Which .22 lever-action?


May 18, 2006, 08:56 AM
I'm interested in trading/selling my 10-22 for a lever-action LR and wonder whose product is the better buy. (The Ruger is in excellent condition, I just want to go back to the Western roots.) Its use will be target shooting, plinking and varmint control, and I expect to pass it to my grandson in a decade or so. I'd like not to put a lot of new cash into it, but recognize I may have to.

I've laid hands on a Browning; I don't know whether the short lever throw is better for control and staying on target, but that's what I was told. It felt good and solid, and I'm sure it will last.

I've also seen/handled the Henry, and while the price sounds good that ole cliché comes to mind ... It does not feel as sturdy as the Browning, and I am not impressed by the plastic barrel bands and some poor fit-n-finish on the stock.

I have not seen a Marlin, but the web reviews are good; I suspect they are pricier as well, but I know quality won't be an issue.

Anyone familiar with the Henry in particular, and with lever-action .22's in general? There's a show here in town this weekend, so I'll surely have some options, but welcome the input.

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Tom C.
May 18, 2006, 09:18 AM
Keep the Ruger. You probably won’t be able to get much for it, and they make such great erector set guns. So many choices in barrels, stocks, etc. I finally got a 10/22 a couple of years ago. It now has a Green Mountain fluted SS 20” barrel and a Hogue stock and Weaver scope. It is ridiculously accurate. Why get rid of that?
Of the lever guns, I have had a Marlin 39A for over 40 yrs. It has so many rounds through it, I may need a new barrel. Totally reliable. My most recent .22 rifle is a Marlin 39M. It was made in 1969, but barely used. I have played with scopes on both, but I come back to a good receiver sight. I put a Williams Foolproof on the new one, with an AO post front.
The 39A has a pistol grip stock with 24” barrel; the 39M has a straight stock and 20” barrel. The 39A is still in production, the 39M is not. You would have to do what I did and find a good used one.
Of other .22 lever guns, the Winchester 9422 is now out of production. It is said to be good, but I haven’t used one.
The Henry doesn’t look solid enough to me. I don’t care for the short lever throw of the Browning, but both of these are personal preference. The choice is yours.

May 18, 2006, 09:34 AM
I have the H001 lever action in .22LR. I haven't done any accuracy testing, but I can hit a tin can at 50 yards off-hand. I've probably put around 1k rounds through it without a problem. Also, the action is very smooth.

The only negative about it is, like you said, the plastic barrel bands. They make it difficult to change out the front sight. I might try one of the Williams low-profile dovetail sights with the stock front sight and see how that works out. I just can't bring myself to mount a scope on a lever-gun.

Overall, I think it's a good rifle.

May 18, 2006, 10:44 AM
My Bro-in-law has the Browning and the Winchester. Good shooters, nice looking and have a quality feel to them. I see the Henry's at the range once in awhile. Good shooters but don't have the feel of a quality gun.

I have three Marlin 39's (39A, 39A Mountie & 39TDS). IMHO they are a level above the others. The other advantage the 39's have over the others is that they takedown for easy cleaning (from the bore) and transport. The feed everything LR, L & short, my 39 will even cycle empty cases (dry fire practice). The accuracy is good and generally shoot everything pretty well, except my 39TDS is a little finnicky. They are my go to guns for field use, plinking and at least one goes to the range with me every time a go. The marlins are worth the extra $$, especially if you plan to give it to your grandkids.

May 18, 2006, 10:53 AM
I own and shoot the Henry H001. I've also shot dad's Browning short-action .22. I like 'em both.

The H001 is smooth as butter and shoots fine. Not only are the barrel bands plastic, but the receiver cover, unless you get the Golden Boy, is painted aluminum.

The Browning is very well made. No obvious plastic or aluminum. The short action lever, when worked, feels like fine machinery.

I prefer the Browning. There's more quality there. However, the H001 is great for kids... it won't make me cry if it gets dinged.

Brian Williams
May 18, 2006, 12:36 PM
I highly recommend the Marlin, I have needed one of these since I got into guns in the 70s. I finally got one last year and put a Lyman 66 on it with a Merit adjustable peep disc. It is the best one in my book.

May 18, 2006, 12:43 PM
I'd second keeping the 10/22. You're not going to get a lot in a trade-in and they are the quintessential fun-gun.

