Lever action guns seem to have gone out of style these days in the mainstream firearms culture with nary a word about those old classics which were once a staple of any gun owner’s arsenal.
Marlin, a longtime manufacturer of lever guns is aiming to change that and bring those classics back to the front page with two of their best-selling rifles reworked, modernized and enhanced to meet the needs and fancies of the modern shooter.
Known as the Dark Series, Marlin took their popular 336 and 1895 (Big Bore) lever guns and added a host of upgrades to the guns designed to appeal to a younger and more contemporary-facing segment of the market.
True to their name, instead of the traditional stained wood and shined metal finish you’d expect to find on guns of the sort, the 336 and 1895 Darks both sport a black hardwood stock as well as a slick low-profile matte black parkerized finish -- a slight departure from what you would find on most lever actions on the market today.
Both the 336 and the 1895 Darks come with a 16.25-inch threaded barrel, a Big Loop reloading lever, and an XS Lever Rail with a standard ghost ring peep sight built-in. The rail can fit a variety of optics, including magnified scopes and red dot sights, based on user preference.
As an interesting “tacticool” touch, Marlin included a paracord wrapping on the lever, as well as a paracord sling. The 336 Dark will retail chambered for .30-30 Winchester cartridge, while the 1895 Dark will use the .45-70 Government round.
The 336 was a cornerstone of Marlin’s product lineup for decades, having been continuously produced from 1948 to the present day. The 1895 is an offshoot of the 336 line, using the same receiver as its originator, albeit a different lever action mechanism. Remington now produces both guns under the Marlin brand after buying out the company in 2007.
It’s unclear just how long Marlin will sell the Dark Series guns for, and given the market’s gradual trend away from lever guns, it’s hard to predict just how successful these new offerings will be.
However, if you’re looking to add a lever gun to your collection, Marlin’s website maintains that the suggested retail value for both Dark Series rifles is $949.