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Old October 10, 2018, 12:25 AM   #1
Pops1085
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Winchester 94 vs Marlin 336. How’s the recoil?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit recoil sensitive. I’ve got an opportunity to buy either or. Both are from the 70’s I believe and neither have a overly curved buttplate. Both are 20” long barrels and are exactly the same price. You may see how this has become a hard decision. Only difference I can see is the shape of the stock and the marlin comes with a weaver scope. I understand that the 30-30 is nowhere near the recoil of a 30-06 or a 12 gauge, but if the two which will be easier on the shoulder? Old injuries make a 30-06 out of a 7.5-8lb rifle painful.
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Old October 10, 2018, 12:47 AM   #2
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It's a non-issue, or perhaps... pick one, either or. In .30-30, I don't think the shape of the stock matters. Personally, I'd take the Marlin every day and twicet on Sunday.
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Old October 10, 2018, 01:42 AM   #3
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How's the weight?? Marlins run heavier than the Win, so, that's one point to reducing felt recoil.

Stock FIT to you makes a difference. How much drop, and your personal dimensions (and don't forget to allow for cold weather clothes, if it applies.

For me, the Win 94 kicks the snot out of me. Especially the older ones with steel buttplates. Forget crescent butt guns, I don't care to shoot them.

The Marlin 336 is a bit heavier, has a stock that fits me better, and a bigger butt. SO for me, it has a softer recoil. And, yes, I've owned both.

Add a scope on the Marlin, the weight goes up a little more, and the felt recoil down a little. The downside is you're carrying around more weight, all the time.
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Old October 10, 2018, 04:55 AM   #4
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You can always add a recoil pad to either one or both if you find the recoil uncomfortable.
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Old October 10, 2018, 07:41 AM   #5
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The ugly marlin, the one with the pistol grip, directs more recoil to the hand/arm than the cools ones. The marlin with the straight stock and the Winchester with the straight stock seem to have more felt recoil on the shoulder.

Since 1964, the Marlin is hands down, the better made and more accurate, and more affordable of the two.

The 30-30 is a great cartridge for deer/hogs. If you can see one up to 200 yards and can hit at that range, nothing larger, more sexier is needed.
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Old October 10, 2018, 08:43 AM   #6
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Once a Marlin loosens up a bit with use it gets better & better. Winchester on the other hand once it loosens up it rattles. Jay south is spot on about their stocks.

I have both rifle brands here. Pre 64s and just one lone favorite. _ Waffle Top model 36 S/C ~~ having preference who is taken where?

If I'm only going to shoot once at a deer when tip-toe'ing thru nasty bush or a deer bedding area. Winchester because its original barrel sights are ideal for snap shooting. On the other-hand.

Going to the club range to enjoy a days bench rest shooting. Without hesitation Marlin gets gun cased. Reduced recoil & a rear barrel sight be the reasons why. Fine sighting on target w/a Marlin >easy-peasy.
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Old October 10, 2018, 09:22 AM   #7
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What is the rifle going to be used for? Range use or hunting? As others have said, a modern recoil pad could be installed on either which would help greatly in the recoil dept. If they don't make an exact fit, a grind to fit pad would work. All you need is a sanding wheel. Also, depending on the age of the Winchester, it may be more or less difficult to mount a scope if that is a requirement for you.
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Old October 10, 2018, 10:55 AM   #8
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For it's performance, the venerable 30-30 in the light weight, small buttstocked levergun recoils more than many expect. If you're recoil sensitive, I'd suggest that you consider a 3rd choice; the Mossberg 464. Besides a bit less drop of the comb, it comes with a built-in recoil pad. Further, the perceived recoil of the 170grn cartridges is less than that of the 150grn because the recoil is less sharp.

I've owned all three brands and here is my opinion on all three. My Winchester '94 was a 1962 model my dad bought and gave to me. It was a good shooter but the action was floppy and the trigger terrible. I bought a new Marlin 336 in the '80's soon after I sold off the Winchester and was struck by how blocky it felt. It too had a mediocre action and while the trigger was better, it wasn't very good. When a friend borrowed it in the late '80s for a hog hunt and damaged it, he was forced to buy it from me and I was glad to have it go.

Feeling that I was done with 30-30 leverguns, I sort of forgot about them in part because they aren't useful out here in the West for hunting as our average hunting ranges exceed it's capabilities. However, by 2012, I had the itch to round out my collection with a thudy - thudy so I went looking again.

The new Winchester and Marlin offerings suffered from the same ills I dumped them both for as well as new detractions. I'd heard of the Mossberg but never seen one in person so when I got to try a friend's out at our range, I was pleasantly surprised. The action was a bit stiff but it was brand new, the trigger was actually pretty decent, especially for a levergun, and the Marbles sights it came stock with were far superior to either set on the Winchester or Marlin.

