For years in rural America, the 22 rifle became a rite of passage for young teens and usually provided their first exposuåre to a real firearm. Once they proved they could responsibly handle a BB or pellet gun, parents often followed up with a shiny 22 rifle for a special birthday or Christmas present. The small-caliber rifle furnished an introduction to hunting squirrels, rabbits and other small game. It also provided hours of enjoyment with target practice and unofficial shooting competitions.
Among the many choices on the market the Marlin 22 rifle proved one of the most popular, especially the Model 60. According to the Marlin Firearms website, the company has sold more than 11 million Model 60 rifles since the manufacturer introduced this version 54 years ago. Marlin Firearms has a venerable history of firearms manufacturing that dates back to its founding in 1870 by John Mahlon Marlin.
How the Marlin Model 60 Works
All 22 rifles shoot a projectile, or cartridge, that is .22 inches in diameter. However, there are different types of this caliber of ammunition including a .22 short, a .22 long and a .22 long rifle. As you might expect the difference in these is the length of the bullet with the .22 long rifle the longest of the three. These are all rimfire cartridges which simply means the primer is located around the rim of the brass casing rather than in the center.
The 22 rifle consists of a shoulder stock to steady the gun; a receiver, or frame, of the gun that houses the firing mechanism; a barrel at least 16 inches long that contains spiral-shaped grooves to put a spin on the bullet for accuracy; a mechanism to advance the bullet into the chamber; and a trigger to fire the ammunition. Within the family of 22 rifles you will find single-shot rifles, lever-action rifles, bolt-action rifles and semi-automatic rifles.
With a semi-automatic 22 rifle, a new bullet advances into the chamber each time you pull the trigger. Some of these rifles load the bullets into a tube underneath the barrel while others store the bullets in a rotary or straight magazine that attaches to the receiver.
The Marlin 22 rifle Model 60, which is a semi-automatic, utilizes a tubular-feed system that only accepts long-rifle ammo. The tube holds 14 bullets at a time, and the user has to reload the magazine inner tube assembly when it becomes empty. There is no way to preload extra tube magazines. You need to pull the trigger each time to advance and shoot the next bullet. When you have fired the last shot the bolt automatically holds open so you can safely check that the chamber is empty.
Specifications and Features of the Model 60
The basic Model 60 provides the small-game hunter and target shooter with an excellent workhorse rifle that will supply years of reliability and quality enjoyment.
- Overall Length: 37-1/2 inches
- Approximate Weight: 5-1/2 pounds
- Barrel Length: 19 inches
- Rifling: 16 grooves of Micro-Groove© Rifling
- Twist Rate: 1:16 inches
- Length of Pull: 13-1/4 inches
- Ammunition: .22 long rifle only
- Magazine: 14-shot tubular with patented closing system
- Stock: Walnut-finish hardwood
- Sights: Adjustable open rear sight, ramp front sight
- Warranty: 5-year limited
- Safety: Cross-bolt
The same basic Model 60 rifle also comes in several stock finishes and stainless steel options. The following choices are available.
- Model 60C Monte Carlo Camo-finish hardwood stock
- Model 60SB Walnut-finish laminate stock and stainless steel
- Model 60SN Black synthetic stock with molded checkering
- Model 60SN w/Scope Black synthetic stock and 4 by 20 mm scope & mounts
- Model 60SS Beautiful two-tone laminate stock and stainless steel
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Pros and Cons of the Marlin Model 60
It is unusual when reviewing any type of product to have the pros overwhelmingly outweigh the cons, yet that is the case with the Model 60. Whether you talk with people who have enjoyed a version of the Model 60 for years or use this rifle as a benchmark to measure the performance of similar 22 rifles, the Model 60 stands out as a stellar example of firearms craftsmanship. Here is a list of the positive attributes of this Marlin 22 rifle.
