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Problem with my Marlin 336 .35 Remington

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Hi Everyone,

I hope the start of the new year has been good for you.

I have an issue with my Marlin 336 R.C .35 Remington serial no. K15XXX.

I picked this up at a show in Rock Springs, WY when I lived in the Cowboy State. First time I took it to the range 11 out of 20 rounds of Winchester ammo didn’t fire. All the primers showed very light firing pin strikes that looked more like scratches. I tried my reloads with the RCBS 200 grain gas check and the same thing happened (some fired normally; most didn’t). Those rounds that fired normally all had regular looking firing pin strikes. I took the rifle to a Utah gunsmith along with all the ammo that didn’t go off. He kept it for months before telling me he had to replace the hammer spring. Back at the range it was the same old story with both factory and reloads randomly not going off. I packed the rifle up and forgot about it as all my WY hunting was with the .308 and .30-06 due to the long ranges involved. Subsequently, I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and thought the Marlin would be a perfect woods gun. I took it to the range and again rounds did not fire in a random fashion. This time I added Remington factory ammo to the mix along with my reloads. I took it to a TN gunsmith who kept it for six months along with all the unfired rounds. He said he couldn’t find anything wrong with the rifle or rounds, but told me to quit shooting reloads through a hunting rifle. The rifle is still unreliable and I hesitate to take it bear or hog hunting even though it would be in my opinion the perfect gun. I’m wondering if this could be a headspacing issue? Does anyone know of a qualified gunsmith who can fix my Marlin?


Old StarPacker

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I am not a gun smith, but I am thinking the firing pin spring is binding and not letting the firing pin move forward enough to hit the primer every time. I would buy a new spring and try that.

  • Like 4
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Or, possibly, gummy oil in the firing pin channel. Weak hammer spring is possible if someone has tried to do a back yard trigger job (ie... didn't know what they were doing). Personally, I would take bolt out of rifle and give through cleaning and light lube. Then retry. I am leaning to agree with RED333, very good possibiity of binding springs.

  • Like 3
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I've had a similar problem with a Model 70 that I've owned since new. As Photoguy67 suggested, the problem was a gummed-up firing pin caused by old lube inside the bolt. But one would think that your rifle, having twice been to gunsmiths, would be clean and free.

With the bolt out does the firing pin protrude through the bolt face properly when pushed all the way forward?  Is the tip of the firing pin smooth and intact?   Do you have a means to check head space? 

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When you're checking the firing pin itself, check the mechanism in the bolt that blocks the firing pin when the bolt is not locked.  It's been a long time since I looked inside a 336 so I can't offer any detailed suggestions or instructions,  but it's another place to clean and look for worn parts.

  • Like 1
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I'm also thinking a firing pin problem. bad spring, dirt, or possibly the firing pin itself has a worn or broken tip and is a bit short. 

As Darrell suggested, it may be excessive head space. But I'd try the firing pin first. 

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Thanks for all the replies.

My mechanical abilities are very limited, but I have been watching a few Youtube videos to see how the 336's bolt is disassembled. I'll give it a go here in the next week or so. I'll give an update afterwards.

Thanks again.

Old StarPacker

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On a Marlin 336, the locking block has two functions. Primarily, it locks the bolt in place. Secondarily, it aligns the rear firing pin with the front firing pin. If the locking block is not seating all the way into the bolt, it may not be getting the rear pin lined up completely. This would prevent the full force of the hammer strike from being transferred all the way to the primer. Make sure the lever is closing all the way. 

you might also pull the bolt and do a complete tear down to make sure everything is moving freely. 

  • Like 2
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  • 1 month later...

I have been playing around with the 35 for awhile. I currently use a 1961 in 35 Rem. I reload 200 gr bullets for deer and hogs. Clean that gun and it should work for you. Otherwise In south Knox the gunsmith at the Armory will strip it down and clean it for you.

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But, really, for a lever gun, the Marlin 336 design is very simple to disassemble, clean and put back together. I did it to a new to me (1964) 30-30 this morning while on a conference call. 

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