The 336c is 387$ which is no big deal but its serial number starts with MR. Should I look for a older Marlin or pull the trigger on the new version?
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Personally I would not but it is entirely your call. If you do make sure you look at the screws and make sure they are not buggered. Wood to metal fit is a issue to look for. Do the sights line up and are they centered. Does it lever properly. Check the receiver and look inside the barrel for bad tool marks or burrs and such caused by poor machine work. Too many things for a man to do and still not feel comfortable. It might have barrel droop which is hard to spot and has been a problem for some people. I would look around and for the same price you probably can pick up a older Marlin before Remington started making them and not have any of the problems that have plaged the Remingtons. I have seen brand new Remingtons on the rack in gun stores that you could not work the lever on because they were locked up.
I would look for an older one. I have seen some nice ones sell on GB and GA for $300...by the time you add in shipping and a ffl dealer you are still less than $387.00.
+1 You are right on with that post. I got one, my 1st Marlin .30-30, a presafety off of GB for $260.00 last year. It had a bit of rust flecking on the mag tube and bottom of the receiver. The action was stiff and it came with a 4x scope and see thru rings. I cleaned it up and smoothed it up and put a Nikon 2x7 on a Weaver base with Burris rings and it is now one shooting fool with lots of cast bullets. Bluing and walnut stock was very nice. I am much more happier with it than if I bought a new Wal-Mart one. Now I have looked at the .30-30s at our WM. They actually are not bad at all from my inspection. I have to give Rem credit for being able to produce a decent looking .30-30. Those were never the problem guns.
I would definitely buy an older used one before I bought a new one made from Remington but thats just me!!!
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Based on my recent experience with Walmart, I would not purchase any firearm there. I was considering the purchase of a "JM" stamped, 91 ser. no. prefixed 1895GS. After explaining the problems associated with the Remington take over of Marlin, I asked if I could cycle a couple of my snap caps through the action to ensure it worked properly before purchase. I was told "absolutely not". I would have to purchase the rifle and address any functional problems with it under the manufacturers warranty. Needless to say... I'll make my purchase elsewhere.
Just my $.02
I guess it depends on your Walmart, ours will let you do a complete check of ant gun you buy from them. Like anything new or used, you have to give it the once over. Then if it feels right to you, buy it. If not lok somewhere else.