Winchester or Marlin?


January 3, 2007, 02:25 AM
I'm going to buy a lever action rifle in a few days or so and I'm wondering what you all would buy? I can buy a USED Winchester Model 94 for only $250 or a NEW Marlin 336 for $349, both in 30/30.

The Winchester is in nice shape, barrel is clean and the action is very smooth. There is some light rub and lines on the side of the receiver but nothing easily noticeable, just normal wear. The wood has that deep rich look that only comes with age when it’s not abused. The Marlin is new like I said above, the wood is OK, nothing special but the bluing is done very well. Nothing wrong with a Marlin but the Winchester is a bit of history and they are no longer being made.

Which one would you buy? I know, I know --- buy them both --- NO CAN DO --- just not possible right now.

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January 3, 2007, 02:32 AM
Well, you can always buy a Marlin but the Winchester rifles are no longer manufactured. Buy the Winchester now and a Marlin later.

From reading your post I can tell that you've really got your eye on the Winchester. ;)

January 3, 2007, 02:40 AM
If the Winchester is in as good as shape as you say, go ahead and get it. Prices on them are going up...

Take the $150 left, save it up a little more, and if you like the .30-30, buy a used Marlin 336 at the end of deer season- that way, you can have them both- if you get a 336 later, you might want to get one of the older ones without the safety...

January 3, 2007, 03:05 AM
If I get the Winchester I won't buy a Marlin 336 at all, I'll buy a Marlin 1894C in .357 Mag. when I can!! :D

January 3, 2007, 03:25 AM
winnie levers are so light, so quick, so easy to swing, easy to carry , so thin, easy to pull in or take out of a scabbard, nice smooth sides, so handy. don't get me wrong, as a leftie, i can really appreciate the marlin action. But an old winnie is how a lever is supposed to feel, and move.

January 3, 2007, 07:15 AM
I have both.
The Marlin is rather heavy and seems to kick harder despite that, I don't think the fit is correct for me, plus I have had so many difficulties sigting it in I put a scope on it.
My Winchester is light and quick and I can hit sillouetes(sp) at 400m offhand usig the peep sight, and I am not the best shot in the world.
If I had to sell one it would be the Marlin.

January 3, 2007, 07:30 AM

There can be only one.

January 3, 2007, 08:32 AM
FWIW, when you walk out the door with the Marlin, it will be worth $200; when you walk out the door with the Winchester, it will still be worth $250 (and more likely to appreciate).

January 3, 2007, 08:33 AM
I'll just say that I had both. Still have the Marlin.
Winchester was lighter, but the action was loose and sloppy feeling, no recoil pad and it made for a sore shoulder after 20 rds. Also, the Marlin was easier to scope. If your heart is set on a Winnie, get a pre '64. It will cost you more, but it is a real Winchester.

High Planes Drifter
January 3, 2007, 09:19 AM
Most levergun enthusiasts will tell you the Marlin is a more solid gun. has an article on just this subject. That being said, there is an inherant design flaw with the Marlin 336. Do a search for "The dreaded Marlin jam" . It involves the sharp, unsmoothed edge of the carrier making a groove in the cam of the lever, this can eventually cause a sieze up of the action while cycling. Its an easy problem to fix, I dont know why Marlin still lets guns leave the factory like this.(?):scrutiny:

I voted Marlin (even considering the flaw), the Marlin will be easier to mount a scope on (the Winnie is top eject), and aside from the design flaw is overall solid and rugged. However, before voting I did not consider a fact brought up in this post; the Winnie isnt made anymore and may very well appreciate in value.

January 3, 2007, 09:26 AM
$250.00 for a good win 94 right now is a steal.I checked prices at the last gun show.beaters were selling for more than that.

while I like marlins I would take a win over one any day.I have had the dreaded marlin jam several sucks.if you shoot cast the micro-groove barrel it can be a real pita to get it to shoot straight.
just my .02 from a handloader,bulletcaster and a lever junkie:)

January 3, 2007, 09:29 AM
You've already sold yourself on the Winchester. Just do it. As others have said, they ain't makin' any more of 'em. This coming from someone w/ 3 Marlin leverguns.

January 3, 2007, 09:33 AM
$250.00 for a good win 94 right now is a steal.I checked prices at the last gun show.beaters were selling for more than that.