Shooting it I found it was surprisingly accurate for a levergun at 200yds on clay pigeons with the excellent sights, and the recoil pad made shooting the 150grn Winchester Power Point bullets actually quite comfortable. As a result of the trial, I decided to get one for myself so I picked up a NIB Mossber 464 with the walnut, pistol grip stock.

Now, more than 6 years and close to 500rds later, I can honestly say it's a great choice. It's one of the few rifles I own that I've not felt needed anything changed so it remains bone stock. Yes, the action was a bit stiff when new but a good cleaning and a session or two of cycling the action while watching tv smoothed it right out.

Something to consider.
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Old October 10, 2018, 11:12 AM   #9
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I prefer the old top eject Winchesters. For me the 30-30 recoil is negligible and I prefer a steel recoil pad. Get whatever you like the looks of. Find one with a recoil pad already on it that fits you. Don't get one without a pad and then put a pad on it because it wont fit anymore unless you cut the stock down.
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Old October 10, 2018, 11:18 AM   #10
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I wouldn't let recoil be the deciding factor in your choice. Recoil can be substantially reduced by using a LimbSaver recoil pad. These pads absorb approx 70% of the recoil thus removing the "smarts".

In fact, I use such a pad on all of my rifles with a caliber of 270 or greater. The pads are removable, so one pad can be used on whichever rifle you are shooting at the time.

https://limbsaver.com/pages/recoil-pads-showcase

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Old October 10, 2018, 01:27 PM   #11
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Most Marlins will weigh 1/4 to 1/2 lb more than most Winchesters. Marlin has tweaked the stock design numerous times over the years. Some years they have a lot of meat to them and are heavier. Other years the stocks are more trim and closer in weight to the Winchester. The 1970's era Marlins tend to have trimmer wood than newer stocks, or even some older versions. Those are my favorite Marlins BTW.

And despite the reputation a lever action 30-30 isn't particularly light. Most people are surprised at how heavy they are when put on scales. My Marlin 30-30's are the heaviest rifles I own. In fact several of my bolt rifles weigh less with scopes on them than my lever actions do with just iron sights.

On paper most 30-30's have recoil in the 11-12 ft lb range. Just slightly more than 243. But due to the stock SHAPE, the recoil from any lever gun just hurts more than the numbers say it should. A modern stock design in a rifle with 15-16 ft lbs of recoil will feel more comfortable.

This is for 2 reasons. Modern stock designs allow recoil to come pretty much straight back. Lever actions have stock designs meant to be used with iron sights. They have more muzzle flip and the comb hits the shooter in the face. The wider butt plate on more modern rifles spread the recoil out over a wider portion of the shooters shoulder making them more comfortable. Plus most modern rifles come with hi-tech recoil pads whereas the levers do not. I find my 6 lb 308 more comfortable to shoot than my 7.5 lb 30-30's.
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Old October 10, 2018, 01:57 PM   #12
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Sold the Win 94 I had(too much Roy Rogers, et al.), long ago, precisely because the felt recoil was excessive for the power of the cartridge.
Anyway, a 170 grain bullet at 2200 FPS has 11.0 ft-lbs. of recoil energy out of a 7.5 pound rifle. So they'll both have a bit more recoil at 7 pounds. There's really no comparing a .30-06, 12 ga. and a .30-30 though.
The Marlin 336C weighs about 7 pounds. The 94 is a tick lighter at 6.8 pounds. The Marlin is a lot smoother to cycle though. And it's butt stock might be a bit thicker. As in wider. A wider stock helps spread the felt recoil.
If recoil is an issue, look into a semi-auto.
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Old October 10, 2018, 05:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
If recoil is an issue, look into a semi-auto.
There you go, your ideal rifle is a Remington model 8 or 81 in .30 Rem!!

of course, they stopped making those a while back, around 1940 or so, I think. Still its the closest you'll find to a semi auto .30-30...
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Old October 10, 2018, 09:38 PM   #14
Orion6
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I love the aesthetics of the 94, but the best 30/30 levergun is the Marlin 336.

I’ve owned a few examples of both. They are both classics and both great in their own way.

I’ve never found 30/30 recoil to be harsh. That’s just my own experience.

