Marlin will produce a new line of affordable bolt-action, rimfire rifles in 2011. Dubbed the Marlin XT Series, the new rifles will be offered in 17 HMR, .22 LR, and .22 WMR, all with a variety of barrel and stock configurations. We’re pleased to see the XT line fitted with Marlin’s signature Micro-Groove barrels which have proven quite accurate in Marlin’s rimfire lever guns. Sorry, no prices have yet been announced, but XT rifles will be priced competitively in the “affordable” market segment.
The good news is that Marlin has fitted a new adjustable XT Pro-Fire® trigger system in the entire XT line. This trigger is user-adjustable from 3 pounds to 6 pounds pull weight, with “virtually zero creep” according to Marlin. A 3-lb pull is acceptable on this kind of rifle. The bad news, in our opinion, is that Marlin has fitted its triggers with a Glock-style “trigger safety” insert that must be pulled back before the trigger can be engaged. The “trigger safety” may please Marlin’s lawyers, but we have found such devices annoying at best, and unreliable at worst. In fairness to Marlin, perhaps it has executed the trigger-shoe safety system in a better fashion than some other manufacturers. Let’s hope so.
17 HMR Version Available with Laminated Thumbhole Stock
Among the many XT offerings, we think the Model XT-17VLB may be the best option for serious varminters. Chambered for the accurate, 2500 fps 17 HMR cartridge, this rifle features a handsome, ergonomic thumbhole stock. The added effective range of the 17 HMR gives the varminter more options in the field. As with other XTs, the receiver comes drilled, tapped and grooved for mounting scopes.
Two New XT Youth Models
Among the new XT offering are two new XT Youth Rifles — the first Marlin rifles designed specifically for younger shooters. The XT Youth rifles feature a shorter length of pull, shorter trigger reach, smaller pistol grip and a raised comb, making it easier for young shooters to maintain the proper sight picture.