The Marlin 336 was introduced to enthusiasts in 1948, although the overall design was a familiar one with lever-action fans. It’s a direct descendant of the company’s Model 1893, which went out of production in 1936 after more than 40 years.
Unlike its predecessor, though, its breech bolt is rounded and stronger, and the mainspring and trigger springs are coil instead of flat. The gun has a variety of other improved features that, cumulatively, continue to make it a perennial contender for the title of best-selling lever-action rifle to this day. In fact, last year it was the third-most-popular in that category among retailers using the services of GunBroker.com.
Side ejection gives the rifle a decidedly modern advantage over most other lever-actions—optics can be mounted. The 336 Dark model even comes with a rail atop the receiver to make the process fast and easy and another version even ships from the factory with a 3-9x32 mm riflescope already mounted and bore sighted.
It’s the classic look that attracted the more new owners in 2019, though. The wood stock with checkering at the wrist and fore-end were more popular than the laminated or railed polymer versions with a threaded barrel. It even outsold the Model 336C Curly Maple version, which is worth a double-take if you’re a lever-action fan. Most enthusiasts went with the stainless metal finish.
According to GunBroker, the most popular choice in chambering was another timeless one, .30-30 Win. The 336 is also available in .35 Rem., if you’re wondering. Versions with a 20-inch barrel won the competition, although there’s also a Compact variety that wears 16.5 incher.
All feature the company’s micro-groove rifling. There are 10 models from which to choose and MSRPs run from $693.67 to $1,059.94. The latter, the 336TDL Texas Deluxe, has B-grade American Walnut, light engraving and Marlin horse and rider inlaid in gold on the receiver.