JM Marlin 336 - What to Look For?


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Bobson
January 19, 2014, 01:08 AM
Pretty much just what the title says. Thinkin of pickin up a used JM 336 locally. Is there anything I should be looking for on the rifle, or are these pretty much all gems? Never owned a lever rifle before. Is there any particular part (or parts) that might be prone to wear that I might want to replace sooner than later?

Thanks for the help.

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bikemutt
January 19, 2014, 10:09 AM
Be sure to carefully examine any rifle made in 2009, maybe even 2008. I learned the hard way that JM on the barrel is no guarantee of a property assembled gun. My 2009 rifle (91 serial prefix) was a disgrace.

saltydog452
January 19, 2014, 10:27 AM
.35 Rem caliber would be a good start. I don't know where or what I'd look for next. Would 'Micro Groove' rifleing be a plus or ?

Interesting post. Looking fwd to reading the responses.

salty

rizbunk77
January 19, 2014, 11:32 AM
On a 336 look to see that the sights are straight and cycle the action to make sure it cylcles smoothly and that follower moves as it should. Look for buggered screws as an indicator of it being taken down a bunch. Check the bore and crown. 2009 rifles are as good as any other, the plant closing wasn't disclosed until 2010. A jm stamp means it was made at North Haven.

On another note, there is nothing wrong at all with the latest Marlins out of Ilion. Several have reported very good accuracy. They will make fine shooters.

CaliCoastie
January 19, 2014, 12:13 PM
Quick and dirty? Serial numbers starting with numbers (subtract the first two numbers from 100 to give you the year of manufacture. 100 - 96 =2004) newer serial numbers start with MR. Older serial numbers start with a letter (60s and older some times two letters AA, AB).
I check the barrel with a business card in the bore, work the action. The lever should stay shut on its own not hang at all (if it hangs is no big deal is an easy fix and they should move more on the price). Figure the caliber you want, 30 - 30 and 35rem are the easiest to find, 32win special is a bit harder, and there are more out there to!
I'd pop over to marlin owners forum, they have a sticky on buying used marlins.

For the newer ones? The ones coming out most recently seem to be heads and shoulders above what was initially coming out but. ....I haven't known anyone willing to take a chance on them lately.

ngnrd
January 19, 2014, 03:31 PM
I check the barrel with a business card in the bore, work the action.

Umm... 'splain, please.

MEHavey
January 19, 2014, 03:59 PM
Working the action is (somewhat) self-explanatory: Make sure it's reasonably smooth -- no "clunks-clunks"

Run a clean dry patch down the bore to clean out any residual oil/lube (it should come our reasonably clean). Put the white corner of a business card (or any "bright white" paper into the opened action and shine a bright light (or bright sunlight) on it while looking down the bore. It should look like a mirror.

back40
January 19, 2014, 04:35 PM
for me, the older the better. i recently picked up a '75 vintage that shoots wonderfully.

as for the jm stamp, i read a thread over on the marlin owners forum from a fella that worked at the plant. he stated in order to guarantee a marlin built gun before the takeover, to check the serial number and be sure it was older than '08.

Badlander
January 19, 2014, 05:06 PM
Here is the post from Marlinowners about buying A used Marlin.


"Back to the original question.............What I'd look for in a used Marlin............

First, Year of manufacture doesn't matter to me.......I gonna check out the whole gun.
Things I'll check:

Condition of the Bore: ......., Ask for a bore light.....should be rust and pit free, but a few pits won't hurt accuracy in my opinion, in a hunting rifle.........Although pits in the bore at the muzzle can be troublesome........Check the crown for damage and dents too.........

Over all condition: ...........Has the rifle been mis-treated?........... Neglected?.........I'll buy a well used rifle, but not a mis-treated / neglected one............There are too many others out there to choose from......A little light rust can usually be removed with oil and 0000 steel wool when no pits are present.

Stocks: ...........Are they tight?....... do they match?............do they fit the metal well?.........Does the butt plate and grip cap fit right?.....Original finish?.......Check for evidence of cracks and/or repairs.

Bluing: ............This is purely subjective........"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".....a well worn blue finish shows patina, and would not stop me from wanting to own the rifle.

Action: ......Is it smooth? .....or hitchy?..........Does the lever latch, and unlatch as it should?

