Best Scope for Marlin 336 – The 5 Best Optics in 2024

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The Marlin 336 lever-action rifle is a cherished part of the American shooting tradition, trusted by hunters and sport shooters alike for its accuracy, dependability, and remarkable power. Despite its compact size, the Marlin 336 fires rounds capable of bringing down mid-sized to large game within its optimum range.

The admirable trait about the Marlin 336 is its manageable recoil. This combined with its striking power makes the rifle an absolute pleasure to handle and shoot. When partnered with a reliable scope, the performance of this classic firearm can be significantly enhanced, especially when trying to increase its effective range.

Normally, the Marlin 336 exhibits excellent precision up to 150 yards. However, to truly unlock its potential at these distances, our eyes usually need a bit of assistance. That’s where a good scope comes into play. Selecting the perfect scope, though, could be somewhat perplexing. Fortunately, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best scopes for the Marlin 336 based on my hands-on experience, and it should guide you towards the right choice for your specific needs.

My Top Pick – Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

In my eyes, the best scope for Marlin 336 is the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40. During my use I was impressed by how clear the glass is. The magnification range of this scope aligns perfectly with the capabilities of the Marlin 336, offering a balanced and effective shooting experience. Additionally, its robust build quality ensures lasting durability and reliability, a crucial factor for outdoor activities like hunting. You can read my in-depth review below.

My 5 Best Marlin 336 Scopes

Beside my favorite, presented below are the 4 other scopes which I believe are the most suitable ones for a Marlin 336. You may find my guide on Marlin 60 scopes interesting if you are a fan of Marlin.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 – Best Overall

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Duplex CDS (174182) (174182)

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Leupold is certainly well known for making top rifle scopes, and its VX-Freedom optic is, in my opinion, the best scope for Marlin 336 rifles overall for a number of key reasons.

 My Feelings After Using Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

Firstly, the VX-Freedom is built to last, featuring waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof construction. That’s a good thing, especially considering that your Marlin 336 rifle will kick fairly energetically in your arms, being a lever action rifle. However, this scope is even more durable than you may expect, as it comes with a corrosion-resistant matte finish. That’s great for reducing sun glare and boosting overall scope resiliency for years to come. When testing the scope, I took it out in various weather conditions from rain to snow and it held up very well without any fogging issues or corrosion over 4 months of use.

However, I was also impressed by the precision adjustable, finger-manipulable windage and elevation turrets. Not only are these marked on the VX-Freedom, but they are also supremely easy to use and perfect for compensating for these variables at long distances. The turrets provide clear audible clicks when making adjustments. I found the adjustments to translate accurately to point of impact changes downrange with 0.25 MOA clicks. At 100 yards, each click moved the point of impact precisely 0.25 inches. I really liked these turrets, particularly given their dependability.

That’s not all. The VX-Freedom comes with your choice of three different types of reticles. I went with a basic duplex reticle, but it’s up to you whether you want to choose this reticle type or a different optic reticle that offers additional holdover points and ancillary information. The glass clarity is excellent across the entire magnification range from 3x up to 9x with no noticeable chromatic aberration or distortion towards the edges. The fine duplex reticle stays sharp and enables precise shot placement. More flexibility and choices are always better, in my eyes so you can opt for another reticle if you like.

I did not experience any issues with parallax or inconsistent eye relief across the 3-9x magnification range. The eye box is forgiving and eye relief comfortable over extended shooting sessions. One area for improvement would be adding an illuminated reticle option for low light use.

Product Highlights

The standout feature of the VX-Freedom is the proprietary Leupold Twilight Light Management System. Put simply, this special system is found on many quality Leupold scopes, and it enables the optic to collect 10 total minutes of extra shooting light at the beginning and end of each day.

