The Marlin 336 is an American classic. Practically unchanged since its creation in 1948, this lever-action rifle combines power, accuracy, and fast firing. Although the Marlin doesn’t need many accessories to excel, most hunters and target shooters prefer adding a scope for increased precision.
There’s nothing else quite like this lever gun, so some of the normal rules about selecting a scope don’t always apply. Here’s a complete rundown on how to find the best scope for the Marlin 336, including five reviews of specific options you’ll want to consider.
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While the Marlin 336 isn’t a long-range rifle, it’s powerful and accurate for short to medium range hunting. The listed range is between 150 and 300 yards, although in practice, that range is far closer to 100 to 150. However, considering the ideal kill range for deer is about 100 yards, the Marlin is more than suitable for the job.
It’s chambered for 30-30 Winchester or .35 Remington rounds. When searching for a scope, you want a standard Duplex reticle. It’s different from a Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) reticle, which helps you account for bullet drop and wind. However, BDC scopes are designed for sniper rifles that shoot 500 yards or more, making them unnecessary for accurate shooting with a Marlin.
Here are four key elements to consider when comparing scopes for your Marlin 336.
Every rifle scope has a few listed numbers, such as 3-9×40, from our top pick, the Leupold VX-Freedom. The first number, three, is the magnification level, where a level of one is what you can see with the naked eye. In our example, the scope has a magnification range from three to nine. When shooting with a Marlin 336, you want a magnification level of at least three, which will help you hit fast-moving targets within 100 yards.
The next number, 40, is the diameter of the front lens. The larger the diameter, the more visible the lens. Additionally, a larger diameter increases the brightness of the image, making it better for hunting in low-light conditions such as dusk and dawn.
Eye relief is the distance from your face to the scope. When mounting the scope, you want it as far forward as possible on the rifle. Not only does long eye relief increase comfort, but it’s a vital safety issue. When the gun recoils (and the Marlin can have quite a kick), you need enough space so the scope doesn’t smash into your eye socket. At a minimum, you want eye relief of at least four inches.
The more light a lens transmits across its surface, the easier you’ll be able to see your target in low-light conditions. We discussed above how a larger lens allows for more light, but that’s not the only factor that influences visibility. Look for anti-reflective coatings and sunshades to help reduce glare.
The turret is the round dial used to adjust the reticle, allowing you to zoom in on your target. Each “click” of a turret is referred to as a Minute of Angle (MOA) measurement. At a minimum, you want quarter-inch differentials. Also, many scopes offer parallax correctors to help when aiming for long distances.
What makes the best scopes for the Marlin 336 stand out from the competition? Here are important factors to look for:
First, you want maximum durability. The Marlin fires fast and has a heavy recoil. The scope needs an anti-shock design to withstand the powerful vibrations. Plus, as a hunting rifle, the scope will be exposed to rain, dirt, and occasional damage.
Aircraft-grade aluminum is the most common material used to make scopes. It’s waterproof, lightweight, and resists denting. Additionally, look for flip-up caps to help protect the lens against scratches.
When adjusting MOA measurements, make sure the dial is easy to manipulate, with grooves to help your fingers grip even in wet weather. Additionally, the volume of the click made by the dial matters. The feedback you can hear is useful, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the target, but if the noise is too loud, it can alert animals.
If you plan to use the scope for hunting, make sure it can handle all possible weather conditions. While the materials used play a key role, you also want a few special features for the lens. Look for internal nitrogen-filled tubes to reduce fogginess, plus lens coating to help reduce glare and increase brightness.
Which scope should you choose to augment your classic lever-action rifle? You’ll want to consider any of the following. They’re the best scopes for the Marlin 336, and each has specific benefits.
Most buyers trust the brand in general and enjoyed this scope in particular. They’re built for use in harsh, outdoor conditions, including low-light environments. Plus, the scope is strong enough to withstand the recoil found in many large caliber rifles.
However, some buyers mentioned they weren’t thrilled with the finger adjustments. Unlike many other scopes, adjusting the dial doesn’t make a clicking noise, so you’re left to rely on only your sense of touch.
The VX-Freedom 3-9×40 is one of Leupold’s premier scopes. It has a 3:1 zoom ratio with a linear field of view of 33.1 to 13.6 feet at 100 yards.
It’s useful for hunting or other outdoor shooting because it’s made from durable, aircraft-grade 6061-T aluminum. It’s also waterproof and built to withstand an occasional drop.
The lens resists fogging and scratches. It also has a Twilight Light Management System optical coating to help provide clarity when using the scope during dusk, dawn, and other low-light situations.
Leupold is a trusted leader, and this scope is our choice for their best all-around option. It combines powerful and controllable magnification with tough but lightweight construction. Although the adjustment dial isn’t as precise as we’d like, overall, this is an excellent scope for hunting and target shooting.
Generally, buyers enjoy the Crossfire II, complementing its design, accuracy, and installation ease. The scope’s eyepiece was also mentioned, with buyers frequently describing it as comfortable.
However, some of the listed specs might not be accurate. One buyer said the elevation adjustment on his scope is a half-inch per click, although it’s listed at one quarter-inch per click.
