Marlin’s New Dark Series Ain’t Your Grandpappy’s Lever Gun – NRA 2019

Marlin’s new Dark rifles look like something out of a zombie flick. (Model 336, suppressor and scope not included.)

Yeah, yeah. We get it. It’s a suppressor-ready blacked-out lever gun with a pic rail and paracord loop. Your grandpappy is rolling in his grave.

But as much as we wanted to complain about the tacticool bros ruining classic Americana, we got a chance to handle (or fondle, as the case may be) Marlin’s new Dark Model 336 and Model 1895 at this year’s NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, and we gotta admit—these guns are cool.

The Model 336 is chambered in 30-30 WIN and the big-bore Model 1895 is chambered in 45-70 Govt. Otherwise, the two rifles differ only in the thread pitch on the muzzle. Both come with a paracord sling, a ghost ring rear sight, and a five-shot full-length tubular magazine.

Weighing in a 7.65 pounds with an overall length of 34.5 inches and a 16.25-inch barrel, Marlin’s Dark Series rifles are maneuverable enough to handle whatever might come, even with a suppressor.

SEE ALSO: Maximizing Your Marlin Lever Gun

The beefy Model 1895 is chambered in 45-70. Both models come with a paracord sling.

The stock is covered with a black web paint.

Virtually any type of optic can be mounted on the full-length rail.

Remington Firearms, Marlin’s parent company, wasn’t shooting from the hip when they decided to tacticalize these classic rifles. Product Manager Eric Lundgren told GunsAmerica that his team spent time studying customer feedback on their current offerings and tracking the trends coming out of custom shops.

Turns out, gun enthusiasts have been tinkering with their cowboy sidekicks for years, and Marlin is hoping their new Dark series can be a turnkey solution for lever lovers wanting to modify a classic rifle.

The most noticeable difference between the Dark Series and Marlin’s more traditional offerings is the finish. The Dark rifles feature a parkerized metal finish, which Lundgren said is more rust resistant and less shiny than standard bluing. (Less shiny, presumably for hiding from zombies, hogs, etc.) The stock is also blacked out with webbed paint.

SEE ALSO: Marlin .45-70 1895GBL: Lever-Action Powerhouse—Full Review.

The barrel can accept any style of muzzle device.

Torx head screws don’t strip as easily as flathead screws.

The oversized loop is wrapped in paracord for added grip.

The threaded barrel departs from Marlin’s more recent offerings as well, and the suppressor looks a bit odd hanging off the end. But Lundgren pointed out that Marlin barrels were threaded many years ago, so perhaps it’s not as much of a departure as it seems.

The takedown screws have also been enhanced, or adulterated, depending on your perspective. Marlin replaced the traditional flathead screws with Torx screws, which are more reliable and less likely to strip. But they don’t look aS clean as flatheads, and they’ll probably give your grandpappy another reason to shift positions six feet under.

Unlike the screws, the trigger doesn’t appear to have been enhanced. It’s not bad (no creep, clean break), but it’s nothing to write home about.

Marlin set the MSRP at $949, about $200 more than the standard wooden stock models.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • David Barnes September 25, 2020, 10:12 am

    $2900 in Aussie dollars and I am champing at the bit waiting for the chance to get my hands on the 1895. Beautiful rifle.

  • Mitch Perry July 7, 2019, 11:20 pm

    Love this gun and will gladly pay my $779 for the 336 30-30. Newish to guns and already have the 1895 SBL in 45-70. I really dont get all the fuss from “purists” and “old timers.” My take…love the classics and buy them if you can afford them…AND…be on the leading edge of whats new.

  • Keith May 13, 2019, 2:49 pm

    I’m just happy to see and upgrade yeah the old gun is great but good luck selling it to people today this will sell cas anyone with a good gun don’t mind 1K price tags

  • John May 11, 2019, 2:43 pm

    Make it in 35 and I’m in…

  • Old OutdoorsGuy May 11, 2019, 9:51 am

    Being old enough to remember waaaay before these “money magnet” new versions and “modern upgrades” of some old classic lever action rifles, I can personally attest to the quality and need for a rifle to hunt larger game in thick brushy country like I and my dad hunted in Central PA back in the 50’s and early 60’s. I was born and spent much of my growin’ up time on Peters Mountain north of Harrisburg well before they left the developers in with their bulldozers and their big ideas of building somebody’s “dream home” on the side of a mountain for 3 times what the home was worth built on flat ground.