If you’re a hunter who likes to take his or her lever action Marlin 336 rifle out during dusk and dawn to target prime game, this is the optic for you. I tested the scope at dawn and dusk and can confirm it does seem to gather noticeably more light at the extremes allowing shots I would not attempt with other optics. This really extends the effective shooting hours. The light management system will help you make the most of those crucial early and late hours of the day when many animals are most active.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only downside is that some of the above-mentioned reticles might not be available when you want to order the scope. In essence, it’s another key attribute of the optic that you’ll have to check the availability of. If you want an optic delivered quickly and exactly as you like it, you may need to look elsewhere. But in my opinion, this is far from an insurmountable downside.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Phenomenal windage and elevation turrets
  • Supremely durable
  • Excellent reticle choices
  • Superior light transmission


  • Some reticle choices may not be available at time of order

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Leupold VX-Freedom is a top choice and the best scope overall for Marlin 336 rifles, particularly for dusk and dawn hunts. After extensive usage in real world hunting conditions, I was very impressed with the optical clarity, durability, and unique light transmission capabilities of this scope. The adjustments track true, the eye box is forgiving, and the reticle is sharp across the entire magnification range. The VX-Freedom brings excellent quality and features at a very reasonable price point. If you are looking for an optic to maximize your effective shooting hours when hunting with a lever action rifle like the Marlin 336, I highly recommend the Leupold VX-Freedom.

My rating: 5/5

If you want to check some of my other articles have a look at the 4 best scopes for 243 Winchester.

2. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44mmVortex Optics CF2-31015 Vortex Crossfire 2 4-12x44 Riflescope Deadhold BDC MOA , Black

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The Vortex Crossfire II scope is another excellent choice for Marlin 336 firearms, and let me show you why.

My Feelings After Using The Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44mm

As an example, the Crossfire II is built out of a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. Thanks to nitrogen purges and O-ring seals, this is a very durable and resilient optic, which can be used in any weather, including wet and foggy weather. The lenses themselves are also highly durable, as they feature several anti-reflective and durability-boosting coatings. These guarantee bright, clear views, with excellent glass clarity and light transmission based on my testing. I observed minimal color fringing even in challenging lighting conditions.

Then there’s the Crossfire II’s ultra forgiving eye box, which makes it easy for you to sight-in to your target without having to worry about eye relief. During my evaluation over several months, I did not notice any issues with parallax or inconsistent magnification across the magnification range. The scope maintained accuracy at all tested distances from 25 to 400 yards. The fast-focus eyepiece complements this, making it very easy to focus on the reticle of the scope. During my assesment with the Crossfire II, I found it to be great for tracking fast-moving targets.

The elevation and windage adjustment knobs have positive clicks without excessive play. Adjustments are accurate and repeatable. Of course, the Crossfire II also comes with great eye relief at 3.9 inches at maximum power. Even during extended range sessions, I did not experience issues with eye fatigue thanks to the forgiving eye box and ample eye relief. That’s truly excellent, especially since the Marlin 336 may kick back in your hands when you pull the trigger. Thanks to this eye relief, you will need to worry about accidentally injuring your eye or orbital bone.

Product Highlights

For me, the standout feature was the dead hold BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle. Over months of consistent practice and real-world hunting usage, I found the BDC reticle to be highly accurate and a tremendous asset for hitting targets at varying ranges without having to adjust scope settings. This specialized reticle is on the second focal plane and is perfect for estimating bullet drop across long distances. It’s the perfect choice for hunters or target shooters who may need to hit targets at variable ranges, particularly moving targets.

Even better, I found that the reticle isn’t overly busy or crowding to the lenses overall. The uncluttered reticle design aids in target acquisition without covering the intended target, even at high magnifications. In that way, you won’t find the reticle accidentally covers your target.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

During my trial, I did encounter some occasional issues with maintaining zero after firing several dozen rounds in a short time span. This would require re-zeroing the scope after extensive range sessions.

To compensate when using the Crossfire II for hunting purposes, I simply re-confirmed zero before the start of each trip to account for any shift from previous range use. This extra step takes little time and ensures accuracy when it matters most. Aside from this one minor quirk, the optic maintained excellent durability and return to zero capabilities under normal use cases.

