The Marlin 336, Tested And True
The Marlin 336 would be introduced by Marlin Firearms Company in 1948. The 336 model would replace the Marlin model 36 that Marlin Firearms introduced in 1936. In 1950 Marlin would introduce the 35 Remington cartridge in the model 336A and 336S. All models would be manufactured in the 35 Remington cartridge by 1952.
Before this period the 30-30 Winchester cartridge and the 32 Winchester cartridge would be the only cartridges manufactured in the 336 model. In 1954 they would make the model 336 C, S, D, and A models. All of them would be manufactured in the 30-30 and 32 specials and all would be manufactured in the 35 Remington in 1954
When talking of the 336 Marlin rifles for collecting or investing in, it is my advice that you look for a couple of specific things from the 1950s model guns. One is to find rifles made in the 32 special in this era. Fewer were made and they would be overshadowed by the 35 Remington cartridge. The 32 special would be discontinued in 1962. They did make the 336 in the 219 zipper cartridge. 1955-60 (Rare)
The Marlin lever 336 rifles were not drilled and tapped for scope mounts until around 1954. As a gunsmith in the 70s and 80s I would drill and tap many Marlin rifles in the 336 model. If done correctly it probably does not affect the price significantly but finding those in great condition that are not drilled and tapped are going to be very valuable in the years ahead. These would be great guns to collect as they are still reassembly priced.
The Marlin 336 rifles of the 1950s and 60s are noted for their nice metal finish and stock to metal fit. They were an excellent firearm and were of high quality from that period.
The Marlin 336 rifles of the 1950s and 60s are noted for their nice metal finish and stock to metal fit. They were an excellent firearm and were of high quality from that period. Many of these lever action rifles of the 1950s would primarily be used with open sights. There would also be a substantial number of these rifles that had peep sights installed. Many of the original owners of these rifles would never consider putting a scope on their favorite firearms. They were use to using open sights and it would be hard to convince them of the benefits a scope would give.
The majority of the Scopes from that period were not able to provide the clarity and field of vision that the Scopes of the sixties and beyond would develop into. Therefore a good number of early Marlin 336 rifles would have peep sights on them. I do remember installing many peep sights on these firearms for men who wanted a firearm that was strictly for brush hunting. They were quick and easy to handle and could provide a fast shot. The primary peep sights used would be the Redfield and Lyman sight companies. Both are excellent examples of quality sights and scope mounts of the 1950s. They were just great high quality products. Even today I will see an occasional rifle come through a gunshop with a peep site still mounted on it. You do not see that very often and not many people put them on today, especially a hunting rifle. Good concept and still a good way to hunt.
I always liked the short compact style Scopes for this model firearm. The Marlin 336 just did not look right with a long 3×9 scope mounted on it. I always liked and recommended a short compact scope that came in the lower powers. In the early seventies you could get a scope in a 1.5 to 4 power or in that range. You could also get the 2×7 power. Both would work very well on the Marlin lever action rifles. I would use the 1.5 to 4 myself and liked using the lower power for brush hunting or picking up moving deer in close hunting situations. I will give my recommendations for a couple of rifles scopes that would mount up very nicely with a new lever action rifle or the classic Marlin 336 from the classic 1950s or 60’s. I will list a couple at the end of the article.
The Marlin 336 in great condition is a bonus and they are excellent investment firearms.
In the 1970s and 80s when buying and selling those firearms at Northeast Firearms in Honesdale, PA. and also Mike Jones Gun Shop in White Mills, PA. We would sell many 336 rifles from that era. I remember a couple of 336 Marlins that came through the gun shop with extremely poor finish on the metal. The bluing was decent but the polish of the metal was very poor. I was told later that some of the early Marlin 336 models were released from the factory with that type of finish. This was right after WW II. I still believe they were factory finished guns. I wish now I would have bought one of those firearms as they were very inexpensive at the time. They would be a great firearm to have in a gun collection today.
A few repair issues I had with the 336 over the years.
+ Number one – ejector spring(easy fix)
+ Number two – weak firing pin at the tip
+ Number three – carrier rocker breaking
+ Number four – Extractors
+ Number five – Weak loading spring or screw coming loose
+ Number six – Many reblued, (Heavily Used)
Another gunsmithing issue is that in the 1950s and early 60s the Marlin rifles in the 336 did not come with factory installed recoil pads. If the Marlin 336 has a recoil pad it will affect the guns collectibility.
The Marlin 336 are good investment firearms and finding them in excellent condition is the key to collecting these firearms. I always remind those who are looking to collect any firearm to become very knowledgeable with what the original ones look like.
Marlin would make many of this model firearm in the 50’s and 60’s and I always tell collectors to look for firearms that have the original box. But I can honestly say that for all the older 336’s that I have seen, I do not remember a lot of these with the original box.Something to think about and to keep your eye out for when looking at the classic Marlin 336 model.
The Marlin 336 are great guns for the beginning collector as they are reasonably priced and have decent numbers still in the market. I would give them a good rating. Check out my ratings page.
Recommended Scopes for the Marlin 336