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336 Marlin VS Win 94

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by knzn, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. knzn

    knzn Well-Known Member

    First of all, every time I see a "this" vs "that" thread I kind of cringe knowing that many times they end up in a war. I don't want that to happen here.

    I would like to know from people who have owned both of these rifles, or who own both currently, what they liked or disliked about each.

    And scope mounting is not an issue here. What ever one I end up with will be fitted with a rear apeture of one style or another.

    And if it matters, my caliber choice will probably be 30-30. Just because.
    Thanks guys.
  2. Mr. Chitlin

    Mr. Chitlin Well-Known Member

    The thing that sold me on the 336 over the 94 was the 336 had the pistol grip, while the 94 had the straight grip. I liked the feel of the 336 better. I also liked the flat top of the 336 for scope mounting, but that is not an issue with you.
  3. Sulaco

    Sulaco Well-Known Member

    You can't go wrong with either one. I think it really comes down to aesthetics and handling. Since the Marlin's primarily have a pistol-gripped style buttstock versus the Winchester's more traditional, straight stock, you pick the one you like the best. Also, Marlin's are side eject where Winchester's are top eject.

    I like both and own (have owned) both. Right now, my favorite is my newly acquired 94 Trapper in 44 Magnum.
  4. dogngun

    dogngun Well-Known Member

    knzn : I have owned both, and I prefer the Marlins. They just feel better to me, and in my opinion they are more ridgid, stronger and more accurate. I have had several Marlins that were over 50 years old, and they were all very accurate and reliable.

    Wichever you choose, you can't go far wrong with a .30-30, an underrated, accurate and versatile cartridge.

    Good luck...It would be interesting to know your eventual choice.


    PS I eventually had to buy and use a 94 just to see what they were like. They are cheap enough that you can own one of each.
  5. schromf

    schromf Well-Known Member

    I have had both in the past. I liked the Win 94, but it really was nostalgia related and not because it was a better rifle.

    My Marlin 336 I picked up fro a song, I think I bought the rifle, a reloading press, dies, and a bucket of brass for $65.00. I shot it a lot and sold it for a really nice profit, and decision I have regreted my times. It was more accurate than the Win 94, and made better. Both of these rifles were circa 1975 ish or a little older, so it was during the bad winchester years and it was just a post 64 Win lever. The other Win 94 I had was beautiful, a 44 Mag with a manzanita stock, that very quickly developed a big crack, I was not impressed.

    But if I was going to go get another lever, there are really only three that would interest me.

    1. Marlin
    2. Belgium Browning BLR
    3. Savage 99

    But in fairness a 38-55 Winchester would have to hit that list.

    I know Win has done some fixing on the new 94s, and I really can't comment on the changes or improvements. But the 336 in a 30-30 is a very fine rifle. If you go that route, and are planning on not scoping it, look into putting a peep rear sight on it, this is one of the best 100 yd deer rifles your likely to get your hands on, everything is just right in that package, light, quick handling, accurate for its purpose, and rugged.
  6. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Well-Known Member

    I have one of each and prefer the Marlin. It's stronger, heavier, better looking and more accurate. But then the Winchester I have was made in 1906.
  7. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    Marlin. It's considered to be stronger, due to the solid upper receiver. Its also (IMO) a much better bang for the buck. I also like the pistol grip better than a straight-grip stock.
  8. Roadkill

    Roadkill Well-Known Member

    I just started deer hunting last year (good excuse to get another rifle), bought a well used but functional Mod 94 with a 6x scope, shot three deer with it but missed three. Shooting from a climbing stand off hand 30' up a tree on my blind side was not as easy as I thought. I traded the 94 in on a 336 and have been practicing, is much easier for me to handle, scope is in line with gun instead of side mounted, trigger is much better and there is a functional safety instead of the lever one. I missed at least two deer because of not positioning of my hand to squeeze the lever up and to also have a good trigger pull. With the 336 the safety is either on or off instead of the process of one or the other. The 336 also seems to be more robust in the lever action and more ruggedly built overall.

  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    When we moved onto the ranch in 1956, my Dad opined he was going to get a .30-30. In my 14-year old wisdom, I told him, "The Marlin is better than the Winchester." If you knew Dad, you'd know that was the WRONG thing to say.

    Somehow, that 94 Winchester became mine by adverse possession, and rode in my saddle boot every day. I killed a pile of deer with it, along with coyotes, feral dogs and many another varmit.

    Later on, in college, I got a Marlin -- and never liked it. It seemed too clubby, and didn't have the trigger the Winchester had. I eventually got rid of it.

    When I graduated from Officer Candidate School, I walked into the PX at Fort Sill, Oklahoma with my first paycheck and bought a Model 94, put a Williams 5-D receiver sight on it (in those days, they actually cost $5.00) and I still have it.
  10. schromf

    schromf Well-Known Member


    Were both those Winchester's pre 64 Models?
  11. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

    Had a Marlin.. I gave it away. Eventually I'll get around to replacing it with a Winchester '94.

    The Marlin isn't a bad gun by any means -- just too heavy and clunky for what it is. To my mind, a .30-30 should be a sleek little carbine, and the Marlin was just overbuilt for the job. That, and I couldn't shoot the one I had worth a darn.. don't know if it was a lemon rifle or it just didn't fit me right, but I couldn't get a lick of accuracy out of the darn thing compared to other rifles I had. From others here, I'm sure it's not a company-wide problem.

