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The Whitetail Brush Rifle Championship: Winchester Model 94 vs. Marlin 336

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April 12, 2011

The Whitetail Brush Rifle Championship: Winchester Model 94 vs. Marlin 336

By Dave Hurteau

by Dave Hurteau
So this is it—the final game, for all the marbles. And although I’m mildly shocked that the 7600 did not give the 336 a better run (maybe it’s a Northeastern thing), I don’t think any of us can be very surprised that it has come down to the all-time king of deer rifles vs. the people’s favorite 336.

So do you like lean mystique—or broad-shouldered practicality? Do you want a saddle horse with slender ankles ready to leap into action? Or a workhorse that gets her done (and can still be bought new at a fair price)? It’s a tough call, but I know you’ll make the right decision because (like many of you, judging by the comments) I’ll have the champ in my gun cabinet either way.

So have it. As usual, check out the bracket (you can click here to print out a larger copy if you want to fill it out). Then vote for your preferred brush rifle in each matchup below. And in a few days, I’ll announce our Whitetail Brush Rifle Champ.

VOTE HERE:

 

Comments (38)

Top Rated
All Comments
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Write-in Campaign: SAVAGE 99!

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from maxpenner wrote 3 years 1 week ago

second that

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Another write in vote for the Savage 99!

Who didn't see this one coming...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 1 week ago

let's hear some firsthand feedback from owners of both guns, Is it the Win 94 30-30 vs the Marlin 336 30-30, or what? Which rifle is more accurate? Which is smoother?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GiantWhitetails wrote 3 years 1 week ago

hooray 336!!that theres my deer rifle.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from horseman308 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I went 336, because I prefer the pistol grip stock (which is standard for the 336 - not that you can't get stocks either way for either rifle, it's just less work if you can get it standard), and because the side-ejection makes mounting a scope easier if you want one.

I think the '94 is a little smoother out of the box and accuracy on the ones I've shot has been about equal, but I still prefer the 336 by a bit of a margin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The way the 336 feels when I shoulder it gives it the slight edge over the '94 in my book. Just feels more natural to me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TrueAlaskan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

It's known as "old-reliable" in many remote places in Alaska which came in a variety of calibers. You'll always find at least one in someones' collection no matter where I've been and traveled across the state.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I own both the Marlin and the Winchester in 30/30. My heart goes with the Winchester but my head goes with the Marlin. I'm addicted to a 3x scope for tight quarters, so the Marlin wins. (But really I use my Kimber 84M)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Well there AJ I'll take the 336 because:

(1) I can easily mount a low power scope on its flat top receiver.

(2) Smoothness is subjective but I like the crisp, positve stroke of the 336 lever, I am not a fan of the rackety clack of the 94 action.

(3) The 336 is made in a wide assortment of chamberings. There is someting for all in the Marlin lineup including some real big bore rounds. Winchester tried this with the "Big Bore" version with the heavy side plates way back when and failed.

(4) Side ejection vs. top or "angle eject" of later models.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rabbitslayer wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Winchester 94 is the best brush rifle! there should be no competition!

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from TrueAlaskan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The Model 94, It's known as "Old-Reliable" in many remote places across Alaska which came in a variety of calibers. You'll always find at least one in someones' collection no matter where I've been or traveled across the state.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I'm surprised that the 336 is running away with this one, but I'm OK with it. I guess I can admit that it's a better rifle. Accuracy is better than you would expect. Its big brother the 1895 usually turns out as a real shooter. Better than a lot of bolt guns out there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 3 years 1 week ago

336 all the way!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from db270 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

