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Marlin XL7 Review
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Marlin XL7 review
The Pro-Fire trigger is very similar to that of the Savage 110, but employs a side-mounted rather than a tang-mounted safety.


The Marlin XL7ís Pro-Fire trigger is very similar to Savageís AccuTrigger in that it has a trigger lock that juts out from a slot in the finger piece. Unless this lightly tensioned lock is pulled fully rearward, the trigger will not release. Unlike the Savage, however, which has its safetyís thumb piece sliding in a groove at the bottom of the receiver tang, the Marlin XL7ís is a two-position side safety that does not lock the bolt when engaged. The trigger mechanism is sheathed within a very substantial housing that is bolted to the receiver at both ends. The Marlin XL7ís trigger is user-adjustable down to 21/2 pounds.

The Marlin XL7ís magazine is a blind box affair, which is not only the most economical arrangement, but also results in a stiffer stock than with a hinged floorplate or a detachable box. Itís a sheet metal affair that has a lip at the top front that engages a slot in the bottom of the receiver, while a flange at the rear with a hole in it allows passage of a machine bolt which threads into the receiver to secure the box. The Marlin XL7ís follower is plastic and is powered by a conventional ďWĒ flat spring.

The Marlin XL7ís injection molded stock is a rather good example of American classic lines. The straight comb line is almost but not quite parallel to the bore line; thereís about a 1/8" drop between the point of the comb and the heel of the butt. A nicely shaped cheek piece, molded-in checkering panels with sharp diamonds, a highly effective Soft-Tech recoil pad, and conventional sling swivel studs complete the stock accoutrements. The Marlin XL7ís stock supports the receiver ring and rear tang, but the barrel is free-floating the entire length of the fore-end except at the tip where a mild 5 pounds of dampening pressure is exerted.

To get the test rifle range ready for this review we mounted one of the new Weaver Classic Extreme 2.5-10x50 scopes. Itís one of three new 30mm scopes that will go a long way to restoring this iconic name in the world of rifle scopes. The new line consists of three models: in addition to the one just described, thereís a 1.5-4.5x24 and a 2.5-10x56. All three feature one-piece tubes, multi-coated optics, fast-focus eyepiece, free-wheeling resettable W/E adjustments, side parallax adjustment, illuminated dot reticles, and a minimum of 4" of eye relief. Using Warne QD lever rings and the Weaver bases supplied with the rifle I had the big Weaver atop the Marlin in short order. Out of the box the rifle weighed 7 lbs on the nose; with the scope aboard, 8 3/4 lbs.

Scrounging around my ammo supplies I came up with only three 25-06 loads, but thatís enough to get an idea of how the Marlin XL7 shoots: Remingtonís 100- and 120-grain Core Lokts, and Federalís Premium 115-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. The table above shows how the Marlin XL7 performed from the bench at 100 yards shooting five three-shot groups. Range conditions were good, with almost no wind and temps in the low 70s.

The trigger on the test rifle broke crisply at just over three pounds, and there was no discernible creep present. It is a very good trigger. In fact, it is a very good rifle. No, there is nothing classy or elegant about it, and there are no outstanding or innovative features to be found, but the action is quite smooth and everything works the way itís supposed to. There were no failures to feed or eject, and accuracy was better than average. In light of the Marlin XL7ís price ó and all guns must be reviewed in terms of price ó itís a lot of rifle for the money. I guess you could describe it as, in the world of bolt-action rifles, a worker bee. But what a worker it be!

Chart

Largest GroupSmallest GroupAverage
Remington 100-gr. Core Lokt1.45"0.80"1.1"
Federal 115-gr. Bear Claw
1.85"1.05"1.65"
Remington 120-gr. Core Lokt2.3"0.85"1.7"



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The VARMINT HUNTER Magazineģ, a 208-page publication put together for shooters by shooters. Varmint Hunters Association, Inc. hosts several 600-yard IBS matches, a coyote calling contest, and an annual Jamboree in Fort Pierre, SD. The Jamboree is a week-long shooting event known as Ďa summer camp for shootersí.

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