lever action selection...read posting before polling


April 29, 2007, 09:37 AM
I have hit an empass of sorts in trying to select a lever action for 'all around' hunting longarm for medium to medium/large game for the majority of my remaining adult life; I have selected a lever action as the platform (rugged, classic design that allows quick followup shots and inherently accurate) and I have selected a .30/7.62 caliber (ammo availability and ability to withstand recoil ); I would high mount a good quality scope on see throughs to allow use of iron sights in a pinch; my primary game would be PA whitetail and PA black bear; here are my choices:

Marlin 336 in .30-30; perhaps the "C" model that offers the walnut wood for a touch of class; tube magazine; cross bolt safety

Browning BLR in .308 w/ pistol grip; blued and walnut; drop free box magazines; articulating hammer for safety

***I am not a fan of Winchester lever actions and not a choice for me***

I prefer the lever action have a pistol grip since it is more comfortable and ergonomic for my hand; the higher price of the Browning is not really a deterrant since this particular purchase is an investment and not a fly-by-night purchase that would be sold to finance another gun later on...

which one and why...thanks

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April 29, 2007, 09:44 AM
I like the browning, as it has a turn-bolt design that will be more solid and accurate, and you don't have to buy special ammo for it if you want pointed bullets. .308 gives much longer effective shooting ranges and allows you to plink with cheaper milsurp ammo if you wish, and there's no denying the superior fit & finish. The trigger moves with the lever, making it impossible to pinch your finger. too!

However, I would recommend a good set of QD mounts instead of see-thrus. Low QDs will let you maintain a proper cheekweld instead of raising up off the stock to see your crosshairs...Never did like see-thrus...

April 29, 2007, 09:58 AM
I like 308, and it's clearly more powerful. But in the end, there's not much that a 308 can do inside of 200-250 yards that a 30-30 can't also do. Frankly, parts and service and general longevity of design favor the Marlin.

In my household, the BLR would be a pet and the Marlin would be a workhorse. I voted for the workhorse.

April 29, 2007, 10:22 AM
The Marlin 30-30 has been around and killing everything for a long, long time. There are loads of people that have them. You can buy 30-30 ammo anywhere. The new ammo from leverevolution makes the 30-30 a 250-300 yard rifle. You can find a lot of extras for the marlin platform...


April 29, 2007, 10:24 AM
marlin 336 in 35 rem would be my choice. barring that, marlin 336 in 30-30 would be my 2nd choice.

however, this:

I would high mount a good quality scope on see throughs to allow use of iron sights in a pinch

is not a good idea.

Brian Williams
April 29, 2007, 10:47 AM
For PA "large" game I would get a Marlin and put a Lyman receiver sight on it. I dislike scopes on leverguns.

April 29, 2007, 12:44 PM
The Marlin is a very high quality rifle. One of the things I like the most about it is the easy dissassembly for cleaning. And it is made in the USA.

April 29, 2007, 01:13 PM
For your stated purpose the BLR would be the most practical choice. However I would very strongly recommend that you NOT put see through rings on any rifle. They completely mess up the scope mount, it is WAY to high to be able to get a solid cheek weld therefore destroying much of your accuracy and shooting ability with the scope. And they make the sight picture on iron sights clumsy at best unusable at worst. Basically see through rings are for tourists not hunters.

The proper way to go about this is to get a quality low power variable scope that is mounted low to the bore like it should be. You should always walk around with the scope on the lowest setting so if you need it in a hurry for a snap shot you are covered if you have a long shot you'll have the time to turn it up.

If the scope goes titts up simply take it off and use the iron sights as a back up.

I recommend the Leopuld VX III in a 1.75X6 On 1.75 it is just about as fast and wide as an iron sight and on 6 it's a highly usable long range scope.

April 29, 2007, 01:21 PM
The Marlin.
If, for no other reason, than it's about 500% easier with it, to remove the bolt in order to properly clean the barrel from the rear - unlike the BLR.

[Open the bolt/lever halfway, remove the lever pivot screw, and withdraw the bolt being sure to keep track of the ejector located in the left receiver wall/bolt raceway.]

It's also simpler to peep, if you wish - most requiring no front sight height change to zero, if you do so.
A XS LeverScout mount allows scoping, and keeping a peep, at the same time.

