Buying a good rifle for deer hunting is no easy job. You’ll have to think long and hard about your expectations, experience, and how you’re planning to use it. There are lots of brands to consider, as well as the right caliber, extras, sights, optics, you name it.
Marlin rifles have been a top choice for deer hunters for decades. The American manufacturer has produced all kinds of rifles since the 1870s, many of them used in wars from all over the world before making their way to civilian use.
With these thoughts in mind, here are some of the top Marlin rifles for deer stalking.
- Best Marlin Rifles for Deer Hunting
- Marlin 336, a leader among Marlin rifles
The Marlin .30-30 lever action model is by far one of the best deer hunting rifles of all time. It’s not new at all. In fact, Marlin has built it right from the beginning, since the rifle is more than 100 years old.
Accuracy is flawless, whether you’re shooting from 50 yards, 100 yards, or more. You also have a micro grooved barrel to help with accuracy, while the rear sight can be adjusted for windage and elevation.
You can shoot 50, 100, or 500 rounds with Marlin 336 in a hunting session, and you’ll have the exact same performance every single time. The rifle is incredibly reliable and dependable, with more types of ammo. You’re less likely to face any failure to fire or chamber.
The pistol grip and the stock help with the handling. You have a textured finish, which helps with the grip. The checkering on the stock helps as well.
For a lever action rifle, the trigger is very smooth. The more you use it, the more consistent it becomes, so you may need a bit of time to get used to it.
Other than that, based on the variant you’ll get, the capacity goes up to 5+1 or 6+1. Being a lever action unit, loading is super quick.
As for the recoil, you don’t have a recoil pad. However, the buttstock is based on plastic, so the recoil can be easily kept under control.
- Marlin 39
Marlin has claimed that the Model 39 base is the oldest rimfire rifle platform that’s still in production. Initially, Model 39 was based on Model 1891. It was made for a short period of time, between 1921 and 1938. But back then, it quickly became one of the most appreciated firearms on the market.
It came with an octagonal barrel, as well as a beautiful finish and walnut stocks. Like other Marlin rifles, Model 39 impressed with how simple it was. Anyone could disassemble it to replace parts or clean it, not to mention easy transportation.
But Marlin 39 has been through some changes, like most other rifles. Most people stick to modern variants these days, such as 39A. They’re more affordable than an original classic, and they provide the same high quality standards.
Many Model 39 variants are drilled and can take optics. No matter which variant you pick, you’ll find it suitable for all kinds of games and not just deer. When used for deer stalking, it’s recommended to shoot from a short distance. Other than that, most variants also work for small games.
- Marlin 1894
Model 1894 goes in a completely different direction. If you’ve used and appreciated Marlin 336 before, you’ll find it surprising to find out that Model 1894 is just as good for hunting and stalking deer, as well as other medium and large game.
Model 1894 is chambered in calibers that make more sense in revolvers. For example, you can find it in variants working with .45 Colt, .38 Special, .44 Magnum, or .357 Magnum, among a few others. Most calibers are alright for deer stalking. After all, it’s one of the top considerations when choosing a rifle.
The rifle has a very low recoil, so it’s suitable for less experienced hunters and newbies too. Side ejecting is another useful feature for speed.
Model 1894 has managed to age well and has always made it to Marlin’s catalogs. Sometimes, it was the only square bolt centerfire rifle in the catalog. It’s an old school unit that comes with a few modern upgrades for convenience.
There are multiple variants out there, some of them old, others new. For those interested in hogs and deer, the .44 Magnum caliber is probably the most capable option.
- Marlin 1895
No matter what kind of medium or big game you’re after, Model 1895 will always be a top option for hunters. It’s one of the most powerful Marlin rifles, whether you’re after bison, grizzly, moose, or deer. It’s all about the ammunition.
Based on the classic Model 1893, this unit was built as an improvement. Larger, more powerful, and more potent. Although it can take different calibers, it’s gained notoriety with the .45-70 Govt caliber. That’s what helped the rifle dominate the North American game.
Indeed Marlin 336 is a front runner when it comes to whitetails, but Model 1895 can handle even bigger game, so deer would stand no chance in front of it. Changing the caliber would be a better idea for those who go deer stalking, though.
Side ejectors, a loading gate on the side, and a tubular magazine come to complete a nearly perfect hunting rifle.
When shopping for Model 1895, make sure you get the right variant. Marlin has also created shotguns with the exact same name. Plus, the rifle also comes in a .444 straight wall chamber.
- Final words
Deciding on the best Marlin rifles depends on more factors. Deer is often considered a medium game, but at the end of the day, there are more calibers suitable for it. You can use a light game rifle, as well as a massive one that would normally work better with moose or grizzly.
Marlin rifles have proven their point over the past century, and whether you go for a new or old model, chances are you’ll experience incredible reliability and quality.