Which lever .22LR? Marlin or Henry?


March 17, 2006, 12:03 AM
Ok people, crunch time. I've recently discovered I have an addiction for lever action rifles and have come to realize the best way to deal with it is to just give in to it. So when I decided I wanted a better .22 LR rifle you just know I'm going to want to get a levergun. Currently my only .22 is a mossberg plinker and although it functions OK it's just not...umm...working for me. You know? Now when it comes to lever .22s THE mack daddy rifle to have is the Marlin 39. Every gun writer on the planet raves about them and they are the longest running production firearm in existance. BUT (and you knew there'd be a "but", didn't you?) but, I'm really digging my Henry .22 Magnum. It looks and cycles like a minature marlin 336. So I started comparing the Henry .22 to the Marlin .22. The Henry .22LR has an 18" barrel compared to the Marlins standard 24" with the Henry weighing over a pound less than the Marlin. I gotta say, the fact that the Henry is almost half the price of the Marlin doesn't hurt it either.

Ah, but how do they shoot? That's the real question. Neither is going to have any recoil so it comes down to accuracy. I've never had the chance to fire either of these weapons before and although I may own a Henry in .22 Mag I don't know how that will translate to the "average" accuracy and build quality of the Henry .22LR.

So what are the thoughts on the Henry .22LR rifles? How do they compare to the Marlin 39? Is the Marlin really worth twice as much as the Henry?

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March 17, 2006, 12:44 AM
Marlin 39A is one of the finest lever guns ever made and will practically last forever. mine built in '81 is pleanty accurate enough and is certainly heavy enough. if you want the top of the line in lever action .22's get the marlin and pay for it all $$$$.

The Henry is a very good gun as well. its less expensive, mine was very accurate, the action was as smooth as wet ice to cycle, and it was light enough to carry all day. Henry's customer service is second to none, if you have a problem, they will fix it. the finish of the Henry recievers can scratch as they are painted, but it can be touched up with a Birchwood Casey paint pen easy enough. The Henry has the added advantage of the ability to buy it with or add on later the large loop lever for that "Rifleman" feel.

if i ever deside to get a .22 mag, im probably gonna get the Henry.

They are both American made guns so that is a huge plus for me. i will not buy a Browning or a winchester Lever action. Niether have been made in the USA for a long time. the Winchester is being discontinued so parts might get a little scarce.

Good luck -Eric

March 17, 2006, 01:19 AM
I have never even held a Marlin 39A so I cannot comment on it. However, I did buy my daughter, age 11, the Henry lever action .22 last fall when her school grades exceeded my criteria for serious reward:) . Of course I had looked at it myself beforehand, very smooth action, good sights, very nice wood and good balance. Even as a devoted Sig/HK/Colt/(Old) S&W nut, I was very impressed. The first time we (her first time ever shooting a rifle above airgun) shot it, she was putting most rounds in the 9 and 10 ring at 25 yards with just the open sights and my inherited poor eyesight. The rangemaster, a current competition coach at the college level took some interest in her and the rifle and set some aluminum drink cans out on the berm backstop at about 60 yards. Low light, and in the shade, she hit the coke can on the third try. So, yes, she's developing into a good shooter, but the Henry rifle obviously has some to do with this. For the price especially, I think I'd check this one out in .22lr too. If I find they make one in a caliber starting in .3 or .4 I may buy one for myself too!!

March 17, 2006, 01:33 AM
a lot of people will talk down on Henry, but they are good guns for the price. the Henry is a great grab-and-go plinker or rabbit chaser, and they are nice and compact. my dad carries one around on his quad in addition to his regular hunting rifle, just for kicks. he's had the same one for about 20 years with no problems.

March 17, 2006, 01:59 AM
If I find they make one in a caliber starting in .3 or .4 I may buy one for myself too!!

Well, since you asked for it...


March 17, 2006, 02:30 AM
Never fired a Marlin so I can't compare, but I have owned a Henry .22LR for several years.

