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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost three years for me to play with this XLR, 24" stainless 336 in 30-30. Bought it to see if I could actually shoot well at 300 yards. Killed two deer at 200 yards. Never confident with it. Here's why and what I have done.



Typical target shot at 100 yards yesterday. For this I had been shooting and getting an impact shift as usual. Cleaned thoroughly with Iosso and C-4. No copper. Started again. 1st three shots, paced slowly from clean are the lower group. Then I waited maybe an hour while doing other things. Started again and the next three are the higher/right group. Both groups are very nice. Both groups are in different places.

Here's what I have done to the gun over the past couple years once I saw this problem.

Removed the forend and band. Ground both free from the barrel. Removed magazine tube and played with it's mounting. Played and loosened the band that holds the tube and forend. Glassed the butt where it contacts the action and above and below the tang. Nice fit and no slop now. Ground down the top of the magazine cap that was slightly touching the barrel. Did my own trigger work and it's a crisp 2 lb. Crown is perfect and bbl seems tight in the receiver.

Removed the new scope and returned it to the factory for examination. No issues from Burris on that. Changed mounts twice. Replaced scope with a "slave scope" to test that possibility. Burris is back on and I often check it's position and movement with a bore-sighter. Changed loads and bullets but decided I wanted one load for all my 30-30's. Staying with 35 gr. LVR and the 160 FTX. No primer or case change and I anneal necks and do length trimming each shot.

Now I'm frustrated. After playing and having fun with it for about three years, I'm losing interest. May sell it but feel bad for a new owner as it will do this impact change for them and it's not fair to dump the thing on someone.

You can clean, wait a week, wait a month, leave it dirty, heat it up, keep it cold ... There's no pattern I can figure. The gun shoots great and I can do 5 shot groups real close also. Stop, let it sit and it also shoots great but somewhere else. Just like this target shows.

My thinking is it has to be something mechanical in the forend, barrel, mount, magazine tube etc. Any ideas I might be missing?
 

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There is a small bolt at the muzzle that retains the cap over the mag-tube. Slacken it off as much as you can, without anything falling apart and try again. Apologies if you have already done this.
 

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Does it always shoot high like that when the POI changes?

And how are you shooting it? From a leadsled, sandbags, what?

Have you removed the mag tube and single shot it to see if the issue remains?

How about using irons?
 

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The 308MX here does that only worse, have not tried to figure it out since its not hunted. Would go with Sneakybuffalo. My local smith always wants to set the fore ends in almost loosely on Marlin custom builds, actually just the slightest bit loose. Anyway, I have him keep mine tight, but it could be an answer. He claims this is good, that the fore end can swell/contract as well as lengthen/shorten due to moisture changing the POI. Could we worth trying with the fore end wood off as well.
 

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The 308MX here does that only worse, have not tried to figure it out since its not hunted. Would go with Sneakybuffalo. My local smith always wants to set the fore ends in almost loosely on Marlin custom builds, actually just the slightest bit loose. Anyway, I have him keep mine tight, but it could be an answer. He claims this is good, that the fore end can swell/contract as well as lengthen/shorten due to moisture changing the POI. Could we worth trying with the fore end wood off as well.
Yeah, I just assumed you'd take the forend off when you took the magtube off. Guess I should have been more specific.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Answers and ideas.

That screw at the end of the magazine cap might bind when tight so I ground a little bit of it off. Might try more off it.

The POI change is random. First group yesterday was higher than it was when last shot a couple weeks ago. It went into a couple shots or random shooting , then grouped kind of middle. After cleaning, that first group was the low one and lower than before cleaning. The second higher. Historically the POI has no pattern when it changes.

I am shooting with a quality adjustable rest with Hawthorne front bag and Protector rear bag. I am a competitive benchrest shooter to 1,000 yards and former shooting coach for decades. I use lots of rests and bags, often more costly than this Marlin. Still, anything is possible and I do appreciate all ideas.

Idea during a shower minutes ago is to remove the forend and shoot off the magazine tube. Now why not shoot off the bbl. only? Well the nodal vibration pattern of that barrel will change each time I try to contact the barrel with a rest. It will be near impossible to duplicate the contact the same for each shot but...what if I rest on the magazine tube only?

Another idea just popping into my head is an opposite to GreyMustang's loose forend, which is how mine is now. I am going to peen the wedge that holds the forend and tube on. It can slide in the slot now so I will have to measure, center and then peen it tight. That might mess up the barrel but for now, it's getting closer to the end of the line.
 

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To be specific. This smith does the fore end cap and tenon tight. His claim has to do with carefully sanding down both ends of the fore end so it fits just a tad loose. Kinda like when you pick the gun up by the fore end you perceive the slightest bit of play. Anyway, getting the tenon tight is a good next step to check out.
 
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I would pull everything off front end, nekkid barrel. Shoot with front of receiver on rest completely floating barrel and duplicate through shots for confirmation. If good, take a sharp automatic center punch and stipple the top of tenon, pop same hole a couple times, also do faces of angles. Look at before removal, holes sometimes not centered fore/aft. Use caliper to center on install. Are you shooting it BR style with left hand under rear of weapon? My levers shoot the best when forearm hand held with back of hand on rest. Is it not the hunt? Good Luck.
 
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CaptainMal
I was not intending for you to progressively shorten that screw at the muzzle. I meant for you to loosen it untilthe force it exerts on the underside of the barrel is greatly reduced, shoot it, tightening the screw say a turn at a time, until groups tighten.
Better still, Gtek's idea of pulling everything off and resting the receiver sounds logical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Read and decided to try and see if I can shoot off the receiver. Will also try off the magazine tube and change tension on that screw.

Been playing with this issue for a few years. It just might be what keep me going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
FYI.

Shot the complete rifle today. Impact 4" high and moving around.

Removed everything down to the barrel. Shot off the front of the action. Impact 2"low or about 6" below the previous shooting. There were two groups of two shots each about 2" apart but reasonably close.

Added the magazine tube and shot off it. Impact moved up 3" and kept a couple shots on top of each other.

Conclusion. The magazine tube and forend have a major affect on impact point. I see no reasonable solution but will try peening the slots that hold the screw blocks. Everything else is away from the barrel. If this doesn't work then if you see it for sale, don't buy it.

It sure is a nice looking 24" XLR. Sad it will not hold a reasonable impact point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Rooterpig, I wish it would work.

Been doing that for almost two years now. Not every week but lately quite a bit. I have ground down every part up there in one way or another. Lots of range tests just never put a stop to the impact changes. After my last tests I'm convinced the barrel is fine and will shoot consistent MOA groups or less.

Just don't know where and each reassemble of tube and forend parts makes a dramatic change and then becomes unstable.

Almost out of ideas.
 
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