deal of liability insurance; you'd need both before I was through with you. It'd be much cheaper to just have the appropriate tool for the job.

Sorry to be blunt, but the extreme pentration of rifle rounds is a very serious issue. A beat-up pump shotgun or an older 38 special revolver just isn't that expensive.

May 29, 2005, 08:37 AM
I currently have a FN BDAO 9mm (DAO Hi-Power), and a S&W M640 (loaded with Federal Nyclad .38 Specials) set up as my HD guns, and I don't intend to change that as long as I live in a urban setting. And if I do have neighbors close by (which I'd rather not) when I move to a rural area of north florida, I will choose the proper HD tool. I have no desire to harm an innocent bystander.


May 29, 2005, 09:26 AM
Wouldn't ANY centerfire firearm discharged indoors be damaging to your hearing?

Even a 22lr pistol is loud enough to make your ears ring, especially when fired indoors. I seriously doubt a handgun's report is any less damaging to your hearing. Why is report even a consideration for home defense?

George Hill
May 29, 2005, 12:06 PM
You should hear what gunshots sound like in a tiled bathroom.


May 29, 2005, 04:18 PM
I did hear a shot go off in a bathroom once. A dumb*** accidentally discharged a pistol while standing at the sink. Talk about an adrenialine rush... Thank God no one was hurt. For a second I thought the guy was commiting sucide. The guy off duty but tired from a long shift...

FWIW the round fragmented and did not penetrate the wall on the other side... There was a hole on the bathroom side though...

May 29, 2005, 05:29 PM
The logic behind choosing a SHORT GUN over a carbine for home defense just doesn't cut it for me. It seems some folks would rather cap off a magazine full of 9x19 in hopes of hitting perhaps half the time than fire ONCE from a Spikehorn and end matters once and for all. None of you can honestly claim that a little handgun is going to outshoot a .30-30 carbine. Both accuracy and lethality are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE better with the carbine than any handgun. I understand the appeal of having a handgun for CCW, but honestly if you have a choice why the DEVIL would you choose to use something that does less damage and has a far greater chance of missing? Do you understand that EVERY SINGLE BULLET that misses has by defninition "overpenetrated" and will take a trip through your walls to your neighbor? It's FAR safer to stick with something that stands the best possible chance of hitting and killing the intruder.

So I'm going with a big thumbs up to the idea. Burn them down once and for all with the .30-30.

May 29, 2005, 05:48 PM
do a net search for Gabe Suarez..........few have as much info to offer on the HD aspects of the .30-.30 lever action......he hosts a forum known as warrior talk as well. Enjoy!


Personally ive always been a big fan of the 1894P....same size/specs as above BUT in .44 Magnum for HeavyBrush/Field(4 legged) use and .44 spls. for HD(2 legged) offering a higher capacity and less pene. Just my .02

May 29, 2005, 10:08 PM
The logic behind choosing a SHORT GUN over a carbine for home defense just doesn't cut it for me. +1. Here's a quick test for all y'all pistolero's.

First - holding an unloaded pistol/revolver, get into your favorite stance and measure the distance from your centerline to the end of the weapon. Do the same thing with your handy-dandy unloaded 16" carbine. Second - pick two targets, at least six feet away and separated by at least four feet. Starting with your unloaded weapon at the low ready, acquire one with a good sight picture, hold thru a two-second interval, and then switch to the other, obtaining a good stance and sight picture. Do this with both your pistol and your carbine. Finally - obtain a sight picture on something with your unloaded carbine and side-step rapidly while keping a sight picture on the target. Do the same thing with your unloaded pistol.

The simple reality for anyone taking this quick test is that you'll likely find that you're no MORE big-n-slow with a long gun and you'll be no more compact-n-quick with a pistol, and that the long gun was easier to keep on target. I also guarantee you that you'll be MILES more accurate with a simple iron-sighted carbine at virtually any distance than you will be with a handgun. It's simply a question of sight radius and platform stability.

IMO, the only real advantage for a pistol in home defense (and it's a big one for us family guys) is that its more easily secured in a household with small children. But if the opportunity presents itself, why would you willingly give up the carbine's advantages of accuracy and stopping power?

May 30, 2005, 09:57 AM
IMO, the only real advantage for a pistol in home defense (and it's a big one for us family guys) is that its more easily secured in a household with small children. But if the opportunity presents itself, why would you willingly give up the carbine's advantages of accuracy and stopping power?

