Even today, after more than half a century, the 336 from Marlin is still one of the most reliable and popular lever-action rifles available. It is one of the most commonly used rifles for deer hunting. What scope is best matched to this kind of rifle? Which is the best rifle scope for the Marlin 336? We’re having a closer look in this article.
In a hurry? Here are our picks of the best rifle scopes for the Marlin 336:
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 SFP BDC (MOA) Riflescope
- BARSKA 3-9×40 Huntmaster 30/30 Riflescope
- Nikon ProStaff 2-7×32 Black Matte Riflescope
- Simmons 3-9×40 Truplex Riflescope
- Trijicon RS20 AccuPower Riflescope
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44 FFP Rifle Scope
What Are the Basics of the Marlin 336?
Introduced in 1948, the 336 from Marlin remains one of the most popular lever-action rifles. Currently, you can choose from around a dozen variations with different calibers and barrel lengths for the Marlin 336.
No matter the model, the available mounting option is one of the main considerations for finding the right scope. Some 336 rifles include a rail system while others use standard screws.
The Marlin rifle is a favorite for deer and black bear hunters (find the best scopes for deer hunting!). With the .30-30 (Click here to find the best 30-30 rifle scopes!) or .35 cartridges, the range is limited to about 200 yards. At 100 yards, iron sights may not offer the accuracy needed for bullseye shots.
Effective Range of a Marlin 336
Riflescopes for the 336 come in a wide range of styles and prices. Some of the cheaper models include lower-quality glass, which limits visibility at greater distances. The edges of the image start to blur.
The lens quality also impacts light transmission and your accuracy in low light settings. With inferior lenses, the scope transmits less light, creating a darker image.
Consider Glass Quality
Long-range shooters and anyone hunting at dawn or dusk should spend a little extra for higher-quality glass (Or maybe look for one of the best scopes with a built-in laser range finder!). Quality scopes tend to include fully multicoated lenses. You get greater clarity at any distance and time of the day.
Along with clarity, shooting range influences the required field of view (FOV). A larger FOV makes it easier to track game at longer distances.
The FOV is directly connected to the objective lens size, which also impacts light transmission and overall performance. A larger objective lens allows more light, increasing brightness and sharpness in low light conditions.
Objective lens diameter sizes range from about 20mm to 72mm. 40mm is one of the most popular sizes. For the typical Marlin 336 scope, anything between 32mm and 40mm should offer ideal light transmission.
Recoil and Eye Relief Considerations
When shopping for rifle scopes, the eye relief depends on the recoil. Common chamber options for the 336 include .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington paired with a 20-inch or 24-inch barrel.
These calibers deliver a little bit of kick. Look for scopes with an eye relief of 3.5 to 4 inches so they can handle the recoil without a problem.
Riflescopes also feature different types of turrets. Ballistic turrets are the standard option, allowing you to adjust for windage and elevation based on your shooting distance.
Some Marlin 336 scopes feature low-profile turrets. The low profile keeps you from adjusting the turrets accidentally. These two choices are recommended for beginners due to their ease of use.
MOA or MRAD?
Experienced hunters tend to prefer turrets with MOA or MRAD adjustment systems. Minute of angle (MOA) clicks offer more precision compared to standard ballistic turrets and are the most used system on rifle scopes.
Different Styles – Duplex Reticle being most common
Another consideration is the reticle, which comes in a variety of designs. Some of the more complex reticles allow for bullet drop compensation (BDC), windage, and elevation adjustment. These features are not necessary for typical uses with a 336 from Marlin.
A standard Duplex reticle is the most common style. It is an all-purpose reticle with an uncluttered design.
What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a Marlin 336?
Select the magnification based on the distances that you intend to shoot at. As the 336 is commonly used for close- to medium-range hunting, you may not need more than 9x or 12x magnification.
Decent marksmen can hit a bullseye target at 1000 yards with just 10x magnification. 30-30 bullets and 35 Remington bullets only have an effective range of about 150 to 200 yards.
3x magnification per 100 yards is a common rule of thumb used by many hunters. At 100 yards, 3x magnification should allow most users to make accurate shots.
