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Thread: Marlin XL7 & Ruger American Comparison

  1. #1

    Default Marlin XL7 & Ruger American Comparison

    Purchased a Ruger American and will be doing a comparison between it and the Marlin XL7, both in 30-06 and publish later this spring or early summer my findings.

    MarLin XL7 30-06




    Ruger American 30-06







    I am neutral concerning both rifles and will give them a fair going over and represent the facts. It is hard to get bug holes with a 30-06 of any kind but you can get real good to better than hunting accuracy, but I will be looking at the use of the whole system as a rifle and its over all function as a total. Any rifle has something another rifle doesn't but the rifle as an over all system as a hunting tool will be the determining factor for the final and total grade.

    I bought the two rifles to run honest and fair tests using my reloading skills along with my shooting skills and using my experience of carrying rifles in the field on spot and stalk hunts all day for days at a time to determine the most suitable carry rifle between the two. I want to get a real world look for myself. I do not have a favorite to start out with and I don't care which one in the end wins and no body is paying me to do this (I bought these with my own money) - so I don't care what the manufactures think, I will draw my own conclusions.

    I want to distinguish between the two rifles not only accuracy wise, but every thing from the one that likes the heavy bullets and the one that likes the lighter bullets for .308 caliber to the following: I will also consider fit and finish, function, bedding, style and looks, handling and balance and many other things. This will take time but I will lay out my plan to approach the rifles and then provide a tally sheet in the end.



    I am under no delusion in reference to what I have purchased. I will say though that entry level rifles today are as accurate as the majority of custom rifles I had made in the early 80's and that says a lot. Those of us who have lived a while, hunted with, loaded for and shot guns from the past know that what we get for the buck spent today is a better value. Most entry level guns today are not trash and junk, especially when you consider what you get for the dollar spent.


    I think the average guy who does not have a lot of bucks to spend can own an entry level rifle today and be proud of what he has and can kill a lot of game due to the accuracy achieved by entry level rifles. I have owned the high dollar custom rifles and high dollar factory rifles, and still own some of them, and the truth is in a hunting rifle (not bench or competition which no hunting rifle will ever be no matter how much you paid for it) there is not to much difference in the high dollar hunting rifle accuracy of today and the entry level accuracy. Both are certainly very acceptable hunting accuracy.

    In fact there is not a single hunt I have been on through the years of hunting, that I could not have taken one of these two rifles and done the job pretty much the same, give or take a few circumstances. On top of that, I have the added benefit that if I fell off a ledge and landed on one of these rifles like I did with a fine custom and ruined it and the scope, I have not lost what cannot be easily replaced. Today a fancy and expensive custom or factory rifle when hunting does not give a great deal of advantage over the entry level rifles of today. If it makes a man feel like he is a better hunter because he has a rifle he can say "look at what I have" then buy the thing, but don't assume it will really make a man a better hunter or better shot.

    I have lived among the hunting elite on leases costing 10,000 dollars a year as yearly guest (my friend was the president of the club) and the pressure to own the best rifle to fit in and I have discovered how much of a fool I was for buying into it and the bull all that stuff really is - so I hope the guy who does not have a lot to spend like me gains a great deal from my efforts to compare these rifles. Also, that the average guy can realizes that in these entry level rifles he can get the job done just the same as the guy with the Hot Dog Fancy Custom Rifle or Expensive Factory rifle and maybe much better, because he does not have to nurse his entry level rifle and baby it so it will keep looking good - he can actually hunt and hunt hard.

    Also, I would not buy an entry level rifle for the purpose of ever tweaking it. Why, buy it for any custom work at all when it is cheaper to replace the entry level rilfe than to have most custom work done on a Rem 700 or any upper level rifle. The reason I do not want to try the Edge/Axis is their poor trigger and the Remington is not anything the Marlin XL7 is not and I get a good trigger in the Marlin and an outstanding trigger in the Ruger American. Those who buy an entry level rifle outside of falling off a ledge like I did and ruining the rifle, will more than likely not wear it out in their life time of hunting, because they do not use their hunting rifles (most don't - excluding me) for range rifles.

    What is really going to be funny is if I get small consistent groups out of these two rifle from my handloads, and if so, that pretty much says it all. Now some might like to drive a BMW and I like my Chevys and Fords and guess what, we all get to where we are going, but if one feels it looks better feels better then by all means get the BMW, but whatever you do don't follow my four wheel drive pick up truck when I leave the smooth highways and head out through the dirty, muddy tough stuff and expect that nice BMW to ever look quit the same. You get in the mountains for 6 and 7 days of humping it or threading through a swamp and think that pretty rifle will not come back looking different, it will only be because you stayed in your tent or at camp and played with your new smart phone.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  2. #2
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Should be a good test. I'm really happy Ruger has further reduced the weight and length by offering a youth model with the introduction of the American youth. I'm even more happy they chambered it in 7mm-08. Ruger is continuing to be very innovative since Bills passing.

  3. #3

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    If I had to compose a title for your project, I'd call it "Searching for a 788." All you've said about the guns and your aims point straight back to that great old "entry level" gun that would usually shoot the ears off the more expensive M700's and M70's of the day at less than half the price. My only beef with the 788 came in the field carry department, with that miserable magazine often gouging me in all the wrong places while slung over my shoulder.

    Here's hoping one or both of the rifles live up to my standards for a great entry level rifle. In my eyes it's about time all the new marvels in manufacturing were applied to turn out a great inexpensive rifle rather than just another expensive wannabe.

    Keep us posted!

  4. #4
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I'll be anxiously awaiting your findings, although I have never owned a Marlin other than a Glennfield .22.
    I think a comparison between the Savage Axis and the American would be interesting also.
    I don't want this to sound like one of those "My choice of rifles is better than yours and you should buy one like mine.", posts like you find on THR, but I am continually pleased with the American (.308). It handles well, feeds well, is smooth, and has a lot of little perks one would expect on pricier rifles. More than that, however, it is just a good little shooter, even though I bought mine as a beat-around truck gun. Never was that impressed with the Edge/Axis.

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    Great idea, and thank you for taking the time and spending your money on this. I look forward to the results.

    Something I thought of immediately is that those who will normally buy these rifles will also buy a few boxes of factory ammo, and that is what they will shoot (not handloads). If you have new current production factory ammo could you throw in some accuracy tests of that as well please?

    I would still like to know what level of accuracy you can wring out of these rifles by tailoring your handloads, but just don't think that is the likely scenario for buyers.

    Do you have any preliminary accuracy results? Will this be a work as you go report, or just the final comparison review?

    Again, thank you and I look forward to your findings.

  6. #6

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    I will be trying some factory ammo as well as hand loads. Since there are so many aspects to this comparison, I will just do a final report covering all that I found and my conclusion or tallying up each rifle as a complete system but specifying how I got to my final judgment.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  7. #7
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    If I had to compose a title for your project, I'd call it "Searching for a 788." All you've said about the guns and your aims point straight back to that great old "entry level" gun that would usually shoot the ears off the more expensive M700's and M70's of the day at less than half the price. My only beef with the 788 came in the field carry department, with that miserable magazine often gouging me in all the wrong places while slung over my shoulder.

    Here's hoping one or both of the rifles live up to my standards for a great entry level rifle. In my eyes it's about time all the new marvels in manufacturing were applied to turn out a great inexpensive rifle rather than just another expensive wannabe.

    Keep us posted!
    Speaking of Remington, the model 770 looks a whole lot like the American.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Speaking of Remington, the model 770 looks a whole lot like the American.
    All we need now is for Remington, Marlin or Ruger to crank out those cheaper models in lefties.

  9. #9

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    Be sure to evaluate the warranties too at the time of your trial as Marlin may no longer honor its current warranty after it is sold off, just as TC doesn't honor the warranties on Contenders anymore since Smith & Wesson purchased them.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    Be sure to evaluate the warranties too at the time of your trial as Marlin may no longer honor its current warranty after it is sold off, just as TC doesn't honor the warranties on Contenders anymore since Smith & Wesson purchased them.
    Interesting point, thanks for putting me on to it, I sure will.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  11. #11

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    Another good thread Mike, I don't always chime in, but I always check in and read them. Looking forward to your findings. I fondled one of the new Arericans at a local sporting goods store. I see Ruger brought back the Tang Safety, but if I remember right, no CRF, which they didn't have in my old Tang Safety. It would really be cool if you could give us a peak under the hood to give us a better look at the receiver, recoil lug, bedding and wondering if they got rid of the angled front action screw.
    "You will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it."
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    I'll throw out a perspective on the handloading/factory loading:

    I agree MOST folks buying an entry level gun will be buying factory however I hand load for cost effectiveness and variety of bullets, I don't care about bench rest / competition type shooting. I've been considering an American in .243 for general carry as a truck gun, deer gun and something other than my .375. I will be very interested in how good you can get one of these guns to shoot with handloads from that angle!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    Another good thread Mike, I don't always chime in, but I always check in and read them. Looking forward to your findings. I fondled one of the new Arericans at a local sporting goods store. I see Ruger brought back the Tang Safety, but if I remember right, no CRF, which they didn't have in my old Tang Safety. It would really be cool if you could give us a peak under the hood to give us a better look at the receiver, recoil lug, bedding and wondering if they got rid of the angled front action screw.
    There is no angle screw but I will give everyone a peek under the hood of both rifles.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    I'll throw out a perspective on the handloading/factory loading:

    I agree MOST folks buying an entry level gun will be buying factory however I hand load for cost effectiveness and variety of bullets, I don't care about bench rest / competition type shooting. I've been considering an American in .243 for general carry as a truck gun, deer gun and something other than my .375. I will be very interested in how good you can get one of these guns to shoot with handloads from that angle!
    You and me both, because getting a 30-06 to shoot bug holes is very hard to do even with high dollar customs I have owned but you can get and 06 to shoot better than just hunting accuracy. I am getting components now lining everything out so when I start I can stay at it.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    not being a gunsmith I have to ask this question, can you ascertain if there is a "simple" way to have the bolt lock closed when loaded and the safety set on either ?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    not being a gunsmith I have to ask this question, can you ascertain if there is a "simple" way to have the bolt lock closed when loaded and the safety set on either ?

    yes, on both
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  17. #17

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    Wednesday or Thursday morning will begin my load work comparison of the XLR and the American in 30-06 depending on the weather.





    180gr North Fork
    180gr Sierra Pro Hunter spitzer
    180gr Speer Hot Core Spitzer
    180gr Speer Hot Core RN
    180gr Ballistic Tip

    165gr North Fork
    165gr Sierra HPBT
    165gr Sierra SBT


    220gr Sierra RN
    220gr Hawk
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  18. #18
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    I have to jump in here, if for no other reason than to be in on the details. I've never found a Ruger I didn't like, and I am so fond of Marlin's XL series that I had a custom .35 Whelen built on an XL7 30-06 donor when I could have chosen almost any platform, and it wasn't my dime.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

  19. #19

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    Yes, this will be an interesting time for me as I work through this comparison. I am really looking forward to doing this and not going to rush. I will take my time letting this process evolve not rushing or skipping steps, because I really want to know without all the hype, pressure or expectations that are based on emotion, but the facts as they present themselves through the process.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  20. #20

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    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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