    I earned my “bragging” rights to owning a deer rifle by taking the first 3 deer of my hunting career with an old [at that time] Iver Johnson single barrel break open hammer shotgun shooting rifled slugs. My dad taught me, at a VERY early age, the meaning of “gun safety” and the proper handling and firing of any weapon in our home. He carried a pre-Microgroove Marlin Model 336 carbine chambered in .35 Remington, which was a real brush buster with a 210 grain Silvertip launched out of the barrel. There were many “beds of scrub oak and also thick mountain laurel scattered throughout the mountains of PA, and they were a favorite bed down spot for any big bucks roaming in a particular territory.

    I was 14 when my dad gave me that Marlin after he bought a used Savage 99 in .300 Savage caliber and I cherished that short brush gun until I entered the service in 1964, when I sold it to a friend who traded it to another friend who ……. and there the mystery is to this day. Regrets?? You bet, if I had thought past my wallet, I would have had my friend KEEP the Marlin for me until I got back from the military. Easy peasy, but you know the intelligence of youth …..

    My point of this short genealogy lesson is, those rifles along with the winchester Model 94 and all the way back to the era of the Sharps buffalo gun were historic classics of modern firearms, no matter what has been built to “upgrade” them or replace them in a hunter’s gun cabinet. they ALL stand on their own merits, not beholdin’ to any other make or style of shoulder weapon. So, if you want a .30-.30 Model 94 or a Model 336, either look around for the real McCoy or go buy one of these modern made wanna be historic long guns and be satisfied with whatever you got. My dad couldn’t honestly hit the side of our old 2 holer outhouse with that Model 99 but he finally took a pretty nice heavy buck after 3 seasons of me bringing home the meat for the winter. Truth be known, I think he regretted ever passing his old Marlin on to me and even THINKING he could replace it with anything else. Me, I was about as short sighted when I sold that same Marlin to a friend instead of keeping it at my friend’s place. My parents had already retired and moved to Florida before I went into the military so I did what I thought was the thing to do at the time. ….. Lesson learned!

    Moral of this tale, there are different stories and different requirements for everybody who ventures out in nature to hunt game. The type of firearm one buys will most likely depend on the circumstances of the environment he is hunting and the needs and likes of his choices. I shot 5 deer in 5 years with that Marlin and only fired 5 shots to take them down. My dad could match my shooting record with that old Marlin probably 5 TIMES over but he chose to try something which he felt would give him an edge on longer range shooting in some of the more open areas of the mountainous woods where he preferred to hunt deer.

    Me, I stuck to the scrub oak stands and mountain laurel patches where I knew that my shooting chances depended on my stealth and on being able to let an animal become calm to his locale before choosing a place to bed down or browse. I never got “buck fever” and I never took a doubtful shot, there was never a reason, in my mind, to have to track a wounded animal for miles across a couple of valleys and up steep mountain sides with rocks and boulders strewn everywhere. I guess I was too lazy for that kind of “hunting”.

  • Brent Akin May 8, 2019, 1:51 pm

    For all the people complaining about the price, if you can find an 1895 for $350; good for you. I couldn’t, even well used. If you look at the MSRP for the 1895gbl, it is $786. So the price difference is $163. For that you get the XS rail, which is $162 msrp itself. So the threading is free. I get that some people cry about seeing “classic” guns “ruined”. But this is a new gun. If Marlin doesn’t offer these, some people are going to modify an actual classic gun. I think they should have gone one step further and used the Midwest Industries M-Lok rail.

  • LAWRAIDER May 6, 2019, 5:57 pm

    All of you guys are looking at this gun the wrong way. This is not a replacement for your grandpappy’s old shooting iron. This is an effective midrange defensive weapon for the modern era. Should everyone rush out and buy one, NO, but if you don’t happen to live in a free state this is a pretty acceptable substitute for an AR or other MSR style rifle. Rails for mounting a red dot or low magnification scope give you quick sight acquisition, and the 30-30 round gives you ballistics on par with 762×39. Is the 5 shot mag ideal, NO, but neither is living in a non 2A friendly state so it is a game of compromises. Think of it not as a replacement for the tried and true aesthetic, but more as an updated version to meet modern demands paying homage to the man on the range defending his home and family. Also if we don’t welcome the “video game generation” into our world of shooting sports and the outdoors It will die along with us. The more welcoming we are the more advocates we will have when it comes to the ballot box. Just my $.02.

