Marlin Model 980S Bolt Action 22 LR

For some reason I’m not a big fan of automatic 22’s. Maybe it’s because most of the auto’s I’ve ever shot seem to jam fairly frequently. So I typically tend to buy lever action or bolt action 22’s as a result. If anyone has any suggestions on a great auto 22, I’m all ears, but if this little Marlin is any indication of the quality it’ll be up against…..it had better be a damned fine gun.

I picked this up on sale at Bass Pro shops for just under 200 bucks. It is drilled and tapped for mounting a scope, but like most 22’s….why bother. The typical killing/target range of a 22 is within 100 yards anyway and if you can’t handle that with iron sights you probably have no business shooting. Besides, everyone uses scopes on guns these days and I am a staunch supporter of learning to shoot with iron sights before you ever pick up a scoped piece.

This past weekend on a dove hunting trip to Tonkawa, Oklahoma some friends and I really gave this little gun a workout. During a break in the middle part of the day we took turns shooting at floating spent 12 gauge shells in a nearby pond….doing our best to sink them. Most shots were in the range of 30-50 yards and this gun performed admirably flying through two 400 round bricks in a little less than 2 hours. Not a single jam and the only problems arising were two dud rounds that didn’t fire after multiple tries.

After shooting it for a couple hours I must say I was thoroughly glad I picked up this little steal. And if our little break in session is any indication of its ability on a hunt I have no doubt that many a rabbit, squirrel and pest varmint will find this weapon quite detrimental to their health.
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21 Comments

Filed under Firearms, Hunting, Weapons

21 responses to “Marlin Model 980S Bolt Action 22 LR

  1. Max

    I can’t see very well out to 100 yards. I had an earlier model Marlin .22 with a peep sight that I just couldn’t use worth a darn. Got a little 4x scope for it and that made all the difference in the world.

  2. PackDude

    I also bought a Marlin recently — a 981T. Mostly because it shoots 22 shorts, which I indend(ed) to use for depleting my neighborhood of crows.

    It seems to be quite accurate. I have an adjustable aftermarket trigger on order from Midway, but the stock trigger isn’t bad. I can squeeze of a shot without jerking it too much.

    I’ve also come to really appreciate the tubular magazine, which I always though were kind of lame when I was younger. It allows for the different lengths of ammo, from 22 short to 22 long rifle, and you never have to worry about keeping track of magazines. The tube will hold like 25 shorts or 17 long rifle rounds, which is plenty!

    I think the MicroGroove rifling is great because it doesn’t slow down the rounds too much. I can even shoot those Aguila 22 Colibri rounds through it. For those who don’t know, the Colibri rounds are only propelled by the primer — there is no gunpowder. The bullets are only 20 grain, so they’re basically the same size as the 22 caliber pellets I’ve been shooting from my Benjamin Sheridan air rifle. The Colibri bullets fired from a long barreled rifle are actually *quieter* than an air rifle.

    The Colibri are great for shooting indoors, when I’m too lazy to go all the way out to the shooting range or the boonies. They are supposed to be for pistols only, but they have no problem going all the way through the 22″ barrel of the 981T, and still have enough power to penetrate halfway through a 2×4. But they’re not powerful enough to exit a building and hurt anyone outside. I think the Colibri will be what I use on crows, instead of the 22 shorts. Probably a lot safer, since they’re basically equivalent in muzzle energy to a 22 air rifle. I was going to buy a nice $400 RWS air rifle, but why bother when I can get the same performance from a primer-only 22 round?

    I have a Bushnell 76-2243 4×32 rimfire scope on my Marlin. I have been shooting my 10/22 (and other rifles) with iron sights for years, and will definitely keep it up. I agree with your philosophy of shooting with iron sights first, but I’ve learned to like the scopes, too.

    I think I will also get a Marlin 983T in 22 Win Mag, for taking on some coyote hunts.

    Thanks for the article!

    • Cookee

      hey Pack, you said you have an adjustable trigger on the way? whats the name/# of it? im looking for one for an old marlin 81-dl i have, thanks

      COokee

  3. Anthony

    I would say your best bet is a 10/22 ruger long rifle which is a semi auto. :)

    • David

      A 10/22 gets wiped on the floor by any Marlin Semi Auto, to get the Ruger up to the Marlin’s accuracy you need to spend more on it then you would a Marlin overall.

  4. pat from IL

    just picked one of these up tonight. can’t wait to see how it shoots!

  5. This is very hot information. I’ll share it on Digg.

  6. John from BC

    what is the trigger made from plastic or metal ?

  7. David

    I have a 981T, the sights were pretty good when I got it. My only complaint so far is the trigger needs a little work, but it isn’t terrible, and in fact better then my grandfathers old Stevens Model 66 C- that I use every once in a while.

  8. Martin Guerra

    I got a Marlin 980S for my young daughter for target practice. This rifle is real good and she loves it. I want to know if there is any peep sights that might fit this model and also a softer trigger for it.

  9. jhon

    had model 925. great 22 but mags are hard too find. i found them in 2,10, and 5 rounds. best 22 i ever owned and only $110 new.

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  11. issac

    I have two semi auto 22 lr’s and the only time either one has jammed is because of a lite load. I have a Remington speedmaster and a marlin 980DL sold by sears back in the 80’s. I’ve shot every bullet known to man out of both and both handled very well. It’s not the gun unless you don’t keep it clean. Yes iron sights are great if you have the eyesight to match. But to each his own. I’m 60 years old and a lifetime of gun handling.I’ve never had a bad gun. Check your loads. I’ve even had cci stingers jam because one slipped by the manufacturer with not enough powder. As far as the best semi auto, ruger does make a good one but I prefer the marlin. It’s longer, and the way the receiver is designed, makes it very solid. Bullet test out of both, the marlin produces more feet per second and shot through three pressure treated 2×6’s tells me it holds more muzzle energy than the Remington. Happy hunting.

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