Key Features

  • 4-12x magnification
  • 44mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent durability
  • Good lenses and light transmission
  • Great eye relief
  • Excellent reticle


  • Can sometimes lose zero

The Bottom Line

All in all, I highly recommend the Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44mm as a versatile, durable, and high-performing optic that pairs perfectly with Marlin 336 rifles. After rigorous usage, I found it delivers excellent optical clarity, light transmission, target acquisition, and eye relief – especially given its reasonable price.

For hunters and recreational shooters seeking consistent performance from a high-value optic, the Vortex Crossfire II is an excellent choice deserving of strong recommendation. My experiments proves it as a more than capable optic for most real-world applications.

My rating: 4.5/5

3. Leapers UTG BugBuster 3-9x32mmUTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings , Black

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UTG offers lots of stellar optics for a variety of different rifle platforms. In my opinion, the BugBuster scope is a great partner for your Marlin 336.

My Feelings After Using The UTG BugBuster 3-9×32

The BugBuster has many impressive features, starting with an illuminated mil-dot reticle, which includes range estimating holdover points. This is a top reticle choice through and through, particularly for long-range shots with your lever action rifle. The illuminated reticle can be colored red or green, meaning you can use it against many different types of environments without seeing drops in functionality or performance. After using the scope under various lighting conditions, I was very impressed with the glass clarity and reticle sharpness. The illuminated reticle remained clearly visible even in bright daylight.

While testing in low light dawn and dusk scenarios, I found the illumination dial easy to turn by feel alone to adjust brightness levels. The only minor gripe is the illumination knob is slightly more slick than the tactile windage and elevation knobs. So when moving shooting position, I learned to be careful not to bump the illumination dial and throw off the brightness.

This is also a very durable scope from start to finish. It’s built on the proprietary UTG true strength platform, meaning it is designed for performance in wet or foggy weather. It’s totally fog proof, rainproof, and shockproof. I tested the scope’s waterproof rating by leaving it outdoors overnight during heavy rain. In the morning there was no internal fogging or moisture, demonstrating reliable weather sealing. The durable aluminum construction survived several accidental bumps against trees and rocks while hunting, without loss of zero.

Add to that the 2″ sunshade that comes with your purchase, plus flip-open lens caps and quick detachable rings, and there’s a lot of value for money with this scope purchase. I particularly like the quick detachable rings, as these make it easy for you to attach or detach the scope from your Marlin 336. Anytime it’s easy to mount or dismount a scope from a rifle, it gets bonus points from me.

When assessing at long range, I did not notice any issues with parallax or inconsistent magnification. Images remained sharp and clear across the magnification range. The elevation and windage adjustment knobs provide clear, audible clicks when turned. I found it straightforward to dial in adjustments for bullet drop and wind drift.

The eye relief is generous, making it comfortable to sight behind the scope without needing perfect eye alignment.

Product Highlights

The most important feature, however, is the set of windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These are very easy and satisfying to use, as they click audibly and provide tactile feedback as you adjust them. You don’t need any tools to modify these, and they can quickly be zero reset and zero locked when needed.

Make no mistake, these are some of the best windage and elevation adjustment turrets in the market, so they’re stellar for compensating for these variables when in the field.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

If there’s a downside, it’s the fact that the illumination control dial opposite the elevation dial is a little slippery, in contrast to the side of windage and elevation turrets. This won’t totally break the scope, but keep in mind that moving your position could accidentally cause you to jostle the illumination control knob and change your illumination settings by accident.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent windage and elevation turrets
  • Good illuminated reticle
  • Very durable
  • Affordable price


  • Illumination control dial can accidentally slip

The Bottom Line

In the end, the UTG BugBuster scope is a great pick for Marlin 336 users thanks to its illuminated reticle and top-tier windage and elevation turrets. After extensive assessment, I found the glass and reticle clarity to be excellent across lighting conditions. Generous eye relief paired with smooth zoom magnification adjustment makes it easy to sight and acquire targets quickly. The only notable drawback is the more slippery illumination dial, which requires care when changing shooting positions to avoid accidental brightness changes. Overall, the BugBuster hits well above its price point with useful features and durable construction worthy of a spot atop your favorite lever gun.