All the 22 rifles we looked at received excellent marks when it came to accurate shooting. Some models had problems with their shooting mechanisms, but when they worked well they shot with accuracy. In spite of this the Model 60 seems to have an edge in this aspect. Perhaps it is Marlin’s patented Micro-Groove© rifling of the barrel, but a large number of shooters praised the consistently tight target patterns they were able to attain with the Model 60, and many admitted they were not expert marksmen.
A lot of rifles deliver most of the time, but the Marlin Model 60 comes through every time. This means it is always ready to go, always on target and never jams no matter what quality or brand of ammunition you put through it. The Model 60 also performs well regardless of weather conditions or the length of time it has remained idle.
The number of Model 60 rifles Marlin has sold over an extended number of years testifies to the excellence of this renowned firearm. High quality shines through the materials, workmanship and mechanics, and the comments and reviews back this assessment. Marlin does not overlook even the smallest detail, and everything works as promised. Users made many comments about the beauty of the rifles whether they had hardwood, laminate or synthetic stocks.
Selection of Stocks and Barrels
Within the Model 60 family Marlin offers several options of materials used to manufacture the stocks and barrels. Possibilities for the rifle stocks include walnut-finish or Monte Carlo Camo-finish hardwood, walnut-finish or two-tone laminate, or black synthetic stocks with molded sling mounts and checkering. Barrels come in stainless steel or blued steel. Marlin also sells the Model 60SN with a synthetic stock, blued-steel barrel and 4 by 20 mm scope and mounts. In addition, you can now choose from several aftermarket hunting tactical stocks for the Model 60.
As stated above, there are not a lot of negative aspects to the Model 60, and not everyone would agree the following points qualify as cons when it comes to this rifle. However, here are a few different concerns to note.
We expected to find negative comments about this characteristic of the Model 60, but it turned out to be something of a non-issue. In fact, an amazing number of users not only praised the tube-feed feature but also commented on how much they enjoyed using it. It is a testament to the quality of the Model 60 that nobody registered a complaint about the tube magazine.
Many other 22 rifles use a detachable rotary or straight magazine, and you can purchase extras to have loaded and ready to go when you’ve emptied the one in your gun. If you have any shots left at the end of your hunting excursion you just detach the magazine, checking that the receiver is empty, and put it away for the next time. With the tube-feed magazine, if you have ammo you haven’t used you must remove the inner tube assembly and dump out the extra rounds. This becomes more cumbersome than removing a magazine. Likewise it is more awkward to add cartridges to the tube than to slip in a rotary or straight magazine. However, there are tube speed loaders on the market that make loading the tube easier.
One reviewer mentioned the bolt release was a little sharp and stiff. Another cautioned to follow reassembly instructions and make sure the bolt is in the back locked position to prevent bending the ejector. This said, the vast majority of users were very pleased with the easy disassembly and reassembly of the Model 60 for cleaning purposes.
Marlin offers a 5-year limited warranty to the original purchaser against any defects and will repair or replace the rifle during this period at their discretion. This, of course, excludes any misuse or abuse of the product. Since none of the reviewers experienced any problems with the rifle that necessitated returning the firearm for repair, the warranty doesn’t appear to cause any issues. However, five years is on the low end of the warranties offered by some other manufacturers. Remington offers a limited lifetime warranty, and Mossberg provides a limited 10-year warranty on their products. Ruger does not supply any written warranty, but countless Ruger users chimed in with examples of Ruger immediately addressing any complaints and quickly repairing or replacing a defective product.
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When you review a highly respected manufacturer such as Marlin you expect that you will talk about a quality product. Even so, we were surprised at how this Marlin 22 rifle excels in every area and earns the trust and respect of the dedicated hunters and target shooters who faithfully use it. We anticipated the tube-feed magazine would provide negative feedback, but this is not the case. After learning about problems loading and using some of the rotary and straight magazines, the flawless operation of the Model 60 tube magazine becomes even more commendable.