1 8 9 5 G U N N E R.C O M




Review of the Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30

Review of the Ruger-built Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Win.



by Scott Crawford - March 27, 2023


Once again the Ruger team in Mayodan, North Carolina have delivered on a promise to the lever gun community. This Marlin model 336 Classic is just that, a classic styled lever gun in the first small-bore sporting rifle cartridge designed for smokeless powder way back in 1895, the .30-30 Winchester.

The lever gun community has been waiting patiently for Ruger to release their first American black walnut stocked Marlin model and the wait is over. The deep cut checkering in the stock & forearm add to the beauty of the walnut furniture blending in with the satin bluing of the metal surfaces. The "Classic" Marlin look is back in a big way.

When I first opened the box, the Classic brought back so many memories of earlier times when I brought home many of my New Haven built Marlins. The look, feel and smell of walnut furniture just has a special place in my memory banks.

The Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Winchester
The New Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Winchester

---- Find a Range Near You ----

Find a Range Near You

While I've handled, bought & shot many .30-30 Win chambered lever guns, I've never owned one. The ones I did buy I gifted to land owners who hosted big game hunting trips for me. I've almost always been a straight wall cartridge man. I did own a limited edition Marlin model 336D, .35 Remington at one point but eventually traded it away. So, as I walk through this review, I'm doing so, not as a novice but more like an experienced, hesitant yet excited lever gun lover.

It made me smile when the Ruger engineering team decided to release the Classic first in what I'm assuming will be an ever growing line of their 336 models. The lack of newly popularized "tactical" touches makes this seasoned lever gun nut happy. No Picatinny rail, no threaded barrel or fiber optic sights, and no large loop lever. No, this rifle is patterned after the original Marlin 336 with the addition of a modified pistol grip cap, gold trigger and of course the new Red & White Marlin bullseye. While I can appreciate the recent modern adaptations on other lever guns, the Classic needed to be just that - classic.

The Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Win
The Marlin 336 Classic is just that!

Initially the Classic is only available in .30-30 Winchester however I believe the good folks at Ruger will eventually make the rifle in .35 Remington as well. Fingers crossed....

This rifle comes with a rear adjustable buckhorn sight and a hooded blade front sight. Although I eventually installed a scope on it I wanted to do initial testing just as it came from the factory. Besides, nothing screams "Classic" more than an iron sighted lever gun. Just handling a lever gun like this takes me back to my childhood days watching John Wayne & Chuck Connors with my dad.

The Cross Bolt SafetyThe Cross Bolt Safety
Pictured above you can see the Cross Bolt Safety in the safe and firing position.

Lever action rifles were designed with a hammer safety or otherwise known as at rest, halfcocked and fully cocked positions. These three positions are noted below as in the Marlin safety manual that is published on their website. This is what a true lever action fanatic grew up with back in the day and what so many buyers still want today. The “add on” safety such as the Cross Bolt Safety (CBS) satisfies corporate lawyers but make many lever action lovers crazy. I'll note that the Cross Bolt Safety has been part of the Marlin rifle design since introduction back in 1984, not a new design by Ruger!

The Marlin Hammer Safety

These three hammer safety positions should be practiced without a live round in the chamber until you are very practiced in the use of the firearm.

The Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30
Wood to metal fit is well done on these Walnut Stocks

On with the details. The Classic holds six rounds of .30-30 Winchester in the magazine tube which should get about anything you need done. The side loading gate is very easy to depress (burr free) to load the rounds. Thank you to the engineering team once again in Mayodan, NC. for an improved design over previous Marlin manufacturers.

The lever is a comfortable fit for non-gloved hands and is as smooth as the previously released Marlins from Ruger when run through a cycle. Crisp & smooth with no hang-up opening or closing.

The Recoil pad on the butt of the rifle stock easily cushioned the factory loads I used making this rifle comfortable to shoot standing or seated at the bench.

The Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Rear SightThe Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30 Front Sight
The Front & Rear Sights on the Classic model 336 .30-30

The stock and forearm are constructed of American black walnut with deep cut checkering. The wood to metal fit was good for a "production line" rifle and the fore stock seems to be slimed down from previous manufacturer's versions making for a comfortable grip.

The Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30

As with their previous model releases, all parts that come in contact with fingers and palms are smooth with zero burs, tumbled prior to final processing steps such as bluing.

1st Range Day with the Classic

The rifling twist on this model is 1:12 Right Hand which works well for a .30 caliber projectile. I found the rifle to be very accurate, when sighting in on paper I was able to maintain a .700" grouping at fifty yards with a front only rest from the bench. (Note) during testing I found that the rifle is a bit particular on which factory ammo it liked. More on this later.

The muzzle on this rifle is a typical non-threaded, with a round 20.25" long barrel. While many shooters prefer the ability to readily add a can or muzzle brake this rifle lacks that ability without modification. Ruger indicated that there will be future 336 releases that will carry the threaded barrel.

The Ruger Made Marlin 336 Classic .30-30

Factory Ammo Used on Range Day

Now let’s talk ammo. Initially I shot factory rounds from Hornady and Winchester. The 336 can be a bit picky on bullet types and velocity which proved out during initial testing. I found that this rifle preferred the Hornady LeveRevolution factory ammo over all the rest with tighter groupings at fifty yards. I endeavored to hand load their bullets using Hodgdon's LeveRevolution powder and eventually settled on 33.5 grains providing 2,250 fps muzzle velocity and almost identical groups to the factory ammo. Given more time I'll be trying varying loads using Shooters World "Buffalo Rifle" Powder, Hodgdon H4198 powder and IMR3031 all with the Hornady 150-grain RN Interlock bullet. More to come on that at a later date.

Ready to Load

The Nickel Plated Bolt Works Flawlessly
The Polished Bolt Works Flawlessly

At 7.50 lbs., naked, this model is about average for a lever action. At 38.625" overall length, this rifle is about the perfect size for deep woods, tight brush or tree stands.

The price is on par for most new lever action rifles of better quality and I found the rifle to be worth every cent. The MSRP for this rifle is $1,239.00

I'm extremely pleased with the performance of the rifle so far at the range and can't wait to get it into the timber on a deer or hog hunt.

Parting Shots Parting Shots

I wanted to summarize what I thought of the overall package compared to my other lever action rifles which I absolutely love. Number one on my list is functionality. This meets that requirement and looks good doing so. Right out of the box you will appreciate the smooth action, the easy to load side gate & deep checkering. I was easily on target with the factory sights, no adjustment required and no jams period after a couple hundred rounds fired. The wood to metal fit is very acceptable, a bit proud in a couple of instances however nothing that would require additional fitting.

Overall I'd say this new Ruger-built Marlin rifle handles well (with good balance), provides very good grouping and ranks high on my list as an iron sighted, mid-range rifle. Although I did mount a Bushnell Banner 1.5 X 4.5 optic on the rifle for completing the "Test & Evaluation", I'd probably stick with the factory iron sights for real world hunting conditions in NW Georgia.

Would I buy one? Well in the words of Larry Potterfield, "every man needs a few rifles and well, maybe just one more!"

Technical Specifications
  • Model: 336 "Classic"
  • Caliber .30-30 Win
  • Capacity 6+1
  • Stock American Black Walnut
  • Satin Bluing on Receiver
  • Barrel is Round with Satin Bluing
  • Adjustable Rear Folding Buckhorn Sight
  • Blade, Hooded Front Sight
  • Weight 7.50 lbs.
  • Overall Length 38.625"
  • Length of Pull 13.38"
  • Barrel Length 20.25"
  • Barrel Cold Hammer-Forged Alloy Steel
  • Twist 1:12" 6-groove RH
  • SKU: 70504
  • MSRP: $1,239.00

Marlin Models 1895 & 336 Schematic & Parts List

The New Marlin 1895 & 336 Schematic

The New Marlin 1895 & 336 Parts List

Looking over the new Marlin 336 "Classic" just back from the range

For more video coverage of the Classic, make sure to visit Target Suite Target Suiteon YouTube

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