Hello folks, I'm new here, and sorry about my english... it´s a bit rusty
I purchaced my Marlin XL7 in 30-06 SPRG soonest they started selling them here in Finland. So far I´ve put about 350-400 rounds throught it, and while I'm extremely satisfied with the reliability of the rifle, (not a single malfunction even in low as -30F: temperatures), I'm still not getting very satisfying groups, even with handloaded ammunition.
When I got the rifle out of the box, I installed an Caldwell bipod and the very first groups after the barrel break in, were shot with Remington UMC 150gr FMJ factory ammunition. I wasnt able to get groups better than 3 inch at 100 yards. Basicially the same thing happened with many other factory loads, Federal, Sako, Lapua, Norma... BTHP, softpoint, FMJ, Ballistic Tip, Bullet weights varying from 123 grainers up to 220...No matter what I just couldnt get satisfying accuracy out of the rifle. The groups were pretty consistent even with 4-5 shot groups though. I didnt have much so called "fliers"
I reloaded some ammunition, but the improvement in group size wasnt noticable on any of my loads.
While rifle able to do 3 MOA accuracy is perfectly acceptable for moose hunting and such, it´s out of the question to take that kind of rifle to for example, red fox, or black grouse hunt, where ranges up to 300 yards are expected. I started examining the rifle, as I thought there was definately something wrong with it.
Well, at first I started thinking that maybe my Marlin didnt like the Caldwell Bipod, having an negative effect on stock - barrel harmonics or something like that. I'm very confident with shooting off an bipod, as I served in a military as a sniper and even thought I'm now a reservist, I still actively practice in 300 and 700 yard range with my .308win. Well, anyway back to the topic: After removing the bipod I was stunned, as the groups were now considerably smaller. About 1-2 inch at 100 yards. The Bipod really had an negative effect for some reason. I´ve seen other Marlin X guns shoot just fine with bipods on them, but mine just didnt like it at all.
Here are some pictures of my typical 150 yard range session, fired off an sandbags. Temperature -4F:, No wind.
Lapua Scenar 167gr.
50,3gr VV N150
CCI 200 Primer
Lapua brass, neck sized only
First and very typical 3 shot group with an clean barrel. The first shot is in the lower section of target square, while the last 2 are touching.
Second 3 shot group. Consistent, but a worst group in matter of size.
I had a 5 min break and fired the last 3 shot group, wich happened to be so far the best one ever. Yep, EVER. I could have been lucky, I dont know. Usually I score barely 1 inch at 100 yards with this rifle.
Well, that´s it folks, I would really appreciate it if you guys would report your results with the 30-06 XL7 with your most accurate loads. I would also like to know if anyone else had any accuracy problems. After couple of weeks I'm packing my skiis and tent (and the Marlin ) and I'm off to Northern Sweden to hunt some Black Grouse, living a week in a arctic wilderness, so I dont know when I'm able to post some replys... but yeah, thanks for reading this so far
While I don't shoot off a bi-pod, I have heard many instances when a bi-pod on ANY rifle can effect group size and location.
I've had my 30-06 for nearly 3 yrs and I learned a few things. It doesn't like 150gr bullets as well as the heavier bullets. It will consistantly shoot .75" or less with 165gr bullets. It really likes 180gr bullets. The 2 most accurate loads out of the gun are with 180gr Nosler bullets.
Here are my load choices.
Winchester brass, 165 gr Hornady SST, 56grs of IMR4350, CCI 200 primers. Load the bullets to the maximum magazine length and I see 2800fps. The gun seems to shoot any good 165gr bullet well, but the Hornady SST and BTSP are the best.
Military cases, 180gr Nosler Solid Base [similar to Accubond or Ballistic tip], 60grs of H4831 or 60-61grs of Rel-22, CCI250 primers. Once again I load them to the maximum magazine length and I get 2650fps with them. Those two loads will shoot under .5" and the H4831 load gave me my first one ole group with the "X" gun. It measured .274" for 3 shots. Just look at my avatar and you'll see the target.
I don't drink or smoke, I spend my money on gunpowder and gasoline.
See if you're front part of the stock is twisted to the right side. left side will have no gap next to the barrel while the right side has a big gap away from the barrel.
mine was like this, so i free floated the barrel. then found the trip pod flexing the stock and hitting the barrel, I put 2 fiberglass rods in the front part of the stock and epoxyed them in to stop it from flexing.
Hmm, judging from your loads I think I should go and try slower burning powder types. You have much better fill ratio in your cases than me with my N150 wich has burning speed close to Hodgdon H414 and Winchester 760. It´s pretty darn difficult to buy American powders here, so I guess I´ll get me some N160. I have to play around with COL too.Originally Posted by dmsbandit
It really seems there´s something wrong with my factory stock. Seems like it´s twisted just as Sub95 told...not by much but you can really see that the right side has a gap next to the barrel, while on the left side the barrel touches the stock... I´ll have to play around with my loads before I start free floating the barrel (I´ve got some bad experience trying to free float my ol' Sako)
Time is running out and I need to get my rifle zeroed before I´ll head to Sweden.. I´ve considered purchasing one of those Boyd´s riflestocks, but once again it´s really pain in the ass to order anything outside of europe here.
can you post a pic of the front barrel/stock straight down on it?
free floating the marlins front stock is real easy to do, not any way you can mess it up
another thing is when you shoot some rounds with out to much cool down, do the bullets start to get worse in grouping?
The sides of the stock should NEVER TOUCH THE BARREL ! OK for the stock to touch the underside of the bbl but never the sides of the stock.
Are Norma powders available to you? If so, Norma MRP might be a good one to try with the 180gr bullets. Rel-22 was made in Sweden for Alliant powders, so that should be availble in Finland with any luck.Originally Posted by Hakkapeliitta
I don't drink or smoke, I spend my money on gunpowder and gasoline.
I would float the stock out with some sandpaper and a dowel rod or a socket.
I second the H4831 + 180's, 59.5grs H4831 for me.
Your rifle patterns its groups similar to my XL7 30-06, but my groups are much more tight. Your 100 yard groups look like my 200 yard groups. I definately have a predictable pattern to the grouping with first 3 shots from cool barrel. I also have a stock, like yours, that doesn't sit straight and I have suspected my XL7's stock for the predictable patterns. I basicaly put my XL7 30-06 on the back burner in 2010, as I spent my year learning to hand load and cast my own for my 444 Marlin. Now, I am returning to the XL7 and I have been debating if I want a to free float the barrel or get the Boyds stock.
I will shoot it some more and then decide. I like the Boyds stocks, but I hunt on ice covered slopes and falls are common. I hesitate to put a purty stock on a rifle thats going to tango with a lot of rocks. So free floating the barrel is my likely direction.
Anyways, I am interested in hearing how things work out for you. Do, keep us updated. Please and thank you.
My XS7 in 7mm-08 was the same way. I put it in a Boyds walnut stock, bedded and free floated it. Now it shoots em almost in the same hole.
"A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."