One of America's oldest and storied gunmakers, Marlin firearms has come a long way since its founding in 1870. Marlin built shotguns and lever-action rifles and produced machine guns during World War I; the company has been through plenty of ups and downs throughout its history. For anyone who loves repeaters, Marlin rifles are an excellent choice, especially if you're looking for something still made in the U.S., as they own New York and Kentucky facilities. We'll give you a rundown of some of the best Marlin rifles on the market today. These guns make for excellent hunting rifles and target guns that will provide you with years of reliable service.
Marlin Model 1894
It is hard to go wrong with a classic like this 1894 centerfire & side ejection design. These firearms feature a signature buttery-smooth Marlin lever gun design many hunters love and trust. The company builds these rifles with various barrel lengths, finishes, and furniture choices.
Are you looking for a traditional look? Go with blued steel and walnut. Want functionality in harsh hunting conditions? Consider laminate and stainless steel. These make great brush guns since they can hold up to 10 rounds in the tubular magazine, depending on caliber. These guns come in popular offerings like .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Long Colt. You're sure to find something you like in the 1894 version.
Marlin 1895 Big Bore
For hunters looking for a bit more firepower from their lever action, the 1895 is a solid choice. Chambered in the reliable and hard-hitting .45-70 Govt, these guns have the knock-down power needed for most North American big game. This makes it a solid choice for a bear defense gun for those who spend a lot of time in the backcountry.
Marlin builds these rifles in 6+1 and 4+1 rounds, and they come in various finishes, including blued and stainless. Barrel length offerings vary from 18.5 to 26 inches for more accuracy. The stocks are forends that are walnut or laminate. The sights vary between models, but most are drilled and tapped for scopes or include a Picatinny rail.
Marlin 336 Dark
While Marlin continues to make classic lever-actions, they have also taken steps to bring some lever guns into the 21st century. One of them is the Model 336 Dark. This gun has the overall profile of a classic cowboy gun. Still, that black-webbed hardwood stock and black Parkerized finish give it a unique look that screams modern tactical.
This rifle is chambered in classic .30-30 Winchester with a 16.25-inch barrel that comes threaded for a brake or suppressor. It comes with a paracord sling and paracord-wrapped lever. There's an XS lever rail with ghost ring sights for better target acquisition. This rifle stands out from the crowd, and the user reviews are nearly unanimous in their praise for this lever-action rifle with a modern flair.
Marlin Model 60
Arguably the best semi-automatic rimfire rifle on the market today, there's a lot to love about the classic Model 60. Chambered in .22 long rifle, these guns hold up to 14 rounds of ammo in the tubular magazine. These guns have a 19-inch micro-groove rifled barrel which gives them excellent accuracy.
This is an excellent gun to teach new shooters the basics of firearms. It has practically no recoil and the semi-auto action cycles rounds fast and efficiently. This gun's design features a bolt hold open design on the last shot and a cross bolt safety, making this an extremely safe firearm to handle. I've used the Model 60 for pest control and target shooting fun for years. The best part is the price. For under $200, this rifle is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a quality semi-auto .22lr.
Marlin XT 22 WMR
For those looking for a quality bolt-action rifle with a little more power, the XT in .22 WMR is a solid choice. Marlin also builds this rifle in .22lr and .17 HMR for anyone looking for even more options. The 22 WMR model has a 22-inch barrel with micro-groove rifling and a capacity of 12+1 rounds. This rifle has a Pro-fire adjustable trigger to help you find the perfect feel for long-distance shooting. Marlin builds the XT series of bolt actions with laminate, hardwood, or synthetic stock options. This rifle is sure to give you years of reliable service for target shooting or small game hunting applications.
This article was originally published on March 3, 2021.