Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Guns: Marlin Model 70PSS Papoose review - Baby Bugout Rifle

The first gun I ever bought was a Marlin Model 795SS, basically a box magazine-fed stainless steel version of the well-known Model 60 rimfire. I loved the rifle because it was lighter and more reliable than a comparable Ruger 10/22, but I sold it back in college, something I've always regretted.

Unfortunately, the 795SS is no longer in production, but Marlin still sells its little brother, the 70PSS "Papoose" takedown. The Papoose is geared toward hikers and campers who want to take along a .22 for small game and backcountry plinking, but can't fit a full gun in their pack. 

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I grabbed a 70PSS from my local gun store and ran it through its paces...

Takedown System

The main draw of the Papoose is its simple takedown system. You can readily unscrew the barrel from the receiver, effectively splitting the rifle in half and making the overall package something that can fit in a regular backpack (or the nifty floating case that Marlin ships the gun in).

There are only a couple of downsides. First, it takes a few seconds of fiddling to screw and unscrew the barrel, something that doesn't seem like a big deal until you see Ruger's superfast one-latch takedown system. Second, the barrel nut can start working itself loose after a few shots if you don't use the included tool to crank down on it - if it loosens enough, it can cause the rifle to malfunction.

Stock, Sights, Trigger

The 70PSS has a standard Monte Carlo black fiberglass stock similar to my old 795SS, though the Papoose's foreend has been dramatically shortened to accommodate the takedown system. There's not much real estate for your off hand to support the gun, but it's adequate.

Sights on the 70PSS are pretty standard: an open adjustable rear paired with a bright red hooded front sight. Likewise, the trigger is nothing to write home about. It's fine and perfectly usable for a stock gun, but nowhere near the best aftermarket triggers you can get for a 10/22.

Range Report

The first question I had was whether the screwing and unscrewing of the barrel affected the rifle's zero at all. I am happy to report that it did not, at least with Aguila Super Extra 40 grainers:

Then I shot the Papoose with a variety of different .22 loads. Reliability was perfect, even with the weirdo Aguila subsonic ammo that most guns don't like. Accuracy was great too - the gun can certainly shoot better than the targets I am posting here, which were all shot with iron sights and no benchrest.

For instance, here's 14 rounds, offhand, at 25 yards with Federal AutoMatch. I bet a competent shooter could cut the group size down in half.

The 50 yard targets were even harder. My guess is that the gun can shoot 1"-2" groups at this distance with match grade ammo, a scope, and a benchrest, but I couldn't match that standard.

Here's 5 shots of CCI at 50 yards:

Despite the dumb name, the Aguila SSS Sniper ammo shot quite well:


The Model 70PSS Papoose is a rifle aimed at a dying demographic - people who hike, fish, and explore in the wilderness. If you value ease of use and aftermarket support, the 10/22 Takedown is your best bet. However, if you prize light weight, accuracy, and reliability, the Marlin was the better choice back in the early 2000s, and remains so today.


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