I've been on the hunt for a nice bolt action .22 rifle for awhile, my dad has a Remington Sportmaster 512 but it was shot so much it wore out and it's hard to find the parts needed to fix it. There aren't a whole lot of options for new bolt action .22 rifles out there, so when I heard (Remington) under the Marlin name, was making the XT-22 I was all ears.
The XT-22 is American made in Mayfield, Ky. The particular model I bought has a hard-wood Monte Carlo stock with a walnut finish, it comes standard with swivel studs. Some checkering in the grip areas would have been nice, but still, it's quite a nice stock and shoulders comfortably. The metal parts have an excellent, blued finish that I was impressed by. The 22" barrel features a right hand twist of 1:16, adjustable rear sight and ramp front sight. The barrel is floated to an extent, after doing "the dollar test", I found that a dollar bill will fit easily between the barrel and fore arm until about 6" in where it gets kind of tight. A little light grit sandpaper to the inside of the forearm would probably remedy that. Other than those minor things I mentioned, I found the fit and finish of the XT-22 to be excellent. All together this XT-22 is 41" long and weighs 6 lbs. My XT-22 is fed by a 7 shot magazine. Other Marlin .22LR magazines, such as the model 925, are compatible with the XT-22. The XT series calibers include: 22 WMR, 17 Mach2, and 17 HMR. There are also different models available featuring bull barrels, scope ready sightless barrels, tube magazine, composite stocks, and youth models. Usual price for this model is $199, I got mine on sale at Dunham's Sporting Goods for $184.
Above is the 3-6 lb. Marlin Adjustable XT Pro-Fire trigger. I've left mine at factory setting, which seems really light, just the way I like it. The two-piece trigger design eliminates creep because any slack in the trigger is taken up by the inner trigger. After that the trigger breaks quick and crisp, very nice. The two-piece trigger also acts as an extra safety measure.
As you can see in the picture above, the XT-22's receiver is dove-tailed and drilled and tapped for easy and versatile scope mounting. The "reduced force" bolt action is smooth and I expect with use it will only get better. Notice the flat spot on the bolt arm that allows for greater bolt/scope clearance. It's safety is a thumb style manual switch located behind the bolt. On the back of the bolt is a red painted ring that is visible when the gun is cocked.
The picture above is of my first 7 shots with the XT-22, strait out of the box, standing, off-handed. Couldn't ask for much more than that. Oh...uh...well...maybe I could.
This is the Tasco Pronghorn series, 3-9x32mm scope I purchased for it. I've used Tasco scopes in the past and I'm fond of them, this one was under $50, (Got it from OpticsPlanet.com, great prices, shipping, and customer service by the way). It has about 3" in eye relief, a 30-30 reticle, and easy turn elevation and windage dials. It also features see-through scope covers. I decided to use Weaver mounts to attach the scope instead of the dove-tail groove. Weaver #12 top-mount, two-piece bases are a perfect fit for front and rear. I used Weaver Quad Lock, medium height, 1" rings. If you decide to go with more than a 32mm scope I suggest high rise rings, because with these medium rings the scope barely clears the receiver. I like my scope as close to the barrel as I can get it. Everything came together easily, and I was able to get the scope mounted level and strait with very little adjustment, the bolt clears the scope, but only by a hair. As an impulse buy I found a Winchester 99700 , swivel stud mount bi-pod at Wal-Mart. Easy to install, it fits perfectly, extends from 9" to 13", and I can still attach my sling to it.
And there it is, all put together. Sweeeet!
I benched the rifle and laser bore sighted the scope, (surprisingly it wasn't off by that much), and went out to my range for some fine tuning.
Above is the MTM Predator shooting rest I used for the range test.
All targets were placed at 75 yards. The scope was dialed to 7x. The ammo I used was CCI Mini-Mags, 40gr, plated round nose. It was a balmy 38 degrees outside with only a slight breeze.
Above is my "sight in" target, you can see the outer shots and where I made adjustments to the scope. Once I got it zeroed, I just went nuts and blew the center out of the target.....I couldn't help myself. I still can't believe how awesome the XT-22's trigger is. It's bolt action is nice and smooth, no hang ups, no failures. The Tasco scope has good eye relief, it has a clear, wide sight picture and is really easy to dial in.
The above target is seven shots with the scope dead-on, zeroed in, all bullseye! That penny could almost cover all the shots.
I decided on one final test. This time I used the bi-pod on my table top instead of the bench rest. I shot only two rounds this time, still dead-on. Liking that bi-pod. I plan on moving the target out to 100 yards and beyond soon, I'll add the results to this article when I do.
I moved the target out to 100 yards, still using the CCI Mini-Mags. Here's the results:
Above: 7 shots fired from a bench rest.
Above: 7 shots fired from the bi-pod.
So, 25 more yards and it still shoots tight, I continued to be surprised by the accuracy of this rifle.
Marlin XT-22: My Impressions
I've been shooting 22 rifles for 25 years, the 22 long rifle is my favorite, all-around-fun-to-shoot caliber. I've shot many different models of 22 rifles, some expensive, some cheap, some good, some bad. I can tell you right now, after my experience with the Marlin XT-22, it is definitely in my top 5. You simply can't go wrong with a rifle that shoots like this for under $200. I have less than $300 tied up in mine and you can see the results. The XT-22's features, form, and function, are very good, with the addition of inexpensive accessories it becomes excellent. It would make a great "bare-bones" project rifle, anyone who wanted to put some time and money into it could have something really special. I would also recommend it as a first rifle for someone looking to get into small caliber rifle shooting. There's nothing like the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when shooting accurately with a well made rifle. Can't wait to hit the range again. Marlin has a winner with the XT-22.