.22 LR lever action as first gun.


February 5, 2012, 12:02 AM
Hello. I am a young gun enthusiast, and fairly soon (within a year, assuming things go as planned) I will be a gun owner as well. Right now my pops plans on buying me a .22 LR lever action. I have shot guns before (A semi auto tube mag .22, and a break action 12 gauge), but never have I used a lever action, or even so much as seen one outside of TV and YouTube.

It seems simple, but I was hoping to consult you guys who actually have fired lever actions before. Do you guys had any suggestions? Is it a good choice? Any information I should know? Keep in mind that I have shot before, so I am not completely inexperienced with firearms.

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February 5, 2012, 12:04 AM
One more thing. I would be using this for target shooting and, if I can smooth talk my uncle into it, a bit of hunting.

February 5, 2012, 12:07 AM
I think you'll love it. I have a Browning BL-22 that I've had for over 20 years and only thing I have had to do was replace a spring in it just recently. I cant tell you how many thousands of rounds this rifle has shot.

As with any firearm, just take care of it and it will last a lifetime.

February 5, 2012, 12:19 AM
I Like your User Name!

I think you will enjoy a Lever Gun very much!

I am an avid Lever Gun owner, lots of .22's and up into Winchester and Marlin .30-.30

Here are a few choices, none of which are bad!

Henry - $250 ish
Marlin - $350 ish (39A) wonderful Lever gun
Ithaca -$200 ish
Winchester - $500 ish
Browning - $500 ish

I think the Henry would be a great starter for you. I am a Marlin Fanatic, but they can be pricey! An Ithaca is a good choice also, but you will have to look in gun stores to find one of them most likely.

Here is a neat Youtube on Levers, you may have already seen? But anyway, good luck and happy shooting.


February 5, 2012, 12:20 AM
Thank you for your response. I've heard great things about lever actions, and this truly confirms it.

February 5, 2012, 12:24 AM
Lever actions are a lot of fun to shoot. Many of them are more than decently accurate. 1" groups at 50 yards are a reasonable expectation.

Probably my favorite plinking gun is a Marlin 357 lever action.

February 5, 2012, 12:24 AM
As a matter of fact, Tomcat, the Henry rifle happens to be the specific one my Dad was planning on buying! Great minds think alike, I guess? Thank you for the compliment on my username as well. I got it with a random word generator.

February 5, 2012, 12:24 AM
I have two lever action .22's. I think you made an excellent choice, I really like mine. Lever actions are great for learning to shoot iron sights, they come up to eye very naturally, they're easy to cary if you're walking in the woods. Most will accept peep sights if want them later. The Marlin 39 is built like a tank and has been around for a long time. They're the most expensive, but they're simple and parts are pretty easy to find so a good used one is a reasonable thing to consider. I gave my wife a Browning BL22, it's smaller than the Marlin and lighter, mine is very accurate. Although I haven't shot the Henry rifles I was impressed with how smooth the action was on the one I handled. They seem to get pretty good marks from those that have them and they will be the least expensive.

Stay safe.

February 5, 2012, 12:29 AM
1" at 50 yards sounds great to me! I may need more practice before I can get groups like that, though...

February 5, 2012, 12:33 AM
Thank you for all of your responses guys. This really does confirm to me that this is a reliable, good gun.

February 5, 2012, 12:36 AM
Very well stated Furncliff!

I love those little Browning BL22. They have been hanging at about $500.00 in these parts. Love Browning wood....Beeeeaaaaauuuuttttttiiiiiifffffffuuuuuul!

@Denton ......... I used to Hunt Boar and Whitetail Deer with My Marlin .357 and .44 Mag Lever! (As welll as my .30 -.30's) I just love carrying a Lever action in the woods.

And @ Positivity ... there is a feeling a Lever Gun gives one, that no other rifle gets close too. I have always seen that you either love them or hate them.

The Smart people Love them :D

February 5, 2012, 12:42 AM
I love lever actions and love all 3 of mine.
My first .22 was a semi-auto but since I love levers I added to it.
My Henry H001 cost $250 and is as smooth as silk. It is all US made and is walnut. I have other .22s but it is the first one I grab. It would be a great first gun, I know it made a great fifth gun.
I hope to get the Marlin 39 but they are too pricy new and so one gets rid of them once they have them so I cant find a used one.
My first lever was a gently used Marlin .30-30 with scope. I like their action better than the Winchester. It is fun to shoot and handles wonderfully but 20 bullets cost $15 while I can get 550 bullets in .22 for $15.
My third is a Red Ryder BB gun. Had I bought it first I might have stopped there. Classic look, strong action, and I can shoot in the yard.
I dont think you can go wrong with any lever action.

