View Full Version : Marlin XL7 w/scope

July 31, 2011, 05:05 PM
I am looking to buy a bolt action rifle in 30-06. I was looking at the Mossberg ATR 100 but the Marlin seemed to have much better reviews. I can order one new with a scope for 400. My question is, is there another rifle in the same price range that is better? Also, I would rather replace the stock scope with something else. Any suggestions for one under 75?


July 31, 2011, 05:17 PM
Go to your local Walmart and ask for a Weatherby Vanguard, thats a better rifle, and it will be about 350-399.00 out the door, dude!;)

July 31, 2011, 05:24 PM

My research to date is also pointing me towards the Marlin XL7 for a rifle in this price range. Not sure about scopes in the “$75.00” price point. I would suggest maybe spending a little more on the scope and going for a Nikon Buckmaster Matte - 3-9 x 40 scope which can be had for around $175.00 on line.

This will yield a combo that is hard to beat in this price range.

My only “dilemma” is that a friend of mine is selling a beautiful .270 BAR with a Leopold XVII 3x9 scope that am considering. (Obviously for a lot more $$)



July 31, 2011, 05:30 PM

Above is a good company with great prices on some alternatives for you. They have the Howa 1500 with camo stock for $349 right now and when you get a Howa you can add a scope for $39 if you want a less expensive scope. I believe the scope is a Nikko Sterling. I can't say to the quality of the scope but it is what Howa puts on their package guns.

They also have the Smith & Wesson I-bolt for $299. Another option is the Savage Axiom.

I have shot/owned both the Marlin and Howa. Both were accurate with the nod going slightly to the Howa.


July 31, 2011, 05:31 PM
Howa makes the Vanguard for Weatherby.


August 1, 2011, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I am now leaning towards the Vanguard if I can get my hands on one cheap enough.

August 2, 2011, 03:17 AM
I believe the scope is a Nikko Sterling. I can't say to the quality of the scope but it is what Howa puts on their package guns.

Nikko Sterlings (especially the bottom-of-the-line models) are absolute crap. They're re-branded Tascos, and my experience hints at them being Tasco's factory seconds. I would stay very far away....

If you want a super-cheap scope, a Tasco World Class is, sadly, one of the best options.

As per the original topic -
I consider the Marlin XL7 to be a better rifle than the Vanguard. The Howa action is decent, but some corners are cut on the actions destined to be Vanguards. Overall, I find the X7s to be better finished, better designed, more reliable, and more likely to take a catastrophic failure without major breakage.

The Vanguard was intended to be a cheaply produced version of another rifle.
The X7s were designed to be good rifles at a very affordable price.
I consider that to be a big difference.

August 2, 2011, 06:10 AM
For the rifle, I would say go with the Vangaurd or the Howa. My experience is they are pretty good rifles for the money. Never shot or really held and XL7, they very well could be great rifles too.

For the scope, if $75 is all you've got, I would say find a center to donate plasma for a 2 or 3 months. Use the scope that came on it for those 3 months, and about the time is breaks, hopefully you can be in the $150 range. That's a decent scope for general use.

Another option is buy a used rifle/scope. A good Savage 10 in .30-06 with a Buckmasters scope should probably run about $400 at your local gun shop. YMMV, though.

August 2, 2011, 06:20 AM
Howa makes the Vanguard for Weatherby.

Weatherby uses actions made by Howa. The barrels, bolts, safeties and stocks are different. Both rifles are comparable, but much different.

I could endorse either the Howa or Wearherby as good rifles. I have both. I've never shot the Marlin, but have heard too many good things about them. One thing to consider, The Howa/Weatherby action is the heaviest of all actions and the rifles come in at around 7.75 lbs without scope or mounts. The Marlin is 6.25 lbs. Something to consider if you carry your rifle for miles in mountainous regions.

Just to add, many places are now selling REmington ADL's in blue for $350 and I've seen stainless for $479 with a cheap scope on them. That may well be the best buy in a rifle right now.

