I have recommended the Marlin XL7 to several with good feedback
My neibor bought a couple of the Mossberg bolt actions for his kids and they are satisfied with them. Personally I think that you get a better deal with the Marlin XL7. You get a good action, good barrel, and a clean trigger. That is all you have to have for it to perform well. I would get one of the ones that has a scope base with multiple forward ring positions on it. The barrel attaches similar to what Savage uses on their 110 action. Their version of the accutrigger is again a copy of the Savage trigger. The rifle has a blind magazine, it isn't as handy as a dropping floor plate but if they had to cut cost that is not a bad place to safe some. I really think for the price of around 300.xx nothing can touch it. I was just reading a comparison in I Shooting Times of six entry level rifles <500 list price.
The two they wouldn't buy with their own money were the Remington 770 and the Savage Axis.