A fabulous rifle, in shorter “Youth” configuration. It is also a wonderful size for people 5′ 5″ or shorter, because I have seen many smaller people use youth rifles with deadly precision. For myself, at 6’0″, a reduced size rifle is like a handy carbine. There is no noticeable increase in recoil, nor any muzzle flip beyond normal. The caliber of .30-30, is a sweetheart and has put plenty of meat on tables, including my own table. Self defense, it is an excellent choice. Hunting, a superb choice up to 200 yards, anything beyond that is possible, but I would hold the range slight of where a shooter’s proficiency is. Whitetail and black bear, no problem. Hogs, too. My own preference is the .45-70 caliber, but a .30-30, I put plenty of lead out of the barrel over the years, and never lost my love of the caliber or the 336. In a youth model, it should build pride for the up-and-coming shooter, who carries what their father or grandfather is carrying. Women, are a natural with the 336 and caliber.
There is only one thing that I would do, and will be doing this year as I am reunited with a 336 that I sold a few decades ago and my cousin no longer desires any gun and wants to return it to me, the original owner, and that is, the walnut stock, I personally take the time to disassemble and give a couple coats of Watco Dark Danish Oil, and buff it out by hand, for a soft but resilient darkened finish. Like my Model-70, people are spellbound when they see the finish. Just be careful because boiled linseed oil (BLO) is in that finish and self-combustion is an issue.
“Youth” models of shotguns and rifles like John’s Marlin 336Y offer a reduced length of pull and shorter barrel lengths making them lighter and more easily handled in tight situations. From that perspective there is a good argument for using them for self-defense. I have often thought about picking up a rifle just like the author’s to use when stalk hunting through thick brush.
On the other hand, the shorter barrels and lighter weight can often result in increased muzzle blast and recoil. These are less than conducive to effective use in self-defense situations.
Standard AR-15s offer similar advantages in terms of weight and length without the trade-off in recoil but muzzle blast will still be a downside.
So, what are your thoughts on youth models for self-defense?