The Vortex Crossfire II is an updated version of Vortex’s classic Crossfire scope. This new scope has a light, streamlined design that’s made for close-to-medium range shooting. It has a tube diameter of one inch with a lens diameter of 32 mm and a magnification range between two and seven inches.
It has a simple construction with minimal components to prevent breakage. The one-piece tube is made from aluminum with capped turrets and machine-locked lenses to help prevent scratches.
Finally, it’s easy to find your target with the fast-focus eyepiece and a fast reset to zero function for the windage and elevation turrets. It’s a great scope for tracking fast-moving game, even in low-light conditions.
The Crossfire II is a significant upgrade over its classic predecessor. It’s a good choice for shooting fast-moving targets at a medium-to-close distance. Plus, it’s durable with a simple, strong design. You can use it outdoors in wet weather without worry.
Buyers generally praise the all-around quality of the Simmons Blazer. Its easy installation and durable construction are both mentioned often.
However, some buyers do have a few complaints. It doesn’t have an auto-focus, which is a bit surprising for a scope of this type. Also, one buyer said his scope is slowly but steadily creeping upward, and he doesn’t know how to stop it.
You don’t have to spend big for a quality scope. The Simmons Blazer is our recommendation for anyone sticking to a strict budget. It rivals the quality of many scopes with far higher price tags.
You can adjust the magnification between three and nine times. The lens also has a HydroShield coating, so you can see clearly even in dark and rainy conditions. Additionally, it features Simmons’ unique TrueZero adjustment technology, so you can quickly adjust the scope.
With fast adjustments and a range of magnifications, the Blazer is a well-rounded scope that won’t break the bank. It’s also the only scope on our list to utilize TrueZero technology to allow for precise, in-field sighting adjustments.
Many buyers remarked they felt this scope was a good value. They commented on its accuracy, anti-fog technology, and ability to produce a clear image. While most buyers felt satisfied with their purchase, it’s commonly mentioned that this scope is best for short to mid-range only.
If you’re looking for a hunting scope, the Huntmaster offers lots to like. It’s built for rough, outdoor weather with an aluminum monotube and fully-coated, waterproof optics.
The 40 mm lens provides magnification between three and nine times. It remains parallax-free up to 100 yards, and you use your fingertips to quickly adjust the scope in quarter-inch increments.
Rarely do you find a scope that lives up to its name as well as Barska’s Huntmaster. It’s a top-of-the-line hunting scope with durable monotube construction, all-weather optics, and precise adjustability. It’s one of our top recommendations for deer and small game hunters.
Most buyers report a positive experience with this scope. The bright, clear optics are frequently mentioned. Additionally, buyers like how flexible the scope is, so you can quickly change between short and medium-range shooting.
However, some buyers did have concerns. Reaching the manufacturer for replacement or repairs does seem to be an issue. Additionally, more than a few buyers mentioned that they wish the scope was made in the USA.
From trusted manufacturer Burris, the Ballistic Plex is made for fast-moving target acquisition and tactical shooting. It’s a forward-mounted scope with a low-profile turret designed to not interfere with visibility or mobility.
The optical glass offers a bright, clear picture of your target, even in low light or rainy conditions. A series of nitrogen-filled tubes prevents lens fogging. The entire scope is also waterproof and resistant to shock with hand-fitted internal component assembly.
The Burris Ballistic Plex is one of our favorites for tactical shooting. It’s lightweight with a large lens that allows you to acquire fast-moving targets accurately and quickly, even in low-light conditions. Plus, it’s shock-resistant and built to withstand wet weather.
What benefits can you look forward to once you’ve installed a new scope on your Marlin 336? Here’s a closer look at what to expect.
A scope improves your accuracy and capabilities when hunting. By putting more distance between you and your target, you’re less likely to make noise or otherwise draw attention to yourself.
It allows you to aim with precision, which results in cleaner kills. You’ll have an easier time hitting the heart or the head, so you can take the animal down humanely with one shot.
Additionally, a scope helps you shoot multiple, fast-moving animals. Aside from deer, many people use the Marlin 336 to hunt wild hogs due to its speed and power.
As detailed above, a wide lens allows increased brightness and clarity when looking through the scope. It’s ideal for hunting at dusk, dawn, and in overcast weather. While not as powerful as night vision, a large lens can provide excellent low-light shooting capabilities.
A scope increases overall safety for you and everyone else in your hunting party. First, you’ll have more control over where you place your shot, reducing wayward rounds. Additionally, the increased clarity helps you avoid mistaking a person for an animal, especially when hunting in low light.
The Marlin 336 is a hunting classic for a reason. It delivers powerful shots quickly, allowing for reliable short to medium range firing. While it doesn’t need much in the way of upgrades, most Marlin shooters prefer to add a scope. Choose a scope with lightweight, durable construction and a large lens to improve your accuracy and take your shooting to the next level.
Are you looking for info on finding the best scope for the Marlin 336? Here are quick answers to common questions.
There’s no one scope that’s best for every situation. Instead, you want to find a scope that matches your shooting preferences. Look for a scope with durable construction (aluminum is popular), a large lens, and easy adjustability of quarter-inch differentials or less.
Absolutely! Adding a scope is one of the most popular ways to upgrade this rifle. It increases your accuracy and visibility while also improving overall safety.