Spats McGee
August 2, 2011, 08:33 AM
I did quite a bit of research looking for a .308 bolt gun recently. I started a thread which may prove helpful, if you want to go dig it up. The Marlin XL7 got decent reviews, and I also considered the Howa (which has been mentioned), a Thompson Center model (the exact name of which escapes me), and a number of other models. There was also a "Budget Bolt Gun Shootout" (or some such name) in a recent issue of Shooting Times, IIRC. The article compared the TC, Mossberg ATR, Remington 770, Savage Axis, Weatherby (somethingorother), and a couple of others that escape me.

Good luck in your search.

Edited to add: I realize that you're looking for a 30-06, but hopefully some of the information I found will translate over from .308.

August 2, 2011, 08:51 AM
I don't know why but this forum sure doesn't seem to like the Marlin XL7. The reviews for the XL7 have not been good they have been GREAT praising the new trigger, the accuracy, and the price. I'm planning on getting a XL7 in 30-06 in the near future. Please do not be dissuaded from buying this great rifle, from everything that I've read you won't be disappointed!

Best of luck in whatever you choose!

August 2, 2011, 11:55 AM
When the Marlin X7 series came out, a lot of people were astonished by its performance. The price made it even better, but it was on a par with any other rifle at any price. After the merger with Remington, the new Marlin X7 rifles get mixed reviews. Some are still great, others are pretty bad it seems. Some folks clain that if you find one with "JM" stamped on the barrel, it's an original Marlin barrel and should be good. Others claim the REM barrels are just as good.

I don't have any personal experience with them. Just that I know 2 guys that got them early on and claim they are fantastic shooters.

As for your scope question, I just don't think that a $75 scope will satisfy anyone for very long. I have a bunch of scopes that work well for me. I have had a few that didn't work at all and I got rid of them. No doubt the Nikon that cost $300 and the Leupold that cost $450 are very good. But right now, I can state that the best deal I have ever gotten in terms of quality vs. cost was a Nitrex TR One. It is a 3-10x50mm and I paid $150 from Natchez. They are discontinuing the Nitrex name, it's just another name for the top-line Weavers. So, for a little while now you can still get them for ridiculous prices, but not for long.

August 2, 2011, 05:00 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this option so far, but imo the best value by far in this price range is the Savage Model 10 for short action calibers, and the 110 for long action calibers like the 30-06. They sell this gun at Walmart with a scope for $387 at our local one, and $397 at some others. It's always under $400 though. These things are above and beyond most of the other budget rifles. It also includes the accu trigger which is a great factory trigger. This is very similar in price to the Marlin, yet a better rifle. I know quite several people with this particular rifle, and they all shoot very very well.

Some of them come with a Simmons scope and I've found these to be decent. IMO they are one of the better options for a scope under the $75 price range that you said you were interested in. I've seen some of the newer ones come with a Bushnell though, and the one I had like that was a total POS. It worked and stayed zeroed, but the adjustments and the glass sucked. So if you can get one with the Simmons, that's the way I'd go, if you get one with the Bushnell cheapo on it, I'd sell the scope and buy something else.

Reguardless though, I'd only use these cheapo scopes until you could afford to upgrade to something better.

The other good rifle in this price range as mentioned is the Weatherby Vanguard. While I don't like it as much as the Savage, it's also a good choice.

IMO I'd stay away from the Remington 710/770, Mossberg ATR, the Savage Axis/Edge, and all of the other similar ones. You can just get so much more from the Savage 110 or the Weatherby Vanguard for a similar price.

As for the Marlin, the issue seems to have been touched on above. The earlier ones got stellar reviews and seemed to be great, but as of recent the quality seems to have gone downhill. To me, it's no reason to take a chance as to if you'd get a good one or not, when you can buy a Savage for about the same price and know you will get a good one, as well as a better rifle in the first place.

August 2, 2011, 08:12 PM
My two rifles that were purchased in the range you mention are the Weatherby Vanguard and the T/C Venture.

