Marlin has been known for its lever-action rifles for decades; however, one particular version of them, the Sporting Carbine, is much rarer than others.
The original 1893SC
Marlin firearms, at the time based in New Haven, Connecticut, perfected their standard solid-top, side-ejection 1893 lever-action rifle in 1893 (hence the name) The gun, with a 24" standard barrel, was popular but some wanted something more handy.
For this purpose Marlin shortened the barrel to 20-inches, dropped the saddle ring, and gave it a 2/3 length magazine tube that held five rounds. A hard rubber butt-plate, ivory bead front sight, and rocky mountain rear sight completed the piece. It was only chambered for .30-.30 and .32-Special. The weapon weighed in at a humble 6.5-pounds. The carbine was also fitted with different stock with a gentle carbine-type curve, although it is narrower and the butt plate fits flush to the rear of the stock (does not come up over the top of the stock).
They were manufactured from 1923-1935 with slight modifications. These guns, even with the rifling shot out, run over $1000 for a more or less complete model.
Marlin dusted off the old Sporting Carbine concept in the 1950s and applied it to their new 336 series lever gun. This popular pistol grip carbine had the same flat, solid top receiver and hammer block safety of the 1893 -series but added an improved extractor stamped out of spring steel. Its genuine American black walnut stock harkened back to a simpler day. They are readily identified by their shorter magazine tube and twenty-inch barrel. They were made beginning in 1958 in .30-30, 32 special, and the stout bear-killing .35 Remington. Marlin discontinued this model in 1963.
Note the shorter magazine tube of the middle Marlin-- the sign of a Sporting Carbine from a distance.
These guns, when they are found typically go for $450-$500, about double the price of typical 336 Marlin lever guns. I recently found one at a gunshow for $100 bill and eagerly made the exchange.
Keep your eyes open gang; a lot of people don't know what they have in these old Marlin lever guns.