Best Scopes for Marlin 336 Lever Action Rifle

Are you stepping up your Marlin 336 lever-action rifle game by adding a modern scope on it?

Finding the best scope for the Marlin 336 for medium to close range isn’t hard, and you don’t need to break your wallet for it.

A 3-9X magnified scopes are the most popular ones for the Marlin 336, and they are in a reasonable price range.  For what the 30-30 caliber can do, we recommend the Marlin 336 XS Scout Scope Mount Adapter & Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X50 scope.


Besides accuracy, quality, and performance, One other important thing is getting a scope with a large eye box to prevent scope bite.

At the end of this post, you will understand Marlin 336’s capability when it’s paired with a quality optic & best ones to get.

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Best Scopes for Marlin 336 Comparison Chart ( .30-30)

Marlin 336W with scope

Image Referenced Marlinfirearms

The Marlin 336 is a tube-fed lever-action rifle, its popular hunting caliber chambered in .30-30 that can deliver up to 1930 ft-lb force and it’s easy to shoot.  The effective range up to 200 yards with a 3-4″ shot group at 100 yards, and adding an optic is great for hunting, self-defense, and fast action target shooting.

30-30 is a hard-hitting bullet, and its often compared with 308, 30-06 and other large calibers, so scopes used for a .308 rifle will work fine with the 30-30.

Read More: Check out Best Riflescopes for 308

Our Best Pick
Vortex Crossfire II
Leupold VX - 3 Freedom
Nikon ProStaff
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x50 SFP Riflescope V-Brite Illuminated MOA, Crossfire II 3-9x50 V-Brite Illuminated, black
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 1" Matte (174180)
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
Magnification
3-9X50mm
3-9X40mm
3-9X50mm
Focal Plane
SFP
SFP
SFP
Exit Pupil
5.56 - 16.67 mm
5.9 mm
5.6 - 16.7 mm
Eye Relief
3.6"
3.66 - 4.17"
3.6"
Tube Size
1"
1"
1"
Weight
18.4 oz
14.6 oz
15 oz
Length
12.7"
12.1"
12.4"
MOA Adjustment
0.25 MOA / Click
0.25 MOA / Click
0.25 MOA / Clcik
Reticle
4 Options
Crosshair
BDC / Nikoplex
Battery
CR2032
-
-
Our Best Pick
Vortex Crossfire II
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x50 SFP Riflescope V-Brite Illuminated MOA, Crossfire II 3-9x50 V-Brite Illuminated, black
Magnification
3-9X50mm
Focal Plane
SFP
Exit Pupil
5.56 - 16.67 mm
Eye Relief
3.6"
Tube Size
1"
Weight
18.4 oz
Length
12.7"
MOA Adjustment
0.25 MOA / Click
Reticle
4 Options
Battery
CR2032
Leupold VX - 3 Freedom
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 1" Matte (174180)
Magnification
3-9X40mm
Focal Plane
SFP
Exit Pupil
5.9 mm
Eye Relief
3.66 - 4.17"
Tube Size
1"
Weight
14.6 oz
Length
12.1"
MOA Adjustment
0.25 MOA / Click
Reticle
Crosshair
Battery
-
Nikon ProStaff
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
Magnification
3-9X50mm
Focal Plane
SFP
Exit Pupil
5.6 - 16.7 mm
Eye Relief
3.6"
Tube Size
1"
Weight
15 oz
Length
12.4"
MOA Adjustment
0.25 MOA / Clcik
Reticle
BDC / Nikoplex
Battery
-

 


Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X50mm

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x50 SFP Riflescope V-Brite Illuminated MOA, Crossfire II 3-9x50 V-Brite Illuminated, black
  • The 3-9x50 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Brite reticle uses the V-Plex format with battery-powered electronics to illuminate the center dot for...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
  • Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the user.
  • Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting in.
  • The new 50mm objective lens gives a brighter image than the 40mm version, increased brightness helps the shooter see the target clearly in low light conditions.
  • 4 Different reticles to choose from to match what your shooting style is like

Leupold VX-3

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 1" Matte (174180)
  • Leopold Model #174180 - VX Freedom 3-9x40mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum and punisher tested to a lifetime of performance even under harshest recoil.
  • Twilight Light Management System - Adds up to 10 extra minutes of shooting light and reduces glare for crisp image quality.
  • Protecting the lens is important for image clarity, strengthened glass surface with anti-scratch coating for added durability to last longer in the field.

Nikon ProStaff

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 50 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
210 Reviews
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 50 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
  • Compact riflescope with 3 to 9x magnification and 50mm objective lens
  • Fully multicoated optical system transmits up to 98 percent of available light
  • Zero-reset turret with spring-loaded adjustment knob; 3.6 inches of eye relief
  • Nitrogen-filled, O-ring-sealed housing for waterproof, fogproof performance
  • Resetting the turret to “zero” is important for the field adjustment. Improved spring-loaded windage & elevation adjustments allow instant zero-reset turrets.

XS Sight System Marlin 336 Scout Scope Mount ( For Red Dot Sights )

We love the XS sight system scout scope mount for the Marlin 336. This one-piece top rail allows any Picatinny type mount to go on it, it’s perfect for mounting red dot sights or scopes with a one-piece mount.

