Best Scope for the Marlin 336: Our Top 7 Picks [2021]

by Travis Pike

June 30, 2021

0 comments

5
(3)

Americans are born with an intrinsic knowledge of the 30-30 round and lever-action rifles. It’s in our blood. It’s part of us, our heritage, and our history. The Marlin 336 is one of the classic lever guns and one that’s been in production longer than most of us have been alive. It’s a classic design that is often thought of as the working man’s rifle. It’s affordable, durable, and capable.

While I’ve waxed poetically about the 30-30, it should be mentioned that the Marlin 336 also comes in 35 Remington. 35 Remington packs power at close range and is another lever rifle round. It’s not a favorite like 30-30, but it packs a punch and delivers serious power into North American game.

If you have a Marlin 336, you likely want to enhance it optically. One of the main benefits of the Marlin 336 is the side loading and side ejecting design. It makes topping the gun off with an optic quite easy. You can utilize a variety of optics and enhance your Marlin rifle quite easily. Like every other rifle in the world, you can push its potential further with the addition of an optic.

BREAKING DOWN THE 336

One thing you need to know about both the 30-30 and 35 Remington is their effective ranges. These calibers are not long-range hitters made for shooting across hundreds of yards of open range. These beefy flat nose bullets hit with power, penetrate deep, break bone, but they do it at relatively short ranges.

30-30 is good to about 250 yards with an average shooter. The rifle ammo, rifle, and optic might push it to 300 yards with a skilled shooter. The 35 Remington is a close-range hammer. It hits hard, but taking it beyond 150 yards can be a challenge. These big boy rounds can be optically enhanced well, but keep their effective ranges in mind.

You don’t need a 4-14X optic for either caliber. That would be silly and an absolute waste of optic. When I chose the optics for this article, I kept realistic ranges in mind. I also kept specific uses in mind. The Marlin 336 is a general-purpose rifle that can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

USING THE 336

The Marlin 336 sits in gun racks, gun safes, behind back doors, and rides across the backs of hikers, hunters, and more. It’s tasked with more roles than most rifles face. Most rifles have a specific use, but the Marlin 336 excels in several practical roles. Your optics option can often be influenced by how you choose to use the rifle.

A Do It All Gun

Maybe the Marlin 336 is your only rifle. It’s a rifle you use for everything. It can be your truck gun, your hunting rifle, primary home defense rifle, pest removal rifle, and maybe the rifle you love taking to the range. It works as a do it all gun, so you need a do it all rifle. You want a very versatile optic that works at both close ranges and out to the max range of your rifle’s caliber.

A Hunting Rifle

If I had to guess, the Marlin 336 serves primarily as a hunting rifle. Hunting with the 336 makes sense in a variety of environments. It’s perfect for my corner of the world, where it’s dense and brush-filled. Hunting requires hunters to be humane killers. You need precision to place rounds in areas that will stop an animal dead. Therefore you might need a little magnification for this task.

A Pest Killer

Pests vary between large and small. Rats are pests to some, but to rural living, hogs and coyotes present a bigger problem. A Marlin 336 allows you to engage these animals decisively with the ability to retain a rapid follow-up shot if necessary. For this role, a low-powered magnified optic will allow for both close and moderate range shots to deal with these pests.

The Tactical Lever Gun

Yeah, I know you might be looking at me like a confused puppy, but hear me out. Some states make it tough to own a semi-auto rifle for home defense, and a lever-action provides both power and rapid follow-up shots. Demand was high enough that Marlin released the Dark series of rifles that are tactical-minded. For these guns, speed matters, and a good red dot provides you with the perfect option for tactical use. You also want a low-mounted optic to co-witness with the awesome sights on the Dark series rifles.

BEST MARLIN 336 SCOPES

MARLIN 336 SCOPES
ScopeDetailsCheck Price
Best Overall

Swampfox Arrowhead
Swampfox Arrowhead
  • 1-6X LPVO
  • MOA Reticle for ballistic drop
  • Illuminate Reticle 
Check Price
Best Hunting

Sig Sauer Whiskey3
Sig Whiskey3
  • 2-7X Variable Range
  • Low Dispersion Glass
  • Well Suited for 30-30 Range

Check Price
Best Pest Control

Leupold VX Freedom
Leupold VX Freedom
  • Allows For Rapid Engagements
  • Leupold Quality
  • Perfect for Intermediate Ranges
Check Price
Best Tactical

