8 Best Scopes for Marlin 336 Rifle

Anyone here into lever action guns? Anyone into magnification in your rifle optics? Anyone want to put a scope on a modern lever-action rifle? Well, good thing we are all here together, then.

The significant difference in the lever-action world (when it comes to optics choices) is the solid top strap (like the Marlin 336) or the open-top (like the Winchester 94).

If you want to upgrade the open iron sights to all the wonders of the modern world, they make them for just about any rifle, and you should if you have a hard time focusing on the skinny front blade sight.

If you have an old Winchester and you hunt with it, change the sights and keep the originals for the day that gun becomes a collector and not a hunter.

Upgrading sights on the Marlin 336? Why not go for magnified optics – a good, clear lens scope? If you are like me and the crosshairs are getting fuzzy, then the illuminated version may be just the ticket and keeps the hunting enjoyable by keeping the old-style lever-gun in the game with modern-style scopes.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR ACCURACY

Leupold VX Freedom 1.5 – 4 x 20mm

Leupold VX Freedom 1.5 – 4 x 20mm

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1.5–4x
  • Length: 9.35 in
BEST FOR HEAVY RECOILERS

Burris 2 – 7 x 32mm, handgun scope

Burris 2 – 7 x 32mm, handgun scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 9.7 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 13.1 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X reticle

Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X reticle

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.0 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Primary Arms GLx 2.5-10×44 FFP Rifle Scope

Primary Arms GLx 2.5-10×44 FFP Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 2.5-10x
  • Length: 12.5 in
BEST AFFORDABLE SCOPE

Barska 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30

Barska 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.2 in

My Marlin 336 is the Marlin 444, and if anyone has shot that shoulder-bender, you know why I do not have anything that may come back and hit me in the eyeball or make a severe dent in my forehead.

For everyone who did not lose their mind and go uber recoil and is in the modern rifle cartridge game, you have quite the workhorse right there. I do carry the recoil beast when in Sasquatch country just in case, and every gun needs a specific job or it's just a waste of money, and Sasquatch repellent it is.

We now agree that the scope should sit on top of the 336. But what kind of scope should we put there? It must be rugged and fast-acting on the sight picture. If you hunt with a lever-action rifle, chances are snow, rain, fog and dusty conditions do not send you back to camp.

What magnification range should we look at? The calibers available in the Marlin 336 can do some long-distance work, but not really from a lever-action gun. 

So, we will stay in the hunter magnification territories of 3-9x power area, and for width around 32mm or so, as the scope mounts are low profile for the most part. Huge glass won't fit, and weight and overall size may become a factor in how you carry the rifle.

Low Power Magnification Scopes

The lower power scopes have a better chance of coming with right on the money illuminated Bullet Drop Compensator, or BDC reticle. The Marlin 336 is a brush gun-style rifle. The hunter will not have time to adjust turrets, magnification rings, etc. 

This style of scope is quick on target, holdover on the dots, or whatever your scope has, and then pull the trigger, boom, dinner in the freezer.

1. Leupold VX Freedom 1.5 – 4 x 20mm

scopes for marlin 336

Sweet mother of hell, yes! The perfect scope for this application. They have a reticle called the pig plex, so you know it is made to get on target quickly and take care of business. Let's have a look.

This scope is built from 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum. The body is a one-inch tube, sealed and nitro-purged. The scope is weather resistant, meaning not only is it water-. shock- and fog-proof, but it can do all of that in varying temperatures, altitudes. Whatever you can throw at it, it can deal with it.

The magnification is 1.5 – 4x power, making it great for up-close encounters and leaving a very nice Field of View of 74 – 30 feet, related to zooming in. The eye relief is perfect for this lever-action platform at 3.7 to 4.2 inches. You may want more for the heavy recoil rounds, but for deer hunting round, it is right in the sweet spot.

The reticle is not illuminated on this offering, and you will see where that is a good thing in a second. The Pig Plex reticle is excellent! 