Trigger: ..........Is it smooth?.........Have excessive Creep?..........Show signs for someone tinkering with it?............Is the trigger Original?......I wouldn't buy a Marlin rifle with an "after market" trigger..........And Yeah, I mean Happy trigger here........I'd toss it for original parts and then tune those parts.....but thats just me.....

Main Spring: ......Does it feel "FullPower"?............Or show signs of being shortened to reduce power, and as some think, "Enhance" the trigger?

Screws............Do the screw head slots show signs of being buggered up?.........Are all the filler screws present?....Any action screws missing?

Sights..............Are they both present and complete with front hood?..........Do they look original?...Are they both tight?

The Carrier:.........With the action closed, see that the carrier "tail" is free to move in the opening of the TGP. Open the action, and see that the carrier lifts to the loading position correctly....... NOW, watch the carrier as you slowly close the lever. The carrier should be supported by the follower in the high position until the bolt has moved about a 1/4 of its travel. If this is not the case, ther rifle likely has "Last shot loading problems, and needs attention in the carrier/follower area.

These are things I look at.............If all these things pass muster with me, I'm likely to want to buy the rifle if the price is agreeable.......

You will likely find small issues with all used hunting rifles........Only you can decide if they are O.K as is, or will need correction, and can you correct them easily for little or no additional $$."


Tom
NRA LIFE


Hope this helps.:)

rizbunk77
January 19, 2014, 07:19 PM
If the barrel is JM stamped the rifle was made at North Haven. ALL 336 rifles prior to 2010 were made at North Haven.

jaysouth
January 19, 2014, 07:24 PM
Make sure the hole in the barrel goes all the way through from muzzle to chamber.

back40
January 19, 2014, 07:56 PM
If the barrel is JM stamped the rifle was made at North Haven. ALL 336 rifles prior to 2010 were made at North Haven.

i've heard of accounts of JM stamped barrels on receivers with MR serial numbers. also, according to what i've read, guns made from '08 on were under remington management and quality had begun to seriously decline.

rizbunk77
January 19, 2014, 09:58 PM
If the rifle has a JM stamp it was entirely made at North Haven. That is straight from a Marlin employee. If the rifle has REP stamp regardless of the roll mark, It is an Ilion rifle. Some barrels say North Haven but have an REP stamp, they are Ilion assembled rifles. It was business as usual at the plant until March 2010 when employees first learned that the plant would be closed. 2009 rifles are completely North Haven Marlin made and good to go. But if folks dont believe it, thats fine just means more for us.

back40
January 19, 2014, 10:20 PM
from the marlin employee over at the marlin owners forum, he watched quality degrade as soon as remington management took over. as i stated earlier, the older the better in my mind.

your marlin source obviously differs from mine. i'll still trust the older guns.

rizbunk77
January 20, 2014, 09:00 AM
To set the record straight and clear confusion for others, this is a direct quote from a Marlin factory employee when asked specifically about 2009 production:

"There were no Quality Issues, and the Employees didn't have any grudges & didn't perform any sabotage. We were never told until 3/25/2010 that North Haven Marlin would be closing in a year".

Also a direct quote from a Marlin factory employee regarding the barrel markings :

"They are correct. If you have a "JM" Proofmarked Barrel, it was ENTIRELY Made, Assembled, and Proof Tested in North Haven,CT. If you have an "REP" Proofmark, it was Assembled and Proof Tested in Ilion,NY, but it could have North Haven,CT Parts along with Ilion,NY Parts. If your Receiver has an "MR" S/N it is an Ilion,NY made Receiver. All other numeric S/N Receivers were made in North Haven,CT. ALL Marlin Rifle Assembly STOPPED in August 2010. ALL the Equipment was "Bagged & Tagged", and sent off to each of the Remington Plants. We stopped making Receivers & Barrels in December 2010. Remington was allowed to keep Rollstamping North Haven, CT on the Barrels until January 1st, 2012."

Dave Bulla
January 20, 2014, 02:38 PM
Personally, I won't yet buy a Remlin. I know that quality in function has gotten better of late but the stocks on the new guns are hideous compared to the older guns, the older guns don't usually have issues AND they usually cost less. That's not the case with special run guns like the Cowboys and others but holds true on regular Marlins

On JM guns or any used Marlin, one of the things I look for is metal proud of the wood in the wrist area. Marlin was never a company to leave excess wood standing proud of the metal like many companies do. It was almost always about perfectly flush. When bubba does a stock refinish and sands that area he invariably over does it. Sometimes by a lot. The good thing is you can use this to talk down the price but be aware that just about any old plane jane stock will cost you $50+ so try to get at least that knocked off. The Good thing is any stock from any 336 or 1895 will fit. It is when changing the fore end that you have to be sure you get the right one.

