It was good to try the Marlin and the Savage side by side. The Marlin is a nice looking gun and shoots well and before Jeremy shot mine I thought it was grouping better. It took me a little to get use to the trigger since it is a bit harder than the Savage Accutrigger and I'll have to say I'm partial to the Accutrigger since having it for a while and I had a tendency to pull the Marlin a tiny bit because of the trigger when I first started shooting. As mentioned earlier I like a little more scope for my eyes and a 14 power for me is about the minimum at 100yds to try to put it into a 1" square, and mine was set on 16 which also makes it so you can about see your .17 hole at 100yds, but we used a spotting scope to get a better look.
Both guns occaissionally had a problem with the eject of spent casings, though rare. Mine, one time, did not pull it out of the barrel the first time and that is usually a sign it needs to be cleaned but this time it really shouldn't be dirty enough yet for that to happen, and the Marlin at times would not flip the casing off the grabber but that was infrequent too. The Marlin you could install your magazine with the bolt open or closed, mine it is easier if it is open and a bear if the bolt is closed and usually will not seat. The Marlin had 7 and 4 round magazines, the Savage has a 5 only for stock though I've heard a 10 is just now available. I had to buy the stainless ones since the standard steel magazines for the Savage never seemed to work right, so that is now all I have, stainless.
The bolt action, the Savage was smoother but that may be because I messed with it quite a bit trying different grease and other lubricants till I found what I liked that made it feel the way I like the action to feel. Now if only I could remember what I did last to make it that smooth.
We took a couple shots at 200yds but I wouldn't say that we would be slaying any ground squirrels at that distance but a bigger animal like a large rabbit or raccoon may be in trouble.
If I was to buy again, I would go for the best price for the features I wanted on the rifle as I think they are both very comparable.
Thanks to Jpatm2 for letting my try his Marlin .17hmr, nice gun. I appreciated it.