  • Chris Baker May 6, 2019, 5:27 pm

    Cool rifle. Now all it needs is a detachable box magazine with 30 rounds to keep you safe. I’d like to have one in 44 mag and one in .357. That would be cool.

  • Ricky Price May 6, 2019, 4:35 pm

    Glad I have a old one. Would not give the time of day for a new one.

    • michael wong May 6, 2019, 11:26 am

      I totally agree, I think my grandpa would really turn over in his grave when he sees the 1k price tag and the ugliness they have done to such a beautiful design. The idea of taking something classic with a rich cultural history and turned it into another ‘tacticool’ product and hike up the price for the young video-gaming crowd really shows a lack of imagination.

  • Rob May 6, 2019, 11:17 am

    I want one. Just waiting for a .357 version

  • Mike in a Truck May 6, 2019, 11:08 am

    I for one am happy to see these new models.I dont need them as I already have an 1895 and 1894 in traditional get up.Glad to see the lever gun-uniquely American is alive and well. Long Live The Lever Action!

  • Dave May 6, 2019, 10:31 am

    So I bought the 464spx for suppressor use, and for the adjustable stock, so my grandkids can use it, and for the ability to mount a light for hog hunting. Sadly it doesn’t have an oversized lever like the Marlin. While it is butt ugly, it makes a lever gun even more useful than it already was. Easily the most practical lever gun ever. I only paid around 4-500. I like this Marlin, but the price is high. I bought a Marlin 338 (JM) but the accuracy was bad so the cartridge potential wasn’t exploited. Unless I find an old Marlin, won’t be buying another.

  • steve arms May 6, 2019, 9:31 am

    not bad but I will stick to my “AUTHENTIC” marlin .444. the old cliche’, “why fix it if it aint broke?” comes to mind. I guess like everything these days, change gets some people all excited. oh, well.

    • papa May 6, 2019, 3:41 pm

      I have my MARLIN 30-30 … and … .444 … $350.00 for each ….

      $1,000 ??? … for a threaded barrel and scope …. O hell NO !!!!

      I have plenty of other platforms that are threaded and scoped

      I do not need “EVERYTHING” in my safe to B threaded


  • Jim Wetzel May 6, 2019, 8:34 am

    Just screwing up one of the last Traditional rifle styles of the old West. Zombie Gun ………Get out

    • Alan Robinson May 6, 2019, 9:13 am

      You can still buy a ‘regular’ one. And with a crossbolt ‘safety’, it ain’t traditional, now is it?
      Hey, but you still get the traditional crappy trigger!

  • silverbill May 6, 2019, 5:59 am

    W O W ::: Looks great, The big [ BUT ] Way to much $$$$$$$ for me, I don’t want to kill anything but Deer. I’ll keep my $150 rifle still will get my Buck every year. I would stop hunting if I had to spend that kind of $$$bucks. Inflation is killing everyone , the working man has no chance.

    Where the Hell is this Country going: I’m sure we are headed for the worst Depression the world has ever seen. No disrespect to anyone:: But look out people ::: We are headed for bad times:::


    • Rick May 6, 2019, 7:24 am

      What inflation? There is no inflation. Unemployment at lowest in decades. Growth sky high. Stocks soaring. What planet are you living on?

      • JORGE GARCIA May 6, 2019, 9:18 am

        Probably living in Hillarys planet, just need to get pelosi to fire up her spaceship and grab Bernie by the wrinkles and go back into their crater.

      • papa May 6, 2019, 3:37 pm

        And if you really believe there is no inflation …. grab your angles and pucker up to kiss your keester … there’s a storm brewing … winds have been blowing for a long time

  • SteveK May 6, 2019, 5:23 am

    What, no RED trigger, no ORANGE lever? How do they expect it to sell?

    • Patrick May 6, 2019, 6:30 pm

      I would be happy to lime green cerokote it for you!! Maybe some black and red trim for effect? Haha Haha. I personally love the old wood stocks.

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