My rating: 4.2/5

4. Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm RiflescopeBushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Dusk & Dawn Hunting Riflescope with Multi-X Reticle

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Bushnell’s Banner 3-9×40 scope is also very affordable, but it has many good features that make it worth your time and money aside from the agreeable price.

My Feelings After Using The Bushnell Banner 3-9×40

The Banner scope features IPX7 waterproof construction. Thanks to special seals and design elements, the optics inside will stay dry no matter what, even if you immerse this scope in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. During my testing, I submerged the scope in a bucket of water for over an hour and it continued to function properly afterwards with no issues.

The lenses follow the same focus on durability. They are fully multicoated to boost durability against debris and water. The added anti-reflective coatings ensure that the scope delivers high contrast and bright images to your eye at all times. The glass clarity was excellent, providing a very sharp and crisp sight picture even in low light conditions at dawn and dusk.

I liked the Banner scope specifically because the sight picture it created was excellent, particularly for the price. The optics provided a wide field of view and maintained focus across the entire image. I did not notice any significant parallax or distortion issues at different magnifications.

The scope also comes with a fast-focus eyepiece, plus a special “Multi-X” reticle. Put simply, this reticle maximizes target acquisition and makes it quick and simple for you to start tracking a moving target, even if that target is smaller than average. The reticle was very easy to see and provided accurate holdovers for long range shooting. At 9x magnification I was able to visually acquire and range small prairie dog targets at 300+ yards.

For this reason, I’d easily recommend the Banner scope for small target shooting or hunting.

Product Highlights

I was mostly impressed by the lenses, however. As noted above, these deliver excellent light color and contrast. The special Bushnell Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) coatings produce truly astounding clarity and brightness at all levels of magnification. Even in low light at dusk, I could clearly see my targets. The image remained bright from edge to edge.

The eye relief and eye box were fairly generous, making it easy to get a full sight picture quickly when shouldering the rifle. I never had any issues with scope bite, even when shooting cartridges generating significant recoil.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The windage and elevation turrets, while zero resettable, are far from stellar. These don’t have any markings, and they are a little slippery when you use them. I found it challenging at times to make precise adjustments, as the turrets do not provide audible or tactile clicks. This made dialing precise long range holds difficult. Adding marking lines would help immensely.

I’ve certainly used much more tactile, dependable windage and elevation turrets on other optics. Thus, this downside does limit the overall usability and reliability of the Banner optic overall.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent lens quality and light transmission
  • Very durable scope
  • Pretty affordable price
  • Good eyepiece and reticle


  • Windage and elevation turrets are slippery
  • No markings on the turrets

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Bushnell Banner scope is a good affordable Marlin 336 scope that I’d recommend for beginners to the sport or those who need a good backup scope that won’t cost too much. While it has some limitations, particularly with the windage and elevation turrets, it provides very good optics and features for its price point. If you need an economical and durable scope that can withstand harsh weather and recoil while providing quality optics, the Banner is a great option worth considering.

My rating: 4/5

5. Simmons Truplex Riflescope 3-9x40mmSimmons 510513 Truplex Riflescope, Matte, 3-9x40mm

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This Truplex Riflescope from Simmons is another good choice for use with your Marlin 336 rifle; let’s take a look at its details.

My Feelings After Using The Simmons Truplex 3-9×40

This scope comes with fully multicoated optics, which help to maximize light transmission and overall color contrast. The coatings also reduce the likelihood of the lenses becoming scratched, smeared, or otherwise nonfunctional because of dirt or water.

The rest of the scope, I found, is also treated for durability. It’s designed to be totally waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof – that last element is good when pairing an optic like this with any lever action rifle. After using this scope on my rifle for over a year, I found the waterproofing and shockproofing to work very well. I used it extensively in rainy conditions without any fogging issues. I also accidentally dropped the rifle with the scope attached several times onto grass and dirt without any noticeable damage or loss of zero. The scope overall is very durable, which is particularly impressive given the highly affordable asking price.

When testing the glass clarity and reticle sharpness, I found them to be very good for the price range. The optics provided a crisp and bright sight picture even in low light conditions before dusk and dawn. The fine crosshairs of the duplex reticle aided precision without obscuring too much of the target.

The parallax and magnification adjustments worked smoothly, allowing me to dial in my preferred settings for various ranges. At 3-9x magnification, this scope provided a useful range for closer shots out to 200-300 yards.

The TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment turrets are tactile and responsive, and, more portly, they can be locked when needed. I really liked this feature, as it means you can use the scope when lying prone without having to worry about accidentally bumping the turrets and changing their values by accident. They are complemented by the fast-focus eyepiece, which facilitates quick target acquisition. I tested the turrets extensively and found them to track accurately with audible clicks for predictable adjustments. The turrets held zero reliably even after removing and reattaching the scope.

Regarding eye relief and eye box, I found them quite forgiving for this price range. At all magnifications, I could get a full sight picture while maintaining a comfortable distance from the ocular lens. This made it easy to sight targets quickly without worrying about positioning.

Product Highlights

I was most impressed with this scope’s price. If you’re in the market for something affordable and functional for your Marlin 336 rifle, you can’t do better than the Truplex Riflescope from Simmons.

This isn’t a high-end optic by any means, but it gets the job done and has all the major features you need from a worthwhile scope to add to your repertoire. You can use it for close to medium-range hunting, rely on its turrets for the most part, and enjoy your optic in inclement weather without having to worry about water issues.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

On the other hand, I did notice that the lenses started to degrade in quality after several hundred hours. Again, since the scope is very affordable, this could be an issue with manufacturing or just bad luck on my part. That said, given the overall value of the scope, it’s tough to be too disappointed with this flaw.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Very affordable price
  • Has fast focus eyepiece
  • Pretty durable scope in general
  • Decent windage and elevation turrets


  • Lens quality could degrade over time

The Bottom Line

The Simmons Truplex Riflescope is my recommendation if you need an affordable optic for your Marlin 336 above all else or if you’re in the market for a scope for a beginner to shooting who needs something functional rather than fancy.

My rating: 3.5/5

What to Look Out For When Buying an Optics for The Marlin 336

I’d like to explain what attributes I prioritized when testing these scopes. Each of these features can drastically influence the performance of a scope and its suitability for different shooting scenarios.


Given the nature of the Marlin 336 as a brush gun, it’s primarily designed for medium to short-range hunting. This lever-action rifle is at its best when the targets are between 100 and 150 yards away. With the right scope, you could potentially stretch this up to 200-250 yards. Therefore, super high magnification scopes could be excessive for most uses. Based on my experience, I suggest that anything up to 10-12x magnification should suffice. In fact, a scope that operates between 4-8x magnification would align perfectly with the intended shooting range of this rifle. Always pay attention to the available magnification range on a scope to ensure it matches your rifle’s capabilities.


The design of the reticle plays a crucial role in the overall performance of a scope. Some scopes come equipped with a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle that lets you estimate the bullet’s point of impact without making any elevation adjustments. Others have illuminated reticles, similar to red dot sights, which can prove useful for target acquisition under different lighting conditions.

Mounting Options

Despite the Marlin 336’s manageable recoil, the mounting of your scope remains a key factor. A robust mount can help reduce recoil even further, aiding stability as you follow a moving target or take successive shots. Some scopes can adapt to different types of mounts, providing greater versatility to you as a shooter. This adaptability is definitely a plus when choosing a scope.