Leupold VX Freedom

The Pig Plex reticle is a ¾ duplex crosshair. With the top thin and a circle right at the cross, the reticle also has hashmarks for holdover or moving targets, and elevation hashmarks. A very fast reticle to get on that target and make that shot.

The reticle is graduated in MOA, and the finger turn turrets are also in MOA. The parallax is fixed, and the lens glass is coated in Leupold's Twilight Light Management system to gather and use as much available light until it is just flat out too dark to shoot.

The finish is matte black, in case you don't want to be spotted by reflections from a shiny scope, but, being Leupold, they do have the precious golden ring around the objective, and that is a good thing.

So why did I say the non-illuminated may be a benefit to you? The scope only weighs in at 9.6 ounces and measures just over 9 inches long and about 1 inch wide. Talk about optics at a small size, and easy to carry and hold on target. Plus, no batteries to die right when you need them the most.

Leupold VX Freedom 1.5 – 4 x 20mm

The price of Leupold VX Freedom 1.5 – 4 x 20mm varies, so check the latest price at

2. Burris 2 – 7 x 32mm, Handgun scope

marlin 336 scopes

Now let us say you lose your mind, buy the Marlin 444, and need an optic, but want space between your face and the aircraft aluminum body. This is an excellent place to look.

Burris is one of my all-time favorite options for scopes and all the rest, they make great stuff. For the heavy-duty recoil guns, the handgun scopes are made to sit on top of the mega magnum handguns and take a pounding from recoil.

 So for the Marlin 444 or the like, and this is going to be just fine, it may feel more like home.

The 2-7x32mm is a second focal plane reticle, keeping everything looking the same and faster on the target acquisition. Made with a one-inch tube and nitro-purged, it is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.

The reticle is available to match ballistic plex for particular handgun calibers and barrel lengths, but the duplex reticle is magic for use on the rifle.

best handgun scope

The long eye relief is outstanding at 11 inches! That will mount the scope at near mid-length, and the balance will be more centered because it only weighs in at 13 ounces and is just over 9½ inches long.

The reticle is non-illuminated, which is why it is so small and lightweight, marked off in MOA and the knobs to adjust them.

With the magnification able to range higher, a smaller main body tube, the field of view is 7 – 21 feet at 100 yards, so you need to know what you are aiming at with this scope. If it is moving fast, you may want to consider another option.

The lenses that Burris uses are the best, and coated with their Hi-Lume coating to gather light, reduce reflection, and all the rest.

As always, we can't leave without talking about the Burris forever warranty, flatly the best in the riflescope business. If it is broken, your fault or not, they repair or replace it with zero questions. 

Use it to hammer a nail, burn it in a camper fire, throw it off the mountain, and get it to them, it is a done deal new or fixed good as new, probably going to be used in a commercial.

Burris 2 – 7 x 32mm, Handgun scope

The price of Burris 2 – 7 x 32mm, handgun scope varies, so check the latest price at

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II

best scope for marlin 30 30

Ah yeah, return to the Vortex Optics Crossfire II. Does anyone not love Vortex? Not like Vortex or give me death, but damn guys, these riflescopes are the industry standard.

I wrote an article on scout scopes a while back, and this manufacturer makes a scope just for the scout rifle. If you are unfamiliar with the scout, or want to read my other post, please click on that link.

For a quick summary of scout scopes, they are intended to mount about midway on the platform. The significant part is for recoil mutha rifles, away from your head and eyeballs. 

When you shoot a scout scope, if you can make your brain do this, you can shoot two eyes open, like a red dot or reflex scope. And for more precision, you close your non-shooting eye and focus on the crosshairs. 

It would be center-mass shooting in a hurry in the tactical world, and then a head shot to save the hostages and send the bad guy to his eternal reward. You get the picture.

The Vortex Crossfire II is built like a tank, with aircraft quality one-inch main tube, O-ring sealed, and nitrogen-purged. This thing is not afraid of anything, waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.