Trijicon RMR
Trijicon RMR
  • Co-witnesses With Marlin Black Irons
  • Super Low Profile
  • Military Proven
Check Price
Best 35 Rem Option

Trijicon MRO
Trijicon MRO (Low)
  • Compact Red Dot
  • Extremely Durable
  • Perfect within 150 yards
Check Price
Best 30-30 Option

Burris RT-6
Burris RT-6
  • Versatile LPVO
  • Compact Design
  • Well Designed Reticle

Check Price
Best Budget Option

Bushnell TRS 25
Bushnell TRS 25
  • Super Affordable
  • Tough Design
  • Bright reticle
Check Price

SPEC COMPARISON OF THE BEST MARLIN 336 SCOPES

MagnificationObj. LensTube DiameterEye Relief Weight
Swampfox Arrowhead1-6x24 mm303.39-3.45"20.36 oz
Sig Whiskey32-7x32 mm1"3.6"14.3 oz
Leupold VX Freedom1.5-4x20 mm1"3.7"9.6 oz
Trijicon RMR1xN/AN/AUnlimited1.2 oz
Trijicon MRO (low)1x25 mmN/AUnlimited5.1 oz
Burris RT-61-6x24 mm30 mm3.3"17.4 oz
Bushnell TRS 251x25 mmN/AUnlimited4 oz

#1 SWAMPFOX ARROWHEAD 1-6X WITH MOA RETICLE: BEST OVERALL

SWAMPFOX ARROWHEAD SPECS

  • Magnification 1-6x
  • Obj. Lens 24 mm
  • Tube Diameter 30 mm
  • Eye Relief 3.39-3.45″
  • Weight 20.36 oz

The Swampfox Arrowhead comes from a company that’s rising blindingly fast. Swampfox hit the ground running, producing high-quality optics at an affordable price point. The 1-6X magnification settings allow you to make the most of both the 30-30 and 35 Remington cartridges for a variety of ranges and purposes.

An MOA reticle allows for bullet drop estimation, and shooters can learn the ballistic drop of their rounds and always get on target. The 30-30 and 35 Remington drop quite quickly, and being able to estimate for drop can be quite valuable even at 300 yards or so. The Arrowhead also provides a nice level of eye relief that will spare you the old tube eye with hard-hitting 35 Remington rounds.

Pairing the illuminated reticle with the true 1X magnification gives you close-range capability almost on par with a red dot. You can get on target quickly, and the Arrowhead can be as useful in the bush as it is on an open field. If your Marlin 336 is your do it all rifle, then the Arrowhead is your do it all optic. It might not be perfect for every encounter, but you don’t need perfect to hit your target.

SWAMPFOX ARROWHEAD PROS AND CONS

  • Illuminated Reticle
  • Versatile
  • Impressive FOV
  • A Little Hefty

#2 SIG WHISKEY3 2-7X: BEST HUNTING MODEL

SIG WHISKEY3 2-7X SPECS

  • Magnification 2-7x
  • Obj. Lens 32 mm
  • Tube Diameter 1″
  • Eye Relief 3.6″
  • Weight 14.3 oz

The Marlin 336 is an American classic, firing the 30-30 cartridge, which is also an American classic.

Optically what makes the most sense is a classic magnification range.

The 2-7X used to be the bees-knees before 3-9X became the new standard. 2-7X makes a ton of sense for the short-range firepower the Marlin 336 offers.

It provides sufficient magnification to exercise proper shot placement on medium game animals out to 250 yards or so.

When paired with the Marlin 336 XLR and Lever Evolution rounds, you can stretch the legs of the Marlin 336 beyond conventional limits. A good optic will help ensure those big 30 caliber rounds get where they need to go. The SIG Whiskey3 provides you with clear glass, smooth operation, and the magnification range you need to get there. The good low dispersion glass provides a high level of clarity and allows you to see far enough to make it count.

The Whiskey3 is also tough enough to take the abuse hunting throws at you. It’s waterproof for full immersion and shockproof to shrug off bangs, drops, and falls. The simple quadplex reticle makes range estimation hard but is crisp and small to prevent view obstruction. The Whiskey 3 punches well above its price tag, and it’s surprisingly affordable.

