My Marlin 336c Found its Way Home


February 1, 2013, 08:04 PM
Today I was blessed with the opportunity to repurchase a 2009 production Marlin 336CS in .30-30 that I had sold during a moment of weakness. Based on the S/N, it was probably made in mid-2009 in New Haven. One of the last true JM Marlins.

I originally bought it from Cabela’s in December 2009 at the suggestion of a good friend who half-jokingly said “You should probably grab one now before Remington messes with them.” This was well before it was public knowledge that Remington would begin shutting down the New Haven plant in June 2011 and firing almost all of its 256 employees. Based on a press release and a local Connecticut television newscast I watched, the Marlin employees were not even told until March 23, 2011 about the plant closing. My friend’s casual, off-the-cuff suggestion turned out to be very timely indeed.

The rifle was great overall, but it had one issue that needed addressing. The front sight base was canted to the left. It was bad enough that the front and rear sights were visibly out of alignment after drifting them and it still was not completely sighted in. I have heard from some owners of old Marlins that front sight bases being canted was not uncommon. Maybe it has more to do with the barrel to receiver depth being off just a hair. Don’t know. My original plan was to use this rifle with iron sights only, so I decided to send it off for warranty repair. I’m not much of a gunsmith and really did not want to mess with it too much since it was under warranty. I have since become much more open to working on my own guns even if they are new and under warranty for the reason you will soon read.

I sent it to Marlin in January 2010 with a letter explaining the problem and what I had done in great detail. They returned it a few weeks later but had not fixed the problem. All they had done was sighted it in as best they could and fired a test round. In the process, the gunsmith had left off the front sight hood, crushed the forearm checkering and mucked up the stock. When I asked them why they had just sighted it in they said the sight base was within factory tolerance. I told her she had another problem now and described what had happened to the wood. They sent me a prepaid shipping box and I sent it back again. This is where it gets weird.

I sent it back the second time in March 2010 and went a couple of months without hearing anything from them. The friend who suggested I buy this rifle is in the gun industry and said I really needed to stay on top of this because some things were in the works at Marlin, and they weren’t good. When I called, they had not gotten to it yet. I think it was June by this time; about three months in the shop. I called back in July and they were trying to get authorization to replace the rifle. Called back a few weeks later and was told they were going to repair the rifle and NOT replace it. That turned out to be a good thing because no telling what quality of rifle I would have received. I’m sure the employees by now could sense trouble brewing with Remington and morale could not have been good. Well, a few more weeks passed with no word, so I called back. I was dealing with one guy this whole time. He was sympathetic to my case and very apologetic for the delay in getting my rifle back to me. The next time I called he said when they went to pull it for repair they could not find it! No joke! I don’t remember how long it was lost, but it was at least a few weeks. I can’t remember the exact story, but it was misplaced on a shelf or behind some other rifles or some strange answer. Well, I was pretty spun up at this point. My rifle had been at the plant since March, lost and found but still not repaired and it was now August. So to make it up to me, the guy who had been handling my case the entire time wanted to upgrade the wood for me at no charge. It took another month or so for the wood to come in. At one point, I just told him to put standard walnut on it as it was going to be a brush gun anyway, but he said if I could hold out a little longer it would be well worth the wait. As you can see, it was worth the wait. I have been told this wood came from a batch that was special ordered for use on a very limited run of a particular 336 model, but I can’t confirm that.

So fast forward to November 2012. I get a wild hair one day to sell the rifle because I had only shot it once since getting it back from Marlin in September 2010. I made a nice profit on it because of the wood. Well, I started having seller’s remorse about a month later. Last week I was going through my owner’s manuals and found the 336 manual with all my notes and shipping receipts. This was odd because I ALWAYS include the manual when I sell or trade a gun, and people ALWAYS ask for the manual when buying a firearm; except for this guy. I took this as a sign that the rifle needed to come home. I called him Monday to see if he would sell it back to me. He was caught completely off guard as you can imagine. I offered to give him $100 more than he paid. He called me back Wednesday ready to sell, but he had installed a scope along with the base and rings and would only sell it as a package. He had spent $300 on the scope base, rings and scope, so I ended up paying $300 more than I sold it to him for. The scope is a Leupold M8 6X 42mm, which I have discovered has quite a cult following in some circles. It was replaced in the 90s by the VX line I believe. It was a fine scope in its day and still sought after by many people. It has some scratches and ring marks, but the glass is clear and the optics are outstanding. Not sure if I will keep the scope. I’m a Nikon guy and have only used variable power scopes, so I’m not sure if I will like it. It has ample eye relief. Not sure about the FOV. As you can see from the pics, he removed the front sight base and installed proper blank screws. He gave me back all the pieces for the front sight including the hood and even included the two boxes of ammo I had given him when he bought it!

Anyway, that’s my story. I am very thankful and shocked he sold it back to me. He is a standup guy. He knew what was going on with Marlin when he bought it and specifically asked if it had the JM proof and what year it was made. It was destiny that I get this rifle back. He had just bought a Ruger M77 in Creedmore 6.5 that he fell in love with and shoots it exclusively now so the Marlin was just probably going to be a safe queen.

I think I have a very unique 336c. The only 336 I have found that looks similar to mine was a 336DL listed in Cabela’s gun library. It sold for $800 with no optics. Mine was $450 at Cabela’s in December 2009, but with Cabela’s gift cards from Christmas presents and my Cabela’s points I think I paid $270 out the door plus the $300 to buy it back with the scope. I will be keeping it this time.

I would like to get some feedback from those who have used the Leupold M8 scope in either the 4X or 6 X versions with 42mm objective or other similar scope on a lever action. Did you feel it was over scoped or just right?

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February 1, 2013, 08:07 PM
few more pics

February 1, 2013, 08:52 PM
Nice walnut. Glad she came home.

The scope is now just called the FX-3 6x42mm and runs $400. The M8 was closer to the VX-II line in lens quality. It does have a cult following, worth a couple bills for sure. I would put that scope on a 30-o6 or 270. Its nice. The VX line is their variable power.

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