Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Marlin XL7 Review
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First off, the Marlin XL7 has the number 7 in its designation. Though it didnít help the Marlin MR7, you canít very well expect a bolt-action rifle to sell if it doesnít have that magic number somewhere in its moniker!

Kidding aside, the Marlin XL7 has a lot going for it, not the least of which is its price. Normally, I mention the cost of a rifle at the end of a review, but in this case, with as many good design features as this rifle offers, its price just may be its strongest point. The Marlin XL7 will sell at a street price under $300 dressed in basic black, and right around $300 with the same stock finished in Realtree All-Purpose Green camo.

Obviously, for an honest-to-gosh big game rifle to carry such an affordable price tag, it has to be a straightforward design and one that is easy to manufacture and assemble. In this respect the Marlin XL7 borrows a lot from the Savage 110. The receiver of the Marlin XL7 is tubular, like the Savage, and employs a separate, washer-type recoil lug that is sandwiched between the face of the receiver ring and the barrel lock nut. In other words, the barrel is fitted to the receiver just like the Savage 110. The Marlin XL7ís lock nut is threaded onto the barrel shank, a headspace gauge is inserted into the chamber, and the barrel is threaded into the receiver (with the bolt in battery) until it snugs up on the headspace gauge. At that point the lock nut is tightened against the barrel lock nut and headspacing is accomplished. The Marlin XL7ís receiver, incidentally, is drilled and tapped to accept the same scope mount bases as the Model 70 Winchester.

Marlin XL7 review
The bolt can be dismantled to the extent shown here without using tools. Unscrewing the striker assembly allows the head to be removed from the bolt body.

The Marlin XL7ís bolt is an investment casting with an integral handle shaped much like that of the Ruger 77. The Marlin XL7ís bolt body carries six longitudinal flutes and employs a separate bolt head. A tenon at the rear of the Marlin XL7ís bolt head slips into the bolt body and is held there by a cross pin that has a hole through its center to allow passage of the firing pin. With the exception of the gas baffle itís the same arrangement as on the Savage 110, right down to its twin-lug bolt head with a recessed face, plunger-type ejection, an extractor that slides radially within a T-slot in the face of the right locking lug, along with an anti-bind groove that engages a lip at the bottom of the lug raceway.

The Marlin XL7ís bolt shroud and striker assembly can be removed from the bolt body without tools, but it helps to have a rag to protect your hand as you unscrew it. Oddly enough, you canít reassemble it without pliers. A 1" length of very fine threads mates the striker assembly to the bolt body. The Marlin XL7ís striker assembly unscrews in the clockwise direction, opposite convention. With the striker assembly removed, the pin holding the bolt head can be pushed out, allowing the latter to be pulled from the bolt body.

The bolt stop/release on the Marlin XL7 could not be simpler; itís like on the Model 70, a piece of sheet metal with an upward extension that juts up just behind the receiver bridge on the left side. Pushing down on the extension pivots the lever out of the raceway.

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