SIG WHISKEY3 2-7X PROS AND CONS

  • Affordable
  • Clear Glass
  • Versatile Magnification Range
  • Quadplex reticle limits drop estimation

#3 LEUPOLD VX FREEDOM 1.5-4X20MM: BEST PEST KILLER

LEUPOLD VX FREEDOM SPECS

  • Magnification 1.5-4x
  • Obj. Lens 20 mm
  • Tube Diameter 1″
  • Eye Relief 3.7″
  • Weight 9.6 oz

Got a coyote problem? Or even worse, a feral pig problem? Well, the Marlin 336 is certainly a useful tool to clean either up. Irons work, but if you want to make sure the shot’s lethal, the VX Freedom 1.5-4X20mm will get you on target.

The versatile magnification range makes it easy to take them in the backyard and across the field.

The Pig Plex reticle allows for compensation for bullet drop that aligns, makes proper shot placement easy with the rapidly descending 30-30 and 35 Remington. The reticle lets you make the calls on the fly, and unlike other options, it’s obstructed by a multitude of drop points.

The Pig Plex reticle gives realistic bullet drop expectations for the Marlin 336. It also makes getting on target rather easy and quick at close ranges.

Sadly the VX Freedom lacks illumination, but it’s still a very competent optic. Leupold’s long tradition of making excellent optics is in full effect. It’s a powerhouse of an optic that’s water, shock, and fog proof. It can take some hits, and it will certainly hit back. The VX Freedom makes it easy to rid yourself of pests and even take a deer or two when needed.

LEUPOLD VX FREEDOM PROS AND CONS

  • Unobtrusive reticle
  • Lightweight Design
  • Realistic bullet drop points
  • No Reticle Illumination

#4 TRIJICON RMR: BEST TACTICAL

TRIJICON RMR SPECS

  • Magnification 1x
  • Obj. Lens N/A
  • Tube Diameter N/A
  • Eye Relief Unlimited
  • Weight 1.2 oz

As far as miniature red dots go, the Trijicon RMR provides you the most proven platform out there. It’s incredibly small but incredibly capable. It’s the chosen mini red dot of the USMC and SOCOM for a reason. The Trijicon RMR comes in a multitude of configurations with varying reticle sizes and designs. My choice would be the 3.25 MOA reticle model because it’s large but not too big.

With a low Picatinny mount, it will blend in perfectly with the Marlin 336 Dark series. It lines up low enough to align with the iron sights for witnessing should the optic fail. I mean, it won’t fail because it’s a Trijicon RMR.

The Trijicon RMR provides a bright and crisp dot that can be easily seen day or night and will even function with night vision optics. The battery will last four years, so it can be left on and practically be forgotten about.

The Trijicon RMR allows for a two-eye open method of use that allows you to keep your peripheral vision open for threats. It’s super easy to use and allows you to absolutely dominate close-range shooting. When speed matters, the Trijicon RMR gives you an unbeatable advantage for home defense and tactical use.

TRIJICON RMR PROS AND CONS

  • Super lightweight
  • Long Battery Life
  • Co-witnesses with a low mount
  • Expensive

#5 TRIJICON MRO (LOW MOUNT): BEST REMINGTON 35 OPTION

TRIJICON MRO (LOW MOUNT) SPECS

  • Magnification 1x
  • Obj. Lens 25 mm
  • Tube Diameter N/A
  • Eye Relief Unlimited
  • Weight 5.1 oz

Let’s line our Trijicon optics up. The Trijicon MRO is the perfect option for the relatively short-range 35 Remington round. Out to 150 yards is the typical max for the ole 35 Remington. A red dot makes perfect sense, and the MRO from Trijicon gives you a lightweight, compact red dot optic that features an enclosed emitter and tubular design.

It’s dead simple and perfect for both super close range and out to the far reaches of the 35 Remington round.

The 35 Remington’s Recoil is no joke, but the MRO can take it. Trijicon optics are known for their ability to take abuse, and the MRO is no different.

On the Marlin 336, get the low mount variant. Other variants are for AR height weapons, and it would be comfortable on a 336. The little Trijicon MRO adds very little weight to your gun, and you can swing it up and target without issue. It’s perfect for brush hunting encounters where fractions of a second might matter.

The MRO gives you an extremely robust red dot optic that provides a crisp and bright red dot for low light and bright shooting. You’ll never be unable to aim when equipped with an MRO. The 2 MOA dot is easy to see but small enough for precision use on a rifle.

TRIJICON MRO (LOW MOUNT) PROS AND CONS

  • Compact
  • Low Mounts perfect for 336
  • Ridiculously durable
  • Expensive

#6 BURRIS RT-6: BEST 30-30 OPTION

BURRIS RT-6 SPECS

  • Magnification 1-6x
  • Obj. Lens 24 mm
  • Tube Diameter 30 mm
  • Eye Relief 3.3″
  • Weight 17.4 oz

The Burris RT-6 provides shooters with a versatile 1-6x powered optic that takes advantage of all the strengths and propels past the ’30-’30s limitations. The RT-6 lets you maximize the 30-30s range, especially when using modern rounds.