It SHOOTS! I love it. Is it as "good" as a Marlin? Probably not. The receiver is aluminum and the barrel band is plastic. But I paid less than 200 bucks for it, and I know the Marlin can't shoot any better than the Henry, so I'm not complaining.

[Edit]My one regret is that I expected to shoot it a lot more than I do so I bought it in .22LR. If I had foreseen the amount of shooting I would NOT be doing with it, I would have gone for .22 WMR and paid the little extra for ammo.

March 17, 2006, 02:41 AM

Ad Astra
March 17, 2006, 03:18 AM
Like my Henry a lot- very accurate for what it is.

Unfortunately a ten-year-old broke mine just jam-forcing dirty rounds thru it. :cuss: His dad was watching the target. Guess I'll find out what makes it tick; the lever's just hanging loose. Not the gun's fault. Single-shot tip up recommended for juniors...with no mechanism but a hammer. :scrutiny:

March 17, 2006, 09:57 AM
The Henry is a good rifle. If it was all I could afford, I would buy it rather than go without a good levergun. Some even prefer the look which is a good reason to choose the Henry.

The Marlin is a little nicer though IMHO. The ransom required to obtain one was soon forgotten and when I see one I want, I save my pennies to buy it. Now I have three and they are my favorite rimfires.


I really don't think you can go wrong with either. If I could afford the luxury, I'd own both.

March 17, 2006, 10:13 AM
No experience with the Henry. The Marlin was the first rifle I bought. It is solid, has a nice tight action, and is very quick and easy to aim and shoot. It is also not covered in shiny crap. Not sure if that Henry has the shiny metal or not.

March 17, 2006, 12:10 PM
Marlin 39 is a fine rifle. But it is also a HEAVY rifle . . . check out the Browning BL-22 lever acion .22 rifle before you decide. There's more to levers than Marlin or Henry.

March 17, 2006, 12:29 PM
A [B]BIG[B] plus for the Marlin is its takedown feature. Easy to clean and easy to stow.

March 17, 2006, 12:44 PM
I have no experience with the Henry but I can give the 39 an enthusiastic thumbs up. Unfortunately, the newer Marlins are afflicted with mediocre trigger pulls. As you noted, the Marlin is a rather hefty rifle and the Henry is a relatively light carbine. Only you can decide how important weight is in your circumstance (heavier is not always a disadvantage). The Marlin should prove to be an accurate rifle and it will always fetch more than the Henry when it comes to resale value.

March 17, 2006, 04:44 PM
The Marlin is built to last. The Henry might be ok but definitely avoid the Browning unless you can find an older used one that was built when Browning still had some pride in workmanship.

March 17, 2006, 07:57 PM
One more vote for the Marlin. I can't say enough good things about mine. The Henry is kind of funny looking in my humble opinion but I don't know much about it.

March 18, 2006, 08:37 AM
they're each worth what they cost. the difference between the two will start to be come apparent in, oh, 40 years or so...

the henry is a fun gun. the marlin is a fun gun that will last forever.

if you want something smaller than the 39a, look around for a used 39m.

March 18, 2006, 09:39 AM
marlin..walnut and steel.theres no plastic parts and the manufacturer didnt take shortcuts. good solid rimfire.the 39A is great but has the longer barrel and a different stock.the 39M or mountie...short barrel and straight stock.still as accurate as the A model but lighter. the older 39 series has had a few changes..octagon barrel to round barrel and the newest versions have a receiver safty, older ones have a half cock notch on the hammer.you can shoot 22 shorts or long rifle ammo outa the same gun-my A model sounds like a pelletgun with the shorts.a 22 magnum version would have been nicein the same setup as the A model for coyotes.

Id like to someday get a 39M to teach my son with, the A is just to heavy and long for beginner shooters..keepin that A for me.

never realy looked at a henry,not that big on shiny brass and such.I hear alot of great things about them though.

Dean C
March 18, 2006, 11:23 AM
I was going to buy my youngest son a 39A like mine and his older brothers when I heard about a Henry at a local store. I stopped in and handled it. Looked like a toy and felt like a toy. I stayed with Marlin.