At 200 yards, you may need 6x magnification. To push the limits of the 336 from Marlin, 9x scopes should offer more than enough magnification.
3-9x Scopes for Marlin 336 Lever-Action Rifle
Based on these preferences, 3-9x scopes remain the all-around favorite for the best Marlin 336 scopes. However, some people may not need as much magnification. For example, a 1-4x scope covers close- and medium-range targeting.
Depending on how you plan to use the rifle, you may prefer a bigger zoom ratio. Several companies produce 2.5-10x variable scopes, which provides a more versatile option.
Some scopes offer fixed magnification instead of variable magnification. Fixed scopes are often lighter, smaller, and cheaper as they do not have a zoom feature. Have a look at our guide on how to estimate the right magnification range based on range and other considerations!
With a fixed scope, the FOV also remains fixed. With a variable scope, light transmission and FOV decrease as you zoom in.
After the 3-9x variable scopes, the fixed 4x is a popular choice. You can easily sight a deer or hog at up to 100 or so yards with a 4x scope. The superior light transmission also makes it useful when hunting at dawn or dusk.
The bottom line is that 9x and 10x are the upper limits for magnification on a Marlin 336 lever-action rifle. When you get beyond 9x or 10x magnification, the scopes become a lot heavier and more expensive without offering any real value to your performance.
What Are the Best Scopes for the Marlin 336?
Finding the best scope for Marlin 336 depends on your specific needs. Based on shooting distances and environments, the following scopes should cover most typical uses.
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm
The Leupold VX-Freedom delivers enhanced clarity, thanks to superior construction and quality components. As with other Leupold scopes, it is a durable and reliable choice.
Overview and Performance
The Leupold VX-Freedom includes 3-9x magnification and a 40mm objective lens size. These are standard features for a Marlin 336 scope. However, this scope stands out for its clarity.
Compared to other scopes in the same price range, the Leupold VX-Freedom delivers greater sharpness and clarity. You can use the scope at any power magnification without noticeable blurring.
The VX-Freedom scope for your Marlin includes 1/4 MOA click adjustments for windage and elevation. Both elevation and windage have an adjustable range of 60 MOA. The turrets hold zero, providing absolute repeatability.
The Leupold VX-Freedom comes with Leupold’s Advanced Optical System for enhanced and increased light transmission. This does provide you with extended usage during the morning and evening hours. You get a bright picture even in extreme low-light settings.
The Hunt-Plex reticle, which is positioned on the second focal plane, is a simple Duplex reticle that greatly improves target acquisition. The field of view at 100 yards ranges between 33.1 and 13.6 feet. The parallax is fixed at 150 yards.
The eye relief on the Leupold VX-Freedom is a solid 3.7 to 4.2 inches. That makes it one of the best scopes for Marlin 336. As you also would expect, the VX-Freedom comes with Leupold’s lifetime warranty.
- Durable construction with a limited lifetime warranty
- Full multicoating to increase clarity and sharpness in challenging light settings
- An image that stays crisp and clear even when using 9x magnification
- Does not have parallax adjustment
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 SFP BDC Riflescope
Vortex Optics is a top manufacturer of rifle scopes. With the Crossfire 2, the company delivers a solid scope with a forgiving eye box and exceptional optics.
Overview and Performance
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope for your 336 is an affordable scope with outstanding craftsmanship. The glass is clear and includes fully multicoated layers to reduce glare and increase light transmission. The result is a crisp, sharp image.
The scope also has a fast-focus eyepiece that remains focused for faster target acquisition. With the 2-7x magnification range, you should have no problem hitting your mark at close to medium range.
The elevation and windage adjustment knobs are capped and finger-adjustable with 1/4 MOA clicks. You can also reset to zero, which holds true even with repeated use.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire 2 is a second focal plane optic. There are a number of different reticles to choose from and the V-Plex or Dead-Hold BDC reticle are both good options for the 336. It’ll come down to personal choice and preference whether you prefer the Dead-Hold BDC reticle or the V-Plex option.
The only drawback is the provided lens caps. Dirt and debris can still find their way into the lens, requiring many users to upgrade to flip-open covers.