My 336 with iron sights took many a deer here in southwestern Missouri before the draw of a Savage .270 with sexy optics lured me away. As I appear to be devolving into more primitive weapons (more time with my Hoyt and blackpowder), I may return to the iron sights and pass on the other to my wife or son sometime in the near future...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 336 all the way. The one time I've been lucky enough to have a deer show up during legal hunting time my Marlin didn't let me down. I hit the thing in the neck at 50 yards and it broke the neck and never moved. My Dad had never seen a deer die that fast. I know the 30-30 has probably taken more deer than any other cartridge, but I like the extra power that the .35 has.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 1 week ago

i'm with WAM on the 99 but if it can't be that way, i'm with the 94. i have two of them and they are flawless in action and are very accurate. i also took my first deer with one of them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Ditto and amen on the 99. Must have been some hanging chads (whatever the heck that is), some who weren't sure how to vote, or maybe representatives from Marlin and Winchester kept the 99 fans away from the polls. There should definately be an investigation!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I have been using the 94 for over 43 years now, and I don't have any problems with it.
I hunt in thick brush and swampy areas a lot and its been a good gun for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I have owned and used both the 94 and 336, Marlin just seems to have a better take on the rifle in my opinion, however which ever one chooses they win.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkbeers wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 336 marlin is just awesome. I got one for Christmas last year and it is my first deer rifle. Before that I was using my friend's winchester featherweight in a 243. I thought their would be more kick to the 30/30 but does not seem that much more than the 243.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I quit liking the 94 when they started manufacturing it with the cross-bolt "lawyer" safety.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

PigHunter,

I don't admire the Ralph Nader Safety on the Marlin 336 either!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 3 years 1 week ago

What? I did not see a Marlin 1895g 45/70 (OR 444) in there anywhere. What gives?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I want one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattB wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Had a 94 made in 1975--after two shots it would throw lead all over the target at 100 yds. My 1955 marlin 336 hit center of target every time also hit the deer every time. Still like both and have both.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

SAVAGE 99, IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED RIFLES!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Putting aside the merits of both guns, which are considerable, I disagree with the premise of a "brush rifle". I'll wait until the deer steps out of the brush, then take him with my .270.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 3 Savage 99's between my son and I are real shooters. His 99F (~1967) shoots 1" groups with Remington 150 gr Core-Lokts with a 4x scope. Neither of mine has a scope, but they shoot better than I can see with open sights. I'm thinking of putting my 1-4x VX-II on the .300 Savage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Oh yeah forgot to mention. My first shot out of the box with my .35 was a bullseye. So the 336 is really accurate.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Luckyhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I own both rifles in the 30-30 caliber, and like someone else said, my heart is always with the classic model 94, but the 336 is the smart choice. the side ejection allows a top mounted scope, and the lever mechanism is more streamline than the model 94's which tends to be more loose and awkward.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pecos Flats wrote 3 years 6 days ago

I've owned both. Marlin all the way for me! Now if you wanna talk Winchester '92! But then again . . . Marlin 1893! Saddle rings, of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pecos Flats wrote 3 years 6 days ago

No Savage 99 . . . hanging chads . . . voter tampering. MI6 may be calling 007 to look into an insidious conspiracy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shortmag wrote 3 years 6 days ago

AGREED...w/o the Savage 99 in there this tourney is a sham! The smoothness of the rotary magazine, the balance and stability through the shot - this rifle is one of the top 1 or 2 lever-action white-tail killers of all time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shortmag wrote 3 years 6 days ago

WA Mtnhunter - The Model 99 was the first rifle I ever owned (dad bought it for me when I was 13) and my son will get it some day. I own 12 rifles now but the 99 is still my favorite. After 10 years of open-site hunting I put a Nikon 4x on it which extended my range a bit but it never felt the same. It must be the nostalgia - anyway, I finally had the iron sites restored. I'll match that gun against any other lever action to 150yds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pa deer hunter wrote 3 years 6 days ago

I bought my 336 in 35 rem off a friend in 1974 for 35 bucks! Best deal I ever made. Still shoots great.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 3 years 6 days ago

To my fellow Savage 99 lovers:
I feel your pain. But the 336 has pretty much thumped the 94. And the 94 walloped the 99 (60 percent to 39 percent) in an earlier round.
I love my 99, too. But it went down, fair and square.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dlbbarrel wrote 3 years 2 days ago

I own two 336's one in 30-30 Win. and one in .35 Rem. Both in pre-cross bolt safety and I have killed deer with each. I handload for the .35 (35 grns IMR 3031 with a Win large rifle primer and a 200 grn. Serria RN bullet. It will shoot inside 2" at 100 yards all day long.

