The better all around rifle?


November 7, 2007, 03:28 PM
Between the Marlin 1984, Marlin 336, and Saiga 7.62x39 which is the better all around rifle that can handle anything thrown at it pretty well?

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Deer Hunter
November 7, 2007, 03:36 PM
For all around? The Saiga. Much more options with bullets, magazines, aftermarket products, cheaper ammunition, etc etc etc.

November 7, 2007, 03:56 PM
Saiga for plinking and/or self-defense. Marlin 336 if you are throwing deer hunting into the mix - although the Saiga can handle that as well.

All are great choices.

November 7, 2007, 05:05 PM
you're telling me that a marlin 1894 with access to a huge number of bullet choices in .38 special and .357 magnum, is fewer choices than 7.62x39?

maybe less application for hunting purposes, but still a *large* selection.


Deer Hunter
November 7, 2007, 08:59 PM
I was thinking more along the line of spitzer bullets availible for the 7.62x39mm round. From 110-154 grain bullets. Throwning them a bit faster than the .357 mag, not trying to belittle it one bit though. Just for a better "all around" gun, the Saiga is on top.

November 7, 2007, 09:03 PM
can handle anything thrown at it pretty well?

If by this line you mean that you're not gonna take time to properly maintain and care for the firearm then by all means buy the Siaga. That way you only have a $250 ball of rust rolling around underneath the seat of your truck VS a $500 one

November 8, 2007, 07:25 AM
I'm not really sure what "can handle anything thrown at it" includes, but just the phrasing makes me think Marlin 1895 in .45-70.

November 8, 2007, 08:48 AM
Saiga is a Kalishnikov derived rifle. It wins in all regards for durability and rapid rate of fire, comes with a scope-mounting system standard, synthetic weatherproof furniture, a chrome bore and chamber, and typically costs a hundred less than either of the others.

November 8, 2007, 09:03 AM
Sure, any AK pattern gun in x39 is "all that" and I'd never, ever want to be without a few.

However, while the AK will handle many tasks, it will shine it's very brightest during the most drastic of times. For the other 98%+ the lever guns will handle most events superbly and won't bring the wrong kind of attention to yourself if you're hefting it around.

Having both available is a really great option.


November 8, 2007, 11:58 AM
The Marlin 94 is a good rifle, which, with a longer barrel in .357 magnum, will shoot 170 grain handloads about 100 fps slower than a 30-30, with a whole lot less powder, recoil, and a higher magazine capacity. It is accurate and very ergonomic. It is a good choice for most applications including plinking. They are a joy to shoot.

November 8, 2007, 12:10 PM
Personally I would get the 336 but truthfully the better all around rifle would be the Saiga.

November 8, 2007, 12:18 PM
What does "all around" entail?
If it includes small game hunting or teaching new shooters or a whole lot of cheap plinking, the '94 Marlin wins.
It will do defense and even offense out to 150 yards.
It will do big game up to medium sized deer.
It will do a whole lot of plinking on a pound of unique with .38 spl loads.
Those same loads are great for letting your 8 year old nephew pop a few aluminum cans. And they will most likely also work well for knocking off an occasional squirrel or rabbit.
I guess that maybe with some tinkering and handloads, the Saiga or Marlin would do that too, but it would be a whole lot easier to just stick a 158 grain UMC .38 Spl in the chamber than go through all of that.

November 8, 2007, 12:19 PM
Of the 3, I would pick the 336.

November 8, 2007, 02:05 PM
Saiga is the better rifle. These are some of the best rifles out there for the money. Excellent quality/function.

November 8, 2007, 03:15 PM
"All around rifle" seems to me like a weapon of last resort. Any hunter or active shooting-sport person will have a clue what they want for the job, a small game hunter wants a .22, .222, .233...and a big game hunter wants a 30-30, .308, .30-06, .270... . If you are asking for a gun that will be rugged because you don't plan on keeping it clean as a hunter would do with his rifle then any AK model, including the Saiga is a good choice. With that said, If you are looking for a gun for self defense that you don't plan on shooting that much, out side of bad guys, a shotgun would probably be a better choice.

November 8, 2007, 06:25 PM
will shoot 170 grain handloads about 100 fps slower than a 30-30,

I would pay money to see a 170grn slug from a 357 rifle go 2000 fps. Try about 500 fps slower. I have both and have loaded for both, getting even 1700 from a .357 rifle and 170 grainers would be pushing it.

November 8, 2007, 06:30 PM
All around? Saiga? Ehh.. I would still go with one of the Marlins.

November 8, 2007, 06:33 PM
It's really hard to name the "best" rifle.

The Marlins are fine, machined pieces that are solid and precision. Nice walnut, cut checkering, effective sights all come with them.

The Saiga is a bastardized Kalashnikov.

The Marlins are much finer firearms. They're also lighter, point well, and look a lot nicer. But they have different features and shoot different rounds.

