I finally got my new Boyd's stocked Marlin X-7 .223 out to the range last week. All total I put about 150 rounds through it. All were various different handloads I had, along with some cheap XM-193 Ball.
It shot everything well. The trigger was a bit "gritty" for the first 30 rounds or so, then it smoothed out really nice. After 150 rounds it was breaking like glass. Same with the bolt. It was a bit tight out of the box. I greased up the lugs good with Weapon Shield Lithium Grease, and after the day was over the bolt operated slicker than snot.
Everything grouped really well. Even the cheap ball. It shot best with some 63 grain Sierra Matchkings over 25.0 grains of H-335. I seated the bullets about .020 off the lands. It grouped them in one ragged hole after another for as long as I sat there pulling the trigger.
Heating up the barrel DID NOT increase group size. That somewhat surprised me, because there was one point near the forend tip that touched the barrel. I though if the groups spread out as the barrel heated up, I would have to pull the stock and hit the barrel channel with some sandpaper to increase the free floating, but no such treatment was needed. Hell, maybe it helped? Who knows.
Overall I couldn't be happier. For the money I've got into this thing, it shoots well beyond it's cost. And it looks really good doing it. Anyone looking for a low cost, high quality bolt action repeater could do a lot worse than this new Marlin X-7.