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Marlin has been in the lever gun biz for a bit over a hundred years. When they first started, their guns were often used to hunt wild game including feral pigs, javelina, and boar. Well, a century later, we still have a hard time finding something that does a better job of it.

Just why is it so good?

The Marlin lever action rifle, no matter whether it\'s a 336, 1895, Model 444, or what, is a short and stubby gun. By rigorous definition, these guns are almost all \'carbine\' sized rifles. When you compare the current Model 336 with its 38.5-inch overall length, right at 7-pound weight (for a gun that is all steel and wood rather than plastic) and gives you a 20-inch Microgroove barrel to your typical bolt action rifle, the Remington Model 700 BDL at 44-inches and 7.6 pounds, you can see the difference.

While an extra six inches or eight ounces doesn\'t sound like a lot, remember that every bit of those count on the hunt. Further, the Marlin lever gun gives you a faster reload and larger magazine capacity, all while allowing you to keep your eye on the target. By definition, these lever guns are made for the brush-- where the hogs are.

Special considerations of caliber.

When you go hog hunting, you want to think of the animal you are going up against. These brutes are dangerous, thick-skinned animals. In many areas, they have become the apex predator, killing and eating the young of other game animals and ruining habitat while over breeding to increase their own numbers. They literally destroy their enemies and make friends.

Experienced hog hunters will tell you that you want a nice, heavy round that can impart a huge amount of kinetic energy into the hog while also sufficient to penetrate their thick hide and bone structure. While hunting for feral hogs on the Pearl River as a kid, I personally saw .22WMR rounds fail to penetrate even a small hog. On the same hunt I experienced one-shot stops with a Glenfield Model 30 (the Big Box version of the 336) in \'thuddy thuddy.\'

(You just have to love a cartridge like the 200-grain .35 Remington when it comes to hog hunting)

Here\'s where the Marlin cowboy guns shine. They are throwbacks to when hunters crawled the mountains and valleys of this country and at any minute could come face to face with a brown bear or cougar. Back then a short-barreled rifle, quick to the shoulder and chambered for a large caliber round that could be reloaded with the flick of a lever, was needed. These same attributes mimic hog hunting. With the exception of helicopter-borne hunts, going after this game is mostly at close range. That\'s where the classic chamberings of Marlin lever guns like .35 Remy, .45-70, and .30-.30 come in handy. Newer offerings like .444 Marlin weren\'t around in those old days, but they still deliver big medicine to the same prescription.

(Nothing says I love you like .30-.30)

From /\">Boarmasters, this Marlin 336 in .35 Remmy is a beast against the boars. \"Just wanted to share my gun since I finally got to use it for its intended purpose recently. It\'s been two decades in the making. I bought this Marlin used from a co-worker in 1988. He bought it new in 1970 (it has a 100th Anniversary 1870-1970 brass medallion in the stock), sighted in the factory buckhorn rear/gold bead front sights with 5 rounds, cleaned it and never shot it again. I bought it for $150. It\'s a .35 Remington caliber. I refinished the glossy stock and forearm to a satin oil finish and my dad cut the barrel down to just a hair over 16\". I figured it would make a wonderfully short rifle for heavy brush and woods use. Many years later I decided to use the newly innovated Scout Mount to top it off with a Leupold Scout Scope like Jeff Coopers aid was best for dangerous game. It\'s just 2.5 power with an intermediate eye relief so you just look at your target, raise the gun with both eyes open, then the crosshairs are right there and you pull the trigger with total peripheral vision still intact. I used a Marlin leather sling and this gun brought down my 215 pounds wild boar in Eastern Tennessee with one shot through the left shoulder, the left lung, the heart (right in the middle!), the right lung, and out the right side rib cage. 200 grain Remington Core-Lok softpoint.This gun carries easily and it\'s short barrel was terrific in the heavily wooded area we were hunting.\"

Bonus of revolver caliber guns

Many of these guns also have the side benefit of being chambered in .357 and .44 Magnum. This means that hog hunters can hit the trails with a not only their brush rifle but also a back-up revolver on their hip or back on the horse, side by side, or four-wheeler that takes the same ammunition. One box to fill them all, so to speak.

It\'s no mystery why so many hog hunt pictures have Marlin lever guns resting somewhere in them. Its only a mystery as to why there is still a hog problem.
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