Besides these minor downsides, there’s not anything negative to find about this rifle optic. The eye relief of up to 3.9 inches is sufficient to make it a contender for the best riflescope for Marlin 336.
- Surprisingly clear optics at any zoom level
- Single-piece tube construction that is fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof
- Affordable price for a reliable rifle scope
- The lens caps may not provide complete protection against dust and debris.
BARSKA 3-9×40 Huntmaster 30/30 Riflescope
If the price is a major factor, the BARSKA 3-9×40 Huntmaster stands out as a budget-friendly scope for the Marlin 336.
Overview and Performance
With the BARSKA Huntmaster, you receive a reliable scope with 3-9x magnification. It has a 40mm objective lens size and offers a 36-foot viewable field at 100 yards at 3x magnification and 14-foot FOV at 9x.
This scope was built specifically for 30-30 bullets. It includes a 30/30 reticle that resembles the standard Duplex reticle.
The lenses are fully coated instead of fully multicoated. The lack of additional layers limits light transmission. You may struggle in an environment with extremely limited visibility.
The eye relief on the Barska Huntmaster is 3.3 inches which makes it a good match. The exit pupil ranges from 13.3 to 4.4-millimeters.
The image also tends to lose sharpness when you start zooming in. If you plan on hunting at dusk or dawn, consider spending a little more for one of the more reliable scopes. However, for daytime hunting at close to medium range, this is a good entry-level scope.
- Comes with mounting rings for attaching the scope
- Offers a wide 36-foot field of view at 100 yards
- Is one of the more affordable choices
- The image loses clarity at high magnification and during low and challenging light conditions.
Nikon ProStaff 2-7×32 Black Matte Riflescope
Overview and Performance
The Nikon Prostaff is a dependable rifle scope for the Marlin rifle. It includes 2-7x magnification, which should cover most typical uses with the Marlin. Keep in mind that some hunters may prefer the 3-9x magnification range.
The lenses are fully multicoated, gathering up to 98% of available light. Compared to lenses with extra coatings, you get enhanced clarity at the start of the day and the end of the evening.
The Nikon Prostaff scope is compact, measuring just 11.5 inches. This is about one inch shorter compared to the typical scope. The slim, lightweight design is less of a burden. You may find this useful if you spend all day waiting for the perfect shot.
The 32mm objective lens is slightly small compared to some of the other recommendations. However, the Nikon Prostaff still allows lots of light to reach the lens, ensuring that the picture remains crisp in most lighting conditions.
The eye relief on the Prostaff 2-7×32 is 3.8 inches. Elevation and windage adjustments are within an 80 MOA range in 1/4 MOA increments.
The spring-loaded turrets on the Nikon Prostaff hold zero and are easy to adjust. Unfortunately, the knobs have no markings on them.
- The spring-loaded turrets are easy to adjust and hold zero perfectly.
- The tube is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed for waterproof and fog-proof construction.
- It includes a fast-focus eyepiece to eliminate the need for constant focusing.
- The 2-7x magnification range may not suit every situation.
- The windage and elevation knobs do not include markings.
Simmons 3-9×40 Truplex Riflescope
The Simmons 3-9×40 Truplex Riflescope is another affordable recommendation, costing about one-tenth of the price of some of the mid-range scopes.
Overview and Performance
While the Simmons Truplex riflescope is a cheap optic, it performs surprisingly well. The 40mm objective lens gathers lots of light, increasing the sharpness of the image. Unfortunately, the picture loses some of its sharpness as you start increasing the magnification level.
By the time that you reach 9x magnification, you should notice blurring around the edges of the reticle. Instead of a Duplex reticle, the scope is equipped with a Truplex reticle.
The patented Truplex reticle resembles the Duplex reticle but has a cross that reaches each side of the reticle. Simmons refers to this design as an eight-point system.
The lenses on the Simmons Truplex riflescope are fully coated but not fully multicoated. Without the extra layers, the scope has less light transmission.
Eye relief on the Simmons Truplex is 3.75 inches. Windage and elevation can be adjusted in 1/4 MOA increments across 60 MOA.
This is not the best scope for hunting at dusk or dawn but it is reliable. The turrets are easy to adjust and hold zero while providing an audible click as you make each 1/4 MOA click.