I sold mine at the last gun show we had. I started at $275, walked the building twice and finally got an interested sucker, oops, buyer at $225 and sold it for that. Now mine was one of the 1974 mfgd. units with the iron plating that pops off the receiver and gives the gun a "freckled" apperance. Which mine had. Shot great, no malfunctions, just ugly finish. Even tried selling it here on THR with good honest photos.

Rev. DeadCorpse
January 3, 2007, 09:35 AM
I haven't shot the Marlin, but I own a Winchester 94. 1963 vintage. I can bullseye a bowling pin at 100yrds with the original iron ramp sights.

Shoulder both of them. See which one seems to fit you better. Go with what feels right.

Essex County
January 3, 2007, 11:22 AM
At the present I own one of each and a good half dozen of each have passed through my hands since the sixties. If I'm going to own a 94 it's going to be a pre 64, but a Marlin of any vintage I find acceptable. The Marlin really is the better gun.........Essex

January 3, 2007, 01:32 PM
I suppose it depends on what it is you want from the gun. The Winchester's are more collectible and a little more classic, but the Marlin is by far a better gun. All my leverguns are Marlins, and I love them.

I guess if it were me torn between the two, I'd buy the Winchester now and a Marlin as funds became available, since the Marlin will be in production for decades to come.

Dave Markowitz
January 3, 2007, 01:54 PM
I'v recently come to favor Marlins over Winchesters for two main reasons:

1. Much easier to strip. Take out one screw and you can remove the lever and the bolt.

2. They fit me better. I found the Windester 94 in .30-30 to be unpleasant to shoot. My Marlin 336 fits me a lot better and as a result, it doesn't beat me up.

January 3, 2007, 02:55 PM
never had the dreaded jam thing....

I put a limbsaver on to increase the LOP (stock custom size pad is a very close fit) and the kick was tamed down to "pussy cat" level.

put a William's 5D receiver sight on it (pre 2001 Marlins came drilled and tapped on the side to accomodate receiver sights, as well as the top to accomodate scope rings)'s a shooter!

action is smooth and tight compared to the '94s I looked at, which seemed "clunky".

side eject seemed to make a lot more sense to me, even though I don't plan on putting a scope on the rifle.

and as mentioned already, one screw and the lever and bolt are removed for very easy, yet thorough cleaning.

not so sure Winchesters are really going to far as I can tell.... After FN negotiates terms to re-up their use of the Winchester name (Olin owns the name) and meets their contractual obligations with the USRA union in CT to not make 94's, 70's and 1300's for a specified number of years, I think there's a very good chance you'll see all the most popular models manufactured again in a plant that can produce to FN's quality standards.

here's a link to a good article about the fate of Winchester.....

anyhow...I buy firearms to shoot and to enjoy, not as "collectables"

Interesting tid bit from AH-1 about home cast bullets in the micro-groove barrel.

January 4, 2007, 12:13 AM
In my opinion the Marlin is a much better rifle.

January 4, 2007, 12:32 AM
Get the Win now and get a Marlin later. That what I did.

January 4, 2007, 12:50 AM
Buy the Marlin. It's more accurate. And doesn't rattle.


January 4, 2007, 12:57 AM
Wow, almost 3 to 1 for the Marlin. That's disturbing to me since as some of you have already noticed, I was leaning towards the Winchester. The reason is a little silly. It's not really because it’s collectable but more for the little kid in me. I'm turning 50 soon and when I was a child Western Movies and TV Shows were all over the place. Every Cowboy had a lever action Winchester on the side of their saddle. I always wanted a Winchester and now I have a chance to get one. Even though I knew the Marlin was probably a better rifle when I made this thread I was also almost sure I was going to buy the Winchester.

Thank you for the input...

January 4, 2007, 02:14 AM
15 years ago, I owned a Marlin 336C in .35.

Sold it in a fit of grad school financial desperation.
Now, I'm sorry I just didn't eat more ramen. I miss that rifle.

Now, I'm scraping and saving to buy another 336, this time a 336A in .30/30 (

I've handled Winchesters and Marlins while looking for a Marlin.

I have no doubt that Winchester is a fine rifle.
I take nothing away from its history, nor from the fine folks who prefer them.

For me, though, hands down: my choice is Marlin.

