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A Tale of Two Budget Rifles - Stevens 200 and Marlin XL7 (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Schleprok62, May 10, 2009.

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  1. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    OK, I've read many a thread where the question is asked which is better... Now that I have some time on my hands, I will run down the my opinion of the real, practical differences. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination... I'll leave the hard core questions for those more qualified to answer.

    [​IMG]

    I will not do a comparative range report because comapring a 7mm-08 to a 30-06 is like comparing apples to oranges... (in my opinion) I will say that both rifles are definitely in the 1 MOA playground out of the box... ok, on with the show...

    I've read people say that the stock on the Marlin is better than the stock on the Stevens: Well, what do y'all think?? Stevens Left - Marlin Right

    [​IMG]

    Stevens: Notice the flash line...
    [​IMG]

    Marlin: Nice and smoothy...
    [​IMG]

    When comparing fit and finish, I'd definitely say the Marlin wins, but comparing how well built one or the other is, I'd have to lean toward the Stevens... The Stevens has a fitted block of styrofoam inside the buttstock whereas the Marlin uses a cheesy piece of folded packing material like sheet of expanded foam - :scrutiny:

    Triggers: Well, this are is pretty much a no brainer... The Marlin definitely has the better trigger... Although, the Stevens can be, at little to no cost, adjusted to be a lot better than the factory setting. The Marlin uses a system very much like the Accutrigger of the Savages... Easily adjusts with common household tools.

    Stevens:
    [​IMG]

    Marlin:
    [​IMG]

    OK, next up we have the recoil pad... The Marlin has a nice cushy one, where the Stevens has on that leaves a little to be desired, although, a 7mm-08 Rem doesn't recoil quite as hard as a 30-06 Sprg.

    [​IMG]

    Free-float: Hmmm... this is a no brainer either... The Stevens get's the thumb-up here...

    [​IMG]

    Barrel crown: This is a toss-up to me... as long as the crown is in good shape it should make little difference... But we all have preferences.

    Stevens on top:
    [​IMG]

    The bolts... Well, to me it looks like the Stevens bolt get's the nod here. The name is etched on it... and the Marlin's looks like it could use a bit more attention to detail, and/or refined. This is probably just cosmetic, and probably has liittle to no affect on the rifles ability to do what it was intended to do... But I like the cleaner looking Stevens...

    [​IMG]

    OK... that's pretty much it in a nutshell... For whatever it's worth, I don't see any real, practical differences to say one is that much better or worse than the other... Those looking at these two rifles should give them both a good looking at... But when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it either of them... you're getting a lot of rifle for your hard earned money. If I was to have to recommend one over the other, I'd have to lean toward the Stevens, but only because the is a vast aftermarket for stocks and barrels available for it... via the Savage 10/110 parts bins... Other than that... flip a coin... The choice is easily clear as mud on a rainy day... :neener:

    One other note: The Stevens is a bit lighter than the Marlin...

    I hope this presentation and mild comparison has helped everyone in some way... Cheers... and always good shooting and be safe...


    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  2. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    Very nice post! I own a Stevens Model 200 in 300 Win Mag and couldn't be happier with it's performance so far. I have taken several deer with it and a couple of groundhogs.

    They are ugly as sin, but that's why God made Krylon, is it not?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    Nice writeup, someone needs to do this with a Savage and a Remington 700 of the same class.
     
  4. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    very nice post
     
  5. RedLion

    RedLion Member

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    Awesome, Thanks for the comparison!
     
  6. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Wow. Great post. May motivate me to do my own feeble comparison of some handguns.
     
  7. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    .300 Win Mag for groundhogs? Y'all must be feeding them steroids and meth over there!

    Nonetheless, Carl Spackler would be proud of you!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    After handling both, I guess I would personally have to give the nod to the Marlin with one noteable exception. I DON'T like the safety on the Marlin. It's not the location that bothers me, it's the fact that it is a 2 position safety (vs. the 3 position of the Stevens). On "Safe", the Marlin doesn't lock the bolt handle down.