The T/C was a bit more expensive (around $420 if memory serves) but it was the best out of the box. The trigger is user adjustable and you don't have to remove it from the stock to adjust it.

I looked at and fondled the Marlin XS 7 when I was looking for a .243 win. The only thing I didn't like was the trigger. It has an "accutrigger typer" and it just didn't feel right to me.

August 2, 2011, 08:44 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I decided on the Marlin in .308 due to the price difference between it and the Vanguard which will help with buying a better scope as well. Thanks again!

Dallas Jack
August 3, 2011, 04:47 PM
The Howa action is decent, but some corners are cut on the actions destined to be Vanguards.

Just curious but what corners were cut? How are the Howa's (action) different than the Vanguards?
Dallas Jack

August 3, 2011, 04:54 PM
The Vanguard was intended to be a cheaply produced version of another rifle.

I believe the Vanguard was intended to be a quality rifle bearing the Weatherby name which more people coudl afford. The Howa/Vangurad action is one of the best made. Take the stock off a Vanguard and XS7 and compare. You will understand why the Vanguard weighs a pound more.

August 4, 2011, 02:53 AM
Take the stock off a Vanguard and XS7 and compare. You will understand why the Vanguard weighs a pound more.
I have. The Vanguard has unnecessary extra weight. The X7s, on the other hand, have little more than what they need. Comparing the extra metallic 'meat' on rifle actions is absolutely no indication of quality or potential performance.

I've seen 3 Vanguards fail in multiple ways (multiple failures per rifle), primarily bolt issues. I've never seen an X7 fail. Though, I've heard of a few broken extractors - but Marlin is fixing them, quickly, for free, with parts from a different production run, and no requirement to send the rifle back for repair. In contrast, all of those Weatherby failures resulted in weeks, or months of waiting, for the owners.

If the lack of metal on a rifle action is an indication of a bad design, the Remington 700 should not have the reputation it does today. You want to talk about a cheap, corner-cutting design... ;)

Dallas Jack
August 4, 2011, 09:10 AM
I've seen 3 Vanguards fail in multiple ways (multiple failures per rifle), primarily bolt issues.

Could you give some details as to what failed. I have three Vanguards and would like to have some idea as to what I should be watching for. Thanks in advance for the info.
Dallas Jack

August 4, 2011, 12:04 PM
I have both the Marlin XL7 in 30-06 and a Vanguard in 308 win. The trigger on the Marlin is much better in my opinion. so far the marlin out shoots the vanguard by quite a bit. But I am not disapointed in the vanguard I am actually amazed at the performance of the marlin. I have used the marlin the last two deer seasons and its a great hunting gun, Light and inexpensive. The marlin keeps groups sub moa on most of my test with low end remington factory loads and my reloads. the Vanguard seems to stay right around 1 1/4 inch groups (which is not bad) and I would not hesitate to use it this year. My marlin is from before the merger so I cannot say that the new ones are as good. As far as "feel" the vanguard does feel like a better gun in my hands and the fit and finish is better. I do not think you could go wrong with either one of these rifles. I put a low end leupold scope on my marlin and what a difference it made. Some day i will spring for a high end scope but for now the low end leupold rifleman will do. They are selling a fairly good scope as a redfield now that is about $150.

August 4, 2011, 02:10 PM
Could you give some details as to what failed. I have three Vanguards and would like to have some idea as to what I should be watching for. Thanks in advance for the info.

All of them suffered from bolts locking up. The problems varied from pieces of debris (from the bolt) in the works, to bolts shrouds binding, to a firing pin that managed to miraculously increase its protrusion enough to pierce every primer.
In addition, one of them suffered from a trigger failure (broken part - not my rifle, don't know exactly what it was).

In nearly all of the incidents, the result was a rifle that could not be made to eject the fired case in its chamber.