At the lower 1X setting, the illuminated reticle allows for red dot-like capabilities in thick brush. You can swing up and get on target without issue. When you drag the magnification out, you’ll have no problems rining a target at 250 yards.

The MIL-based reticle provides you with drop points to compensate for bullet drop.

Unlike the 5.56, the 30-30 tends to drop rather quickly, so being able to compensate as close as 150 yards can be valuable. With 11 illumination settings, you get some decent brightness levels. It’s daylight bright but just barely. It could use a little more illumination, but I’m hunting hogs, not fighting in running gunfights.

The Burris RT-6 provides you with a very compact optic. It’s the same size or even smaller than some 1-4X optics. A small notch sits on the magnification ring and makes magnification transitions very rapid and easy to do. You can push and drive the magnification level higher as necessary. All in all, the RT-6 provides a lot of optic for a 30-30 Marlin 336 and does so at a relatively low cost.

BURRIS RT-6 PROS AND CONS

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Very Useful Reticle
  • Reticle isn’t super bright

#7 BUSHNELL TRS 25: BEST BUDGET

BUSHNELL TRS 25 SPECS

  • Magnification 1x
  • Obj. Lens 25 mm
  • Tube Diameter N/A
  • Eye Relief Unlimited
  • Weight 4 oz

The Swampfox Arrowhead comes from a company that’s rising blindingly fast. Swampfox hit the ground running, producing high-quality optics at an affordable price point. The 1-6X magnification settings allow you to make the most of both the 30-30 and 35 Remington cartridges for a variety of ranges and purposes.

An MOA reticle allows for bullet drop estimation, and shooters can learn the ballistic drop of their rounds and always get on target. The 30-30 and 35 Remington drop quite quickly, and being able to estimate for drop can be quite valuable even at 300 yards or so. The Arrowhead also provides a nice level of eye relief that will spare you the old tube eye with hard-hitting 35 Remington rounds.

Pairing the illuminated reticle with the true 1X magnification gives you close-range capability almost on par with a red dot. You can get on target quickly, and the Arrowhead can be as useful in the bush as it is on an open field. If your Marlin 336 is your do it all rifle, then the Arrowhead is your do it all optic. It might not be perfect for every encounter, but you don’t need perfect to hit your target.

BUSHNELL TRS 25 PROS AND CONS

  • Super Affordable
  • Tough Design
  • Bright reticle
  • Heavy amber tint on the lens

SCOPING OUT THE 336

Let’s remember a few things about scoping your Marlin 336. It’s not like a lot of modern rifles and requires a little know-how to be successful. The Marlin 336 provides you with an outstanding platform for an optic, but make sure you keep the following in mind.

SCOPE HEIGHT

Most of us young whippersnappers are used to our in-line tactical rifles like the AR series of rifles. These rifles require a rather tall mounting option. The AR line has become so popular that AR height is easily the easiest to find for mounts, red dots, and more. A Marlin 336 is not an in-line rifle by any means. It can utilize a much lower mount, and you’ll need a low mount to establish a good cheek weld. Anything AR height will feel tall and reduce your effective cheek weld.

EYE RELIEF

Since we’ve mentioned ARs, let’s talk about how little they recoil. If your only experience is a modern rifle in an intermediate caliber, the recoil from the 30-30 and especially the 35 Remington will surprise you. You’ll want a little extra eye relief to avoid getting popped in the face like a red-headed stepchild. Give yourself at least 2 inches, if not more.

REALISTIC MAGNIFICATION

We’ve mentioned this before, but let’s go out on it. You don’t need a crazy level of magnification to effectively use a 30-30 or 35 Remington rifle. Too much magnification will make the optic heavy, expensive, and won’t make much of a difference. Examine the rifle’s role, the environment it will be used in, and then decide on the level of magnification you need.

THE OLE 336

The Marlin 336 is an eponymous American rifle, right up there with the M1 Garand, the AR 15, and the Remington 700. The Marlin 336 presents a modern option for the lever un enthusiast that’s easy to optically enhance and hard to hate. Adding an optic will make the weapon easier to aim, faster, and more precise. It’s a little upgrade that goes a long way.

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *