Author:Miller, Payton

I got my first gun magazine staff job in 1977. It was on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles at a multi-story building now fallen victim to the wrecking ball. I'd gone through the usual interview/resume stuff, and the deal was about to be sealed when my prospective Big Boss looked at me and asked, "What kind of rifle do you have?"--correctly guessing my current economic status precluded the use of the plural "rifles."

I'd been borrowing my father's Model 50 J.C. Higgins .270 bolt action for most hunting purposes, but I felt a twinge of guilt in offering up Dad's excellent FN/H&R-made tackdriver as my own. So I blurted out the name of the only centerfire truly mine--which had been a gift from an antique-hustling uncle who had a pretty good knowledge of guns, not to mention estate sales, chicanery and general wheeling-and-dealing.

"I've got a Marlin 336. In .35 Remington," I said proudly. Perhaps too proudly. His response struck me as uncharitably dismissive: "Nobody shoots a .35 Remington." It appeared I'd landed in Turnbolt Central. I was later to learn his particular fetish in hunting rifles revolved around high-zoot, pre-war British bolt-action sporters in 7x57. As well as pre-64 Winchester Model 70s in pretty much anything he could find. All high-dollar stuff, even back then. Anyway, I got hired and became semi-infamous as "the new guy with the .35 levergun"


I shot the 336 for years, then traded it off in a fit of stupidity. A couple decades later I bought another--also in .35 Remington. It shot great--just like the first one, particularly after I mounted a 2.5X Weaver scope on it. Truth be told, I was less than happy with the recently-mandated crossbolt safety button on the replacement, but it really wasn't a deal-breaker. Eventually, that one went the way of all trade bait as well.

I still like a .35. For traditional, tubular-magazine lever-action fans, it's a fine compromise between the .30-30 and the thumping .45-70. Although when you factor in the current hot-rodded levels of .45-70, the .35 is actually closer to the .30-30 in terms of power. That's basically a 200-gr. .358" bullet at a bit over 2,000 fps vs. a .308 bullet a couple of hundred feet faster, how much depending on whether it's 150- or 170-grs. I've used .30-30s and .35s on hogs and deer and they both work just fine--although for anything bigger I'd probably go with the .35.

Funny thing is, although it's a Remington proprietary number, the Big Green rifles...

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