In the worst case: The trigger was pulled. The firing pin (striker) moved forward. ...And the rifle did not fire. The bolt shroud was binding on the striker, and would not let it travel any farther. The rifle was likely to fire, should the striker be freed. ...But the bolt would not move. The case could not be ejected. The bolt could not be opened. The striker could not be re-cocked. The rifle could not be rendered safe. It had to be transported (muzzle carefully controlled) with a live round in the chamber, to a gunsmith, so it could be shipped back to Weatherby later (3rd trip, and second bolt for that rifle).

That being said... the man that has had the majority of these issues still loves the rifles, and has his eye on another Vanguard. :confused:

August 4, 2011, 02:50 PM
I have an XL7 in .308 that I consider to be a fine gun. However, stupidly shooting a Silver Bear round through it locked the bolt, and quite naturally, I broke the extractor when removing said bolt.

I called Marlin, and ordered a new extractor ($13), but they're throwing in a extra one for free. It does have the Nikon Bushmaster on it, and I like the scope very well indeed.

On the other hand, I've found FFL pawn shops to be treasure lodes. I bought a Savage 111, in 30.06, for $400.00, and it included a mounted no-name but seemingly mighty fine 3X9X40 scope, and talked them into throwing in a slightly older Leupold 3X9X40. Set side by side with the Marlin, the Savage seems a considerably better gun, stronger bolt, very accurate so far, good weight (maybe not so good for hauling around all day hunting), and so forth.

I asked how the pawn shop business was going and was told, "Badly. It's all going out, and nothing coming in. In other words, everybody and their brother is coming in to pawn stuff, wanting high dollar for it, but no one is coming in to buy stuff". I heard the lady answer a phone call while there. The part of the conversation I heard went like this, "Hon, we have a back room totally running over with air conditioners. You can bring it in for look if you like, but I'm telling you, we have more than we'll ever manage to get rid of".

As far as I can tell, this is the first time this bad economy has been an advantage for me.

Dallas Jack
August 4, 2011, 11:49 PM
FrankenMauser, thanks for the info. Was the cause of the bolt shroud binding discovered? As I mentioned I have three Vanguards. No problems so far. I did replace the triggers with Timney's which gave me a three position safety. I understand the new S2 Vanguards come with a new two stage trigger with a three position safety as standard.
Dallas Jack

.300 Weatherby Mag
August 5, 2011, 12:11 AM
The scopes on all of the budget guns are complete crap... Each and every one of them... You need to spend at least $150 to get a decent optic... Buying a $75 scope is nothing more than a waste of $75 you could have put toward a better quality optic...

August 5, 2011, 01:42 AM
FrankenMauser, thanks for the info. Was the cause of the bolt shroud binding discovered?

The general binding ended up being some bad shrouds, that had small pieces breaking off. Weatherby replaced them, but the rifles had to fail first. The striker that was binding, I don't know what the initial cause was (so, the owner probably doesn't, either). I know the gunsmith had to butcher the bolt pretty badly, to render the rifle safe. All the parts and piece of parts were sent back with the rifle. When it came back from Weatherby, it had a new bolt.

August 5, 2011, 01:30 PM
Jeeze Frankenmauser maybe he should of traded that one off the first time he got it fixed.:confused:I still love mine,:)It has performed flawlessly. I did put a Timney on it ,with the two position safety ,which is nice but back to brass tacks, it's heavier than necessary, by like a pound or little more, but it shoots factory ammo into a real tight group at 100 yds. Not to shabby for a 350.00 rifle!;) I would like to test out the Marlin, however before I could really judge it one way or another,(good excuse to try different rifles) but my next purchase will probably be an FN Win. mod 70.;)

August 6, 2011, 09:41 AM
Just like everything made over seas for a bargin, quality and coustomer service is usualy compromised.I would stick to American made guns. Marlin replace a barrel on a 336 lever action for me no questions asked. The rifle shoots great now. Just as 300 Win Mag said dont waste your money on a cheap scope save a little more money and get a decent one that you will really like, after all this is a great pleasure to shoot a gun that you love.

August 8, 2011, 01:07 AM
Just to update yall on my decision. I went with a Marlin in .308 and bought some weaver rings and a Leupold Rifleman for it. Thanks to everyone who gave their advice.