Eliminate scope lapping and other related headaches associated with mounting a scope on a traditional rifle.

Marlin 336 with XS sights and Trijicon RMR

Image Referenced GunsAmerica

If you decide to use a 1X magnification red dot sight on the Marlin 336, we recommend miniature red dot optics like the HoloSun, Trijicon SRO or even cheaper ones like the Vortex.

They’re fast for acquiring targets and handle hard-hitting calibers including the 30-30.

Check Out More: Best Red Dot Sights for Hard-Hitting Rifles

 


Why 3-9X Magnification for Marlin 336

Shooting a scoped Marlin 336

Image Referenced Pliskin54/YouTube

The general rule of thumb for selecting a good magnification level for a scope is for every 100 yards further you shoot, increase the magnification by 1X.

The 9X is practically speaking an adequate magnification level for 30-30 for hitting targets up to 200 yards. Based on experience, anything more than that doesn’t help with target acquisition speed for hunting & it zooms in on the target too much.

Anything at 50 or 100 yards, a 3X or a 6X magnification is good too.

Typically home defense & competition shooting distances are around 10-30 yards, and average hunting distances are up to 100 – 200 yards. 9X is a great happy medium.

Tips: Understand your caliber, then pick the magnification best suited for it. So you don’t put an overpriced & overperforming scope on a rifle that can’t deliver the results.

Suited For Practical Marlin 336 Effective Range

Practically speaking the Marlin 336 chambered in 30-30 has a maximum effective range around 200 yards, and it’s realistically enough distance for hunting and other applications. A typical 30-30 caliber bullet weighs 150 – 170 grains depend on which load you pick.

  • Hornady LEVERevolution Rounds weighs 160 grain with 2046 ft-lb force & up to 2400 fps
  • Walmart ammo 170 Grain can deliver up to 2200 fps at the muzzle & 1825 ft-lb force

To put things into perspectives, a 168-grain boat-tail 308 round can deliver up to 2685 ft-lb force at 2840 fps, so the 30-30 is almost 1/2 power of a 308.

Effective Use of 30-30 BDC Reticle

Using a 30-30 BDC scope reticle for hitting beyond 200 yards with a 30-30 round definitely has its advantages, but it’s not required. Most 30-30 loads begin to fall significantly past 210 yards by -15″.

Within that distance, a BDC reticle allows you to do holdover much easier than without. However, it’s not necessary.

Within 200 yards, the projectile flies pretty straight for the most part, and a BDC reticle is not required.

Pick A Second Focal Plane Scope

For the purpose of the Marlin 336 lever-action rifle, the second focal plane is adequate for hitting targets up to 200 yards.

First focal plane scopes have the reticle change sizes relative to the change in scope magnification, which is super beneficial for long-range shooting, but it’s an overkill for up to 200-yard shooting distance.

Second focal plane scope’s reticle doesn’t change no matter which magnification setting it is, and this keeps your reticle consistent and easy to use.

Going with either one will work, but a second focal plane scope is reasonable and it’s cheaper.

 


Keep The Scope Weight Light

The Marlin 336 rifle weighs about 7 lbs average. Adding a scope on it just adds about extra 16 oz.

Pick a scope that keeps this whole setup under 9 lbs then you will be fine. This also depends on your weight preference, some people care for lightweight and some people don’t.

 

Great Glass & Durability

All recommended scopes above have great glass and scratch-free coating. They’re clear and able to hold zero It’s rare to find low quality glass from major brands.

The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X50mm has a fast-focus eyepiece with fully multi-coated lenses.

 

Get Large Eyebox & Long Eye Relief

Rifle scope eye box illustration

Image Referenced The Luminous Rabbit

The 30-30 is a hard-hitting caliber. In order to prevent scope bite, we highly recommend a scope with a large eye box, which means long eye relief close to 3.5-4″ and large exit pupil best for a 3-9X scope.

Along with 40mm and 50mm objective lens, the brighter the image you get, so you can comfortably get the sight picture. In addition, a large eye box gives you enough wiggle room to adjust your aim without too much scope shadow bothering you.


What’re Practical Applications for a Scoped Marlin 336

  • Hunting
  • Target Shooting
  • Personal Defense

 


Available Marlin 336 Models With Scope Mount

Marlin 336 dark

Image Referenced Marlin

Model 336 Dark Series comes with XS lever rail with ghost ring

Model 336W comes with weaver scope mount

Others models require purchasing aftermarket parts, be sure to check out their scope base chart here.

Other Marlin 336 Scope Recommendations

The cheek weld on the Marlin 336 is low and a cheek riser is recommended to comfortably align the sight picture. Once the scope is mounted with a low mount, you can buy an affordable TOURBON leather buttstock cheek rest from Amazon.


The Marlin 336 is a fun rifle to shoot, it’s something different than modern sporting rifles. The 30-30 caliber is a powerful round that can hit hard at 200 yards.

A scoped Marlin 336 allows the shooter to shoot the rifle more accurately at long distances, for hunting it’s very important to pick a scope that the shooter can shoot with two eyes open for maximum situational awareness.

 

 

Larry Gardner

Larry has been an active hunter and a long-range precision shooter. 7 years of long-range shooting experience and an active student even till this day. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a mechanical engineering degree and now works full time with Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado.