Range report: Marlin XL7 270 Winchester Stalkingbear Arms Semi Custom




It is not all that often that I write about personal things but on this I simply had too.

Some time ago three things all coincided that in nearly an instant transformed me into a person that I had never before been in my entire adult life. Gun poor! Those things were pretty much well beyond my control but that is not what this is about. Neil Stalkingbear, whom I call “Brother Bear” was not happy when I told him about all that had happened. Right after that he himself faced a life threatening illness, and recovered thank almighty God. I had posted at Hunters Central at Yahoo Groups about Marlin Rifles a few times, and, Bear being the man that he is asked one evening if I would like a Marlin Rifle. Since younger people sometimes read here let’s just say that my reply was in the affirmative.

Now, anyone that knows Neil at all knows that he just has to, shall we say tinker? It doesn’t matter, cars, trucks, stills, I mean guns…! So, basically, I received a Stalkingbear Arms©® worked over Marlin XL7 in Winchester 270 topped off with a Nikon Pro Staff Scope. Neil had did a traditional job on the barrel and action, hand lapping it to, a level that I had not seen on a rifle since I’d spent nearly a thousand dollars on my model 700 280! He also worked his magic on the trigger, and yes, I went to a couple of stores and tested the triggers, all of which were very good, on several XL7’s. Neil’s was far superior. It’s is light, crisp, and now I don’t even remember that thing called “creep.” No, it isn’t a smooth as a newborns bottom. It is smoother! I guess you just can’t have everything…

Like everyone, I have had to deal  with the shortage of ammunition brought on by the “Gun Salesman of the Year” / “Ammunition Salesman of the year” and getting any fodder at all was just about impossible… (See Conservative Libertarian Outpost about that!) But, one day while up in Sheridan while shopping at Shipton’s Big R store, it happened! They got in a boatload of ammunition! Yes, they restricted my purchase, but, with my better half along we were able to purchase four boxes of Federal 270 Winchester ammunition, 130 grain Power Shok® to be exact. No, it’s not the best that they make, or what might be available, but it was there! Not to mention that it is outstanding ammunition for our local Deer and Pronghorns!

Now back to the rifle. Bear had told me that I would have to clean the heck out of it, and yes I did. It got a rather thorough scrubbing, and was re-lubricated using first Break Free, then, after letting that dry and set, a general wash or Rem Oil© I then rubbed up all that with a gun cloth and loaded it to check the functioning… SQUAK! Then I remembered that Bear said that it liked grease. After lubing that bolt up with Montana Gun Grease® it was quiet as a lamb with a Cougar nearby.

The shipping necessitated that the scope be sent separate from the rifle so I set about that chore and all that that entails. I should have left it alone… My BSA calumniator had me more than two feet off, but, we will get to that! The effects of global warming had me cooped up for weeks, or so the Climate gate people say. In any case once the snow drifts had subsided it was off to the range!

I set up at the one hundred yard shooting station. Took a rest, put three downrange, and..? I was not pleased, not at all. I sent three more, same results. I moved to the fifty yard range.

It took some serious twisting of knobs but I finally made paper. I then did the single shot sight in maneuver, and put three right on top of each other after that. Back to a hundred yards.

I sent three, and then tweaked the scopes knobs. It looked good through a fellow’s spotting scope after that. So, we all went down and put up new targets. Right about then some guy got a bit lippy, and said something along the lines of not bad for junk… he kept it up, and we got back to the firing line. I got a tad bit upset, after all, it is not good to diss another mans firearm. Mind ya’ now, he is a good shot, kept them all in the black, and fairly tight too. He was shooting a rather nice rifle, it looked to be a custom model 70 topped with Swarovski glass at that. He sent five down range, an X two sevens, and two nines, not bad, not bad at all. The he looked at me and asked if I was going to shoot, my piece of trash… Note: he had shot from the bench. I got hot, after all Bear had put in some serious time on that rifle.

I stood up, slung up, and put five downrange, three in the X, two nines… I looked at him and asked, let’s do five more. For the rifles! He gathered up his things, and left.

I’d sure love to own a rifle like his. Oh well… I can’t wait to see what I can squeeze out of this Marlin with some worked up loads!

The picture of the target is posted at Hunters Central at Yahoo Groups. It may be the best that I have ever shot in my life.

Credit goes to Neil Stalkingbear.Arms@yahoo.com

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4 Responses to “Range report: Marlin XL7 270 Winchester Stalkingbear Arms Semi Custom”

  1. TexasFred Says:

    That Stalkingbear dude is one good guy!! 🙂


  2. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Fred, I can’t believe this rifle’s performance! I’ve owned $3K Mauser’s that were not this sweet! And those are 1980 prices!


  3. Brian Gard Says:

    I bought a Marlin XL7 in 270 Win from Cal Ranch in Pocatello on April 18th,
    with 3 x 9 scope which is a chinese made JCSTAR I think, no brand name
    on the scope or in the instructions on how to use the scope, but I got
    it sighted in yesterday and shot four shots about 3/4 inch group. In
    the past two months I also bought a TIKKA T3 LITE in 270, it was
    440 without a scope, I thought a great bargain, after putting a scope
    on it I paid 640 dolars out the door with tax and a Nikkon ProStaff scope.
    The Marlin WITH scope out the door was 285! sticker price was 269.98.
    There are a few features on each rifle I like a little better than the other,
    but the Marlin shoots every bit as well as the legendary Tikka! I am
    very very happy with the Marlin, I think they did everything right with
    it, the checking on the black synthetic stock is suberb and the trigger
    is every bit as good as the Tikka IMHO! I like the Tikka detachable
    clip just fine, but it only hold 3 rounds, I prefer the Marlin closed
    (no hinged floorplate) magazine. Put the safety on (no fire position)
    and unload it. I also have a TIKKA in 30-06, I like all rifles equally
    well, but I got the Marlin set up for half the price, I am not sure
    what brand the scope is, or if it will hold up to 20 years of rough
    hunting in Idaho Salmon River country like my Leupold scope
    on Winchester model 70 280. IMO the 30-06 or 270 is all I will
    ever need, can shoot the biggest elk in woods, or rockchuck at
    400 yards. Marlin is an astonishing well built and accurate rifle,
    the dude who was sarcastic with his high dollar shooting iron is a
    sucker for spending all that money when he could of bought six
    Marlin or Tikka rifles!


  4. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Glad that you are happy with your Marlin Brad. I only wish that they built them in 280! You might send Neil an email and ask about him going through your rifle. I haven’t been able to go shooting much on this side of the mountains due to weather as of late but my Marlin is beginning to look like a match grade gun when using reloads that are tuned to it.

    Thanks for commenting.


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