Marlin 881 Bolt Action
After many practice outings and trying many different kinds of ammo, I feel that this Marlin 881 bolt should be shooting better than it does. Let me state the facts so far. I belong to a gun club and shoot twice a week. I feel that human error can be ruled out. Out of the MANY ammos I have tried, I have the best group with the Federal Champions 40gr lead bullet. (510). At which I feel is not a good group. The groups in shots of five, the two farthest away from each other are about 2.5-3.0" apart. I would asume that at 50 yds the group should be tighter. I am thinking more in terms of a group of five should be contained in a space of a silver dollar! The gun and scope were bought in 1994. The scope is a tasco 4x32. I took the gun to a reliable gunsmith. I like the guy and is very popular with people around here who all think he is good. He said the gun checks out good with no known problems that he could see. My question is this: Is this gun capable of shooting better than the discribed results I am having? And can it shoot groups that can be contained in the circle of a silver dollar area? Or am I just expecting too much from a production line product? Comments please on this subject.
Federal Champion Target (standard velocity) is good stuff- if you want better than that, you are looking at very pricy match ammo (IMHO) and while the 881 is not a benchrest rifle, from a rest it should give you decent groups at 50 yards.
Couple of things to check- first, are all screws snug- including the scope screws? Have found a few that the action/barrel were loose in the stock. Second, with an UNLOADED rifle, carefully check the crown of the muzzle with a good light and a magnifier, looking for dings or damage. A slight boo-boo there will throw bullets way off. Finally, take 10 minutes and thoroughly clean the bore with a brush and solvent- it is not uncommon for 22s to "lead up" a bit from the very soft lead ammo.
I have the daddy to your rifle- a Model 81- that with a 4 power scope will pop clay pigeons at 100 meters, so the accuracy level you are seeking at 50 should be achievable. If the above does not tighten up your groups, then I am stumped- hopefully others may have some more ideas.
Bought new or used?
Has the .22 alway's been this loose with its groups or has this developed recently?
I figure since you club shoot you keep that .22 pretty clean so dirty bore be out the question?
I had a really beat model 81 that I put a numrich used barrel, replaced the ctg lifter, this 81 is the most accurate .22 I own to date.
the 81 is a predicessor to the 881 with a different type bolt setup
I think marlin Barrels have always been pretty good and yours should shoot way better than that.
The gun smith most likely checked the muzzle crown and the chamber for imperfections, if this rifle has always been a flop mabe the outer end your bore was worn by a steel cleaning rod in its past before you got it? and this reflects that?, lapping the bore may smoothe it some?
possibly counterboreing the muzzle would help as a extreme measure
At the worst would be rebarreling it, check Numrich gun parts they most likely have a model 881 barrel they arnt all that expensive ($30-$40) they are not all that hard to replace.
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