Now the AK is known worldwide as a reliable shooter, and the Saigas are known for being more accurate than they should be -- with a scope or at least better sights.

But if you want a hunting rifle, the 336 is a truly fine one, the "best." With the right ammo, they'll beat 7.62x39mm by a good margin. If you want a shorter-range but hard-hitting camp/hunting rifle, the 1894 is a true classic, still around because it's just that good.

If you want a plinker, defensive gun, and occasional-use hunting rifle, and you don't mind the excess weight and not-so-great trigger, the Saiga is cheap and reliable.

It would be hard to call the Saiga a "best rifle" compared to the Marlins, but it might be more suitable for what you want.

Deer Hunter
November 8, 2007, 06:39 PM
A stock saiga weighs about the same as a 336, if I recall. Saigas arn't that heavy.

November 8, 2007, 06:44 PM
The nominal weight of a Saiga is 3.8 kg, or 8.36 lb.

The nominal weight of a 336 is 7 lb., and an 1894 is 6.5 lb.

Is the stated weight of the Saiga that far off? The Marlins are pretty close.

Deer Hunter
November 8, 2007, 07:11 PM
I'm pretty sure a stock saiga doesn't weigh much over 8 pounds, and I'd be surprised if it did weigh over 8 pounds. It just doesn't seem to be all that heavy. Then again, for any kind of "all around" firearm, a one pound difference isn't going to set you back that far.

November 8, 2007, 07:14 PM
There's a pretty big difference between 7 and 8 lb. I can comfortably carry a rifle like a 336 in one hand through the brush for a long period of time. Over 7 lb., and it gets uncomfortable. Forearm muscles don't have great endurance, compared to, say, leg muscles.

My 20 Gauge O/U, a bit under 7 lb., all day, up and down steep terrain, no problem. My full-size .30-06 24" walnut stock boltie, or my old 8 lb. 1100 12 Gauge? Get me the sling!

But you're right, if by "all around rifle", someone means, "don't really have any criteria for a rifle", I suppose it could weigh 10 lb. and it wouldn't matter. Only matters if you have a clue what you want to do with it.

November 8, 2007, 08:33 PM
The Marlin 94 is a good rifle, which, with a longer barrel in .357 magnum, will shoot 170 grain handloads about 100 fps slower than a 30-30,
More like 500-600 fps slower.
Although the 1894C is a good choice if you have a .357 revolver and want to use the same ammo.

However the 1894 (with no suffix) is a .44 magnum. Now you can throw a 200-grain .44 magnum with about the same muzzle velocity as a 170-gr .30-30. Of course, the .30-30 will seriously outrange it due to bullet profile.

If you're planning on starting something with multiple aggressors, an Ak (not a Saiga, but a full-on AK, not a "sporterized" one) would be the best choice of the three.

But if you want a true all-round rifle, the 336 is probably the best of the ones you listed. Hunts great, extremely reliable (if you don't short-stroke it), accurate, and was the "redneck assault rifle" for a long time -- i.e. for most "defense" needs, it will work fine there as well. Not to mention the LEVERevolution ammo is some of (if not the) cheapest available, which really helps out the point blank range.

Just to wax philosophical. . .when someone says "all-round rifle", I think of the "scout rifle" concept. Except instead of thinking "bolt action .308" like Jeff Cooper did, the first thing that comes to mind is "Marlin 336". Add the XS ghost ring rear and front sight, and the XS scout mount, and it's a great implementation of the concept. If you prefer standard scopes, they are easy to get and mount.

November 8, 2007, 09:45 PM
The 336 is a great rifle. Gives you a little more range than an 1894 would, and I think it looks nicer. If you didn't want to hunt the Saiga would be a good choice, but I would still take the 336 over a Saiga. All of the guns will work for self defense though the Saiga would be best because of quicker follow up shots.

In my opinion the 336 is the best choice for all around use of the options you listed.

November 8, 2007, 10:13 PM

November 8, 2007, 11:07 PM
which is the better all around rifle that can handle anything thrown at it pretty well?
Last I checked, deer and bear don't throw stuff back at me. When there's lead flying in my general direction I'd much rather have the Saiga.

November 8, 2007, 11:11 PM
Of the three you listed I would go with the Marlin in .30-30 for handiness and ammunition availability the .30-30 is hard to beat.
One can use 125 grain bullets for smaller critters and 170 soft points for larger ones.

If I could add one more option on the list it would be a previously sporterized 1903A1 or 1903A3 Springfield in .30-06 with a good Weaver or Leupold scope.

Easy to repair and field strip the .30-06 Springfield for many was THE jack of all trades rifle.

Marlins in .30-30 along with Winchesters for many are also the #1 truck rifle or go to rifle for much of what a rifle is needed for.

If you go with the Marlin add a good 1-4X scope or a Lyman 66 rear sight or AO/XS ghost ring sight.;)

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