I do not worry much about how smooth the action is our how good the trigger pull is because these are both things I can take care of on my own. Older Marlins tend to have much slicker actions only because they have been cycled more times. But just because a Marlin is an older JM gun doesn't mean it will be smooth. A while back I bought a 1964 made 39A that I don't think had been shot and it was pretty tight and clunky. I just did what I always do and sat down to watch TV for an hour or so and cycled the lever about a thousand times. Now it feels like a slick, quality gun.

The marlinowners website mentioned is a FANTASTIC site and I spend a lot of time there. Their gunsmithing section has a ton of great how to info. Anything from partial to full tear down to trigger job tips, recrowns or just tuning the action.

Lots of guys want the older guns with no cross bolt safety but that is apersonal preference. Those started in I think late 1983. I've got guns both ways and have no problems with the safety and in fact prefer it on guns for kids under about 11 or 12 years old because younger kids don't have the thumb strength to de cock safely. It is also nice to be able to run the lever to empty the gun while the safety is on. That said, both of the Marlins I got for my boys are older guns without safeties. I've always been very careful about their handling, loading and unloading until I'm sure they are competent. The safety is also nice for kids because if you see or hear a deer coming in, you can reach over their shoulder, cock the hammer and let them release the safety just before the shot. Again, young kids struggle with the hammer but can work the safety easily.

If youdon't likethe safety, there is also a "safety delete" kit where you remove the safety and install a saddle ring in its place.

rizbunk77
January 20, 2014, 03:10 PM
Great post Dave

Zeke/PA
January 20, 2014, 03:32 PM
for me, the older the better. i recently picked up a '75 vintage that shoots wonderfully.

as for the jm stamp, i read a thread over on the marlin owners forum from a fella that worked at the plant. he stated that plenty of barrels had been JM stamped before the transition, and that in order to guarantee a marlin built gun to check the serial number and be sure it was older than '08.
I have to agree.
I own three Marlin levers , all made in the early 60's and they are great. The 39-A is the most accurate .22 rifle that I ever shot. The .30-30 and the .35 are also tack drivers especially with reloads.

back40
January 20, 2014, 07:55 PM
To set the record straight and clear confusion for others

you aren't really setting anything straight. you can 'direct quote' all you want, but the bottom line is your info is nothing more than second hand from an employee, just like the info i spoke of. they contradict each other and you can't prove yours right or mine wrong.

back40
January 20, 2014, 08:00 PM
http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/336/94754-what-serial-number-cut-off-when-marlin-went-remington.html

member tomray lays it out pretty clearly.

rizbunk77
January 20, 2014, 09:07 PM
Thanks for the link. Tomray affirms in his post that the JM proofmark indicates a North Haven rifle exclusively, which is the truth. He also states that assembly cells were implemented in summer 2009. If this had any effect on quality, it would only affect the rifles produced in the later half of the year.
TheJM is a proof mark. A proof mark is only applied after a fully assembled rifle is proof fired. Therefore there is no such thing as a JM marked barrel that was sent to Illion. I read the thread carefully and I see nothing which controverts these established truths.

rizbunk77
January 20, 2014, 09:34 PM
I've described the truth on the matter to help others. Riz out!

back40
January 20, 2014, 10:34 PM
I've described the truth on the matter

you've described what was related to you from a supposed employee. same as i have. one says there wasn't any decline in quality in 2009 production, the other says there was.

if you want to "help others", present the info for what it is, and stop acting like your word on the matter is definitive.

and i'm sure there are plenty of new production marlins that check out ok.

dvdcrr
January 20, 2014, 10:55 PM
From what I understand there are good "remlins" coming out now. I own a couple 336 and one is a 2009 "91" serial. It is as good as any 336 I have owned. It has a JM stamp and was made at North Haven. All the JM proofed rifles came from Connecticut. Freedom Group changed location of manufacture and marked the new ones REP. The date code is a two letter affair on the new ones.

rizbunk77
January 20, 2014, 11:17 PM
Look you keep calling me out on this so the reason I posted was to correct your false statements:
You said there are JM proofed rifles that came from Ilion. Thats false. Then you said the only good Marlins were 2008 or older again false. Maybe you should learn what a proof mark is and read a little before you spout uninformed rumor on the internet.