    The Winchesters I've played with feel much better to me, though I dislike the little extra safety that forces you to squeeze the lever closed. I presume those can be deactivated, yes?

  12. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Marlin made a straight stocked version called the 336T (Texan) that was my first ever deer rifle.

    Only "bad" points about the Winchester, aside from the "extra" squeeze (blah) is the lever seems to have more side to side play than any Marlin I've ever handled.

    Marlin's extractor can wear down over time, I've seen three 1895 models and one 336 with that problem.

    The Winchester is lighter, and I like the saddle ring on some models.

    Both shoot just fine, but the extra metal in the barrel of the Marlin makes it more rigid, and 'should be' more accurate.
  13. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    Were both those Winchester's pre 64 Models?

    The first one was, the second one wasn't. Frankly, unless you do a side-by-side comparison, you can't tell the difference. In terms of trigger, accuracy, reliability and so on, the second was fully the equal of the first.

    What Winchester (or Marlin, for that matter) is selling these days, I can't personally vouch for.
  14. G.I.Jew

    G.I.Jew Well-Known Member

    I have a Marlin 336 with a receiver aperture sight. It is a great rifle for target shooting and plinking. Williams makes good receiver mounted aperture sights for the Marlin and Winchester lever action rifles.
  15. jimmyp50

    jimmyp50 Member

    .... and so just how is current Winchester quality control anyway? Other than some QC issues I have heard recently which I cannot personally attest too, I do know the Marlin is heavier and the Winchester just "seems" like the right gun, it is light, handy, and conjurs up images of the Duke and the rifleman. On buying your Winchester you will certainly be happy, on shooting it and using it (if you hunt deer) you might not be so happy. I used to be a big fan of light carbine length guns, that was until I learned that they were not all that steady when shooting off hand. At my stage in life hitting what I shoot at seems more important than other factors.....I too love the feel of the winchester, the nostalgia and images it conjures up in ones mind, but I hunt and kill deer with a Marlin......jimmyp
  16. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    Have been shooting both since the early 70s and still own at least one of each. I prefer the Marlin, mostly because it's a snap to clean from the breech.

    I agree that the Marlin stocks are fatter than the Winchester. I don't have to tuck it into a scabbard and carry it around on a horse, so that hasn't bothered me. :D

    Honestly, you're unlikely to regret either purchase.
  17. Skofnung

    Skofnung Well-Known Member

    I had a 336 in .30-30 and a 94 Trapper in .44 Magnum. I traded both of the off awhile back. Here are my thoughts...

    The 336 is a more "solid" feeling rifle.
    This particular gun was an older, straight stocked version with a nasty varnish finish. I stripped it down and lo and behold it was very pretty Walnut beneath. I thinned the forestock down while I was at it and you would not believe how much this improved the handling. I little wood removal goes a long way. Anyway, after putting about 25-30 coats of BLO on it, it looked like a champ. I ended up selling (for a nice profit, I might add...) it because after careful consideration, I found that I did not need a .30-30. It was a good gun though.

    The 94 was MUCH lighter and handier.
    Given, this was a 16" Trapper model, but every other 94 I've handled was lighter and handier than the Marlin. THis was a newer model with the push-button lawyer protection on the side. I did not like that feature. It shot well up to just over 100 yards, then it started "patterning" like a shotgun. Again, this was NOT a .30-30, but a .44 Magnum.

    If I had to get another .30-30, it would be an older 94. All things considered, the Marlin is overbuilt for the .30-30 cartridge. Granted, it is mush more solid feeling, but that solidity translated into weight, which is a bad thing in a brush gun. At times though, I miss that old Marlin...
  18. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    TV Westerns aside, the Marlin 336 is a better-built rifle than the Winchester and can be had for less money because it is less romantic. The newer ones I have encountered have been more solid and better finished than the Winchesters. There is a reason why you hear about Pre 64 Winchesters but not Marlins.

    Sure the Marlin is heavier and bulkier. But, come on, not that much. Being a Milsurper myself, I find the Marlin light and handy and the Winchester to be kinda flimsy feeling. But, romance aside, the Marlin is more solid than the Winchester.

  19. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member


    Probably true, which is why you can buy a 336 that fires the .45-70 and is plenty strong enough for .450 Marlin loads...they call it an "1895" but it is really just a 336. Darn fine rifle, too.
  20. Rupestris

    Rupestris Well-Known Member

    Don't own both but...

    I have the Win 94 in 30-30. My brother-in-law has a 336 in 30-30 and a friend has a Marlin in .357mag.
    The Win is lighter but has a terrible trigger(IMO). I looked into getting a trigger job but it looks like it would cost more than I paid for the rifle.
    Because of the design and the popularity of the marlins in CAS there are smiths doing trigger jobs on marlins for very reasonable prices. Finding someone to tune up a Win 94 is not easy.
    If you plan on having any tuning done, go with the Marlin.

    Second, The new Winchester has a tang mounted safety. nice if you are left handed. Not a good idea if you were thinking of adding a tang mounted peep sight.


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