IMHO, see-through scope rings are an abomination, good for use mostly to raise the scope body for use as a carrying handle, and not much else.
When a used gun is seen for sale, with see-throughs on it, it's usually thought that the gun was owned by a tyro, and the price mentally discounted so the new owner could refit the scope properly.

April 29, 2007, 02:13 PM
Like Mr. Williams, I believe the handling qualities and general aesthetics of a classic lever-action rifle/carbine are adversely compromised with the addition of a scope. And, as others have noted, this degradation in handling qualities is only compounded with the addition of "See-Thru" mounts. Good (Lyman, Williams or Redfield) receiver sights are the way to go if it's white-tails or black bears you're after.

I do have a couple of entirely personal caveats about putting a scope on a lever : imo, appropriate candidates are the Savage 99, the Winchester 88, the Sako Finnwolf and the Browning BLR. To me, these rifles "look" (pun intended!) ok with a scope. In fact, because I happen to think that the BLR (with the possible exception of the old Winchester 1895) is the most out-of-proportion, ungainly looking, lever-action rifle ever made, its appearance is probably enhanced with the addition of a scope.

Before the hailstorm is ignited, I remind you: these are personal, subjective opinions only! I absolutely cannot defend these positions with any objective, empirical data but they are integral with my belief systems and I'm too old to change! :evil:

April 29, 2007, 02:48 PM
I am not a "dyed in the wool" Marlin nut, and have had experience with both platforms (in fact, I sell both of them at my job, though the BLR we have is in .30-06....considered that an option as of yet?). The Browning is the only platform that will give you the ability to shoot a modern, high-power rifle cartridge out of a lever action design, the Marlin cannot. The .30-30 doesn't have the "reach out and touch" power that a .308 does, but then again I do not live in your area and cannot possibly know the average viewdistance that you see where you hunt. I DO know that the Browning design is more consusive to a good scope mounted on top, because at the ranges that that rifle is perfect for (far beyond the effective range of the .30-30), that scope will be very handy, and lends itself to the mounting of a nicer scope (since it will be more useful/depended upon for optical clarity at longer ranges). The drawback to the browning is potentially the price (which isn't a factor to you), and a rather "different" feel when the action pushes back on the bolt (as compared to other designs); but the Marlins have always felt "clunky" to me (kinda like trying to shift gears on a double-clutch dump-truck from a standstill), so there you go. That is effectively my "professional" opinion, because yes, I sell those guns for a living. YMMV, but the Browning is the clear winner in my book.

Nomad, 2nd
April 29, 2007, 03:33 PM
Savage 99 in .308 LOL!

But since that wasn't an option:
I voted for the Browning.
Why: It's a .308 and that seems to be the best choice given your restrictions.

I do not own one and actually own a Marlin 30-30, but a buddy has a 7mm08 Browning which has impressed me.

Vern Humphrey
April 29, 2007, 03:36 PM
As you're probably aware, a new cartridge, the .308 Marlin Express has just been announced. This cartridge is offered in the 336 Marlin and just about duplicates the .308 Winchester. With the new LeveRevolution pointed bullets and loads, it makes the 336 into a really viable all-around hunting rifle.

April 29, 2007, 03:45 PM
You said that money wasn't an issue, so...

...buy them both.

(You know that you want to.)

April 29, 2007, 03:48 PM
They are both fine rifles. You can't go wrong with the marlin or the browning. That being said, I would put on my winter hunting clothes and see which one fit's you the best. I've found that browning rifles are too long for me (the stock). In my opinion both calibers will do the job just fine. The only advantage I see in the browning is perhaps better accuracy, but most deer are shot at relatively short range. Shoulder both rifles and you will probably see that the marlin comes up quicker.

April 29, 2007, 03:59 PM
For hunting and shooting beyond 250 plus yards the Browning in .308
For nostalgia and pure Americana the Marlin gets the vote.
IIRC Miroku in Japan makes Brownings.
Money no object get both and set the Browning up with a scope and the Marlin with a Lyman or XS sight and a Galco butt cuff.

April 29, 2007, 05:08 PM
For pure Americana I'd also find a neat older M-99 Savage in .308. They are FANTASTIC rifles.

