Ten years ago today, I drove from Socorro, NM, to Los Lunas, NM, and spent some of my Christmas money. I purchased a Marlin 336, .30-30 Win., lever-action rifle for $294.97. I love that gun, and it may be some of the best money I ever spent.
Since that day, it has accompanied me on a number of adventures camping, hiking and so on. Its smooth, reliable action has seen dust, rain, and snow, and looks no worse for wear.
Once, I went for a hike on some BLM land with my family, looking for fossils. A rancher and his wife saw us out there and came to kick us off- but it is BLM land. At first, they objected to us being there, and then they objected to the rifle. Then, the man caught himself mid-sentence; he was telling a man not to carry a rifle on public land, just as every anti-gun person had ever done. He then told me that someone had shot up his windmill, and so he was on guard, but that it obviously wasn’t us. He then apologized, and said, “If there’s people out here shooting at windmills, you might want to carry that rifle, and my cell phone number.”
I sometimes take it out with some drastically slower hand-loads. I don’t have my reloading log in front of me, but it is a few grains of unique behind a cast lead bullet with a copper gas check. They are incredibly fun to shoot, and the recoil is light enough that everyone can enjoy them. We’ll shoot those, and then I’ll put factory loads in for camping and hiking.
I’ve had quite a few good memories with this rifle in my hands!