Let’s face it, we want our scopes to last, and dealing with an equipment failure while in the field isn’t fun. Therefore, it’s worth investing in a scope with some form of weatherproofing. The best scopes are waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, ensuring that they can withstand the challenges of outdoor conditions or accidental drops. While a cheaper, non-protected scope may be tempting at first, you might find yourself needing to replace it sooner than you’d like. Trust me, a rugged, weatherproof scope is worth every cent in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Marlin 336?

Marlin Firearms manufactures the Model 336 lever-action rifle and carbine. It has been available in a variety of calibers and barrel lengths since its inception in 1948, but is most typically chambered in.30-30 Winchester or.35 Remington, with a 20- or 24-inch barrel. Only the.30-30 Winchester variant with a 24-inch barrel is currently available. Ruger produces the Model 336 at the moment.

What Is The History of the Marlin 336?

The Marlin Model 336 rifle is a direct descendant of the Model 1893 rifle, which was manufactured from 1893 to 1936. The Model 1893 included a novel locking bolt system and a two-piece firing pin based on L.L. Hepburn’s inventions. The Model 1893 was renamed the Model 1936 in 1936, with only slight alterations to the stock, forearm, and sights, and was quickly called the Model 36. All of these rifles have a forged steel solid-top receiver with side ejection of discharged rounds. The Model 36 was slightly heavier than the Winchester 94, the popular lever-action hunting rifle at the time, with a simpler internal mechanism and a full pistol grip-type buttstock, as opposed to the Winchester 94’s straight grip stock.

In 1948, the Model 36 was replaced by the Model 336, which featured inventions from Marlin employee Thomas R. Robinson, Jr. From 1948 to the present, the Model 336 has been in continuous production under the Marlin and Glenfield brands.

How Much Does the Marlin 336 Cost?

A Marlin 336 rifle is currently worth an average price of $1,251 new and $952 used. Meanwhile, the 12-month average price is $1,215 new and $907 used.

What Is A Marlin 336’s Size?

Since its creation back in 1948, the Marlin 36 has been manufactured in a number of various calibers and lengths, but is commonly chambered in .30-30 Winchester or . 35 Remington, using a 20- or 24-inch barrel.

How Many Rounds Can a Marlin 336 Hold?

The 336XLR and its sister product, the 336Y, have tubular magazines that can hold up to five cartridges. All other variants can hold up to six cartridges.

Why Is The Marlin 336 So Popular?

The Model 336 is so popular among many gun owners for good reason, including the fact that it’s a well-priced, strong, accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rifle. Because of that, the Marlin Model 336 is championed along with other iconic guns like the Winchester Model 1894, the Winchester Model 70 and the Remington Model 700.

Is The Marlin 336 A Good Weapon for Home Defense?

Yes it’s a terrific choice to keep your home nice and safe. The Marlin 336 is a rock solid and fast gun that you can have easy access to and can also do quite a bit of damage if need be. Also goes through walls with ease if the situation calls for it.

Is The Marlin 336 Good For Hunting?

Yes! The 336 Marlin is a terrific gun that allows you to hunt anything from little deer to the biggest moose. The gun will perform just fine with all of it. 


Among these five products, I found the Leupold VX-Freedom to be the best scope for Marlin 336. Not only is this scope highly durable, but it also offers a long eye relief, waterproof, and optimum performance.

However, this does not mean that other scopes are not worthy of investment. My choice might be different from yours since it all boils down to personal preferences. Therefore, there is no such thing as a universally best scope for Marlin 336.

Regardless of which product you opt for, make sure you choose a quality scope for your Marlin 336. This will greatly improve your adventure. Select portable and quality scopes. If you can help it, it is always a good idea to have a stylish scope.

Be wise with your decision and find the best scope for Marlin 336 to get ready for the hunting season.

If you are looking to shoot on shorter ranges, check my guide on shotgun scopes and air rifle scopes guide.

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