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Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence Evaluate

Today, we dwell in a world of speedy innovation and obsolescence. Instruments and expertise which are widespread now are prone to be forgotten in a decade, if not a lot sooner. You’re most likely not utilizing a typewriter or telegraph to speak on this period of laptops and smartphones. However there are exceptions to this rule — situations the place the outdated methods should have their deserves. The surge in reputation of so-called tactical lever weapons, corresponding to this Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence, illustrates this level.

marlin 336 dark series cover

Outdated, However Not Out of date

The Marlin 336 was launched in 1948, however the core of its design dates all the way in which again to the Mannequin 1893, a rifle named after the 12 months it started manufacturing. Previous to the flip of the twentieth century, lever-action repeating rifles from Winchester, Henry, and Marlin rapidly turned fashionable amongst American frontiersmen, cowboys, and outlaws of the Outdated West. Right now, these lever weapons are seen as an iconic illustration of a complete period of weapons, very similar to the Thompson of the prohibition interval or the AR-15 of at present. So, how can they nonetheless be related in 2020 and past?

Firstly, there’s an unlucky however essential authorized motive: Lever-action weapons are usually authorized in all 50 states. When you dwell in one of many states that closely restricts semi-automatic rifles, a lever gun could be a good solution to keep away from the complications of “featureless” builds and glued magazines. Even in case you don’t dwell in a type of locations, these rifles can include you in case you journey by means of them. I lately visited household in California, and though I couldn’t legally convey my suppressed SBR or perhaps a fundamental AR-15, I might convey this Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence.

As well as, the COVID-19 scenario has served as a reminder that discovering ammo received’t at all times be straightforward. When fashionable calibers corresponding to .223 and seven.62×39 had been unimaginable to search out at native shops, I had no bother choosing up packing containers of .30-30. This spherical packs a wallop, to say nothing of the mammoth .45-70 that’s one other fashionable alternative on this realm. Lever weapons are additionally light-weight, dependable, and as we’ll present later on this article, surprisingly well-supported with aftermarket upgrades. Above all, they’re a ton of enjoyable to shoot.

marlin 336 dark series left

Whats up Darkness, My New Good friend

Throughout the previous couple of years, we’ve observed an growing curiosity in lever-action rifles inside the firearms neighborhood. A youthful demographic seems to be realizing their deserves, and these patrons are molding lever weapons to their current tastes — suppose black finishes and accent rails as a substitute of wooden grain and chrome steel. Marlin embraced this motion with the discharge of the Mannequin 336 Darkish Sequence.

The Darkish Sequence options a number of trendy upgrades from the manufacturing facility. The normal 20-inch barrel is absent, changed by a shorter 16.25-inch barrel atop the five-round tubular journal. The muzzle has 5/8×24 threads that make it straightforward so as to add a brake or suppressor. An XS Lever Rail with built-in ghost ring sight is preinstalled, enabling the addition of your favourite red-dot sight or magnified optic. The gun additionally comes with a paracord-wrapped massive loop lever and paracord sling, which might be unraveled for spare cordage in dire circumstances. Metallic exterior elements have a matte black Parkerized end, and the inventory and forend have a black spatter end (they’re painted wooden, not polymer as some assume). Though the Mannequin 336 Darkish Sequence is barely obtainable in .30-30, Marlin presents a Mannequin 1895 Darkish Sequence chambered in .45-70.

marlin 336 dark series reciever

In unmodified type, we totally loved the Mannequin 336. At underneath eight kilos, this rifle is simple to hold and maneuver. The lever and hammer cycled easily, and the set off was crisp with minimal slack. We weren’t notably keen on the big-loop lever — its giant opening could be helpful for somebody sporting thick gloves, however in some other case, it slaps in opposition to the knuckles in the course of the preliminary ahead movement. This uncomfortable feeling is compounded by the tough paracord wrap. Reloading rapidly takes some apply, however ought to really feel acquainted to anybody who has loaded a shotgun.

The ghost ring rear sight and skinny entrance blade work high-quality, however aren’t precisely exact, particularly throughout speedy follow-up photographs. Fortunately, the XS rail allowed us to put in a Trijicon RMR for a a lot clearer sight image. The included low Picatinny rail mount is good for a snug cheek weld.

Marlin’s Darkish Sequence package deal makes the tried-and-true Mannequin 336 into an amazing alternative for the fashionable lever gun fanatic. Nevertheless, we nonetheless felt there was room to take this theme even additional. Very similar to a gearhead including disc brakes and gas injection to an outdated Mannequin A Ford, we determined to hot-rod the Marlin 336 with some aftermarket elements.

marlin 336 dark series accessories


Optic: Trijicon RMR Sort 2 Adjustable with Low Mount. Obtainable at Europtic right here.

