We have a Marlin 336 in .30-30, initially the action was a little stiff so I took it completely apart, cleaned, and polished some parts it is very smooth.
It is tapped for scope mounts, I think it would be good to put a rail and a red dot on it.
We also have a much older Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. Did the same thing to it. But it has killed deer for 3 generations at this point. Regarded highly for its potential for thick woods hunting, a 200 grain .35 will shoot through some thick stuff and keep on going. I don't know if its tapped for a scope but I know I hit the deer I killed with it with a perfect shot using iron sights so I don't plan to worry about putting a scope on it.
Both are very capable of taking whitetail with appropriate bullets. I suggest a Marlin 336 in .30-30 or .35 Remington.