A Marlin Story

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by quietsage, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. quietsage

    quietsage Member

    Mar 5, 2011
    Hello High Road,

    About a year ago I was wanting a lever gun in 30 30 something bad and had decided upon a Marlin 336. I went out and had a look at quite a few of them at various gun stores. I found a nice looking stainless one but when I held it the sights seemed canted or something. So I put it back and checked out some blued ones, three actually. Two of the three just felt bad, and by that I mean the fit and finish were not right. The final one I held seemed OK. The sights seemed aligned and fit and finish felt and looked well. The only possible negative I could find was the action seemed very rough as if the parts 'almost' did not fit right but I chalked that up to the rifle being new and needed to be worked. I chose that last rifle and figured all would be well. Not so.

    A week later I was finally able to get out and shoot the new Marlin. Right off the back I started having trouble. The first problem was loading the gun. Inserting the cartridges was difficult and it took considerable pressure to get each cartridge in. Next came the cycle, man did it suck. The first cartridge would go in OK but trying to follow up was almost impossible. The following cartridge would hang up, not quite a jam but close enough and it took some effort to get following cartridges to cycle. I am feeling quite disappointed at this point. However, the accuracy was excellent at 100 yards so I still felt that the rifle was that way due to being new.

    I cleaned the rifle and began to work the action while watching TV. I had heard that could alleviate the roughness. After something like a thousand times the action did seem to loosen a bit but still was very 'gritty' and the lever still wouldn't lock in place without effort. Every few weeks I would go out and put some rounds down range and still the problems would persist. I was starting to get somewhat mad, I had expected Marlin to produce great rifles. I still have a Marlin 60 that I have had since I was ten years old and it functions flawlessly, I am now 38. My father had a Marlin 30 30 and I remember it being a great rifle, never a problem so this current rifle I had recently bought truly baffled me.

    It was about three months later that I finally decided to do some research and see if people were having problems with their new Marlin rifles. My first query was all I needed to type in for an answer. I had had no idea that Marlin had been sold and all types of changes had occurred. Man, this was not good. I felt my stomach fall as I read countless stories of crap rifles being made and pissed off people. Great, I thought...just flipping great. I picked up my newish Marlin and quickly checked the stamp on the barrel.....REP. Dang, I had got one, a REMLIN. What was I to do? I really did not feel like sending the rifle back to the factory, what a problem that could turn out to be. So I stuffed the rifle in the closet and tried to forget about it for awhile.

    Few more months pass and by now it is October and I pull that Remlin out of the closet and throw it in the truck as well as my last box of cartridges for it. I head out to the desert and figure I'll give it one more chance. I manage to get through all the rounds but it is problematic and actually painful on my hand to cycle the rifle. Your done, I say. I pack up and head to a lgs to get rid of it. I end up trading it on a NIB Gen 3 Glock 19 and am very satisfied. However, there remained the hole...ever so slight...of my need (for no reason whatsoever) of a genuine Marlin 336 in 30 30 Winchester. I resolved that if I ever came across a Marlin with a JM stamp, I would get it.

    Every so often I would check out Gunbroker and I would squirm at the prices on real Marlins. Man, people jacked em up. Hopefully, I would encounter the right one at the used rack or pawn shop one day. Today was that day.

    I had some time in town today to muck about so I decided to hit all the pawn shops and gun stores to see if my genuine Marlin (for the right price) would rear its head. The first few stops produced genuine Marlins but of calibers I was not interested in...44 Special and .444. Then, on my last stop, I am checking the used rack when low and behold I catch sight of a dinged up lever rifle out of my peripheral. I pick it up and low and behold it is a Marlin 336 30 30 with a flipping JM stamp on it and a serial number starting in 93. Sweet lord, I think, is the search over? I work the action slowly then fast, smooth...real smooth. I check the sights, perfect. I get my flashlight and check the bore, excellent. Lastly, I turn over the tag..slowly...$300! Kidding me, I think. $300 and it is mine. I put it on the counter with a box of cartridges and say," I'll be leaving with this."

    I bee line to the desert and as soon as I hit BLM I stop. First test: I begin to load the rifle..the cartridges slip right on in with no resistance. Second test: I cycle the first round and it is equally as smooth. Third test: I fire, dead on at 100 yards. I cycle again and the rifle responds smoothly. I go through the entire box with no problems and realize that the journey has come to a happy end.

    A few hours later I am checking the mail and see I have something from my insurance agency. I open it up and it is a refund check for $200 from an error that occurred four years ago on my old truck. In front of me on the table lay my new used genuine Marlin 336 30 30 Winchester, silently looking back at me. A smile appears on my face.
  2. Abel

    Abel Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Eastern CONUS
    That is a happy story. There are still plenty of $300-$350 JM Marlins out there. You just have to be patient. I found a Marlin 30TK 30-30 not too long ago and mounted a new Redfield 2-7x33mm on top. Killed a whopper doe with it two Saturdays ago.