The V Brite is very much a standard plex crosshair until it gets right to the center, then the hairs stop and become a tiny red dot. What is so great about that? Glad you asked. For both eyes open to one eye shut precision, and fast precision target acquisition.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

The crosshairs will naturally lead your eye to the center, then that tiny red dot is looking at a button on a manikin, or the spine shot of a trophy buck, whatever you look at through your scope.

With a magnification of 2-7x power, we get to a place some distance can be found, and with the correct round, the scope is right in its sweet spot.

With a 32mm objective, the FOV will be good. Not great for shooting running targets, but you probably are not going after running targets when you get to that much zoom.

The eyepiece is a fast focus style, so you can get everything just right for the perfect shot, make the gun fit the shooter.

The lenses are fully multi-coated and anti-reflective coated as well, and the glass is industry-leading in quality. The weight is an illuminated reticle, and a variable magnification comes with more size and weight, and they are 14 ounces and now just over 11 inches long.

Now to the Crossfire II option's significant part. You can get one with a standard eye relief of 3.9 inches. Or for the shoulder benders, the scout eye relief is almost 9½ inches away, and that is when the two eye shooting makes itself known.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about vortex optics crossfire II? Check out our complete review.

4. Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X Reticle

marlin 336 scope

I heard that! Put away the pitchforks until you hear me out. Not everyone has a pile of money for optics. Not everyone wants to spend a pile of money on riflescopes if they have a pile of cash. 

To me, this scope is the one to get to see if you want a high zoom scope on a lever-action gun, and if it does not work for you there, put it on a good 22 rifle and call it good.

The Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dark Multi X is a 3-9x power magnification with a 40mm objective so that the FOV will be pretty good, and the magnification will reach out to the lonely coyote trying to snack on some sheep.

And for a deer rifle, this is great for the gun you take on the ATV, put in the forks, bounce the hell out of it, shoot it once in a while, and want magnified optics for your lever-gun, especially if you have a Marlin 336 chambered in .243 Winchester, or one of the odd ducks the .35 Whelen. How cool would that be?

Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X Reticle

The eye relief on this is short for hard recoil guns, at 3.3 inches max, maybe at 5 inches, but your parallax will be horrible. It is built with a one-inch tube, one aluminum piece, dry nitrogen filled, and rated as shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof. 

Bushnell does offer this in specialty scopes, like a slug gun scope and a muzzleloader model scope, so that should be your thinking if you have a heavy recoil rifle. The Banner model is 14 ounces, non-illuminated, and 12 inches long, so this is not a hand-carry all-day scope but a rifle rack on the ATV carry.

The riflescope has a duplex reticle, and the lenses are multi-coated with a proprietary dusk and dawn brightness coating to gather light until it just can't be gathered anymore.

The elevation and windage turrets are finger adjustable if you feel inclined to dial in a shot on the lever-gun, and the eyepiece is a fast focus as well.

Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X Reticle

The price of Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Multi X reticle varies, so check the latest price at

5. Primary Arms GLx 2.5-10×44 FFP Rifle Scope

marlin 30 30 scope

OK, to go nuts a bit, and we are talking to gun people here, and some folks will work with their lever-gun and get that munker to shoot and hit a milk jug at 1000 meters. So let us take a look at a scope that may be able to do that.

The rifle will do that if it is nice and tight, and the scope damn sure can do it. The shooter, well, that is where the work should be spent. That applies to everyone, yes, even that guy.

Primary Arms scopes are great, very tough, weather fighters, bouncing over rocks for a great shot fighter, and they shine in the tactical world.

Now let us think a little about history. The first "assault" rifle, OK friends, I will argue that was the lever-action rifle. So let us look at an extended range scope on a rough and rugged platform.

The eyepiece is a fast focus style, so you can get everything just right for the perfect shot, make the gun fit the shooter.

With a magnification range from 2.5-10x power, the close work is better than the standard 3-9x power, the FOV at low zoom is about 37 feet at 100 yards, pretty nice. At ten power you are about 12 feet at 100 yards, you better be right on that target. And if it moves, you have work to do.