    Maybe not much of a complaint, but it does bother me.

    Either one is a much better choice than a Mossberg or a Remington 710/770 (at least, I think so). Remington's parent company (Cerberus, which also owns Marlin) would do well to stop production on the 770 and let Marlin have that end of the market. The Marlin's a better gun, and Remington's name would be better off not having a piece of junk like the 770 associated with it (once again, just my opinion).
     
  9. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    it looks like the marlin gets the edge here; taller ridges on the inside of the stock for more rigidity, looks like a thicker bolt, stock looks one piece, and the trigger allways accounts for at least 30% of the final round of the Ms. Universe pageant. I like the recoil pad also, and it also looks like the bbl is a couple of inches longer, am I right about that? How about any accuracy conclusions thus far, or are you working on that?
    I also def prefer a recessed crown...
     
  10. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    The barrels are the same length... I think the differences in the above photo are due to me lining them up from the butt end... the Marlin, in this case, is a long action, and the Stevens is the short action... measuring from the muzzle to the receiver is exactly 21.125" for both rifles.

    The ridges on the inside do not run full length... there is a seam that runs the middle of the Marlin stock, although, it was cleaned up much better than the Stevens.

    I covered the range report department above:
    But, if you want me to give my personal experiences with each rifle, I will:
    The 7mm-08 Stevens is the more accurate of the two. Easily inside of 1 MOA consistently. My personal best with this rifle is right at 5/8" @ 100 yards...
    The 30-06 Marlin's accuracy is in the 1 MOA arena.

    Again, comparing a 7mm-08 to a 30-06 is like comparing apples to oranges. Either will drop a deer a fer piece away without any real problems if the shooter does his/her part.

    The bolt thickness':
    Stevens: 0.692"
    Marlin: 0.690"


    Cheers...
     
  11. TehK1w1

    TehK1w1 Member

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    BTW, as they are basically the same rifle, pretty much any parts and accessories for the Savage 10/110 rifles will work on a Stevens 200.
    How does working the bolt feel on the Marlin vs the Stevens? Is the Marlin smoother to cock?
     
  12. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    You gotta love some 110 gr HP in a 300 Win Mag! :neener:

    Those 2 pictured above were some smart ones that evaded me last year. I got tired of trying with a 22 Magnum, so I brought out the 300 Win Mag to even the odds a bit. :D
     
  13. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    I honestly can't say one is any smoother than the other... after break-in, I'd have to say they're about the same in that category... although, in my case, the Marlin has the long action.

    Bolt removal is definitely easier than the Stevens, but, I wouldn't go so far to say that it is so bad as to change your mind about the Stevens. It's not THAT difficult.
     
  14. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    err... uhmmm and if they evade the .300 WM??? Is the Howitzer next in the progression???? :D :D :D LOL
     
  15. murdoc rose

    murdoc rose Member

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    wow debate about that stock some more would you rather have a little or a lot of Styrofoam lol no thanks I'll take walnut anyday
     
  16. Yo2slick

    Yo2slick Member

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    I like both of these rifles. For the money they both do a hell of a job.

    I like the stock on the Marlin better, but I like the trigger on the Stevens better. I think that has to do with that wanna be Accutrigger thing. Everytime I would squeeze the trigger on the Marlin I couldnt figure out why the gun wasnt firing and I had to remind myself about this new trigger. LOL, nothing wrong with it. Im just not use to it. The Stevens is very lightweight and has that edge over the Marlin. I like the way the Marlin feels when shouldered.

    Long story short it boils down to personal preference. Which one feels more comfortable? Which one is the right weight? What style of trigger do you like? Do you like a long or short action? Both rifles are very well built and both are shooters. I would not hesitate to add both of these rifles to my collection.
     
  17. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 Member

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    I need a photo of the hole on each side of teh action up near the chamber. I bedded my Steven's in a laminated t-hole stock and I think I may have it a bit high, if you can get me a photo of that hole on the side i can gauge mine.
     
