It was about a month ago when the, yet to be announced, Marlin 336 Dark made it’s way to the rangehot proving grounds, so to speak. While lever gun technology is indeed old school, it is undoubtedly a proven system. Taking into account the romance afforded to lever action rifles as well as the 30-30 Winchester, or 30 WCF, this was one rifle I was genuinely excited about. A little history on the 30-30 Winchester if you will indulge me, the 30 Winchester Smokeless first appeared in August 1895 with a 160gr bullet chambered in the Winchester 1894. Marlin followed suit chambered their 1893 rifle in the same cartridge but varying the name of the cartridge to 30-30, which designated a 30 caliber bullet with 30 grains of the then new smokeless propellant. While Winchester developed it, we have Marlin to than for the common name of the beloved cartridge. It has reached a level of popularity seldom seen with cartridges and has been chambered in a myriad of different lever guns, bolt action rifles, and handguns. Bullet weights generally range from 110 grains to 170 grains with the 150 gr to 170gr bullets being the most popular. The cartridge is considered adequate for deer and bear sized game while the effective range is generally considered to be about 200 yards.
The rifle is quite handsome and has some improvements over the standard 336.
Factory threaded 5/8×24 muzzle is standard, here you see a Liberty Suppressors Sovereign QD muzzle brake threaded on the rifle. Standard five round tubular magazine under the sixteen and a quarter inch barrel.
XS Lever Rail is factory installed that works with Picatinny and Weaver rings.
Generous ghost ring sight allowing for a rapid flash sight picture but precise enough for some satisfactory 100 yard groups.
Prominent white outlined front sight. Plenty of real estate and contrast on the front sight and it is tall enough to get over even large silencers.
Standard cross bolt safety that we are all familiar with.
You will notice the large loop is wrapped in paracord. I strongly prefer the large loop lever for added room if you have large hands or wearing gloves when running the gun. The paracord keeps from beating your fingers up on the lever during vigorous use. The hammer comes with the spur attached in the event you want to add optics. If you are running the gun with a scope and the hammer down the spur provides additional area for thumb cocking the hammer. The trigger is not bad at all, with a bit of easy take up it breaks cleanly at five and a half pounds with some over travel.
The hardwood furniture is finished in a resilient black coating while all the steel parts are parkerized, giving the rifle a very muted look. Marlin also ships it with a paracord sling, which is a nice touch. Working rifles should always include a sling beyond carrying convenience. When attempting off hand shots, the hasty sling will provide much needed support in unstable shooting positions.
Accuracy of 3 shot groups at 100 yards from a rest with factory iron sights. Truthfully after shooting a few groups with each round, all performed about the same. I expect with optics those groups could be tightened up a bit.
Best group of the day.
I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this rifle. For me, it is an improvement over an already tried and true platform, the Marlin 336. As expected through about 300 rounds there were no failures or problems. I did use three different silencers through the review, the Liberty Suppressors Sovereign, as reviewed here , the OSS Suppressors HX-QD 762 as reviewed here, and the Liberty Suppressors Infinity X which is a brand new silencer I am currently reviewing. The Sovereign and HX-QD 762 both use a QD mounting system that mounts to an effective muzzle brake while the Infinity X is direct thread. For this rife, I would prefer to QD to a brake so in the event you want to run unsuppressed you still have an effective muzzle brake. While the recoil of the 30-30 is not bad and the Dark includes a reasonable recoil pad if you can mitigate any recoil without a real downside why not? While the 30-30 suppressed is not quiet it seemed to me to be hearing safe without protection. If I can run my rifle without ears, I am all about it. The XS Lever Rail adds quite a bit of modularity to the gun allowing painless attachment of accessories. While the apparent purpose of this rifle is an enhanced hunting rifle, I would see it serving very well as a truck/working gun for self defense against two and four legged critters. I get a little more detailed on that in the video portion of the review. Suffice it to say I am content this rifle is everything Marlin says it is and well worth considering for myriad of reasons. Yes, the gun is dirty and a bit used looking. I promise you during the review the gun was not handled with kid gloves and saw a little abuse.
- 30-30 Win.
- 5-shot, full length tubular magazine
- 16.25″ Barrel
- Threaded muzzle – 5/8″x24
- Parkerized finish
- Paracord Sling
- XS Lever Rail with Ghost Ring
- Black stock painted with black webbing
- Big Loop Lever
- Paracord wrapped lever
- Overall Length: 34.5″
- Approximate Weight: 7.65lbs
- MSRP $949