June 2009

Head-to-Head Shootout: Bolt Rifles from Savage and Marlin

When we pitted Marlinís XL7 Walnut and Savageís 111FCNS in 30-06 Springfield, the latter shot lights out with two of our test ammos and otherwise behaved like a top-quality hunting gun.

It has been said that if you canít do it with a 30-06, you probably canít do it. That little saying is likely more right than wrong. It has been over a century since the U.S. Military recalled the (.30-03) M1903 Springfield rifle and modified it to accept the 30-06 in the form of the M1906. The most popular hunting cartridge in North America has spawned numerous variations, being necked up in the form of the .35 Whelen and necked down as in the 25-06, with the 270 Winchester perhaps the most successful of its many offspring.

Newly introduced for 2009 are two bolt guns chambered for the 30-06, one being the latest incarnation of the highly refined Savage long action and the other the latest walnut model of the recently introduced Marlin XL7 rifle. If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, the Marlin profusely flatters the older Savage 110 action, but there are salient differences between the two, as we were soon to discover.

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