We haven’t done lever actions in a while, so it’s time to revive the Winchester vs. Marlin argument. This time, though, you get to argue about lever action calibers, too. The Marlin 336 is a .375 Winchester, the Model 94 Winchester is your basic .30-30.

The .375 Winchester was introduced in 1978, and Marlin chambered the 336 in .375 Winchester from 1980-1983. The .30-30 has been knocking woodland creatures dead since 1895 and continues to do so today, even though there are bigger and faster cartridges around.

Both of these rifles have family connections: Mark’s family is made up of Marlin .375 Winchester fans while jhjimbo has his father’s Model 94.

Mark’s Marlin


I do all my deer hunting in northern Michigan, where the longest possible shot is 120 yards or so. I own several Marlin lever actions that work great for those conditions; however, the gun I usually reach for is my Marlin 375. It has good accuracy, and the 200 grain slug makes a big hole, spends a lot of time in the animal, and still has enough energy to pop out the other side. The rifle is topped with a 2-7x Redfield scope, which is perfect for conditions I hunt in. The relatively short length also make it easy to manipulate inside a deer blind.

I’m not alone in my affection for the Marlin 375; my father owns one, my brother owns one, and my cousin owns two. If I see a good used example in the used section of the local gun shop, I may add another one to my collection.

jhjimbo’s Model 94


This was my father’s that I borrowed to start deer hunting with in about ’59. I did put on some type of stock sealer so the moisture would not affect the wood. I used to crawl around on my belly in the conifers with the rifle across my elbows looking for deer legs. Also, I used to practice shooting it like the Rifleman. I got pretty good with it and actually got a couple of deer shooting from the hip. That was when shells were $2.50 a box. I never put a sling on it. I carried a piece of clothes line with me I would tie on it so I could carry it on my back when I was dragging a deer out. It was always reliable, easy to carry all day, and it brought home the venison.

I used Remington 170gr to start, have reloaded for it with Nosler 170gr partition FP (discontinued bullet), and now use Hornady Leverevolution, which it loves. I removed the rear sight and put on a Redfield peep sight. Without any inserts in the sight it is extremely fast target acquisition and sufficient accuracy to 100 yards and beyond.

There you have it: two classic lever guns used as they should be, for whitetails in heavy cover. Vote and voice your opinions in the comments section below. And send more gun photos to