I’m tempted to try a Mossberg 464 but I like sight hoods on my levers.
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Old October 11, 2018, 12:47 PM   #15
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I would think the 336 would recoil less. I own both a 94 and a 336, and the 336 feels a tad heavier in weight. I have never really noticed any difference in recoil on both rifles, as I don't pay that much attention to it. I would say get the 336, not because I like more, but because it is a bit heavier.
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Old October 11, 2018, 05:44 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the suggestions folks. I ended up buying the marlin! However I’ve got another problem. This barrel won’t stabilize 170 grains. Full on tumbling at 25 yards. Was upset until I went and bought some 150 grain remington ammo and it grouped well. The 170 grain ammo was old, but I don’t know. This particular rifle was made in the 60s I believe and has the micro groove rifling. Is it possible the twist rate isn’t fast enough for 170 grains?
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Old October 11, 2018, 06:45 PM   #17
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If you have jacketed bullets tumbling, you have an issue other than the twist of a Micro-Groove Marlin...

Try new manufacture 170's and see what happens...
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Old October 11, 2018, 09:30 PM   #18
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Micro groove or Ballard rifling, those 170's should have been fine. Be interested to know what the issue is. Hmm.
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Old October 11, 2018, 11:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Thanks for all the suggestions folks. I ended up buying the marlin! However I’ve got another problem. This barrel won’t stabilize 170 grains. Full on tumbling at 25 yards. Was upset until I went and bought some 150 grain remington ammo and it grouped well. The 170 grain ammo was old, but I don’t know. This particular rifle was made in the 60s I believe and has the micro groove rifling. Is it possible the twist rate isn’t fast enough for 170 grains?
I bought a new marlin 30 30 and it's just the opposite--shoots 170's a bit better than 150's. I think it's a great value right out of the box (got mine for $390) with the lone exception I don't care for the rear buckhorn. It has a snappy felt recoil but it's not a heavy one IMO, the bark is worse than the bite kinda.
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Old October 12, 2018, 12:08 AM   #20
Pops1085
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Tomorrow I’ll go shoot it again. I really scrubbed the barrel several times with hoppes and followed up with sweets 7.62. There was a TON of copper fowling, instant blue patches. Hopefully that was the culprit.
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Old October 12, 2018, 06:18 AM   #21
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I'm an ol fart with fading eyesight so shooting without a scope past 50 yds is difficult since at 100 I can't really see either the target or the sights with any clarity. It takes a while to get used to the sights and shooting the rifle with irons only, though I can generally get "minute of deer" reliably to 75 yds with irons, which is good enough for hunting the woods of Maine.

If you have a tumbling bullet that is a serious sign that the bullet is failing to stabilize--my guess is something is "putting a stopper" on the bullet trying to clear the bore with adequate velocity, or possibly not chambering concentrically correctly to begin with. The twist is more than enough to handle the 170 gr bullets. I'd consider changing up to a premium ammo while at the same time making sure your chamber and bore are clean as a whistle. If you see further signs of projectile destabilization--send the rifle back. I've had a couple of squibs in my time but have been lucky enough to clue into them by spotting for impacts. Of all the firearms malfunctions (and I've done/experienced a lot of them) a squib is what scares me the most.
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Old October 12, 2018, 10:41 PM   #22
Pops1085
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Ended up taking it back. Wouldn’t reliably stabilize any 170 grains. 150s were okay for the two loads I fired but that still isn’t okay. I feel like 170 grains is the standard weight for 30-30. Ended up walking out with a new 336. I can see what they mean when they say the quality has slipped, however it’s still functional and seems heavier, which I like. Shot much better also. Live and learn I guess.
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Old October 13, 2018, 02:17 AM   #23
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My 336 LOVES Winchester power [email protected] 170 gr.
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Old October 13, 2018, 10:42 AM   #24
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The Marlin will recoil a little less because it weighs a little more. As somebody has said JM Marlins will out shoot post 64 Win 94s. Then that gets iffy when you
get in Marlin time period when they started the safety. The safety has nothing
to do with it but it was in this period Marlin was in financial trouble and quality
started to slip. Then when Rem took over they went to pot. A few years ago I
bought a used Marlin. It was grungy and splattered with paint. Otherwise hadn't
been carried or shot much. Gun was a 1968 model. When I took it apart to clean
it up to my surprise the stock had been drilled under butt plate and a recoil reducer was in there. It freaked me out because I have never thought of a 30/30
as a kicker. I wish I would have shot it with reducer to see what effect it had. I
didn't put it back in. Gave to my Bro who put it in a shotgun. I think a standard
94 weighs in at 6lbs, I just shipped a Marlin 336 via USPS and it went 8lbs +
counting bubble pack and double cardboard box. That little extra weight makes
a difference in recoil and to me it shows up more carrying around woods. Marlin
is also scope friendly, which a 94 isnt.
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Old October 14, 2018, 04:17 PM   #25
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Win 94's are scope friendly, if they are the 94A/E versions. I have one of those with a Weaver K-4 mounted. Superbly accurate with 170gr handloads out to 150 yards. It's as far as I ever plan to shoot with it. Can't speak about top ejecting 94's. Wish I had one tho.
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