View Full Version : What to look for in an old 336

April 19, 2012, 06:01 AM
I am toying with the idea of getting one of these in 30-30. What are the important aspects to look for these particular guns if in a shop and unable to test? Do they have any common areas of interest for attention, etc.? Thank you.

April 19, 2012, 09:14 AM
Loose screws, rusted barrel, gummed action, missing parts. Normal stuff.

I don't like the microgroove barrels, they shoot jacketed just fine, but when my cast lead bullets exceed 1600 fps, the groups are blown.

The M1894 has had enough jams that you can find information on the web such as:


I never had a problem with my M1894. Maybe it is peculiar to the pistol cartridges. Obviously the gunstore is not going to let you rapid fire a bunch of 30-30 cases before you buy the thing.

The M336 is a design evolution from the M1893. I am not going to say there are aren’t any “weak” or systemic issues with the design, but given that the basic action is 110 years old, I really doubt it.

I have read posts from guys who converted their Marlins to odd ball cartridges, like the 30-30 Ackley Improved, and the action jammed.

As long as you use the cartridge the factory built the rifle around, it should do just fine.

April 19, 2012, 09:27 AM
Marlin quality has been pretty consistent over the years. At least until recently. You occasionally find one with a few issues, but most, from any era are pretty good. I usully look for general use or abuse, rust etc. A lot of honest wear from a gun that has been used does not bother me.

Personal preferece really, but I think the guns from the 70's are the best design. Over the years Marlin has gone back and forth on the amount of wood and design of the stocks. Most are too thick and fat, especially in the forend. During the 1970's they used a trim forend similar to the Winchester 94 which looked nicer to me. They also made a lot of straight stocked models during that time frame which I prefer.

On "MOST" Marlins made after 1972 you can find the date of manufacture by subtracting the 1st two digits of the SN from 100. Some limited runs don't fit this pattern and guns older than 1972 used a different code system.

April 19, 2012, 09:34 AM
I have worked on many of these firearms. I would replace a lot of firing pins. Open lever and Push the rear firing pin up and push FP forward. The tip should stick out the front. Loading spring screw comes loose and jams things up. A very good gun and lots of parts available. I advise you watch for condition. Poor maintenance was the norm for firearms in poor condition.


April 19, 2012, 12:02 PM
If you plan on having a low mounted scope, then be sure your 336 has the hammer thumb extension.

Gratuitous pic of the 336 I bought new in 1968 for $65. It has see-thru scope mounts so the iron sights are still useable.


April 19, 2012, 12:14 PM
My Dad bought 336's for himself, my brother, and me in the early 60's. Each was a slightly different model. Mine was the 336T, the brother had the 336C (I think) and Dad's was like the 336C but had a shorter magazine tube. The only one that ever needed work was Dad's. After maybe 20 or 25 years of never having the bore cleaned, the barrel finally went south and had to be replaced. Don't worry about the microgroove barrel, but do look down the bore before you buy it. And yes, get that hammer offset.

Man, I could sure throw some lead in a hurry with that old 336T. And the longest shot was 260 yards. And last but not least, I prefer the 35 Remington cartridge.

April 19, 2012, 12:23 PM
If I recall, the 336T (the Texan model) had a straight grip buttstock.

Nice guns, ain't they?

George Hill
April 19, 2012, 12:36 PM
You can't see into the action, so you have to feel. Work the action very slowly and see if you can feel where there might be a notch that could hang up the lifter to feed the next shell. The action should be smooth and consistent. The barrel should be clean and shiny inside.
Everything can be worked over, save for a pitted barrel on an old used gun... I'd pass that but wouldn't be afraid to dig into an action if it needed a bit of work.

April 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
Bought my 336 in '76. Like an idiot I sold it but was lucky enough to buy it back years later. Just started reloading for it. Never had an issue.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2

Big Shrek
April 19, 2012, 07:34 PM
IF you find a "Waffle-Top" 1950's 336, please, for Goodness Sake, do not D/T it...
If its already D/T'd they killed the collector value, so you can shoot the BLEEP outta it...

Second, Old or New, watch out for badly indexed barrels...as in, the barrel is a few degrees off plumb & level.
Or maybe a better way of putting it is the sights may be at 1 O'clock or 11 O'clock...instead of straight up at 12 O'clock...

Third, Bore Light is your friend...I've got a Minimaglite in my truck and the AA Fiber Optic Adaptor in the same door pocket.


The above 1952 Waffle Top 336RC was purchased in exchange for an old 1976 Bicentennial Banjo...
the 336RC (.30-30) was marked at $200...which was a steal anyway...
and since then it has become my deer/hog go-to-gun...even though I had newer & more powerful rifles...
there is something about shooting a rifle from my grandfather's time which has really made it special every time it's pulled from the rack :)

April 20, 2012, 12:57 AM
Nobody has mentioned safety/no safety.

