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Marlin firearms, first founded in 1870 by Mr. John Mahlon Marlin, have been in the rifle business for over 140 years. Most collectors are familiar with their series of .22 plinkers, and game-getters, their vast array of lever action brush guns, and their Glenfield series of shotguns. A group of firearms that even most die-hard Marlin experts don't remember is the M2000 series of precision target rifles.

The 2000 series platform

Marlin firearms decided to punch out of their comfort level in the 1990s with a bolt-action single shot heavy target rifle. Designed to compete with entry-level Remington Model 40 and Anschutz target rifles, the new Marlin gun was unlike anything ever made by the company. Designed with a 22-inch heavy barrel with a recessed match-style crown and matched chamber, the rifle was embedded in a distinctive blue ISU standard stock of a fiberglass/Kevlar (Carbelite) combination with a high comb, stippled forearm, and pistol grip. The stock had an adjustable butt plate for length of pull.

A hooded Lyman front sight with seven inserts and companion target peep rear sight came standard. When they were introduced in 1991, they MSRP'd for just under $400, about half as much as the competition. Long discontinued as a production rifle, these run anywhere from $225-$350.

Accuracy of these series is superb. In a February 1996 Gun Tests article, they wrote the following, "The best the Marlin could do at 50 yards was 0.6-inch groups, which we shot with Eley Tenex. Three other ammo lots, CCI Green Tag Competition, Dynamit Nobel's RWS R50, and Lapua Dominator, averaged 0.7-inch groups. The 2000 didn't like Federal's Gold Medal Match rimfire ammo, shooting 0.9-inch groups."

If a 0.9-inch group is the worst it could do, that's not bad.

A summer biathlon kit, with a five-round magazine, was marketed for the rifle and when found complete is rare.

The Marlin 2000A

In 1994, a brief update was issued to the series, labeled the 2000A. This rifle was rare and was only produced for two years. The only difference between the standard 2000 and the A model was in the stock. The blue stock was made with an adjustable comb and ambidextrous pistol grip. This added almost a half-pound to the already 8-pound rifle and was soon discontinued. Due to the rarity of these submodels, they bring a slight bump over the price of a regular M2000.

The Marlin 2000L

This rifle was the Cadillac of the series. Exchanging the bright ultra-blue composite stock of the other models for a grey laminated one; it also came with extra capabilities. Instead of the seven target inserts that the standard model had, the 2000L shipped with 10 and offered a Tasco 6-24 x 42 Tactical Mil-Dot Scope on a KBL #261 One Piece Target Mount as an option. The butt plate was made adjustable not only for length of pull but for height and angle. They ended production in 2003 and were the last of the 2000-series that left the factory. These rifles are all over the price with a recent one on Gunbroker going for over $1000 but most gun values guides still listing for about half that in perfect condition.

Specs: (General)
  • Finish - Blued
  • Type - Single Shot, optional 5-shot summer biathlon kit.
  • Operation - Bolt Action
  • Bore Size - .22LR
  • Rifling - 1:16" right hand twist
  • Barrel - Selected Micro-Groove with Match Chamber and Recessed Muzzle (12 grooves).
  • Barrel Length - Heavy 22"
  • Stock: Blue target composite (2000/2000A), Grey Laminate (2000L)
  • Overall Length - 41"
  • Weight - 8 lbs, 8.5-lbs (2000A)
  • Rear Sight - Lyman Adjust. Elevation and Windage Peep Sight (.173"-minute clicks), Optional Williams sight.
  • Front Sight - Lyman Hooded Front Sight with 7 Aperture Inserts (10 on L Model)

Still, if you come across one of these beauties for the right price, grab it, pick up some quality .22LR ammo, and enjoy.

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I have a 2000L with a biathlon kit in original packaging. I have the grey laminate stock. Of course later, I regretted not getting the brightly colored laminate stock. The rifle is amazing. Super accurate. Unfortunately, one day the rifle fell over from where it was leaning up against the wall. The stock cracked, but did not completely separate. I haven't yet been brave enough to try and get some wood glue in there. I wish I had more time to shoot.
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