The other advantage to the handgun is you can carry a flashlight at night and use the handgun at the same time. Let me stave off the arguments before they start.
All is my opinion:
1.) A waepon mounted light (beit a long gun or handgun) is a BAD idea.
"But Magnum, they're conveinent and easy to use."
"Yes, grasshopper, but they hold the single aim point the bad guy will have in the dark in front of your vitals."
2.) My preference is for a large Maglite, held in the offhand, with the upper arm held parallel to the floor, and the forearm held vertically. This accomplishes several things:
A.) It puts the aimpoint above and away from your vitals.
B.) being the single point of reference for the now blinded bad guy, it will make you appear taller than you are. Before you say he can tell that no one is that tall, remember you just blinded his night vision, he sees a bright light and a bright halo around it, his senses are off, and you're playing on that.
C.) It puts the flashlight in a good position to use as a club in the event the bad guy gets too close for whatever reason (the reason the Maglite is my preference. These "tactical" lights are brighter, and lightweight, but are sh*t for use as a weapon.). Don't say he'll never get right on top of you, there's corners and objects in your house, just like everyone's.

FWIW, that's the reason I prefer a handgun at night, it's not a length issue. In fact I would think using a full-size handgun is best at home (better control, sight radius, etc), mine is a 6.5" gun. If you're thinking gun grabs, pull the gun back into retention. The bad guy will have to travel further to get it, increasing his chances of getting shot, a be beaten half to death with the Maglite at the same time.

In daylight, I go back to preferring the long gun.
Also, like I said before, in rural areas (where the original poster was asking about) there's other things besides humans to "defend the castle" from. A wild hog can easiely tear the hell out of a family pet, OR YOUR CHILDREN. A rifle or shotgun is nice to have. Same with venomous snakes, feral dogs, etc.

I like to keep a Mosin Nagant M44 over the back kitchen door for such occasions, but an 1894 Marlin in .357/.44 magnum, or the aforementioned 336 in .30-30 will all do fine.

As for worrying about penetration, the family should have a defense plan, and should know to keep low. This is not just so your rounds don't hit them, but also the bad guy's (who don't give a damn about your family, and who don't carry "house safe" bullets) don't zip through and kill them. Defense of the home is EVERYBODY's job, and responsibility.

Michael Courtney
May 30, 2005, 04:36 PM
Criminals are making increased use of bullet proof vests and the 30-30 will do a much better job in this arena than shotgun or pistol. One needs to pick shooting directions that don't put others in harms way. I like the 30-30 lever for covering the door of a saferoom, where the shot angles are controlled, but I like something with less penetration if there's a potential need to go to the aid of a family member located elsewhere in the home, because shot angles will likely not be controlled.

Michael Courtney

May 31, 2005, 12:07 AM
You can always load a 30-30 with Winchester Accelerators (a saboted 55-grain load), which gives .223-like performance and reduces overpenetration. They are not super-accurate at long distances, but within 50 yards, no problemo.

May 31, 2005, 01:18 AM
Assuming a lever-action 30-30, the accelerators would limit you to a 2 shot rifle (1 in chamber, 1 in mag). Otherwise, you'll have a pointy bullet against a live primer with more than 1 in the mag. That's why I recommended the downloaded 110 grain speer JHPs; you can stuff the mag full with their blunt nose.

May 31, 2005, 07:22 PM
Agreed, except that you can easily make the Accelerators blunt - they are soft-points.

As for the long gun vs. handgun for home defense, to me it gets down to the fact that I can operate a handgun with one hand. You never know what you might need to do with that other hand - operate a phone or flashlight, fend off a surprise attack, open a door, turn on the lights, scratch yourself, etc.

May 31, 2005, 10:16 PM
I have one of the little 336Y Spikehorns, and I think it would be a dandy HD rifle. The short barrel and stock makes it easy to handle indoors.
The old boogyman of 'overpenetration' raised it's head early in this thread. Frankly if you hit your target, then that is less of a consideration. I for one, am not about to give up power, to compensate for a high degree of maybe, that a missed round will go through a wall.
For me, the downside of the lever gun as a HD weapon is fairly low magazine capacity, and the difficulty of reloading under stress. For HD use, I prefer my Bushmaster shorty.

June 17, 2005, 12:41 PM
I work for a metro police agency and we tested .30-30 jhp's in ballistic ordnance gelatin. I even brought in my 16.5-inch barreled Marlin Spikehorn as the test gun.

Federal Cartridge's 125-grain .30-30 jhp (catalog #3030C) and Winchester's 150-grain .30-30 jhp (catalog X30301) both penetrated about 14 inches in the calibrated gel through the 4X cottom denim clothing barrier. This is the same penetration as the 9mm and .40 S&W "performance" jhp's that we issue for our service handguns. If that level of penetration in "acceptable" in a defensive handgun, why wouldn't it be acceptable in an easier-to-hit-with carbine? Plus the rifle round is expending a lot more striking energy over the same penetration distance.

I personally would prefer a shotgun for close-range defensive use, but if all you have is a .30-30, you can get by quite nicely with the right sort of ammo.

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