  18. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I agree entirely; so much so, in fact, that the difference might be enough to be a deal maker/breaker for me. I have the same reservation about the later Remington 700s.
     
  19. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    You mean these???

    Left side:
    [​IMG]

    Right side:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Hear, hear.

    I will, however, say that it bothers me more on the 700, because this "feature" or rather this lack of a basic feature, is found on their most expensive guns as well.

    At least here we're talking about a budget rifle, and you have to figure they save money somewhere.
     
  21. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    i love my xl7 in .30'06

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    the doe was a head shot at 90 yards
     
  22. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    I have to say I agree with you on every point you make.

    However, my intentions with this thread were to point out that either of these two rifles was well worth the money paid. I like both of them, there are things on each that I like better than the other, but you will have that in much higher priced rifles also. Which one is better?? Who am I to say, they are both quite capable of doing what they were intended and marketed for. Low cost, high quality hunting rifle.

    The Stevens offers more choices in long and short action. The Marlin currently is only available in long action calibers. Though, the short action calibers should be hitting shelves very soon - I am impatiently awaiting their arrival as I plan to get one in 7mm-08 so I can do a REAL side by side full comparison including a full range report. I am also planning on putting the exact same model scope on it so there won't be any notable discrepancies.

    Things I'd like to see on each:
    Stevens: a better trigger and recoil pad, cleaner fit and finish of the stock.

    Marlin: 3 position safety, 2 piece scope mounts instead of the one piece, cleaner more refined bolt assembly, and a free floated barrel...

    I would also like to thank everyone for the positive feedback...

    Thank you...

    Tom
     
  23. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    FWIW, I saw a short action Marlin at Cabela's about 3-4 weeks ago (it was a .308). They were asking $299. Picked up a 25-06 (long action) a while back and it had 2 piece scope mounts (not one piece).

    I do wish Marlin would come out with a .223 or a 22-250 in this gun.

    As for the Stevens 200, I had heard and read (I think some was even quoting the head of Savage), that the stocks for the Stevens' were made in the old molds deemed "too worn out" for the Savages (at least the gray-stocked models). Maybe now that the Savages are getting the "Accu-stock", the Stevens will get the "less" old Savage molds with less obvious mold lines.
     
  24. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    the marlins are kinda hit and miss witht he 2-piece scope mounts

    i got a 2 piece with mine but it seams like its 50-50 for a 1 0r 2 piece

    my barrel is fully free floated and im thinking about doing a full glass bed to try and get rid of all play and maybe squeez a little bit more accuracy out of it

    i also wanna pick up a wood stock for it just because i like wood stocks

    id love for marlin to polish the bolts so they look nicerbut oh well i can shoot a .75 inch 5 shot group with mine at 100 yards

    id also love for marlin to get rid of the plastic trigger guard

    id totally love for an aftermarket company to make some stocks so i can drop her in a target stock

    maybe ill see about getting one in .308 or 7mm08 and getting a target stock for it
     
  25. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    The Stevens rifle isn't using molds that are deemed worn out. It is using the previous generation stocks. They may be deemed outdated but not worn out. Most every molded stock is going to have those lines on them. The reason they exist on the 200 is because its a budget rifle that isn't given the labor to remove them. They took the previous stock mold and compound, took the previous trigger, bolt, barrel and put them on the rounded receiver 10/110 action. The only difference between today's Stevens and the previous generation Savage is that the older Savage used a flat milled to on their receiver and took flat bases where the current Stevens and Savage take rounded bases as the action is round on top. Outside of that they are the same. There are more adjustable factory triggers out there that came on some Savage models that are a direct fit/replacement for the Stevens 200 line but only those older models and not the Accutrigger will swap. Outside the receiver top all they have done is relabel the last generation rifle instead of trash the molds. The newer molds are just as crappy though have a little less flash on them. Either option needs cleaned up if meant to be kept.
     
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