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Marlin 336 Questions

Old 10-18-2005, 11:26 AM
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Default Marlin 336 Questions

I posted in another thread about the Marlin 336 I picked up for a good price from a private party at a local gun show. The gun is from 1976 according to the serial number. It is in nearly new condition; I think it was purchased and used very little (like a lot of guns, no?).

I'm going to order a users manual from Marlin which will answer some of these questions. I've searched a little for these questions, but don't have good answers yet. So,I'll ask you all.

I've never owned a lever gun but have used pumps, bolts and semi-autos in shot guns and rifles. I've handled guns for about 45 years and was trained very diligently by my dad and gun safety class. I know how to handle the above kinds of guns safely. I feel comfortable knowing when to use the safety with a shell in the chamber vs. when I should empty the chamber.

But this lever gun does not have a "safety". In playing around with it (unloeaded of course) it appears that the "half cock" position is a "safety" position. Is this true? I've tested the gun's trigger in this position with a lot of force and it does not fire. I have also attempted to force the hammer to fire and it holds and does not move. Is this the acceptedway of carrying the gun if I want a shell in the chamber - for example, equivalent to a bolt or pump gun with the safety on?

How about the hammer down position - is this also a safety position with a shell in the chamber? The only thought I have is that if the hammer is hit forward, could it push the firing pin and fire the round? I can't really tell by looking at the gun. If it is a "safety" position, I think I'd prefer the bolt fully forward just so it's not sticking out so much, snagging on stuff.

I'm going to install a small scope in the next coupleof days (a low power variable or fixed depending on what I like and can afford). I'm thinking that in order to mount the scope as low as possible, I'd like to remove the rear iron sight. I believe this style of sight is called buckhorn or leaf? How to do this? Special tools required? How about the front sight? It is a loop of metal with a post. I have no idea whether either of these sights will interfere with the scope, and I'll leave them in place if it's not a problem, but I'm just wondering how to remove them if necessary.

Finally trigger pull: I was comparing the trigger pull to my Winchestermod. 70 30-06 which has been adjusted nicely by a gun smith. The Marlin is a little heavier, but doesn't seem awful. Is it fairly common to have the trigger worked on on these guns? I know I was pretty happy with the difference on my Winchester, but am wondering if it is something that can be done effectively on a Marlin 336 or is it something that either just isn't done or can't be done very well.

Thanks for all past and future advice!
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Old 10-18-2005, 11:32 AM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

Hey Z,I've had a M336 for years and when I carry it, I use the half-cock position. Like you, I was a little uncomfortable with that at first, but I haven't found any way, ever, to make it discharge from that position. I don't know anything about trigger adjustments on a 336, though I suspect a good gunsmith could answer the question. Mine isn't as smooth as my bolt guns either, but I live with it just because I've shot it for so long that I'm used to it.
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Old 10-18-2005, 11:41 AM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

I can only ansewer a couple of your questions
when a bullet is chambered and the hammer is down not is half cock position, the bullet can fire ifthe hammer is bumped. If i were you, they make scope rings that make the iron sights visible under the scope, but thats just me. Leave the iron sights on in case the scope breaks in the middle of a hunt. Take the scope and mounts off and your good to go hunting again
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Old 10-18-2005, 12:33 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

With the hammer down and a round in the chamber,and the hammer recieves a blow the round will fire. The newer models have a crossbolt safety. I find the 1/2 cock fine. I have a .444 Marlin which is the same as the 336 just a different caliber . I have a scope mounted onmine and I removed the entire front site( removed the screws from the ramp). The scope fits over the rear site with no modification.
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Old 10-18-2005, 12:45 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

I don't have a 336, but a Marlin 30AS (lesser quality than the 336). Mine as an older Glenfield 4x32 scope on it mounted on a low weaver base and it works great.

Mine has the cross bolt safety on it, which is a lot more reassuring. The trigger is a floating trigger (from what I've been told) so it won't fire and feels real flimsy when the lever isn't all the way closed.
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Old 10-18-2005, 04:58 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

Yes the half cock is the safe way to carry the firearm. THe hammer has a "notch" for the sear to sit inside that prevents it from tripping the hammer in this position. See the drawing below, it's crude but you get the point.

If you carry the firearm in the hammer down position the hammer is actually resting on the firing pin which is resting on the primer of the cartridge. A slight bump can fire the round. THIS IS NOT A SAFE POSTIONS AND ACTUALLY QUITE DANGEROUS.

In order to remove the rear sight you will need to have it drifted out of the dovetail with a punch and hammer. However, you may not need to remove it if you opt for a compact scope with a small objective. Which is what I would put on it if I were going to mount a scope on a lever rifle. I'm not sure what you mean by "loop of metal with a post" but the front sight should be removed in the same way.

Yes the trigger can be worked on to give you a lighter and crisper pull but DO NOT attempt this on your own.

