A Rifle Review: The Marlin 25N – A Classic .22-caliber Rifle

My Marlin 25N is a classic bolt-action .22 caliber rifle with a walnut-finished hardwood stock. The rifle uses a traditional box magazine (or clip) that holds 7-rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. A scope can easily be mounted via grooves on top of the rifle’s receiver. However, traditional iron sights are provided and are easily adjusted for elevation. When I bought this rifle back in 1990 or 1991, I had just completed marksmanship training before graduating from the University of Florida. As a beginner, I appreciated that the safety lever on the right side of the action was clearly marked “SAFE” and “FIRE.” When the rifle is cocked, a red dot is also revealed on the striker knob. While the Marlin 25N is clearly an entry-level sporting rifle, its barrel features Marlin’s vaunted Microgroove rifling. This gives the Marlin barrel more lans and grooves than .22-caliber rifles from other manufacturers and is reputed to make the rifle more accurate by reducing the grooving and distortion of bullets as they pass through the barrel.

The Marlin 25N is a well-equipped basic rifle. However, I’ve added a few accessories. I had a gun shop add sling swivels to the stock and added a nice leather sling that is suitable for carrying the rifle on a hike or bracing it when shooting at the range. I also purchased two extra Marlin 7-round magazines as a convenience. While I don’t currently have a scope mounted on my Marlin 25N, over the years I’ve had some success with relatively inexpensive Tasco 4x and variable power scopes. The top of the receiver is grooved so that many inexpensive scopes can easily slide right onto the rifle.

Generally, the Marlin Model 25N is a substantial rifle. It is hefty enough to feel solid without being heavy. In over 17 years of ownership, I’ve only had one minor problem with this rifle. Shortly after I bought my Marlin Model 25N, I rather forcefully pushed the safety lever forward to the fire position and sheared the knob off of the thumb safety. I shipped the rifle back to the Marlin Factory and they fixed the problem under warranty and returned it within a few of weeks. Otherwise, my Marlin 25N has been delightfully trouble free. In this era of synthetic stocks, mystery alloy receivers, and plastic magazines, my Marlin 25N is reassuringly traditional.

The real test of any rifle is how it performs at the range and in the field. As an entry-level firearm originally priced at $155, I feel my Marlin 25N has delivered a great performance value. At about 50-feet, when I do my part as a marksman, my Marlin can deliver tight groups with each bullet touching. When I first purchased my Marlin, I had the young eyes of a 25-year old and I was a great shot with it. However, on my last trip to the range, I had a lot of trouble getting a good site picture with my 41-year old eyes. Nevertheless, I was able to hit a 2-inch targets from 50-feet without any problem and produced several groups with most of the bullets touching. I was often able to hit a 1-inch target and with most misses being very close.

The trigger on my Marlin 25N is consistent without noticeable creep, but it is just a little stiff. The rifle is simply set up for hunting, plinking, and casual target shooting with beginners in mind. An extremely light trigger may simply not be a good or safe choice for the majority of Marlin Model 25N shooters. I believe the Marlin Model 25N will deliver excellent performance at the range for most marksmen and in the field for most hunters. However, if I was ever going to do a Marlin Makeover, I would swap out the trigger mechanism for an after-market trigger group with a lighter trigger pull. With Marlin’s microgroove rifling, a good scope or micrometer-adjustable peep sight, and a lighter trigger pull, I think my humble Marlin Model 25N would turn in exciting Olympic-quality performances at the range.

The lineage of the Marlin Model 25N continues on today in the form of the Marlin Model 925. The rifle appears cosmetically identical, but uses Marlin’s new T-900 Fire Control System for the trigger mechanism. It also has swivel studs for mounting a sling. Today’s Marlin customers will be pleased to see variants with camouflaged stocks and synthetic stocks coupled with available stainless steel barrels and actions. I’m sure future Marlin purchasers will continue to be pleased with these wonderful rimfire rifles.

Sources:

Marlin 2008 Sporting Firearms Catalog, Marlin Firearms Company, New Haven, CT, 2008

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