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Friends, Firearms and History

May 17, 2023
Mike Sampson

Friends with firearms sometimes open a wonderful history book, and I recently got a lesson in Marlin Model 336 lore.

A friend here in northwestern Arkansas is in the market for a .38 Special snubby revolver for CCW, so I’ve been doing some research on models and prices for him. To help finance his purchase, he told me he had a shotgun and lever-action rifle for sale or trade.

Turns out the shotgun is a Winchester Model 97 and the rifle is a Marlin 336 Centennial in .35 Remington. My friend’s dad owned both. The 97 has wear, and the 336 is NRA Very Good with a tight lockup. A couple of passes with a stainless steel brush and Hoppe’s Bench Rest-9 Copper Solvent revealed a pristine bore.

Although missing the front sight hood, the Marlin sports the brass 1870-1970 commemorative medallion on the right side of the stock. Marlin also offered the .30-30 and .22 rimfire lever centennials in 1970.

The 336 has a 20-inch barrel and the tubular magazine carries six rounds. The receiver is tapped for a scope mount. Most Gun Talk readers likely are more familiar with the 336 in .30-30 Winchester. Other classic levers included the Winchester model 94, available but with a hefty price tag. The Savage 99 was a dependable lever, and Ruger still offers its No. 1 rifle.

The Winchester Model 88 lever saw production from 1955-73. Henry currently offers the Side Gate Lever Action. Current .30-30 or larger levers include offerings from Browning, Uberti, Taylor’s and Company, Rossi, Chiappa, Cimarron Firearms, Stoeger and Mossberg. Some Marlins may be available too.

My friend said his dad bought the Marlin in 1970 along with one box of cartridges for deer hunting in the sometimes thick brush in northwestern Arkansas. The 336 collected a deer that season, but my friend’s dad decided hunting was not in his future.

Inherited firearms always provide a gateway to memories. I’ve always admired the Marlin 336s and inherited a Marlin Model 39A from my grandfather.

Marlin stopped production of the 336s, and in 2008 donated its 30 millionth lever to the National Rifle Association. Fortunately Ruger has the classic levers back in production, manufacturing them after it bought the design from Remington. The two calibers now available are the .30-30 and .35 Remington.

Historically, the 336 harkens back to the Marlin Model 1893 rifle, produced from 1893 to 1936 in various calibers. Marlin in 1936 marketed its lever-action as the Model 36, and in 1948 the Model 336 emerged and has been in production since. Marlin produced 336s in a number of calibers.

For a good read about Marlin’s history, various 336s such as Glenfield, all the calibers and models, and a chart to find manufacture date based on the serial number, take a look at Marlin Model 336 - Wikipedia. I can recall seeing such rifles at Montgomery Ward, Sears, J.C Higgins, J.C. Penney and other outlets.

The .35 Remington cartridge came about in 1908 for the Model 8 semiauto rifle. Marlin began chambering it in the 336 in 1953. Factory 200-grain rounds exit at a bit more than 2,000 feet per second with 1,900 foot pounds of energy. Manufacturers including Winchester, Hornady, Remington, Buffalo Bore, DoubleTap and Federal offer .35 Remington loadings. Some brands may be hard to find.

At a 20-round box cost of $50 to $70, handloaders for the .35 Remington have multiple choices for bullet weights ranging from 180 to 220 grains. For lever actions with tubular magazines, the caution is to use round or flat-nose bullets.

Other manufacturers have offered the .35 Remington in bolts and pumps, and even a single-shot handgun. For more information on the .35 Remington, take a look at The Enduring .35 Remington | An Official Journal Of The NRA (

The price for a new 336 in 30-30 or 35 Remington now pushes $1,300. Used goes for $700 or so depending on condition, often with a premium for the .35.

Knowing more about firearms history helps keep our Second Amendment rights in place. Friends, firearms and history always provide more insight into our ongoing efforts and need to Stay safe, be prepared. ~ Mike

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states and internationally. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006 specializing in risk management, emergency management and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master’s degree emphasizing adult education and communications.

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years, and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. He also worked as an outfitter’s guide.



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