You get what you pay for.


March 18, 2006, 02:36 PM
I'm going to through another rifle into the mix. Try the Browing BL-22 Lever action. I have never fired a finer .22 lever gun. Sorry to add to the complexity of discussion.


Brian Williams
March 18, 2006, 02:42 PM
Look at theMarline Mountie to compare to the Henry, it has a 20 inch barrel and much more compact. I stll kick myself for not getting one in 73

Vern Humphrey
March 18, 2006, 05:41 PM
Get the Marlin. If you think the 39A is too long and heavy, get the 39M (Mountie) with the short barrel and straight grip stock. Your great-great grandson will bless you for it.:D

March 18, 2006, 06:06 PM
Between those two, I'd pick the Marlin. I imagine that the Henry will probably last a very long time. However, considering pride of ownership, I think that the Marlin is much more an heirloom gun. My favorite though, is the Winchester 9422. It is a beautiful walnut and polished steel gun that takes down via a single screw.

Vern Humphrey
March 18, 2006, 06:21 PM
I've had a Model 9422 for about 35 years ago. About 12 years ago, I gave it to my oldest daughter. She was in the Army Reserves and had me put a peep sight on it, so she could use it for practice for rifle qualification.

As soon as my oldest granddaughter (who just turned 3) is old enough to understand, I'm going to tell her that's her rifle, and she is to make sure her oldest son gets it in his turn.

Seven High
March 18, 2006, 06:52 PM
If you can find one, take a look at the Marlin 39 TDS. It is extremely compact. I believe that it has a 16" barrel. It was made to be taken down for storage or backpacking, etc. I do not think that it is in production now. :)

March 18, 2006, 08:52 PM
I read this thread last night and decided I wanted a lever .22, I began searching for Marlin 39s and Henrys on the internet. Looked at the Henry and Marlin sites, and also came across the no-longer-produced Marlin Cowboy in a few older articles. I liked the octagonal barrels on the Cowboy and a couple of the Henrys. I liked the idea of the takedown ability of the Cowboy. I liked the prices of the Henrys. I was considering ordering a Henry at my dealer, but when I got there (to shoot), I saw a used Cowboy. Not new but never shot! A few dings (Tung oil took care of those) and a minor scratch or two on the blue (don't have to worry about that first scratch!) and everything else just fine. Mike let me shoot a few rounds through it...offhand, three rounds at 25 yards and they are grouped inside an inch. This baby left the store with me. And all this for a bit more than a new Henry. Awwww RIGHT!

Thanks 67! Thanks THR! :D

March 19, 2006, 03:59 AM
taurus makes a very good lever as well, it is a copy of the old ithaca 49's, and the son of the orgional ithaca guy , well he became the henry guy. so that lever action on a 22 by henry has been perfected for a long time. so in that respect, the henry is tough to beat. it seems also that you can get a maxed out henry , all steel type, golden boy, if youcall and ask for it.

March 21, 2006, 01:53 AM
The length of barrel in the Marlin does not, theoretically help the ballistics. So, 24 inches instead of the Henry 20 should not make it more accurate. The Henry Golden Boy weighs over 6.5 pounds so is no lightweight. I used to have a 39A and the take down feature for cleaning or traveling is really nice. I just bought a Henry Goldenboy two months ago and really like the looks and the woodwork and it shoots well but I cannot yet speak to the accuracy. However, as pointed out, the Marlin has the history and is a better "heirloom" gun it seems. moewadle

March 21, 2006, 02:06 AM
But, I prefer the 94/22


March 21, 2006, 02:21 AM
I love my Marlin Cowboy :D

March 21, 2006, 10:15 AM
I have both, an older (1958) Marlin 39A and a new Henry. I like both and both shoot real nice. The henry is more compact and costs about half as much. The Marlin is more refined, maybe a tad better in fit and finish and costs twice as much.

You choose.

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