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Old 10-18-2005, 06:27 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

Thanks for all your help, especilly re: the hammer position and that drawing! (it alwayshelps to see the physical design that you're relying on for safety) I will use the half cock as a safety position and will empty the chamber as appropriate as I usually do.

I went and shot the gun for the first time today and all went well. I'm going to practice putting the thing in half cock so that it becomes second nature. No big deal, but it isn't a trivial thing and I can see how a person could accidently let the thing slip when moving to half cock. I could also see how you might make a mistake and put it in full down without thinking.Safety at all times!

I noticed the front sight is screwed in place so that should be easy to remove if necessary. If I need to remove the rear, I'll take it in to the gunsmith. In fact, I called him and he will take a look at the trigger for me and by then I should know if the rear sight has to be removed. I'd have to say, I would like the trigger lightened.

If I go with a scope, it will probably be a compact and/or small objective size so I'm thinking/hoping the iron sights won't have to be removed at all.

This is my first time sighting a target with iron sights andI don't know if I did very well. I have to shoot again (and again, and again). It seemed like the point of impact was moving in a linequite a bit as the barrel heated up. WIth my scope/bolt gun, the accuracy changes but it's more of a spread of the group - say going from approx. an inch to 2+ inches as the barrel warms. This gun seemed to walk straight downward, even on the center line. Any ideas about this? Also, I was kind of surprised because it seemed like the barrel wasn't nearly as warm after 4 or 5 shots as my Model 70, and thus I wouldn't expect the POI to travel so much. Then again, it could all be the way I was using the sights because, like I said, I can't remember the last time I shot a rifle without a scope.

Thanks again for your comments and assistance!
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Old 10-23-2005, 12:55 AM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

OK! I've been shooting the gun and have been having a lot of fun.

I got an owner's manual and broke it down and cleaned it up. The good part was that it was pretty much immaculate to begin with.

I ended up puttting a Weaver 1-3X20 scope on it. (V3) based on recommendations on this forum (THANKS for the pointer). I bought it from Midwest shooter's supply and they'e a great company. I am real happy with my selection. I did side by sides with my own Leupold 2-7 VariXII and a Leupold compact 4x available locally. In the dim light (similar to the 30 min before and after sun), I really couldn't tell any difference in brightness at about 60 or 70 yards, and the scope is very sharp. This could be that my eyes just aren't good enough to distinguish extreme nuances of brightness, or it could be that I just won't be shooting in light dim enough to make use of the better scopes, or it could be that this Weaver is a pretty nice scope for the money (which it is - I'm happy). Of course it doesn't have the warranty that my Leupold has, but I didn't pay for that either. I'm not really worried about a transferrable warranty. Aside from that important factor, I preferred the Weaver's light, compact size and the 1X option.

Before mounting the scope, I shot several sessions from the bench with the open sights. I got them zeroed at about 50 yards, but that was about it - I found it nearly impossible to get a decent accurate shot at 100 with my eyes and my skill. I could probably master it, but I think the low power scope was the way to go. I think the 1X will get a lot of use as well. At 50, I couldn't get much better than close to 2 inch groups and with the scope it was about half that at 100.

I held a lever gun at a local gun shop today with high visibility front and rear sights and think that might have been a good option as well.

After mounting it and sighting it, I've tested 3 170 gr. factory loads and one 150 gr at 100 yards. I found one that is slightly more accurate (Federal), but the difference is so small though that I wouldn't have any problem substituting in a pinch. The point of impact is different, but again, within an inch or two, so no big deal for hunting deer.

Best group so far at 100 is less than an inch, which I consider extremely good for the sand bag rest and my crummy technique - and definitely a "lucky", not typical group. I'd say that typical bench groups from this gun with this shell will be just a little bigger than an inch. I'm very happy with that.

Now that I have the load selected and it sighted in at 100 yards (about 1.5- 2" high which should zero at 25 and 150 - good for my hunting), I'm going to burn a box or two of shells practicing field positions and quick, accurate second shots. And, doing the half-cock safety between every shot so it becomes as second nature to me as the other safeties I'm comfortable with.

Many thanks to everyone for the advice and information. A lot of fun so far!
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Old 10-23-2005, 12:56 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

Sounds like you are having a blast with it. Good luck this year killing a deer or two with your new rifle.

BTW, if you can get a lever action to shoot anywhere close to one inch groups at 100 yards then you got yourself an excelent shooter.
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Old 10-23-2005, 01:07 PM
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Default RE: Marlin 336 Questions

my ol' dad has a 30-30 marlin bought new in 1948. he put a 4x weaver on it in theearly 60's. later he put a hammer extention on it to make it easier to use with the scope. I dont think that old scope has been adjusted in 40+ yrs and it will still lay em in there. still our go-to gun on this place! Kurt.
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