Not sure what year, 80's I'm guessin', when the hammer block safety went in. No matter how untraditional, I see it as a plus for any rifle handled by beginner, youth, anybody that does not understand the traditional half cock safety.

My boy and wife both had problems lowering the hammer on my Marlin, and have seen same problem in others, and I have observed more than one adult that should have known better that was NOT using the half cock correctly.

If your're savvy, its moot, as a loaner and trainer/newbie, look at the safety versions.

April 20, 2012, 05:50 AM
Wow Big Shrek. That RC is exactly what I am talking about! Only one I have found in town was D/T and rough. I will keep looking!

April 20, 2012, 07:53 AM
Can't attest to cast in the 30-30 MG bbl, but cast (RCBS 200 grain FN) shoots every bit as good as jacketed in 35 Rem with MG bbl.

April 20, 2012, 03:48 PM
Marlin is now owned by Remington (Freedom Arms Group) since 2007. Before that, Marlin was bought by H&R 1870 in 2000. There have been complaints about quality after production was resumed at the Remington owned facility in Ilion, NY. Don't know as I've not shot one of the new ones.

I've never been a huge fan of the micro groove rifling, introduced in 1953, but in my 22 rimfire Model 39 (mfg 1972) it works very well with great accuracy and has provided me with numerous small game dinners.

Before Remington bought Marlin, they seemed to be returning to cut rifled barrels, at least in their cowboy action shooting versions of the 1894 (pistol calibres) and the 38/55 and 45/70 versions of the Model 1895 (Model 336 with a different name). That's all immaterial if you only shoot jacketed bullets, but for cast bullet shooters it is a factor to consider.

Anyone know what rifling the Remington produced Marlins are using?

At any rate, I really like Marlins and find mine to be great shooting lever guns.

This Marlin 1893 has been in the family for four generations now and still holds almost 2 MOA with good cast bullets.


While a good bit newer, these Marlins are also favorite shooters, mostly with cast bullets.


By the way, Good advice on not drilling and tapping a collectable Marlin. On the other hand, many older Marlins were drilled and tapped at the New Haven factory for Marlin's peep sight that was available as an option. Two tapped screw holes on top of the receiver towards the back indicate such a gun.

April 20, 2012, 08:47 PM
Speaking of drilling and tapping, I found a very nice 1967 RC today that I would rate as very good but not mint condition. Seems a little pricey at $495. Nice gun, very clean with only slight surface rust where the barrel meets the receiver. Cleanest on the rack though.

It has a flat top receiver and there are 4 screws in the top of it that run from front to back in a straight line, none side by side or next to each other. Very small and could be factory but I don't know. It that normal for these or has someone drilled it and place screws in it? As I said, looks factory to me.

The screw pattern is identical to the one in the bottom pic of this ad:

As far as new Marlins I have a 981T bolt action .22 that I think is Rem vintage. It is very accurate and well made especially for a sub $300 rifle. It has Micro Grooving. I would also say the same about my XL7 in .270 which was less than $400, but it appears to have standard rifling.

April 21, 2012, 06:28 AM
And don't turn your nose at a clean 36, the older brother to the 336. I have a 24" bbl short magazine 36 made in 47 and a 336 made in 74, kinda weird it worked out that way. And the 1974 vintage does have some a nice trim for end, good luck!

April 26, 2012, 03:13 PM
I have a 336 Texan..straight stock..barrel band..saddle ring..medallion..from 1970....My SIL has a 336 Texan made in 78....The levers are shaped different....I like em both....

May 6, 2012, 10:40 AM
baddarrly; All 336s by 1967 were drilled and tapped by the factory.
They would start to D&T all 336s by mid 1950s. I have a 1961 Marlin advertisement that shows all 336s D&T for scope.

Scharfschuetzer; I worked for Remington when they moved the Marlin
plant to Ilion. Still use Micro groove on most models I worked on.
I did work on Marlin line and yes they did have issues when getting started.

Moving entire plant is not an easy job and setting up is quite an undertaking.
I would have no issues at this time(IMHO).

Big Shrek
May 7, 2012, 01:41 AM
Wow Big Shrek. That RC is exactly what I am talking about! Only one I have found in town was D/T and rough. I will keep looking!

If it is a Waffle-Top and already D/T'd, its worth under $300...but will shoot just as good as a newer one ;)

If it is a Regular flat-top, D/T is normal, don't sweat it :)

Safety/no safety...its a personal thing...best safety is the one between yer ears, IMHO :)

But, they do come in handy...

Or if you truly hate the safety, there's a trick to turn the crossbolt safety into a Saddle-Ring mount-point ;)
Marlin Owners Group has that one listed!