The lever-action rifles coming out of the Marlin factory these days are of excellent quality and appearance. A good example of that is the new Marlin Model 336C with a curly maple stock. It has the classic sleek and ergonomic shape that makes it easy to carry, and it has the great safety features of the two-piece firing pin that allows the gun to fire only if the finger lever is held firmly closed and the trigger stop pin that keeps the trigger from being squeezed unless the lever is held completely closed.
The mechanics of this latest version are the same, but the stock is made of beautiful curly maple. I have been a fan of Marlin lever actions for years, and I think this new version’s appearance is striking. The maple buttstock and forearm are naturally light in color, and they have a slick high-gloss finish that allows the delicate grain to show. The well-done checkering is a point pattern and is stained a dark brown that makes for a nice contrast to the light wood. The buttstock has a rounded black pistol grip cap and a rubber recoil pad. There are sling-swivel studs fore and aft, and the trigger is gold-plated.
Chambered for the classic .30-30 Winchester, the round barrel is the carbine length of 20 inches, and it has Marlin’s 12-groove Micro-Groove rifling with a twist rate of one turn in 10 inches. The polish is smooth, and the bluing is a dark blue-black that accents the light-colored maple stock. The receiver is sandblasted on the top and the bottom.
My curly maple Model 336C has a traditional fold-down semi-buckhorn rear sight and a hooded brass-bead front sight. The full-length magazine holds six rounds. The hammer has a halfcock “safety notch” as well as an unobtrusive crossbolt safety. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope base, and a hammerspur extension comes with the rifle.
For my test and evaluation, I installed a Weaver No. 63B one-piece base and mounted a Burris Droptine 2-7X 35mm scope in Weaver 1-inch extension rings. I had to use medium- height rings so the scope’s objective bell would clear the rear sight. The compact Droptine scope looked right at home on the Model 336C and functioned perfectly during the shooting session. This particular model of the Droptine scope comes from the factory adjusted to be parallax free at 50 yards, so I did my test firing at that distance.
I had several .30-30 factory loads on hand, plus I loaded up some handloads for testing. The accuracy of all loads was adequate. Groups of an inch to an inch and a half at 50 yards should be okay for just about any game for which the .30-30 is suitable, and several loads made the grade, including the Hornady 140-grain MonoFlex and 160-grain FTX loads, and two light-bullet loads. Federal’s 125-grain HPFP registered 2,547 fps over the chronograph and averaged a tidy 0.88 inch.
I learned a few things about this Model 336C. First, its trigger pull was pretty heavy. It averaged 7.5 pounds, with 2 pounds of variation over a series of measurements. It was crisp, however. Granted, it took some time getting used to it, and I believe a gunsmith easily could lighten it. Undoubtedly, the rifle’s accuracy would improve with a lighter trigger.
Second, Marlin recommends keeping an eye on the hammerspur extension when in use as it can work itself loose. That actually happened during my shootout.
Third, during my shooting I noticed the barrel band and forearm had loosened to the point that I suspected the accuracy results with the load I was shooting were being affected. Groups were as wide as 3.00 inches. Once I tightened the barrel band, the accuracy for that load was cut in half.
The moral of this story is to keep an eye on a firearm’s screws and attachments and be sure they have not changed over the course of a shooting session.
The .30-30 Win. is a fun cartridge. I enjoy handloading it, and I relish shooting it. And I like shooting the curly maple Marlin Model 336C. With its maple stock, this new version of the Marlin Model 336C is a welcome addition to the gun’s long legacy. It looks great, and it shoots straight.
Marlin Model 336C Curly Maple Specs
- Manufacturer: Marlin, marlinfirearms.com
- Type: Lever-action repeater
- Caliber: .30-30 Winchester
- Magazine Capacity: 6 rounds
- Barrel: 20 in.
- Overall Length: 38.5 in.
- Weight, Empty: 7.5 lbs.
- Stock: Curly Maple
- Length of Pull: 13.5 in.
- Finish: Blued barrel and action; high-gloss stock
- Sights: Semi-buckhorn rear, brass-bead front
- Trigger: 7.5-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Crossbolt
- MSRP: $899