The reticle is an ACSS graded in Mil-dot and very busy. This scope is a tactical precision shooter. After all, you will need some time for this shot.

You may be able to find one that matches your cartridge, but remember you are in a lever-action, not a full, locked bolt-action, so the exactness will not be the same. 

Close though, so for elk hunters, no problem. For groundhog shooters, well you may have a bad day.

The reticle is in the first focal plane (FFP) and may cover smaller targets, but you will own it for a full-on hunting rifle for big game.

The ACSS is partially illuminated, so it again puts the tiny illuminated dot on the exact spot, pull the trigger. The main body is 30mm, and with that and the 40mm objective, you will need higher scope mounts. 

Your "cheekweld" will be more challenging, so look at the add-on leather cheek pads, and you will be golden.

Primary Arms is all about building perfection, and the GLx is one to prove it with premium glass and precision-machined steel to steel adjustments. They are a near-perfect fit. If you know machinists, nothing is a perfect fit, so this is close.

Primary Arms GLx FFP Rifle Scope

The price of Primary Arms GLx FFP Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Barska 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30

best scope for 30-30 marlin 336

I have to do it. It is made for the 30/30 scope. If you have much experience with Barska optics, like the spotting scope or binoculars, you know full well the glass quality is, let us say, mid-range on a good day. But hit that link and look at that price tag. What do you expect?

The Barska brand of optics may be the best-selling in the USA, not because they are quality scopes or more formidable than a cast iron pan, but because they are inexpensive.

Along with inexpensive, people think the word cheap, and that is usually associated with quality. Every Barska product I have bought has been cheap.

I left a pair of Barska binoculars on a picnic table in Yellowstone for the next traveler that may need them. 

Barska Huntmaster 30/30

I left them after the inside of the right tube became blocked, from taking them from the back seat to the front, I suppose.

Capped turrets, the adjustments can be made either by fingertip or with a coin. The magnification is a standard barrel knurl and adjusts from 3-9 power. The parallax is adjustable at 100 yards.

The main body tube is 1 inch so that it will work with nearly every mounting option out there. It weighs in at 13 ounces, and it measures out to 12 inches long.

Why do they call this the 30/30? It's the reticle they use in this scope. Now, to name it, after a long-time favorite like the 30/30, it would be amazing, BDC for that old fashioned round, right? Nope. It is a regular duplex crosshair, bummer.

Barska 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30

The price of Barska 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30 varies, so check the latest price at

Scope Mounts For The Marlin 336

Most of the tubes come in about 1", so mounts are easy to find. Everyone makes them. 

Speaking of mounts, look at this one I found researching stuff for this article. It is called the Game Reaper Marlin 336 Medium Mount. Talk about on the nose!

A substantial lower and rings, with fine-matched machining top rings that munker, will hold up to recoil, as well as any scope mount abuse some of us have been known to cause by trying to use a scope-mounted lever-action gun in a leather carry scabbard.

Other mounts fit easily if the top strap needs to be drilled and tapped. Make sure the gunsmith has the right jig, then mount a rail and your choice of rings. If your Marlin is new enough, it is pre-drilled in the factory and a simple do-at-home job. 

Make sure all your parts are straight, measure three times, use the right tools to make the torque perfect, and then check after tightening.

Summary

The choice is obviously up to you. What is your function of this rifle? You now have a pathway as to scope functions, limitations, and extraordinary abilities. A choice to make on price vs. ultimate quality. Powerful magnification or less magnification and better sight following capabilities.

Also, keep in mind what you are hunting with this platform. Is it wild hogs that may come right at you, and you need to get it shot quickly? Or bears? Or wounded animals? Or will you have time to plan the shot, adjust your scope and make a true campfire bragging rights story?

I wish you all the best, and if this journey in the land of optics did not quite make it clear to you, look at the other optics articles here on Huntingmark.com.

Good luck and happy hunting!

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