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Marlin X7VH in .308 Winchester
The Marlin X7 series of bolt action rifles has been available for a few years now in Australia in its standard weight barrel configuration. Marlin introduced the new Varmint model in 2011 and a few samples of this rifle found their way down under. I was luck to get the chance to test out one of these rifles in .308 Winchester.

This rifle is outstanding value. Aussie shooters now have access to a heavy barrelled .308 that won't cost a fortune. This rifle was recently purchased new for under $600.

A lot od Aussie shooters are now familiar with Savage rifles and the Marlin shares a lot of the same features.

This rifle featured a 26 inch, heavy chromolly barrel. The twist is 1 : 12 with button rifling that is suitable for projectiles such as the 155 grain Dyer HBC.

The barrel is held in place with a Savage type barrel nut which makes changing the barrels quite easy.

The magazine holds four rounds and the safety is on the right hand side of the action similar to a Remington 700.

The bolt body is fluted like a Weatherby and the bolt head is of the floating head type similar again to the Savage. This makes for excellent accuracy.

The trigger is similar to the Savage accutrigger with the safety feature that requires the blade to be depressed before the trigger can be released. The trigger is adjustable and this rifle came set at its mid range setting of 3.5lbs.

The Marlin X7 bolt has a floating head that self aligns its recoil lugs with the action bearing surface.

The extraction system utilizes a plunger and extractor similar to the Savage bolt head.

This makes for a very smooth action with positive extraction of cases.

A large hole is incorporated into the bolt head that aligns itself with a similar hole in the side of the action to vent gas sideways away from the shooter should a primer be pierced or a case is ruptured.

I started of with running the rifle in with a few factory Remington 180 grain hunting loads. Cleaning between each shot. After four shots I tried a three shot group with a load of 44gn of AR2206H behind a 155 grain Dyer HBC projectile. 

The first group measured just over 1 inch so I gave the rifle barrel another good clean back to bare metal. This time the barrel cleaned up quite quickly.

Following the clean I went back out and tried another three shot group. This group is pictured to the right.

At about 1/4 inch this rifle is already starting to show excellent potential. For a rifle that costs under $600 this is unreal accuracy and far exceeded my expectations. 

Function of this rifle was perfect and without fault, however there are some things about this rifle that I don't particularly like.

The stock, although pillar bedded is simply a cheap plastic stock and not ideal for this type of rifle given its potential for accuracy. A good solid custom stock would be much better. 

The trigger is fine for a hunting trigger. However on a varmint or target rifle, a better trigger would bring out the full potential of this rifle.

As an entry level rifle for F-Class target shooting or long range field shooting this rifle is top value. Add an aftermarket stock and a custom trigger and this rifle has the potential to match it with rifles costing many hundreds of dollars more. 

Over the next few weeks this rifle will be shot in a few F-Class matches to see how it performs. I will report my findings.

Copyright    2012