    Marlin 30TK:

  3. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    I'm hoping for similar luck with an 1895.
  4. TurkeyOak

    TurkeyOak Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    North Georgia
    Nice find.
    My Marlin is a 1988 .30-30, gently used, from a pawn shop. Quality build, factory scope (30AS). Couldn't be happier.
  5. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Study up on the old house brands they are still 336s and often up loved..
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007

    I know what you mean after checking out a number of new Marlins in stores in my area. Either the overall fit and finish were so bad that I looked no further, or else the action was so horribly gritty and rough that I'm thinking what else might be wrong with the internals of this gun. Never should have sold off the 336 I had so many years ago.
  7. RFMan

    RFMan Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Cary, NC
    My Marlin 336CS was made in 1983. It was $300 OTD a couple of years ago from my favorite LGS. Smooth...love it. Everyone needs a lever gun.
  8. mdauben

    mdauben Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Huntville, AL
    Unfortunatly, the poor reputation of current production Remlin guns is driving the price of used Marlins up, but you can still find decent bargains if you search long and hard enough.
  9. mac66

    mac66 Member

    May 6, 2007
    My very first rifle was a Marlin 30-30 I bought was with paper route money when I was 14 back in 1968. It got stolen out of my truck in the early 80's but replaced with one in 35 Rem which I still have. I also have a Mod 375 Marlin. When it comes to Marlin levers, always buy used. There were millions made over the years and I always see them in gun and pawn shops.
  10. dubya450

    dubya450 Member

    Mar 18, 2012
    My marlin 336 starts with an E. It's a really good shooting and cycling rifle too!
  11. kyletx1911

    kyletx1911 Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Love mine made in 79"
  12. 1goodshot

    1goodshot Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    I must have got lucky because my new one is pretty nice.
  13. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

    May 23, 2009
    I have one of the Remlins where the barrel channel in the receiver was bored crooked. It took almost a year for me to get it sorted to my satisfaction. No point in sending it back because with my luck I'd get one that had a crappy action or some other problem in return. This one functions well, looks good enough and shoots extremely well (excepting the whole shooting 60" low with a scope mounted). I got my problem solved by way of an XS Sights Leverail and a set of Burris Signature Zee rings with .020" offsets front and rear and now I have an excellent little deer rifle.
  14. Quentin

    Quentin Member

    Jul 30, 2005
    NorthWest USA
    The first gun I ever bought was a 1971 Marlin 336C, about a year after I got out of the Army. 30-30 of course and it still works fine today. I think I'll hang on to it! :D

    I have not looked at the new 336's, I'll have to do that.
  15. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

    Feb 24, 2005
    Southeastern Pa.
    Marlin quality has certainly gone down the tube .
    I own 3 of the older ones ('60's era) and they are great in every respect.
    My latest is a 39A topped with a vintage Weaver 6X.
    I haven't seen an older 336 yet that did not shoot well.
  16. Badlander

    Badlander Member

    Mar 14, 2008
    South Florida
    I just love A happy ending!!! Congrats.
  17. snakeman

    snakeman Member

    May 20, 2008
    Well written and narrated.
  18. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    North Carolina
    '79 here too. Christmas present back then, can't imagine being without it.
  19. corky52

    corky52 Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Northwest Florida
    1953 here. Great rifle. Smooth
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  20. Smokin Gator

    Smokin Gator Member

    Nov 18, 2006
    Northern Ca.
    Great story. I have a Marlin 44 Mag. with 24" octogan barrel. Also a 44-40 20" octogan. I don't do as much cowboy shooting as I used to, but when I saw some prices recently I was surprised how much the Marlins have gone up in price, Especially the cowboy models with octogan barrels. I saw one, asking price $1200, no idea how much they got for it though. I also have one of the 95 cowboy 45-70 with 26" barrel. If I ever had any idea of selling one, I sure wouldn't now. Mark
  21. jim243

    jim243 Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    You had me running to the gun cabinet to check since mine is a 2007 model. Yep, clear as daylight there is the JM stamped on the barrel. Must have got one of the last ones they made at the old plant. Mines in 35 Remington though.

  22. heeler

    heeler Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    A terrible shame that the new 336's have fallen to the bean counters disease.
    I found one about three years ago that was very clean on a GunBroker auction that ended at the ungodly hour of around 2:30 a.m.
    Set the alarm for 20 minutes before the auction ended and bid $275 on the non reserved bid and found out later that morning I had actually won the rifle!!
    A really well made gun with nice blueing and a pretty Walnut stock.
    Mine is a pre cross bolt safety made in 1981.
    Very accurate and so far it has killed one buck and two hogs.
  23. umc180gr

    umc180gr Member

    Oct 23, 2003
    Got my 336 in 1999. I think its a good one. I am keeping it
  24. irondavy

    irondavy Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    I traded with a "Good Ol Boy" friend of mine for for his 1970's era 336.

    His old shoulder didn't need the 30-30 pounding any more, and I didn't have a tractor for all my spare parts any more.

    Fortunately for me my younger shoulder could use an old rifle and his old tractor could use some younger parts.

    In the two years I have owned the rifle I have forgotten how many hogs I have dropped with it. It's smooth as glass and well broken in like Grandpas old truck. If I had to start selling off my small collection that gun would be the last to go. It is probably the least and most valuable gun I have.

  25. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

    Nov 4, 2007
    To repeat what I usually post when the JM issue is mentioned:
    JM is not a cast iron guarantee of manufacture in the old Marlin plant.
    Remington was still using up existing stocks of JM-marked barrels from the Marlin plant in the new Ilion factory after the move until they were used up.
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