back40
January 21, 2014, 07:23 AM
first, i never once said that the only good marlins were 2008 or older. i stated that, for me, the older the better. in my last post i stated that i'm sure there are good current production marlins out there.

it seems the only thing we disagree on is when marlin's quality started to go downhill. i posted a link to a thread in which an employee pretty clearly explains this.

i'm aware of what a proof mark is. i hadn't read that thread in a while and had forgotten that the jm stamped barrel on mr receiver had been determined to have likely been rebarreled. i edited my post to reflect that inaccuracy.

i'm sure the op has plenty of info on how to choose a nice specimen by now.

ngnrd
January 21, 2014, 08:30 PM
Working the action is (somewhat) self-explanatory: Make sure it's reasonably smooth -- no "clunks-clunks"

Run a clean dry patch down the bore to clean out any residual oil/lube (it should come our reasonably clean). Put the white corner of a business card (or any "bright white" paper into the opened action and shine a bright light (or bright sunlight) on it while looking down the bore. It should look like a mirror.
Thanks for the explanation. When I read your other post, I thought those two things were somehow related - and I couldn't wrap my head around it. :o

Old Fuff
January 21, 2014, 11:37 PM
Bobson:

Where in Arizona are you? An auction is coming up in Bisbee this coming February that has several interesting (older) Marlin 336 rifles and carbines.

Bobson
January 23, 2014, 11:05 AM
@ Old Fuff:

I'm in Phoenix, but will be in Wyoming constantly over the next month (starting today! :D) for job interviews, and to check out rent prospects in person. Not sure how my schedule will look in February. When is the auction, exactly?

Haven't replied much to this thread (or at all?). I definitely appreciate the responses I've gotten; many have been very helpful.

Agsalaska
January 23, 2014, 11:11 AM
I am going to guess that the JM Marlins that are in 90+ condition will see steep increases in prices over the next ten years. It has in fact already started. But this would be a good year to buy a couple that are good exmples, especially if you find them more than 20 years old or so, and put them away.

Old Fuff
January 23, 2014, 04:58 PM
I'm in Phoenix, but will be in Wyoming constantly over the next month (starting today! ) for job interviews, and to check out rent prospects in person. Not sure how my schedule will look in February. When is the auction, exactly?

Tumbleweed Auction LLC
www.tumbleweedauction.com

Their catalog, along with extensive pictures can be viewed on the above site. I don't have the date at hand, but you'll also find it on their website. My feeble memory says toward the middle of February.

shootr
January 25, 2014, 10:38 AM
OP -

Previous posts have pretty much covered it. I have bought most of my guns used the last 15 years or so. IMO there are a ton of good ones out there and generally they're a much better value. Plus there's just something about an older firearm that appeals to me.

I look for the obvious signs of abuse - buggered screws, rust, abnormal wear, rusty or pitted bore, feel of the action, incorrectly drilled scope mounting holes, a straight barrel. If buying from an owner as opposed to the LGS, I'll size him up too, then go with my gut.

Overall, most used guns I find have been cared for. Sometimes well-hunted, other times carried much and used little. Some years back I found just such a 336 in .35 Rem. Fifties vintage. Blueing worn from honest work, but cared for. Straight stock and a Lyman peep. Bright and shiny bore like it was just made. Good shooter that has stories to tell and likely has bagged many a deer. This past season it bagged one more.

Lot of great old guns out there, as their owners are passing on and their tools end up in estate sales and such. Take your time. They're worth finding. Good luck!

bikemutt
January 25, 2014, 11:24 AM
I recently acquired a Marlin 1894CSS chambered for .357 magnum, a stainless 18" rifle made in 2009. I had a great deal of trepidation as I had found it online. I emailed the seller with some of my concerns, he called me right away and spent 30 minutes on the phone addressing my questions. It turned out he was also a Remlin victim in the past with a 336 so he knew exactly what I was talking about. He assured me that even though the barrel was REP stamped the rifle was put together properly, everything straight, action cycled properly etc.

I really wanted this rifle so I took a chance and bought it. I can say that without a doubt, if Marlin put out rifles like this one today, I would not think twice about buying one. The rifle is a joy to shoot and is very accurate.

I'm in the process of converting it to a pistol grip laminate stock right now, a process likely to take several months, I plan to keep this one for a long time. I wouldn't waste the time and money if it was a piece of junk.

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