Which adult .22 RF lever? 39A versus BL-22 versus 9422 Legacy


July 26, 2003, 11:34 PM
Been bitten by the lever action bug... am I missing any models?

They're so expensive though (for a .22), I'm tempted to try and sate my thrist with a Henry but I picked one up and it felt cheaper/lighter than even a toy Winchester replica (which has the best lever action I've ever felt, heh).

My ideal .22RF lever action would cost like Henry, have a semi-pistol synthetic stock (lighter and "beater"), tubular magazine, quarter take-down, glide like a greased ice-cube on glass, exposed hammer (no rebounding), and grooved for scopes. My main concern is that I'd like the lever to a beater but they all seem too fine to treat that way... :o

Anyways, just want your takes on all the models!

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July 27, 2003, 01:04 AM
new. That's a lot less that I've paid for used examples of the Big-3 you mentioned.

What do you mean by 'beater'. If you think about it, the all-steel construction and blueing of the Big-3 will pay-off even in knock-around use. They'll withstand more bumps and knocks, and can easily be re-blued if and when you decide to.

OTOH, the Henry doesn't have the outlay of the others, and they are smooth and accurate, no question.

My first was a Browing, due to a few intangibles, but mostly the short-throw lever. Now, I've grown fond of the traditional levers. The Marlin and Winchester both take-down for easier cleaning and packing, which the Browning doesn't. Both of the form also have more managable triggers, also. The BL's is heavier due to the linkage used in the design.

I just found a nice old 94-22 that I've not yet even cleaned up. I think the BL will remain reserved for the women-folk that I take out to the range occasionally.;)

July 27, 2003, 02:34 PM
If your looking for a beater rifle the Henry would make a good choice because it's a cheap rifle. Painted finish, plastic parts, sight's suck, trigger pull sucks, but it does come with a smooth action and walnut stock. If it were my rifle I would spend the extra cash on something better.;) The Winchester would be first then the Marlin.

July 27, 2003, 06:36 PM
I have a 9422 High Grade I purchased a number of years ago which I mounted an Outdoor Industries tang sight (built-in windage adjustment)- altho I'd never call it a "beater", it sure gets a lot of use.

I briefly mounted a Burris 6XBR scope on it prior to the tang sight, but to my eyes a scope just didn't look right on such a beautiful, classic styled gun; a tang or receiver sight just fits it better.

I expect a Marlin M39 would likewise give you generations of service: why not spend the extra for a Win 9422 or a Marlin 39 that will last beyond your lifetime, vs a plastic and painted Henry?

July 27, 2003, 06:50 PM
Beater and gun are never used in the same sentence by me.
This very subject has been covered many times on this board including fairly recently. You can probably get a lot of your research done using the search feature. Lots of good stuff saved up on here. I own the Winchester 9422. If I had it to do over again, I would get the Marlin 39A.

July 27, 2003, 06:51 PM
You could buy a nice or not so nice used gun - think of it as already broken in for you. And you're going to put your own scratches and dings on it to personalize it anyway, so why pay the premium for a new one. I've had my Marlin for 40 years.

I need to find an original sight hood for it. Been saying that for 25 years.


July 27, 2003, 07:06 PM
My 39a is a 1966. It looks practically brand new, shoots and works great. Yea, it was expensive but I wonder if those Henrys will last that long?

July 27, 2003, 07:09 PM
One thing you might check out on each one is the length you have to throw the lever. Also how smoothe each is compared to the other. I believe the Browning has the advantage over the Marlin on these factors. Makes it easier for rapid shooting and sight alignment after the shot. Also does the trigger move with the lever?

July 27, 2003, 08:44 PM
I see Marlin's latest offering is the 1897T- a 20" octagon barrel. I wish they'd leave off the ubiquitous checkering and slim up the forearm (so it's similar to a Win 1894 forearm- the way the old Marlin's were made).http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/leverAction22/1897T_F.htm

July 27, 2003, 09:26 PM

If you want a lever & also want a pick-up gun from one of the 3, take a look at a used Marlin model 56 or 57 'levermatic'. Short throw lever & either a clip (56) or tube (57) magazine. These are one piece stock guns that were never meant to be the top of the line. Serviceable .22's, but not built like a tank like the 39's.

They also aren't going to cost like a 39 either. Just my .02.


July 27, 2003, 09:53 PM
My grandpa has a 39A that is magic. It's one of my favorite guns period. Get one.

six 4 sure
July 28, 2003, 12:48 AM
I know it's not a lever-action, but you might want to consider one of the Rossi pump .22's.

July 28, 2003, 01:00 AM
It just gets smoother with use and is made of steel and walnut.
A time-travelling gun-nut from 1897 would recognise it immediately.:D

Spend the extra cash once and enjoy the quality for decades;)

4v50 Gary
July 28, 2003, 01:01 AM
If I didn't have my Marlin 92, I'd go with a Marlin 39A (pre-safety of course).

July 28, 2003, 01:36 AM
Marlin 39..Ive had the same one since 1959....there is none other...


July 28, 2003, 12:58 PM
I really do baby my guns... I suppose I could learn to let them take a few dings and stratches. ;)

I'm curious why the preference for the 39A over the 9422... on the Rimfire Central forums, then trend is the other direction. Is this purely a taste thing (Red versus Blue) or are there actual factors going into the preference (dunno Coke versus Pepsi- sweetness, etc)?