The Marlins are nice. Hard to go wrong w/ them.

May 18, 2006, 02:09 PM
I started the other way around. I got a Winchester 9422, and it's a great gun, if you can find one for a good price snatch it up!

Keep the 10/22 as well, I just picked one up and it's great!

pete f
May 18, 2006, 02:21 PM
I prefer the USA made guns of the Marlin and Winchester. Brownings are made in Japan.

That said. my brother in law has a BL22 and he loves it. He may have shot a 100K round thru it on the farm.

I have a couple model 39's and i had a 9422. ALL were finely made and trouble free. I would say you can not ever make a mistake with either of them.

If i was looking for one to have to pass on, I would say to look for an older Marlin that does not have a cross bolt safety. You can find really good looking one if you look and you will pay for it. Expect to pay upwards of 300 and maybe more for a really sharp one.

May 18, 2006, 02:50 PM
My (scoped) BL-22 would shoot MOA all day with CCI Stingers. Can't go wrong with a Browning...

May 18, 2006, 03:03 PM
Definitely don't sell the 10/22 to a shop. Either keep it for yourself, or sell it for a low price to some young guy just getting started (save him the markup that a resaler would tack on).

I have a Marlin, and it's definitely a cool piece of gear. If you're going to get one to last for generations, I'd definitely stick to the solid steel and wood of the Marlin or Winchester.

Only downside of the Marlin: this is not a teeny little .22, it's a full adult-sized rifle. Not necessarily bad, but I prefer light and handy, so I stick to my wee little Marlin 75 semi-carbine. You can avoid this some by getting the carbine lever-Marlin, but I can't speak to those.

This is definitely a situation where fondling one in a shop or at the range would make your decision very easy. Overall, there's no way you can go wrong getting a Marlin or Winchester.


May 18, 2006, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the input, but feel free to chime in if you haven't already. Based on some reconsideration, reckon I will keep the 10-22 and just add to the battery ...

“All I want is to enter my House justified.” ~ Steve Judd (Joel McCrea), “Ride the High Country”

May 18, 2006, 04:13 PM
I'd vote for the Browning as well. I think it is Herstal that owns both Browning and Winchester so then it becomes a touchy feely sort of thing. As mentioned above get your hands dirty you will like what you like.

May 18, 2006, 10:23 PM
I'm a 9422 owner twice, and I highly recommend them. But I'd say if you're really stuck on tradition, go with the Marlin. A 9422 might look like a Model 94, but the 9422 was introduced in the 1970s. Marlin has been making rimfire lever guns since 1891, so you could say the the 39A has more of a historical pedigree. Of course, a 9422 has that real "cowboy" look, although a Winchester 73, not a 94, is the REAL cowboy gun.

The other thing is that the price of a 9422 is going to be REALLY steep right now because of the double whammy of Winchester discontinuing the 9422 and then closing their New Haven plant.

I think the final choice should be made by what feels good in your hands. They're both really fine guns.

Bill T
May 18, 2006, 11:30 PM
http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/5407/marlin39a12cn.th.jpg (http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=marlin39a12cn.jpg)

This is my 39A I picked up new about 5 years ago. Marlins are a bit costly but worth every penny. All Walnut and blued steel, no Aluminum or plastic. Costly to manufacture and purchase, but will last several lifetimes if given proper care. Bill T.

May 19, 2006, 01:03 AM
I also have an H001. Plastic barrel bands aren't so hot, but it's been surprisingly accurate (MOA @ 50), though my front sight needed adjustment. The best thing, by far, has already been discussed: the action is incredibly smooth and well put-together, the smoothest lever-action I've ever come across. Surprising in a $200 rifle, as was the good grade walnut stock.

Also, I think you can buy metal barrel bands now from the Henry company, along with large lever loops. And their customer support is absolutely excellent - I had a quick question and it was answered immediately and informatively by Anthony Imperato, the president of Henry. Can't ask for much better than that!

May 19, 2006, 01:40 AM
I like the Marlin 39 personally but its the only .22 lever action I ever used may have something to do with it. Lovely firearm.

May 19, 2006, 02:10 AM

Seven High
May 19, 2006, 07:43 AM
If you can locate one, take a look at the Marlin 39 TDS. It is a take down lever action .22. It is great for back packing or compact storage. It is very accurate. No longer produced.