February 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
I always have liked the design of the rifle. It feels very... American. After all, it was invented here, built here, and for the most part used almost exclusively here.

February 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
The Henry can shoot .22 short, .22 long, and .22 long rifle if you want variety.
My semi-autos only do .22LR.

February 5, 2012, 12:48 AM

I have a quick question about one thing in your post. You mentioned that you got a marlin with a scope. Did you use the scope, and if so does the cycling of the lever throw off your aim?

Hoppes Love Potion
February 5, 2012, 12:51 AM
I think the Henry is an excellent choice and a great value. I have the Frontier Model and love it. They also have the best customer service in the business. Phone calls and emails are usually answered very quickly - by the President of the company! Lifetime warranty and if you ever have any issues he will make it right.

February 5, 2012, 12:53 AM
The Browning & Marlin are $500-700. The Henry is $250.
If you can get a Marlin or Browning go for it. They are great. But dont think the Henry is cheap because it costs half as much. It is a fine rifle, a a great price. I love mine. It shoots any brick ammo fine.

February 5, 2012, 12:55 AM

By the president of the company!? Wow!
Hopefully I won't have any trouble that would require customer service, but if I do it's good to know that they are that dedicated.

February 5, 2012, 12:58 AM

What do you think about the Henry golden boy? From what I've heard it's a souped up normal Henry. It also falls in about the same price range as marlin and browning.

February 5, 2012, 01:05 AM
I like the clean looks of the Winchester with straight stock & iron sights. However when I picked up my Marlin with the pistol grip and scope it just felt right. Since it is a .30-30 I'm not shooting fast but picking my shots. I never had a problem with re-acquisition. And the scope helps my older eyes.
The Henry has the classic look, straight stock, iron sights, walnut. I wont scope it. It looks are classic.
I've taught myself to keep the Henry on the shoulder and on sight and just use use my fingers to work the lever. This allows my to fire almost as fast as my semi-auto. And, since its tube holds 17 bullets vs 10 in my Mossberg Plinkster mag, I can lay down a lot of lead quick.

February 5, 2012, 01:09 AM
I'm not sure about the Golden Boy, it was out of my price range. It may be more cosmetic, brass side plates and brass rings like the original Henrys and Winchesters.
I looked at their hex barrel Trapper that was $100 more but I liked the balance and sights of the less expensive one.

February 5, 2012, 01:13 AM
Okay. Thank you for telling me. I was just worried that I would have to completely reacquire the target evey time I cycle a round. Firing even near as close as a semi auto sounds great! Especially since it is so much less prone to jams than a semi. Really, thank you so much for all of your advice and information.

February 5, 2012, 01:19 AM
By the way, it's nice to see someone wanting to start with a wood lever instead of the modern black polymer semi-auto rifle.
I do own a black polymer Mossberg Plinkster .22 and a Maverick 88 12 ga. but other than that it's lever all the way (3 so far and wanting a .357 next)

February 5, 2012, 01:22 AM
I used to take the rifle off the shoulder to cock it but i realized i didnt have to and keep it on target as i fired.
Its easier with the .22 than with the .30-30. That doesnt jump, its just you want to smile and enjoy it.

February 5, 2012, 01:23 AM
I have never shot a gun that didn't have a wood design. None of them were lever actions, but I still have a special place in my heart for wood designs.

February 5, 2012, 01:26 AM
I've never fired a 30-30.

I've fired one round of 30-6. Just the one. How does the 30-30 stack up to it, or would that be apples to oranges?

February 5, 2012, 01:42 AM
The .30-30 is 65% of a .30-06 when it hits so I would guess it would kick 65% less. A heavier gun absorbs more recoil.
I wouldnt start with a .30. I'd go .22.
My .30-30 was my first lever, but i already had a .22 and .410.
The .30-30 is very satisfying but expensive to shoot. I'd rather run a couple hundred through the .22 for a couple of bucks.
I bought a WWII surplus Russian 1939 Mosin-Nagant that shoots a 7.62x54R shell that equals the 7.62 nato/.308 or is 95% of the .30-06. Its ammo is $5 per 20, a third of the .30-30 so I'll take that if I want a cheap boom. It kicks some but I never notice cause Im grinning too much.