July 28, 2003, 01:12 PM
I have played around with all the above mentioned lever action .22s and as I mentioned, I own the Winchester 9422.
When I decided to buy a lever action .22, I wanted a Marlin. It has been my experience that the Marlin is a very well made, very accurate .22 rifle. When you hold one, you can see the quality of manufacture. Instead of being a cheap toy, it appears to be made just like they make any one of their superb centerfire lever actions. I own a couple Marlin centerfire lever actions and I think they are very well made, top quality rifles.
But, I wanted a carbine. I wanted this rifle primarily for walking around the woods and the desert. I wanted to be able to hold the rifle in my strong side hand with the rifle down along side my leg and not have the barrel anywhere near the ground. Marlin didn't make a carbine like this. So, I bought the Winchester. The Winchester is a good rifle. I have no complaints with it other than the coarse sights that make any kind of precision shooting difficult. But, I would prefer the Marlin. Now Marlin has made a carbine and wouldn't you know it, a week after buying the Winchester, my local shop got a Marlin carbine in on trade. It was a take down model with the matching case and all that.
It really is a Chevy vs. Ford argument. All are fine rifles and I guess it is just a matter of personal preference.

July 28, 2003, 04:19 PM
It's just a matter of what you like, go and handle both the Marlin and Winchester. They are both very good rifles.:)

July 28, 2003, 05:18 PM
I'm having trouble handling either, unfortunately. I've already called all my surrounding gun shops. There is a 39A about an 1 hour 40 min away from me though. I haven't found a 9422 yet. In NJ, there really aren't any gun stores really... mostly just sporting goods shops that also have the odd dozen guns. 39A and 9422 are kinda high end for their inventory too. Sadly, I buy most of my guns sight unseen, but no lemons so far!

Dave Markowitz
July 28, 2003, 05:39 PM
When I decided several years ago I needed a nice .22 rifle I went and looked at a Browning BL22, a Marlin 39A, and a Winchester 9422 XTR Classic.

I thought the Browning was too light and I was dissappointed in the fit and finish. I liked the way that the Marlin felt, but the Winchester was put together much more nicely. I got the 9422.

The now-discontinued 9422 XTR Classic is very similar to the 9422 Legacy but lacks checkering on the pistol grip and forearm. It is very accurate with ammo that it likes. AAMOF, mine is as accurate as any sporter-weight bolt action .22 I've seen.

So, I vote for the Winchester.

July 29, 2003, 02:16 PM
i have a real soft spot for the Browning BL-22. it was my first gun and i loved shooting it. its difficult to disassemble and clean but super accurate and very fun to shoot. i a bit on the pricey side but worth it on my opinion. cast my vote for the BL-22.


Bottom Gun
July 29, 2003, 03:50 PM
I'm not much for lever guns but I do like the BL-22. I like the short throw and the fact the trigger pivots with the lever. This one has one of the smoothest actions I've handled and the trigger is excellent.
Accuracy is very good. I haven't shot it beside a Winchester, but I have compared this one to and shot it along side a Henry It's much more accurate than the Henry with all the ammo we tried.
The BL-22 would be my choice.

July 29, 2003, 06:47 PM
Was a second-hand, but new, unfired Winchester 9422. I was surprised by how smooth the action worked, and how well she could place her groups with the buckhorn rear sight. Well worth it in my book.

July 29, 2003, 07:28 PM
i have the original golden 39a now,i like the gun because i can shoot 22 shorts and drop in some long rifles later.i can mix them up anyway i want and itll feed them all.it does everything that i would expect a 22 lr to do and more.i had the shorter 39m when i was younger.it shot countless grackles,pigeons,rodents and when squirrel season was in..it was all i needed.a tack driver,made from steel and beautiful walnut,finished to perfection.i got it for 89 bucks new some years ago and today,the same gun sells for over 300. at the local shops.thats if you can find one.

July 29, 2003, 09:10 PM
coot - do you have an e mail address or a phone # to Outdoor Ind.? Thanks.


July 29, 2003, 09:57 PM
I own a Model 39AS - the main drawback was the incredibly heavy trigger pull - at 7.5lbs out of the box it made the rifle difficult to shoot accurately. After working on the trigger - actually , the hammer , a very nice crisp trigger pull was obtained - also found out that the Marlin was capable of some decent accuracy! The acton itself is not as smooth as the Winchesters I have handled. In fact my friend's son has a Henry and I was surprised that the action of the Henry was smoother than my Marlin. If the Winchester is capable of the same accuracy and ease of trigger tuning as the Marlin I would probably choose it if I were looking for a 22lr lever today.

July 29, 2003, 10:48 PM
Okay, comparing the Winchester and Marlin, there seem to be some differences however minor (in reference to the new models- both, btw, have rebounding hammers):

+ no safety
+ lighter, shorter
+ smoother action
+ better wood
- not garanteed to feed .22 shorts
- slightly lower capacity

+ more robust parts
+ less expensive
+ longer history
+ more easily home tuned
- heavy trigger

+ Good investments
+ Accurate
+ Easily scoped/adjustable sights
+ semi-pistol
+ Takedown
- Both extremely hard to find! (Marlin is out of 39A's according to one of my gunstores... I haven't seen a 9422 listed in any surrounding states!)

My mind keeps flipping between the two!

July 30, 2003, 10:05 PM
Couldn't get a good deal years ago on the 39A, but did get a 39M. It has the a style more to my liking. It is alsmost as accurate (for me) as a target rifle in .22

September 13, 2004, 04:46 PM
I'm dredging this up because I recently got to shoot a 9422 and I really liked it. I've also read a bit about the Marlin 39A. Right now, I'm leaning toward the 9422 because I actually got to shoot it.

Any new comments or suggestions?

Topgun - What were the sites on that again?

I'll mainly be shooting paper with it for fun.


Tom C.
September 14, 2004, 10:34 AM
I haven't shot a 9422, but I understand it is pretty good. I have shot a Marlin 39A for the last 40 yrs. and I know it is good. I have a Redfield receiver sight on it.
Buy what feels best to you. Most of life's important decisions are based on personal preference.

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