But, my all time favorite brush rifle is my Winchester 88 in .308.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Write-in Campaign: SAVAGE 99!

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Well there AJ I'll take the 336 because:

(1) I can easily mount a low power scope on its flat top receiver.

(2) Smoothness is subjective but I like the crisp, positve stroke of the 336 lever, I am not a fan of the rackety clack of the 94 action.

(3) The 336 is made in a wide assortment of chamberings. There is someting for all in the Marlin lineup including some real big bore rounds. Winchester tried this with the "Big Bore" version with the heavy side plates way back when and failed.

(4) Side ejection vs. top or "angle eject" of later models.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Another write in vote for the Savage 99!

Who didn't see this one coming...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from db270 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

My 336 with iron sights took many a deer here in southwestern Missouri before the draw of a Savage .270 with sexy optics lured me away. As I appear to be devolving into more primitive weapons (more time with my Hoyt and blackpowder), I may return to the iron sights and pass on the other to my wife or son sometime in the near future...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkbeers wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 336 marlin is just awesome. I got one for Christmas last year and it is my first deer rifle. Before that I was using my friend's winchester featherweight in a 243. I thought their would be more kick to the 30/30 but does not seem that much more than the 243.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 336 all the way. The one time I've been lucky enough to have a deer show up during legal hunting time my Marlin didn't let me down. I hit the thing in the neck at 50 yards and it broke the neck and never moved. My Dad had never seen a deer die that fast. I know the 30-30 has probably taken more deer than any other cartridge, but I like the extra power that the .35 has.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from maxpenner wrote 3 years 1 week ago

second that

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The way the 336 feels when I shoulder it gives it the slight edge over the '94 in my book. Just feels more natural to me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TrueAlaskan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The Model 94, It's known as "Old-Reliable" in many remote places across Alaska which came in a variety of calibers. You'll always find at least one in someones' collection no matter where I've been or traveled across the state.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I'm surprised that the 336 is running away with this one, but I'm OK with it. I guess I can admit that it's a better rifle. Accuracy is better than you would expect. Its big brother the 1895 usually turns out as a real shooter. Better than a lot of bolt guns out there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 3 years 1 week ago

336 all the way!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 1 week ago

i'm with WAM on the 99 but if it can't be that way, i'm with the 94. i have two of them and they are flawless in action and are very accurate. i also took my first deer with one of them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I quit liking the 94 when they started manufacturing it with the cross-bolt "lawyer" safety.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 3 years 1 week ago

What? I did not see a Marlin 1895g 45/70 (OR 444) in there anywhere. What gives?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

SAVAGE 99, IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED RIFLES!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pecos Flats wrote 3 years 6 days ago

No Savage 99 . . . hanging chads . . . voter tampering. MI6 may be calling 007 to look into an insidious conspiracy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 1 week ago

let's hear some firsthand feedback from owners of both guns, Is it the Win 94 30-30 vs the Marlin 336 30-30, or what? Which rifle is more accurate? Which is smoother?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GiantWhitetails wrote 3 years 1 week ago

hooray 336!!that theres my deer rifle.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from horseman308 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I went 336, because I prefer the pistol grip stock (which is standard for the 336 - not that you can't get stocks either way for either rifle, it's just less work if you can get it standard), and because the side-ejection makes mounting a scope easier if you want one.

