Marlin Model 60 Semi-Auto Rifle : 2021 Review

Written by Chelsea Wells

The Marlin Model 60 made its debut in 1960, and since then has managed to establish itself as one of the most successful .22 rifles ever.

In fact, if Marlin is to be believed, the Model 60 has “earned the title of most popular 22 in the world”. With its economic price, longevity, and more than 10 million units sold since its inception, it certainly makes a case for itself.

In 60 years of production, a few things have changed for the Model 60. First there was the introduction of a manual hold-open to lock the bolt in its rear position.

Then, in the mid-eighties, a mechanism was added to automatically lock the bolt half way open once the magazine is empty. In the late eighties, the magazine tube was shortened to hold 14 rounds, compared to 18 originally. Finally, at the turn of the century, the barrel was eventually chopped down to 19” to match the shortened magazine tube.

As far as its uses, its reliability and alluring price make it an ideal first rifle for young hunters. It’s otherwise perfectly suited for target practice, casual fun, and small game hunting.

However, we’re here to see if the Model 60’s reputation is justified by excellent quality or if it is simply a case of great marketing. Let’s find out in this review!

Model 60 Specifications

  • Caliber: .22 Long Rifle (doesn’t work with .22 Short or .22 Long)
  • Barrel: 19 inches, with Marlin’s patented Micro-Groove rifling
  • Length: 37.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Action: Semiautomatic
  • Sights: -Open rear sight that can be adjusted for elevation and windage
    -Ramp front sight
    -Receiver grooved for scope mount
  • Finish: Black coated receiver, blued steel barrel
  • Capacity: 14-shot integral tubular magazine
  • Price: $149 to $179

Marlin Model 60

Taking It Apart

Disassembling the Model 60 is accessible to anyone. You’re merely two screws away from separating the stock from the barreled action. Then, there’s only one pin that holds the bolt and action in place to remove. In other words, cleaning the rifle shouldn’t be much of a hassle at all.

You can take the action out of the receiver to clean the barrel, while the bolt is a breeze to scrub. After using the Model 60 for a while, there might be residue in the action assembly’s mechanism. Thankfully, you don’t have to take it apart. As long as you clean the parts that are reachable, in particular the feed ramp, the rifle will keep working like a charm.

Not everyone might be in the habit of regularly cleaning their rifles, nonetheless, it is an important thing to do. The .22 rounds will eventually leave layers of fouling. Consequently, if the rifle isn’t cleaned regularly, misfires will happen. What’s more, the feed ramp will be too dirty to do its job properly and you’ll start having failures to feed.

If taken to an extreme with too much fouling on the bolt and in the chamber, there is the potential for a case failure. Such cases might be rare, but any damage to your gun or yourself can be easily prevented with periodical cleaning.


The Model 60 presents a very ergonomic design. With a wide surface and pleasant curvature, it just feels quite natural and pleasant to hold and aim with. The rifle has a rather thick barrel, which makes it slightly heavier than other comparable rifles, however it doesn’t detract from the experience of shooting it.

The Model 60 is incredibly reliable in general. Failures to fire or to feed can often be attributed to improper maintenance. Though, a thing that a lot of .22 rifles share is that they prefer certain types of ammo over others. When it comes to the Model 60, it’s at its best with heavier rounds and high velocity bullets.

It might take a bit of trial and error, but once you find the best ammo for your gun, it will serve you well. Overall, shooting the Model 60 is incredibly fun, especially as you go through 14 rounds in one go.


Accuracy is where the Model 60 particularly shines, surpassing even the popular Ruger 10/22 in that department. Marlin has its own Micro-Groove rifling, which consists of 16 shallow grooves instead of the more common model of fewer, deeper grooves.

As the theory goes, more numerous shallow grooves allow the bullet to gain more uniform velocity, in addition to better stability and accuracy.

Fit and finish

Despite being made for small budgets, the Model 60 doesn’t look or feel cheap. when it comes to styling, it is quite simple but elegant, with a timeless quality to it. While older versions had a nice birch stock, in modern versions, the stock is made with a stylish laminated wood.

The wood isn’t a pitch perfect fit to the metal; nevertheless it’s uniform, solid, and far from sloppy. The bluing on the barrel looks good, and the aluminum receiver is painted black.


If there is one area where the Model 60 could use some improvement, it’s the trigger. It is a bit creaky, the travel is long, and it requires some pull weight to fire it. It does need some getting used to and is more demanding than other lighter triggers. A technique that can make it easier is to first pull the trigger half-way through while carefully preparing your shot. After some practice, you eventually get the hang of it.

aIn the end, even if the trigger is a little difficult, some might actually enjoy it, it’s just one of those things that gives a rifle more personality.

A Classic

There is a reason for the Model 60’s durability: it is quite simply a classic when it comes to .22 rifles. With a timeless design, elegant simplicity, and excellent accuracy, shooting this rifle is pure fun. Whether used as a first gun for a youngster or at any age for the sheer enjoyment of plinking, the Model 60 is a guarantee of quality.

The only gripe some might have with it is the difficult trigger, though it is something you get used to. All in all, considering the price and the enjoyment one can get out of it, the Model 60 is a success.


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