- Incredibly affordable rifle scope
- 1/4 MOA turrets that include audible clicks during adjustment
- Waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof construction
- It only includes fully coated lenses instead of full multicoating.
- The images lose clarity at higher magnification levels.
Trijicon RS20 AccuPower Riflescope
The Trijicon RS20 is a powerful scope with superior lenses and an illuminated reticle. It may cost a little more but it offers greater clarity and resolution with zero distortion.
Overview and Performance
The RS20 riflescope is equipped with 3-9x magnification. This covers typical uses for this rifle.
As with most of the options reviewed, the R20 includes a second focal plane reticle. This design keeps the reticle the same size as you increase or decrease the magnification level.
This scope has a 40mm objective lens that is coated with multiple layers. The fully multicoated lenses offer enhanced light-gathering capabilities for use in low-light settings.
Instead of a Duplex reticle, it is equipped with a MIL-Square crosshair. It is also illuminated with a bright green LED dot. The dot helps you focus quickly, no matter if you are hunting in the evening or in broad daylight.
The Trijicon RS20 3-9×40 comes with an eye relief ranging from 3.7 to 3.5 inches. Elevation and windage range is 17.8 MIL in 0.1 MIL increments.
The LED is adjustable with 11 different brightness settings. It also has an off feature between each setting, allowing you to instantly turn the LED on or off to suit your preferences.
Overall, this is one of the best scopes for Marlin 336 and one of the more expensive choices.
- Illuminated reticle for low light situations
- Durable construction with aircraft-grade aluminum housing
- High-quality optics with enhanced clarity at any magnification level
- One of the more expensive rifle scope recommendations
Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44 FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated ACSS HUD DMR .308 / .223 Reticle
With the Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44 FFP Rifle Scope, you receive a reliable scope for almost any use. It has a wide magnification range and an illuminated reticle for various ranges and lighting conditions.
Overview and Performance
The Primary Arms SLX offers greater magnification for those who want to push the limits of the Marlin’s range. You get 4x to 14x magnification. While this is overkill for a Marlin 336 lever-action rifle, the greater magnification levels help when using your rifle in low-light settings.
For enhanced performance in low light conditions, the scope includes an illuminated reticle. The partially illuminated reticle is battery-powered and includes the ACSS HUD DMR design.
Novices will likely experience trouble using the ACSS HUD DMR reticle. The design combines wind leads, bullet drop compensation, and ranging, which creates a slightly cluttered layout.
The eye relief on the PA SLX ranges between 3.22 to 3.14 inches. The adjustment range for wind and elevation compensation is 17.5 MIL and the click value for adjustments is 0.1 MIL.
If you’re an experienced hunter then rest assured that the Primary Arms SLX optic is a serious contender for the best Marlin 336 scope.
- Includes a wider range of magnification levels
- Comes with an ACSS HUD DMR reticle for additional adjustments
- Has five brightness settings for the partially illuminated reticle
- The ACSS HUD DMR reticle is confusing for novice hunters.
- The design and overall weight make this scope a little bulky.
Conclusion – Best Scope for Marlin 336
To find the best scope for Marlin 336, think about how you intend to use your rifle. The range, target, and environment should influence your buying decision. You may also need to consider your budget.
The lowest-cost options include the BARSKA Huntmaster and the Simmons Truplex Riflescope. Both options include 3-9x magnification with 40mm objective lenses. While you may notice blurring around the edges of the reticle, these scopes are great entry-level options for novice hunters.
The Leupold VX-Freedom and Vortex Optics Crossfire II are good mid-range recommendations to take the crown as the best scope with the same magnification range and objective lens size. However, they deliver crisp, clear images compared to the cheaper scopes.
If you need a Marlin 336 scope for low light conditions, consider using the Trijicon RS20 AccuPower scope. It features an illuminated reticle and fully multicoated lenses and is clearly a serious contender for the overall best scope for the Marlin 336 lever-action rifle.
For those who need more than 3-9x magnification, the Primary Arms SLX has you covered. It includes 4-14x magnification and comes with a reasonable price tag. The reticle can be somewhat confusing for novice hunters though but it still is making the list as a great option for the best scope.