May 19, 2006, 09:28 AM
I've got a Henry, and I like it fine in spite of the plastic. Smoother than the other levers I tried.
The only thing I seriously dislike about it is the sights. Not precise enough for me. I need to find a way to change them.

One thing you must consider- The Henry is less than $200, the others are almost twice that, if not more.


May 19, 2006, 09:57 AM
I picked up this used, 1897 Cowboy (a variation of the 39) recently and am as impressed with this Marlin lever-action .22 as everyone told me I would be.

However, I agree that you should keep the Ruger and get a lever-action.

May 19, 2006, 10:00 AM
I picked up a Marlin 39M in the last couple of months and it is outstanding! I would have to recommend the Marlin 39M or Marlin 39A, without question.

have a great day,

May 19, 2006, 01:56 PM
I have a 1957 Marlin Golden 39, a 1972 Winchester 9422 and a used 2004 Henry H001.

The Marlin is a nice gun, but too big for being a .22 carrying around in the woods all day. Built like a tank. Smooth, reliable and accurate, but the lever pinches my fingers sometimes. Don't know why.

The Winchester is my favorite. Smooth, reliable and accurate. No finger pinching. Too nice of a gun to pack through the brush for me.

I use the Henry the most. Not as smooth as the other two and maybe never will be. Cheaper metal I think. It's still reliable and accurate.

My recommend buying a Henry and keeping your 10/22.

May 19, 2006, 04:57 PM
I have a 1957 Marlin Golden 39, a 1972 Winchester 9422 and a used 2004 Henry H001.

I own all three also, just different years of manufacture.

Each of my family members prefers a different one, but I keep going back to the Marlin 39A.

I do this for several reasons. It's a full size rifle and just fits me the best. The quality of manufacture is by far better than the other two (priced accordingly) And the accuracy, it's more fun to shoot when you hit what you aim at.
I think this is a direct result of the size. The other two feel too small for me.

May 19, 2006, 05:23 PM
If you like the 10/22, try the feel of the Ruger lever action .22. I have one and it will shoot just as well as my CZ-452. The trigger is excellent. You would then have the same rotary magazines on both .22s.

May 19, 2006, 07:49 PM
the Browning is great - get that if you can, esp. if it's a pre-Japan one. Gotta love that short lever throw.

the Marlin 39A is second choice.

the Henry will work well, but as you say, plastic barrel bands, and it has a painted on finish that flakes over time when dinged.

the Winchester 9422 is nice too, if you can find one...

It's really hard to go wrong, actually.

May 19, 2006, 11:24 PM
I have a Henry in .22LR that I have been very happy with. At the time I bought it, I really wanted a Winchester 9422 and felt I couldn't afford it, so I took the Henry. Thanks to the discontinuance of the 9422, I am farther from being able to afford one now than I was when I couldn't afford it.

My only regret with the Henry is that I bought the .22LR version, thinking I would shoot it a lot. That hasn't happened, so I sort of kick myself for not getting the .22 Magnum version. Fortunately, they are still in production and cheap enough that some day I may just buy the Magnum, and not even sell the one I have.

May 19, 2006, 11:38 PM
ruger , henry, taurus, marlin, all make a very good lever, but then again, so does browning. the taurus is an copy of the old winny levers from the 50's and is supposed to be very true to it.

May 20, 2006, 06:21 PM
Our family has three Marlin rimfire lever actions: two 24" M39A's and a 20" 1897T. My daughter's first shots were fired from HER M39A. My wife likes to shoot her M39A, and I love my 1897T.

May 20, 2006, 11:19 PM
Does anyone know if there are any internet retailers that sell 39A's cheaper than wally world? I believe Wally world charges like $398 for them as a special order item.

May 21, 2006, 09:26 AM
Wal-Mart sells them for $396.92.


I bought mine from my local dealer for just a few dollars more than Wal-Mart. I got much better customer service, and this guy has given me a break on other guns.

May 21, 2006, 12:29 PM
Well, I've owned a 9422 and henry golden boy. Both are excellent guns. The henry may not last 100 years, but it'll last long enought. The Winchester is made of steel and will last for ever.

