Rang Report- Marlin XL7, .270winchester


March 9, 2009, 12:50 AM
My son got good grades through last session and wanted an upgrade from his Rossi singleshot 243win. His "Triple Play" (Rimfire, .243win and 20ga barrels), was quite adequate for a starter rifle for his 13 and 14 year old hunting season. Price point to jump up after selling that was less than $350 for his first bolt action rifle for Christmas. Although we looked at other models, the Marlin XL7 with great reviews won our choice. $310 out the door from a local dealer. Weather and other things have kept he and I from the rifle range. Finally one day last week...

I sighted this rifle in with hand loaded brass that was full length resized, range pickup brass. (Federal) Load data below. I did a barrel breakin on it. Clean the barrel. Shoot one, clean barrel. Shoot two, clean, and so on for it's first ten rounds. There's positive and countering documentation about whether a barrel needs to be broken in or not. Most of what I've read says do this for 20 rounds. Countering that says that it's not needed at all. Thus I decided on ten rounds. All the while, I got the scope on paper and at least close to aimed target.

After this, I shot three five shot strings of different powder charges, cleaning the barrel between each string. I wanted a direct comparison of each load, starting with a clean barrel each time. I did not adjust the scope during or between these strings.

Brass Trim Length: 2.535"
Bullet: Speer 130gn Spitzer
OAL: 3.273" (Which puts the bullet just .012" off the lands)
Primer: CCI 200
Powder: IMR 4064
Temp: 45*, Broken clouds. Breezy with 10mph quartering gusts.
Scope: Nikon 3-9x40 Buckmaster
SanAngelo Benchrest support at the forearm and sandbag at the rear.
Range: 100yd.
Trigger: Adjustable- Set at a crisp 2 pounds.

Load: 43gn
First five shot string groups 1.5" in nearly a star pattern with each impact nearly the same distance from it's sibling. A little left of point of aim.

Load: 45gn
Second five shot string groups 2.1" with a called flyer of the second shot. Group of four is 1.4". But groups more center to point of aim. (I will add that I am not the premier rifle shot, still, as a competitive Bullseye shooter I know when I've pulled a shot.)

Load 47gn
Third five shot string groups 1.6" with another called flyer of the second shot. Without the flyer, there are three holes touching in a clover with the fourth just a tad higher. That group spans .7" outside to outside edges. What's a little different is that the group, with the same point of aim as the other strings, is just a half inch or so to the right, from the point of aim. Wind conditions were quartering toward muzzle from my right. Constant 5mph or so with gusts easy to 10mph.

OK, with the flyers, this is still adiquate accuracy for a hunting rifle of this price point. But, I think that what's indicated here is that there's more potential. Keep in mind that a 10mph side wind to a 100yd target can deviate a bullet .7". Though I'd look at the quarting wind to have possibility to move the bullet from path maybe .5". No flyers would be a good start. Reloading the 25 rounds of brass, (neck sizing only), with 47gns, 47.5gns, and maybe even 48gns, will be my next steps toward repeating the testing. Could I try a different powder? Sure, there's some 4350 on the shelf. I might even play with bullet seating depth or buy some factory ammo. I've got some 130gn Boat Tails too. I really think this $300 rifle could be a 1" gun. Future tests will prove yes or no.


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March 9, 2009, 12:56 AM
Rl-19, IMR4350, or IMR4831 would be better powder choices...

March 9, 2009, 12:59 AM
Try some 140gn bullets----all my .270's always shot better with them.

Specifically the Hornady 140gn bullets.

March 9, 2009, 01:20 AM
I may try working up a load using 4350. I would suspect that any heavier bullet as it is longer would have more contact with the lands of the barrel, thus more 'time per that contact' to stabalize, may in fact be more accurate. Although this thing as light as it is, with a composite stock and excellent recoil pad, is a dream to shoot compared to my magnum rifle, My son is used to 100gn bullet recoil from his old gun. I figure that 130's with a little more umph is a good place to start for him.

As for Hornady bullets... I will eventually poke them out the barrel. I like thier rifle bullets.


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