Marlin 336 in .30-30 or Mossberg 100 ATR in .308?


February 16, 2009, 08:08 AM
I have a dilemma. I don't know which gun I should get. I'd be hunting whitetail in the Maine woods. The appeal of the 336 is that it actually has iron sights! No rifles these days have sights! It's ridiculous. The ATR would need to be scoped. So the question I guess is in the round. I know I know, 30-30 has killed more deer than any other cartridge. Is it really a desirable cartridge? Is it brush-buster enough for the Maine woods? I know .308 is not a problem, it's the round my grandfather and father hunted with. Both rifles are economically priced. In terms of buying a scope, I would probably get the 30-30 scoped in the future but at least I wouldn't need to do it right away.

I ask because I did something really special for my wife this weekend and she felt bad that she hadn't gotten anything for Valentine's day, so I said "How bout permission to buy a hunting rifle??" It worked. :D

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February 16, 2009, 08:55 AM
This question is along the lines of, "Should I buy a Honda Accord or a Ford F150." The answer, of course, is that it depends on which one you want.

The .30-30 is light and quick handling. There's nothing better for snap shots at a startled animal up close, and it lets you make quick followup shots if you need to. The .308 is more accurate with greater range, which will be good if you're a stand hunter and can pick your shots. Neither caliber is a brush buster.

February 16, 2009, 09:31 AM
The .308 is more accurate with greater range

Only half of this comment is right, and it isn't the part of referring to accuracy.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 16, 2009, 10:10 AM
Definitely the .30-30.

February 16, 2009, 10:14 AM
30/30 would be my choice, but if you want to spend a few more dollars. You could buy a 308 ME and have the best of both world, minus the extra barrel length.

February 16, 2009, 11:09 AM
If most of your shoots are under 150 yards, then go with the .30-30. If you shoot over that then go with the 308.

.30-30 is a great round and has a well deserved reputation. It does kill deer handily.

I will bet you still have to change the sights on the Marlin to bring out the most in accuracy. Most folks go with a good receiver sight. If you decide to scope her out, that is no problem either.


February 16, 2009, 12:00 PM
Depends on your local hunting conditions....

Under 150Yds, woodsy areas the .30/30 gets the nod.

Maybe as long as 300Yds, open areas...the .308

I have a Marlin 30W..essentially the same as the 336 and a Mossberg ATR-100 in .30-06. I can't use a rifle for deer hunting in Ohio (modern firearms season)..restricted to shotgun/slug combo. But for muzzle loader season, I also have a .50 Flintlock...

February 16, 2009, 06:03 PM
Whoops I should say she felt bad because she hadn't gotten ME anything for Valentine's day.

February 16, 2009, 06:17 PM
If your standing at the gun counter at Walmart and you have your choice of a $247 Mossberg ATR (270 or 30-06) or $347 Marlin 336 30-30 I'd say the better rifle is the Marlin. But I did purchase a 30-06 ATR and it shoots great but it's inexpensive for a reason.

February 16, 2009, 06:45 PM
Haha thanks JP, I did call Wally World today and got that price from them. I know, buying guns at WalMart is blasphemy but I'm not exactly a millionaire.

February 16, 2009, 08:13 PM
For hunting whitetail in the Maine woods, get the Marlin 336. Then, if you still want the .308, save for awhile and get a nice one you'll be happy with for your lifetime. Skip the ATR. Then save for awhile longer and get a quality scope for the .308.

February 16, 2009, 08:39 PM
Get the 308 Marlin Express. You'll really like the lever gun and the 308 ME is a real 300 yard cartridge and it comes on a gun with open sights.

February 16, 2009, 08:49 PM
Maine woods. 30/30. You might feel Leon Leonwood Bean walking with you. He wouldn't use a .308.....

February 16, 2009, 09:54 PM
Eb1- How do you figure I'm wrong about accuracy? You don't see too many guys shooting benchrest or highpower matches with .30-30 lever guns. But there are quite a few with bolt action .308's as I recall.

Willmartin- You've got some sound advice already. If your shots are all in the woods and not across fields and such, you gain a slicker handling gun with the .30-30 and still have more accuracy and range than you'll be able to use in most field conditions.

February 17, 2009, 02:47 PM
Thanks for all the input, fellas. I will be getting the 336. 30-30 just seems... underpowered.. when compared to the other cartridges like .308 and .30-06 and whatnot, but man it really isn't.

Check this story from Maine. (

February 17, 2009, 03:53 PM
I have several friends in Canada that hunt moose with a 30-30. Although others up there use more powerful cartridges and have success as well, these guys always seem to have a freezer full.
I outfitted my 336 with a Williams FP sight. Replacing the stock irons and reducing the trigger pull down to about 3 lbs. was money well spent.

Gator 23
February 17, 2009, 08:14 PM
Marlin quality is very good. 30-30 is very effective within its ballistic limits. Good news can expand its capability with the new Hornady Leverevolution stuff...realistically to 200-300 yards. Also, if you reload, Hornady has released its Leverevolution pointed gummy tip bullets for sale, which will allow you to hand load a 200-300 yard 30-30 cartidge. Using Hornady's technology, you will have a quick handling 30-30 woods rifle with utility for occasional hunts that may require longer range shots. For my Marlin 30-30s, I scoped them, but I'm in the midst of shiftting from 170g flat nose Sierra Game King hand loads (very effective on whitetails <100yds) to the 160g Hornady LE FTX bullet loads. Enjoy your new lever gun. Also, agree with levrlvr regarding the Williams rear aperture sight - got one on a Marlin 45-70 Guide and it helped the accuracy.

February 17, 2009, 10:54 PM
It may just be the traditionalist in me, but I just can't love a .30-30 with a scope on it. It's kinda like a 4x4 truck with chrome spinner rims- just wrong. The reciever sight and a good set of binoculars is a great field combination.

February 18, 2009, 12:17 AM
I don't own an ATR, but I looked at one in the store, and it looked to be well built. I have a 336, and that is a damned fine gun. I'm a solid supporter of Marlin products. I wish all American products were up to Marlin standards. Get what you like. Marlin makes good stuff.

February 18, 2009, 01:25 AM
I own a Marlin 336 and it quality is very high, I have also thought of changing sights since mine has the old bb gun type sights.

Gator 23
February 18, 2009, 08:05 PM
Too funny of an analogy...a scope is to a lever gun as a spinner wheel is to a 4x4 truck. Oh well...I've focused on optimizing accuracy over traditional looks. I'll spare the field stories where the scope paid off in early and closing light conditions. Agree though that the lever guns, particularly the Marlins, look great without the scope.

February 18, 2009, 08:08 PM
Marlin in 30/30. Ammo is cheaper, it's a lot easier to shoot, leverguns are mo' fun, and frankly 30/30 will still do most of what's needed inside of 200 yards.

February 18, 2009, 08:48 PM
I wouldn't listen to anyone who says 30-30 is "underpowered".

Those folks would recommend a .416 Rigby for Maine deer.

Most deer (likely) don't weigh more than you do. Would you go down to a
boiler-room shot from a good 30-30 round?

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