Handguard: Midwest Industries M-LOK $160 on GRITRsports.

Scales: RailScales XOS (two) and XOS-H, Honeycomb sample,

Handstop: RailScales Karve-P $26

Spare Ammo Carriers: HopticUSA Quivers (two right-handed
on protoype 2×4 Mount, one left-handed) 

Gentle: Inforce WMLx Gen 2 on 5-slot M-LOK Rail
(included with handguard)
$165 on Brownell’s.

Sling: Blue Power Gear Vickers Padded Sling, Magpul QD Swivel
and Mount, DIY Rear Sling Strap
$61 on Brownell’s.

Muzzle System: 2A Armament X3 Compensator $65

Set off: Ranger Level Precision 3.5-Pound $110

Lever: Ranger Level Precision Tremendous Light-weight Medium
Loop Lever and Lever Shims (two units)

Extra Upgrades: Ranger Level Precision Hammer Spur
Extension, Fast Takedown Screw, Loading Gate Spring,
and Aluminum Journal Follower

The Construct: Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence

Our first cease was Midwest Industries for his or her aluminum M-LOK handguard. This instantly offers the rifle a extra up to date look, and serves as a basis for different equipment. Mannequin 336 variants with a barrel band forend would require an additional adapter, however this handguard bolts onto the Darkish Sequence with out an adapter.

A entrance sling stud is included on the handguard, however we eliminated it. As a substitute of utilizing the usual fastened sling to hold the rifle over a shoulder, we needed to set it as much as be worn throughout the chest with an adjustable two-point sling, like some other trendy carbine. A Blue Power Gear Vickers padded sling is hooked up to the aspect of the handguard with a QD mount, and was rigged to the inventory utilizing a scrap of nylon webbing and a few buckles from a elements bin. This setup is safe and accomplishes its objective, however we plan to drill and faucet the inventory for a cleaner-looking, recessed QD socket sooner or later.

Inforce WML

Above: After experimenting with a number of completely different gentle setups, we determined the Inforce WMLx was an excellent match for this construct. The button is simple to succeed in, and the bezel sits behind the ports on the 2A Armament X3 Compensator.

Subsequent, we picked out some further parts for the M-LOK rails. RailScales equipped grippy G10 panels and a Karve handstop; these things make the rifle a lot simpler to regulate with the assist hand whereas biking the lever rapidly. The Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence’ 5+1 capability is considered one of its most substantial drawbacks, so this has been supplemented with six rounds of spare ammo on HopticUSA Quiver carriers — one on the left aspect, and two on the proper. The appropriate-side Quivers are mounted on a prototype of the corporate’s new 2×4 bracket, which angles the entrance two rounds outward for simpler entry. The additional ammo might be pulled out and fed immediately into the journal, very similar to a sidesaddle service on a contest shotgun. To make the rifle usable in low-light environments and nighttime home-defense conditions, we put in an Inforce WMLx 800-lumen gentle on the 10-o’clock place.

hornady ammo

Lastly, we chosen a number of mechanical upgrades. Recoil from the .30-30 cartridge isn’t as extreme as you would possibly count on in commonplace type, however we selected a 2A Armament compensator to make it much more manageable. The less-than-ideal massive loop lever was swapped out for a light-weight medium-loop lever from Ranger Level Precision, a Texas-based firm that makes a speciality of lever gun elements. Skinny shims had been used to make sure the lever has no side-to-side play within the receiver (they’re offered in packs of two, and our gun wanted three, so purchase some extras). RPP additionally equipped an improved set off, takedown thumb screw, smoother Flyweight loading gate, sturdy aluminum journal follower, and an prolonged hammer spur. These things mix to make the gun a lot smoother to shoot, cycle, and reload, leading to a higher-quality really feel.

Since we didn’t have expertise engaged on lever weapons and knew that gun designs of this period typically require some finesse, we took the Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence and its elements to Wright Armory in Mesa, Arizona. Their gunsmiths put in the inner upgrades, handguard, and compensator, and ensured the whole lot was working easily and safely.