I think the '94 is a little smoother out of the box and accuracy on the ones I've shot has been about equal, but I still prefer the 336 by a bit of a margin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TrueAlaskan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

It's known as "old-reliable" in many remote places in Alaska which came in a variety of calibers. You'll always find at least one in someones' collection no matter where I've been and traveled across the state.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I own both the Marlin and the Winchester in 30/30. My heart goes with the Winchester but my head goes with the Marlin. I'm addicted to a 3x scope for tight quarters, so the Marlin wins. (But really I use my Kimber 84M)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Ditto and amen on the 99. Must have been some hanging chads (whatever the heck that is), some who weren't sure how to vote, or maybe representatives from Marlin and Winchester kept the 99 fans away from the polls. There should definately be an investigation!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I have been using the 94 for over 43 years now, and I don't have any problems with it.
I hunt in thick brush and swampy areas a lot and its been a good gun for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I have owned and used both the 94 and 336, Marlin just seems to have a better take on the rifle in my opinion, however which ever one chooses they win.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 1 week ago

PigHunter,

I don't admire the Ralph Nader Safety on the Marlin 336 either!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I want one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattB wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Had a 94 made in 1975--after two shots it would throw lead all over the target at 100 yds. My 1955 marlin 336 hit center of target every time also hit the deer every time. Still like both and have both.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Putting aside the merits of both guns, which are considerable, I disagree with the premise of a "brush rifle". I'll wait until the deer steps out of the brush, then take him with my .270.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The 3 Savage 99's between my son and I are real shooters. His 99F (~1967) shoots 1" groups with Remington 150 gr Core-Lokts with a 4x scope. Neither of mine has a scope, but they shoot better than I can see with open sights. I'm thinking of putting my 1-4x VX-II on the .300 Savage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Oh yeah forgot to mention. My first shot out of the box with my .35 was a bullseye. So the 336 is really accurate.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Luckyhunter wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I own both rifles in the 30-30 caliber, and like someone else said, my heart is always with the classic model 94, but the 336 is the smart choice. the side ejection allows a top mounted scope, and the lever mechanism is more streamline than the model 94's which tends to be more loose and awkward.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pecos Flats wrote 3 years 6 days ago

I've owned both. Marlin all the way for me! Now if you wanna talk Winchester '92! But then again . . . Marlin 1893! Saddle rings, of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shortmag wrote 3 years 6 days ago

AGREED...w/o the Savage 99 in there this tourney is a sham! The smoothness of the rotary magazine, the balance and stability through the shot - this rifle is one of the top 1 or 2 lever-action white-tail killers of all time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shortmag wrote 3 years 6 days ago

WA Mtnhunter - The Model 99 was the first rifle I ever owned (dad bought it for me when I was 13) and my son will get it some day. I own 12 rifles now but the 99 is still my favorite. After 10 years of open-site hunting I put a Nikon 4x on it which extended my range a bit but it never felt the same. It must be the nostalgia - anyway, I finally had the iron sites restored. I'll match that gun against any other lever action to 150yds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pa deer hunter wrote 3 years 6 days ago

I bought my 336 in 35 rem off a friend in 1974 for 35 bucks! Best deal I ever made. Still shoots great.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 3 years 6 days ago

To my fellow Savage 99 lovers:
I feel your pain. But the 336 has pretty much thumped the 94. And the 94 walloped the 99 (60 percent to 39 percent) in an earlier round.
I love my 99, too. But it went down, fair and square.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dlbbarrel wrote 3 years 2 days ago

I own two 336's one in 30-30 Win. and one in .35 Rem. Both in pre-cross bolt safety and I have killed deer with each. I handload for the .35 (35 grns IMR 3031 with a Win large rifle primer and a 200 grn. Serria RN bullet. It will shoot inside 2" at 100 yards all day long.

But, my all time favorite brush rifle is my Winchester 88 in .308.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rabbitslayer wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Winchester 94 is the best brush rifle! there should be no competition!

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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