The first day I shot my henry I didn't have any targets so used spent 12 ga shells at the range. They were between 20 and 30 yards. Rapid fire I hit 9 out of ten consistently. Very fine shooting gun and very smooth action.

I can't wait to get my hands on a marlin but am reluctant to purchase a browning. Their quality is dwindling as of recently. Our family has owned Brownings for years and the older ones seem to be put together just a little better. We've never had a BL though.

I noticed that you said you may want to pass down the gun to your family. If this is the case, I suggest a Winchester. They are expensive, but they will be worth more in 10 years and even more in 50. They function great and look and feel great!

That being said, have fun with your decision. ;)

May 21, 2006, 12:35 PM
I haven't seen a new made BL-22, but mine that is older than the hills is the best gun I own.

May 21, 2006, 12:57 PM
If you haven't purchased it yet I would also suggest keeping the Ruger. You'll likely regret it because you won't get what you think it is worth.

If cost isn't the overriding issue I would suggest the Marlin. It is a great gun that can be passed down a couple of generations. It is all quality plus it will cycle CB's and LR all mixed together. CB's are really quiet and a lot of fun.

May 21, 2006, 07:19 PM
I'd further the motion to keep the 10/22, and also give the Marlin 39A a thumbs up. They are more expensive then other .22's but I have a buddy who's had his for 40 years or so and it sure has a nice feel too it. I would buy it from him if he would sell it. If you have a price limit then the Henry's are pretty good too. I've used my sister in laws Henry .22lr and it is a nice gun for the price. Only thing is I heard they have some none metal parts on the inside? Don't know if this is true or not.

May 21, 2006, 07:45 PM
been thinking about snagging a Henry .22LR as sort've a "throw in the truck" gun, IE something to plink with. My SKS cant take that role on due to the cost of ammo these days.

May 22, 2006, 02:29 PM
I like the Marlin, Browning, and Winchester leverguns a lot. They each have their good points, and very few bad points. Go for fit and length of pull. I use my Browning BL-22 more than the rest as it's shorter overall, shorter lever throw, and just as accurate as the Marlin and Winchester. The Marlin's are very tight and hard to work when new, but they break in beautifully. The Winchesters are collectible now and many would say not to use/abuse it in the hunting field.

That said, avoid the Henry. :barf: They are absolutely cheesy in the way they attach their barrels to the receivers. I've had two barrels go loose on me and wouldn't hold a zero fit to shoot an opossum at 10 yards with a scope. All within the first year of ownership, no less. Henry tightened up both barrels but couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't go loose again. So, they were sold to the highest bidder for about $120 each. I know now where they cut their costs to be a more affordable alternative to the more popular leverguns.

I've never warmed up to the Ruger lever action as I dislike a box magazine on a lever action, much less a rimfire in general. IMO tube magazines are the way to go as I've come to enjoy the Marlin 60 tube-fed auto, Marlin 981T tube-fed boltie, and the tube-fed leverguns. That's just the way a .22 should be in my eyes. :D

May 23, 2006, 07:43 AM
I,d go the marlin 39A,I traded my one on a Cz American,nothing wrong with the Cz but wish I'd kept the marlin.

May 23, 2006, 08:49 AM
I agree with you. The CZ and the Marlin are (arguably) the two best .22s out there, and form the cornerstone of a good .22 collection.

May 23, 2006, 01:16 PM
I have to say if your looking for quality and you want to hand it down from gen to gen definitly go with the Marlin. You can't get anything better if you ask me. Nice craftsmanship and quality even if a tad pricey depending on where you get it.

May 24, 2006, 11:23 PM
Also, I think you can buy metal barrel bands now from the Henry company, along with large lever loops. And their customer support is absolutely excellent - I had a quick question and it was answered immediately and informatively by Anthony Imperato, the president of Henry. Can't ask for much better than that!

After reading this post I checked the web site and could only find a replacement brass barrel band for the Yellowboy, so I called. They aren't shown on the web site, but they DO sell metal barrel bands for the blued model H001. Cost is about $25 for the pair (I won't know the exact amount until they arrive and I see the invoice). The rep assured me they can be installed without special tools or gunsmithing skills. (We'll certainly put THAT to the test. If I can do it without boogering something up, anyone can.)

The telephone number is 718-499-5600.

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