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Thread: Marlin Discoveries

  1. #1
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Default Marlin Discoveries

    My STBSIL was handed down an old family Marlin 336 in .30-30 from his dad. Interestingly, while I have owned at least one of every bolt, lever, and single shot .30-30 I could happen on, but not, for some unknown reason, a Marlin (though I have loaded for several). The stars just never happened to line up for me and a Marlin, but I can honestly say that I have never met a .30-30 (including Marlins) that I didn't like or that I couldn't get shooting to its potential with a little patience and a very large selection of .30cal moulds from 90-190gr. Challenge accepted.

    I really like this rifle. It has about half the felt recoil of the venerable but shoulder bruising Win94. It has seen "hunters' usage", i.e. maybe several boxes shot through it over the years but no more than that, lived a life of closets and pickup truck gun racks and 20+ years of NH deer and bear seasons, and as far as I can tell had likely never been cleaned until we attacked it with qtips and solvent to see what was under all the crud & goop. We got what we could reach without disassembly. Nice Microgroove barrel, the action is tight and smooth, and when I get it apart and clean/polish the already not bad trigger to remove a little grit it is definitely going to stay in the family.

    First we loaded up some 3031 tests with a custom 150 FNGC hunting bullet. After battling with the unnamed but once expensive scope we gave up after two groups (or what would have been two groups if we had been able to adjust the scope to hit the paper. Aiming at a clay bird on the backstop 3' to the right of the target to even hit the paper just wasn't working.) So then we removed the useless scope and mount. I am trying to think of someone I dislike enough to give the damned thing to. Then we ordered and installed a decent peep sight on it. That was October.

    Sunday I finally had a chance to get it to the range. Starting load printed just over 4". #2 came down to 3.25", and #3 a little over 2.25". Two more increments to test and I'm thinking maybe MOA.

    Yeah, I know. Some well known gun hack/idiot who should have known better once published that it's impossible to shoot cast bullets accurately in a Microgroove barrel. You can't if you size to .308", but somewhere between .309-.311" the groups tighten right up. Every time. (Maybe not MOA, but I have yet to meet one that I couldn't get under 3".) I know they made sizers back then - obviously he had never actually tried one. And people have since been ignorantly repeating it without bothering to actually try it, and it's still not true. Rant over.

    Then I handed it to my shooting buddy for him to shoot the next groups. Click. Hmmm. Recock. Click. Try another round. Click. Shit. Recock. Click. No firing pin strike on either primer. No tools with me so we shot other things and I brought it home. I noticed some crud and goo had been seeping out around the firing pin hole.

    A search on You Tube yielded the info that this is not an uncommon problem with the 336 and can usually be cured with a shot of solvent and some compressed air. Methinks I shall take the bolt apart and completely clean it out. Disassembly looks to be simple as several idiots clearly demonstrated how NOT to do it, and several with a clue demonstrated the correct way. With luck that might be the problem, but if it's a broken part they're easy enough to find.

    What do you think? I'm sure many of you have had experience with the 336 and your thoughts and opinions on it would be much appreciated, and whatever tales and memories come to mind for our enjoyment.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  2. #2
    Great Master Mike in tx's Avatar
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    Default

    My first center fire was a 336 SC (wished I still had it). I now have another 336 and compared to my Win 94 the 336 seems more substantial build. It shoots better than the 94 but it weighs a bit more. The marlin is also much easier to work on than the 94.

  3. #3
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, the bolt came out very easily. Two of us then spent the next half hour with solvent and several dozen qtips cleaning out all the guck we could reach. I can only think of one shotgun I have encountered that was so horribly dirty inside, congealed 30+ yr old grease, botanical samples, dirt, lint, etc. I didn't realize how much it was slowing down the action's operation until it was back together. Then I flushed out the inside of the bolt with Tri-Flow until it came out the other end clean and the firing pin assembly moved back and forth easily. Lacking a good diagram of the bolt's interior I decided to stop there and see if the suggested cure did the trick.

    It sure cleaned up nice. I am certain this rifle was a "pickup truck gun" aka "back window rack trophy" that saw mostly display, a fair amount of being carried through thick brush for a few weeks every fall, and very little actual firing beyond the initial sight-in with that gawdawful scope. While the stock shows its age, there is so little wear on any of the parts it looks just about new inside. If it has had two boxes of ammo shot through it over its entire life I'd be very surprised. (They said it came with a handful of rounds. If I were a betting man I would bet they were the remainder of the one box bought with it. I need to ask his dad if he can remember anything else about how it came into his possession before taking up residence in the closet until Q was old enough to shoot it.) Reassembled the action works so slick and smooth that you wouldn't know it was the same rifle. It went from needing a firm hand to cycle it to a flick of two fingers. The look on Q's face when he put it up to his shoulder and worked it back and forth was priceless.

    It will probably be a couple of weeks before I can get to the range again to see if we cured the problem. (If I were to crack off a primed case in the back yard right in town here we'd have the squat team over for lunch.) If not, then I'll strip the bolt completely but I don't think I will need to.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check        

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