Marlin 336 Project – .35 Remington
I have a .35 Remington Marlin 336 here that will see a major facelift. I can’t call it a restoration, since even though it will look close to new when finished, it will not look factory original.
The rifle is a 1952 Marlin 336. Marlin rifles used to look and feel slimmer and better than they do now. In the 1930s, Winchester worked hard to improve the design of the stocks for some of their fancier leverguns, like the Model 71 and 64. Marlin followed suit. While Winchester ended up with some very beautiful stock designs, Marlin stocks became fat and chunky, and the look and feel of Marlin lever actions has never regained the slim elegance of their early rifles. Marlin 336 rifles like this one come from the period in which the stock design was about as ugly as it ever got.
The wood looks like Marlin forgot to finish shaping it. The fat belly of the forend sags grotesquely below the natural lines of the rifle. The buttstock is chunky and shapeless, and has been cut short. I never liked the plastic Marlin buttplates when new, but this one is badly worn and ill fitting. The wood has the normal small dents and gouges, scratches and discolorations, but the stock is walnut and the grain is nice, if slightly plain, a lot better than later rifles that strayed from the traditional walnut.
The metal looks rough, with a lot of bluing wear and some rust showing. There is little actual damage to the surface of the metal, though, so it will clean up very nicely. The front sight is dinged and the brass bead is missing. The front sight ramp is ugly and angular. There is no rear sight and the rifle wears a Weaver K2.5-C3. I really like this scope and the way it is mounted on this rifle. I tend to dislike scopes on lever action rifles, but I like this setup, and it seems right for this type of rifle. This rifle will have iron sights, though, so the scope will be saved for another use.
The bore is beautiful, with Ballard rifling, and the action seems sound, though the trigger is a bit stiff and the hammer spring heavy.
What do you think we should do to this rifle to give it a better-than-new look?
Let us know what you think and check back for updates as the project progresses.
EDIT – Marlin Stock Time Travel
We are taking the stock back in time. The finished shape will be a nostalgic nod to a time when rifles were true works of art and stocks had graceful lines and glowing finishes. The style is reminiscent of the pistol grip stocks used on Marlin rifles in the late 19th Century. The lines are not exactly the same as those original stocks, as we had to adjust the style to fit the shape of the stock we are working with.
Edit: Do you ever look at something and think it turned out so great that you are afraid to take the next step?
That’s how I was with this stock. But I pushed forward and there is no going back now . . .
Bears leave deep tracks.
Working on final sanding, shaping, and stippling.
Edit: Wood and metal finish
Edit: Finally Assembled:
Before and After:
Same wood and metal, except for a few replaced parts: new sights, sight hood, forearm tenon, magazine spring, buttplate, and several screws.
The 1950s Marlin wood got a hand-rubbed tung oil finish after re-shaping.