Adding a Shooting Sling
Copyright 2002 by Dennis Dezendorf

I bought my Marlin 336 for the princely sum of $96.00 (US) during the spring of 1975. My wife was pregnant with our first child, and the gun fitted my budget. It also fitted the kind of hunting I did and the places I hunted. The piney woods of Central Louisiana are ideally suited to a lever action rifle, and the Marlin 336 at that time constituted real value in a firearm.

It still constitutes real value. The lever action isn't flashy, isn't considered an extremely accurate gun, isn't fashionable by any means, but it reliably does what it is supposed to do. It is reasonably accurate and when I do my part, will place bullets within 2 inches of where I aim them. It delivers solid, heavy bullets that expand reliably and kill quickly. Guns have come and gone in my personal battery, but somehow the Marlin kept its place in the gun cabinet. All three sons have stepped up to centerfire rifles by carrying the Marlin on deer hunts.

During the 1980's, I became disenchanted with the semi-buckhorn sights on the rifle and added a low-power scope. This scope enhanced the quickness and pointability of the rifle, and contributes more than anything else to the accuracy I can get from the gun. The one thing I didn't like about the gun was that it didn't have a sling. I didn't want a carrying strap, one of those straps so in fashion nowadays with the wide section at the top. I wanted a sling that I could grasp to help steady the rifle while shooting. Straps are fine for carrying a gun, and a lot of people like them. I don't.

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Here is my old Marlin with the swivels as they come from the bag.
Last week, I was wandering through the sporting goods section at Wal-Mart, and found an honest to goodness sling. It is called the Express Sling, and is made by the Outdoor Connection. This sling is 1" wide, and is made from black nylon webbing. Above it on the rack was a set of Uncle Mike's QD swivels to fit my Marlin. The cost of the sling was $5.97. The swivels cost $12.47. They both went in the shopping cart.

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The front swivel, installed.
Installation was straightforward with the instructions supplied. It can be done with normal household tools, assuming you own a drill, some bits, and a screwdriver. The job begins by putting the front swivel around the magazine tube of the rifle. My old eyes had a little problem getting the small screws to match up, but within five minutes, the front swivel was installed.

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Hold your breath while drilling for the rear swivel.
Then, I got out the drill to drill the stock for the rear swivel. Holding my breath, I measured twice and drilled the hole in the walnut. I screwed in the swivel and voila, I was done! Total time for the project was less than an hour, probably less than 30 minutes.

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That's mo-better.
Now my old Marlin is mo-better ready for the woods. It is sporting a new sling which will certainly help carry it to the deer stand, and will certainly help when it comes time to look through the scope at a monster buck. With the addition of the scope and sling, I still have less than $200.00 tied up in the gun and each dent and scratch on the stock have special meaning for me. The gun is tried, true, dependable, and is ready to do whatever job I ask it to do. Who could ask more from a Frugal Outdoorsman?


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