January 4, 2007, 03:07 AM
I own many 94's and 336's and all are great rifles and a coin flip in accuracy between the two models chambered in 30-30. I like the Marlins in larger calibers especially the 336 in 35rem and the 1895 models. So if I was to choose one thuddy-thuddy it would be the Historical American Legend the Winchester 94. Then save my Marlin purchase for a 336 in 35rem.

My decision is based on caliber since I love both models. 30-30win=Win94

If the 94 is $250 you will regret it when you decide you have to have one later when the prices are all hefty and the 336 is still the same price.

My Winchesters only rattle if the action is not closed properly.

January 4, 2007, 03:17 AM
A pre64 Win 94, even if the action is closed properly, the trigger will rattle. The late model Marlin (1986) cross bolt safety is superior.

Looking back at movies, you could notice that there were a lot of Marlins and Henry's in film.

I will still contend that the Marlin with micro groove barrel is more accurate and is also easier to clean.

You've got the Ruger vs Smith vs Colt crowd here... So why not buy one of each?


January 4, 2007, 06:45 AM
cast my lot for the Winchester...

Marlins are decent enough...but it just ain't a Winchester.

Some around here say thats a good thing...thats why I love this country we live in. :)

Get the Winnie now, and pick up a Marlin guide gun 45-70 later that way you don't have two with the same caliber.


Working Man
January 4, 2007, 07:04 AM
I'd go for the Winchester then the Marlin. Thats what I did, not on purpose, it just
worked out that way. I think the Marlin is a better made gun but but I really like the
size and weight of my 94, and as everyone said they aren't making them any more.

I think you might regret not getting the 94 later. I know I would have.

January 4, 2007, 10:25 PM
Given your choice, I'd go with the Winchester. I prefer Marlins myself, but only those with straight stocks (like the Winchester). My 336 is an RC model, 1960s vintage with a straight stock. I looked long and hard to find one. I prefer the side ejection of the Marlin, but if it came down to the specific choice you have, I'd opt for the Winchester.

January 5, 2007, 12:00 AM
I own a 336, and it is pure ease to maintain. I recently Cleaned and Polished the action on a '94. What a PITA,, not to mention that the action was loaded with machine burrs that were just assembled over. Marlins for Machining and Workmanship as well as ease of Maintenance hands down.

January 5, 2007, 01:40 AM
To me, the marlin action feels like i'm trying to shift gears on a dump truck, due to all the lawyer-proof safeties. Get the "real deal"--it's bound to be slicker.

January 5, 2007, 09:05 AM
And sometimes they capture the exact experience.

To me, the marlin action feels like i'm trying to shift gears on a dump truck, due to all the lawyer-proof safeties.

In all honesty.....I have to agree with this statement......

BUT...with one modification....

it feels like shifting a nice tight Honda dump truck :)

so I expect to flip the odometer at least twice :rolleyes:

January 6, 2007, 04:14 PM
:banghead: I bought a 94 Legacy about 1998. Beeutifulll rifle, solid well made & finished. My nephews X-mass gift.

2002? bought a Synthetic/Stainless 94 for me. Got it home, worked the lever 3 times and parts started falling out!! :cuss: I found holes larger than the screws holding the feed ramps in. Took it straight back to the gunshop. When the replacement arrived it hadn't been fully deburred, metal shavings were caught in several screws, the sling studs were halfway out....

There are a couple 94s, old 94s in town I want. But aside from the floopy triggers I gotta stick with my Marlins. 1895x2 1894cb.

The 1895Gs had a stiff action, 800-2000grit sweat and a stack of Clints westerns fixed that. The 1895LTD III, butter. The 1894CB .44mag was pretty smooth. My only gripe, the floopy triggers. Wild West Guns fixed that REAL quick. Had one jam with the GS which I blamed on machine marks in the carrier, about 30 rounds into our first outing.

B.D. Turner
January 6, 2007, 07:51 PM
I own two Marlins a 336 in 30-30 and a 1894 in .44 Magnum. I like both of them but would still take a 94 if the price was right.

January 6, 2007, 07:51 PM
i bought a 44 mag in a marlin, not too well used, and theaction was very junky. when ejecting it would hang up most every time. i really think a 94 would give you much better service in the long run. not to shoot down marlin, i think they have some great guns. i just have never known their lever actions to be reliable. -al

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