I am sure everyone has that one Christmas gift that they always remember as their favorite. For me, it was my Marlin 25n. I was ten years old, and this was to be my first real rifle. I had plenty of BB guns and air rifles up to this point, but never anything cartridge fed. I remember it like it was yesterday, I would always wake up early and then have to wait for my sister to get up. Once she finally did, around 6am, I ran down the stairs. The rifle was laying across the hearth of the fireplace. The dark wood stock stood out sharply against the lighter color brick. It was the only thing I noticed when I got downstairs. I went straight to it and picked it up, cleared the action, and began marching around the house with it. It was one of the best gifts ever, and one that I still enjoy shooting to this day.
This rifle came to me by way of Santa Claus, and apparently he knew how destructive I could be and how cheaper is sometimes better. The rifle came with a Tasco 4×15 scope. Now I know this is not the best glass out there by any means, it’s not even a name you whisper when searching for new glass, but I give it to Tasco, this little $10ish scope has withstood the test of time. I have not had to adjust the sights on this gun ever since we first sighted it in. This gun has been through a lot, taken a lot of abuse, and has held zero through it all. My Dad took me to his cousin’s ranch to sight it in and do some hunting with it. Once it was zeroed, which only took a few shots, I spent the next hour plinking away at cans and figs that had fallen from the trees. A short time later, we were on the move for live game, we drove around in that Isuzu Trooper like a jeep on safari. I sat poised in the back seat waiting to strike at whatever may have moved. I won’t go into too many gory details, but that armadillo never stood a chance, at 75yrds, it was a clean shot, and the start of many great lasting memories.
As an adult, I still love shooting this rifle. The accuracy is just superb, even with the lower end scope as mentioned before. About 2 years ago I decided it was time to start my step-daughter learning the family way. I started her small, on a Red Ryder BB gun, but she quickly graduated to this .22LR. Seeing her shoot and get excited about drilling the bullseye over and over again brought me back to my childhood and my love for this rifle.
The stock now has lost some of its luster, small dents and scratches show that this gun did not live its life in a safe. The dark finish on the walnut stock still looks beautiful, and the wear makes it that much more a part of what the rifle means. Having a solid wood stock does make this a heavier rifle, although I will take wood over synthetic any day. I know it’s not “tacticool” to have a wooden stock, but it’s definitely more nostalgic. The added weight also gives the shooter the feel of a solid centerfire hunting rifle, which can aid in getting ready for whatever hunting season might be around the corner.
The 22 inch barrel, while fluted, is still thicker and almost a bull barrel. This does add to the weight but it also contributes to the accuracy as well. Marlin has a patented MicroGroove Rifling that they introduced in 1953. Their claim was they could produce the barrels faster than ones made with standard Ballard rifling. They also claim that this made the bullet spin faster making the rifle more accurate. The 25n is a magazine fed bolt action rifle. The factory mags hold 7rds of .22LR. The bolt while smooth, does tighten up at the top as you slide the bolt up, but does not hang up or feel like it has burrs anywhere. The factory trigger is a heavy single stage trigger, however, there is no creep to it. I have read that for a quick fix, people have replaced the trigger spring with a spring out of ball point pen. I have not tried this. The gun does have factory iron sights, the front post is fixed, and the back can be adjusted for windage and elevation.
While I have enjoyed shooting this rifle in its factory condition for many years, I believe that now is the time for some changes. At minimum the barrel will be threaded for my SiCo Spectre2, the trigger will be replaced, and it will get some new glass. Please check back in the near future for Part 2 of the Christmas Marlin.