Brothers in Arms: 30-30 and seven.62 x 39

30-30 7.62 caliber comparison

Along with the distinctive execs and cons of lever weapons in opposition to extra trendy alternate options, we additionally took a have a look at the ballistic potential of the .30-30 cartridge itself, with a watch towards efficiency in opposition to gentle obstacles in an city setting (suppose automotive our bodies and Sheetrock) in addition to tender targets — whether or not two- or four-legged. Because it seems, the “classic” .30-30 Winchester shows a hanging resemblance to the Soviet-era 7.62x39mm. Regardless of being septuagenarian itself, the 7.62x39mm carries international notoriety for being barrier blind and brutally environment friendly inside 200 yards, and it continues to form the stability of world energy properly into the twenty first century.

Each cartridges use a .30-inch bullet diameter, though 7.62x39mm slugs are usually lighter — usually 122-150 grain versus 150-170 grain for .30-30. Assembly within the center, we in contrast the efficiency of a 150-grain soft-point in each calibers utilizing the ballistic calculator on At 100 yards, the .30-30 bullet has practically equivalent velocity, vitality, and trajectory to 7.62×39. At 200 yards, velocity differs by about 7 p.c and influence level differs by solely a 3rd of an inch. Stretching out to 300 yards, the .30-30’s velocity is 14 p.c decrease and its trajectory drops 2.3 inches under the 7.62×39 spherical.

When you resolve to combine a .30-30 lever gun into your preparedness plan, really feel assured that it’ll maintain its personal as a mid-weight, midrange spherical for game-getting and gun-fighting alike, even holding ballistic parity with arguably probably the most battle-tested cartridge of the final 75  years.

Rounds Downrange with the Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence

Earlier than heading to the vary, we picked up a number of packing containers from Hornady’s collection of .30-30 ammo choices, together with 150-grain American Whitetail, 160-grain LeveRevolution, and 170-grain Subsonic. We had been most impressed with the LeveRevolution cartridges, which characteristic FTX hole level bullets with a pointed polymer FlexTip that improves velocity (and subsequently enlargement) in comparison with a typical flat-tip bullet. We observed that this ammo additionally fed extra easily, whereas flat-tip bullets would often nose-dive and jam if we cycled the lever with the muzzle angled downward. The Subsonic ammo ran high-quality as properly, however we primarily received it to enhance our eventual plan so as to add a suppressor to this gun (keep tuned for extra in a future article).

On the vary, the fashionable two-point sling was a direct enchancment. Fastened slings make it troublesome to unshoulder a rifle and get a sight image rapidly, and so they’re actually not suited to trendy run-and-gun techniques. The RailScales and handstop additionally go a protracted solution to make the Marlin 336 Darkish Sequence simpler to regulate whereas biking the lever. Talking of which, the Ranger Level Precision lever eradicated the problems we skilled with the large loop and gave the motion a smoother really feel.

marlin 336 dark series shooting

The unique set off was good, however RPP’s substitute is even lighter and extra direct. It additionally eliminates the “flop” that’s current within the inventory set off when the hammer is cocked. Paired with the compensator and red-dot sight, it turned straightforward to get a number of rounds on the right track in fast succession. Reloading is simple, too, due to the rounds staged in Quivers instantly in entrance of the lower-resistance RPP loading gate.

Naysayers would possibly declare that lever weapons belong in a museum, however this construct reinforces the truth that, with just a little work, these old-school rifles nonetheless have their place on this planet of contemporary weapons. Whereas they’ll’t match the sustained fee of fireside of semi-autos with removable 30-round magazines, lever weapons might be a wonderful possibility for many who dwell in locations the place these weapons aren’t available. And irrespective of the place you’re from, they’re positive to place a smile in your face as you run by means of a course of fireside like a cowboy-turned-high-speed-operator. These Nineties frontiersmen may be confused on the sight of this futuristic concoction, however we’re positive it’d win them over if given the possibility.


  • Q: Is the Marlin 336 Darkish nonetheless in manufacturing?
    A: Marlin is reintroducing the Mannequin 336 this 12 months (2023).
  • Q: Who makes the Marlin 336 darkish?
    A: The Marlin 336 darkish is made by the Marlin Firearms firm, now underneath the umbrella of Sturm, Ruger & Co.
  • Q: What’s a Marlin darkish?
    A: The Marlin Mannequin Darkish Sequence carbine is a lever motion firearm with a matte black end.
  • Q: Does Marlin 336 Darkish have a threaded barrel?
    A: The muzzle has been threaded 5/8×24.
  • Q: What calibers does the Marlin Darkish are available?
    A: Though the Mannequin 336 Darkish Sequence is barely obtainable in . 30-30, Marlin presents a Mannequin 1895 Darkish Sequence chambered in . 45-70.

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