April 29, 2007, 08:32 PM
okay y'all...seems I need to clarify...I didn't state that money was no object and that I could afford both the Marlin and the Browning...I stated that the increased price of the Browning was not a deterrant...I'm talking @ $400 difference...not unlimited funding...quit assuming that I could have both! :banghead:

Thank you!

3 gun
April 29, 2007, 10:20 PM
Both are great rifles. 308 will do anything 30-30 will and more. Get the Browning.

Ned Flangers
April 29, 2007, 10:32 PM
Another vote for the .308 Marlin Express. No experience with them, but the ballistics look good.

April 29, 2007, 11:58 PM
I had to go 30-30. It's so much cheaper. What you could do is take the money you would spend on the BLR and put that into some decent reloading equipment.

I also am of the opinion for the type of hunting you are doing, skip the scope. Get nice irons that work in low light too.

However if you are set on a scope, I would still go Marlin, but you might look into a forward scout mount system. You could still fall well within the price range you want to.
Maybe an LER 2.5X fixed scope. But try one first. The advantage is fast on target, can aim with both eyes, great for follow up shots. However some people have problems in dawn/dusk condidtions.

April 30, 2007, 12:49 AM
I would choose the Marlin and if you really want a .308 over a 30/30 then why not buy the Marlin in .308. I really think a classic Marlin 30/30 will serve your needs for as long as you hunt but don't buy the Browning just because it's in .308 when Marlin has a .308 offering too. Marlin has 2 offerings in .308, a classic looking .308 Marlin Express Model 308MX http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/308MarlinExpress/308mx.aspx and another in their XLR line, the Model 308MXLR http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/xlr/308MXLR.aspx

In a 30/30 I would buy the Marlin 336C http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/centerfire/336C.aspx and in .308 I would buy the Marlin 308MX. All three Marlin rifles come with a pistol grip stock like you want.

April 30, 2007, 01:17 AM
I voted for the Browning. The Marlin 30-30 is certainly a great gun, but given the choice, the Browning is better.

The new Marlin .308 is NOT .308 Winchester. It is a new .308 Marlin Express. You cannot shoot .308 Win or 7.62 x 51 ammo in this new gun.

Regular "pointy" .308 Win bullets and tubular magazines do not play well together.

April 30, 2007, 03:03 AM
thanks all for the suggestions about the Marlin .308, but I want a rifle that is chambered for a long standing caliber that can be bought just about anywhere without ordering it in...that leaves me with .308 winchester & .30-30 winchester (the .30-06 is also a widely available cartridge, but I have shot .30-06 in 2 separate bolt guns and a pump gun and I am not a fan of the recoil)

Essex County
April 30, 2007, 10:52 AM
I would opt for the Marlin. I must have owned seven or eight over the years in 30-30, .32 Special and .35 Remington and the've all been fine. About a dozen years ago I found a Belgian BLR in .308 and I used it off and on for several years. It had an obvious balistic advantage and the quality was great but.......I could never learn to love it and I had no regrets using it for trade on a Sako. A Marlin has a real comfortable feel to it, sort of like old bluejeans or my old combat boots. A big plus is the advancements in ammunition. I'd thinl twice about the see through mounts, though. Essex

April 30, 2007, 11:14 AM
I was going to suggest the .308ME until reading your last post. You might consider a 336XLR in .30-30, which will take full advantage of the Hornady LeverEvolution cartridges -- extending the range of the .30-30 significantly -- while still being able to shoot regular .30-30 ammo just fine.

I have both a 336C and 336XLR. They can share common ammo if need be, but the way I have them set up they can serve different purposes as well.

April 30, 2007, 04:20 PM
I own two 336's, one in 35 Rem and the other in .30-30 so my vote went for the Marlin. With the new Leverlution rounds the balistics are a lot better than in the past and it is comforting to know that you can top off the magazine any time you want if the SHTF. To top off the Browning, you'd have to remove the magazine.

Sniper X
April 30, 2007, 04:49 PM
I have both the Marlin 336RC in 30-30, and the "one who shall not be mentioned" in .357 magnum. I have lusted after, and for quite some time I might mention, either the Browning, and or the Savage 300....soooo, any are great great rifles as far as I am concerned...but if you want a .30cal and something more powerful than 30-30 it is a moot point to discuss.

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