February 5, 2012, 01:48 AM
30-30 from a lever rifle like a Winchester 94 is less recoil than that 30-06 you shot. Enough kick to give you a grin when it moves your shoulder back. But not enough to leave you feeling like you got kicked by a mule at the end of the day.

It's one of my favourite center fire rifle plinking rounds. As such I reload them to help keep the cost down. The next batch I do will be cast lead bullets to cut the costs even more. They are a really fun round from a really fun gun. But then I really like lever guns.

Getting back to your .22 lever option. I got my own Henry H001 less than a year ago. I've only got around 500'ish rounds through it due to having a lot of other guns and not getting out as often as I'd like due to some house renos I'm doing just now. But that hasn't stopped it being one of my favourite .22's. The darn thing is as smooth as a knife through warm butter and it shoots very accurately and consistently even with basic cheap Blazer ammo. It's so nice that I'm sorry I didn't go for the Frontier model with the slightly nicer wood, octagonal barrel and all metal bands and sights. The H001 basic model uses plastic barrel bands and a plastic forward band and integral sight. Mind you it sure doesn't seem to affect how it aims and shoots. If you do your part the gun will make you look good.

Over at Rimfire Central or on the Henry forums there's folks that are still enjoying their Henrys after many years of shooting with round counts way up in the multiple ten's of thousands of rounds shot. So it's not a short term sort of gun either.

February 5, 2012, 08:09 AM
The Browning has some features none of the others do, like a 33-degree lever throw that lets me cycle the lever without moving my trigger hand from the stock, the unique magazine cap and the one and only Browning fit and finish. Handle one and you'll throw rocks at the others, and accuracy is second to none. Yeah, it's spendy, but in this case you really do get what you pay for, a rifle your grandkids will be using long after you're gone...

February 5, 2012, 08:37 AM
The Henry rifles, including the basic H001 models, haven't had any plastic sights/barrel bands for some time now. If I were on a budget and looking at a NEW lever action today, I would look at the Henry Frontier model. It is priced about $70 higher than the basic model, but has the heavier octagon barrel and front sights that can be upgraded without difficulty. It has a grooved receiver which allows it to be easily scoped, and I feel it is a good compromise between the basic H001 and the Golden Boy.

Best of luck in whatever you choose, and remember to just be safe and have lots of fun!

February 5, 2012, 09:46 AM
Lever guns shoot cleaner than semi-autos, but faster than bolt actions. Triggers and extraction are not quite as good, but they're really fun. Kids like them almost as much as semi-autos with 25-round magazines.

The Marlin 39A can be a bit heavy for some smaller folks. New ones are more trouble-prone than older ones, due to Marlin buy-out and lower quality control.

My fairly-new 39A was probably made early on a Monday morning, by a hung-over newbee factory worker, during his mentor's coffee break. After a bit of remediation work on my part, it shoots fine, but the bore is rough as heck, the iron sights are not quite top-center, and the facory scope-base holes point left of center. The extractor works most of the time now, and after the firing pin nose was reshaped, it doesn't misfire anymore.

February 5, 2012, 12:13 PM
I have never shot a gun that didn't have a wood design. None of them were lever actions, but I still have a special place in my heart for wood designs.

I bought my 20 year old daughter a Henry H-001 lever action .22 for Christmas 2010. She absolutely loves it, accurate, fun, easy to load, shoot and take care of. I would highly recommend it.

http://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/44162/2286043880053667879S600x600Q85.jpg http://inlinethumb35.webshots.com/47906/2690623540053667879S425x425Q85.jpg


February 6, 2012, 08:03 AM
levers are great but remember they can be addicting.
I can load my 19 rounds quicker than someone loading 20 rounds into a detachable mag, that is by hand and not some machine, any magazine is loaded one at a time.
Heard nothing but good about henry(i have shot them but not owned them), but marlins now..... i have 3 39a's and if you shop around you or your dad should be able to find them under 300, maybe under 200(i turned my friend on to two that he got for 350otd for both) i havent spend over 300 on any of my three including a mountie.
what ever you end up with you will have a bunch of fun with. My sugestion is to go somewhere and see what fits you the best. good luck.

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