.22 Lever Plinker...


February 10, 2012, 12:17 PM
Looking to purchase 22 Lever Action...
Been looking at the Marlin 39A and the Henry H001M...
Seems to be about a $200 difference (plus Marlins are very hard to get)...
What are the pros and cons of each?

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February 10, 2012, 12:27 PM
I don't own either, but from what I've looked at and handled this is my experience:

Henry's are really smooth out of the box, their walnut is pretty, but Henry uses a cast type of cheap metal for their receiver and the finish is some kind of coating that can chip/flake away.

Marlin receivers are made with higher quality blued steel.

I was also looking for a 22 lever, and I still don't own one. After my searching I'm going to hold out for an older Marlin.

I think the Henry would be fine for a plinker. I prefer to buy firearms that will outlast me. It frustrates me when manufacturers go cheap. I'd rather pay the extra $200 and get a better quality product, and I realize that other opinions will vary.

February 10, 2012, 12:47 PM
I own a Marlin but haven't shot a Henry. Personally, I wanted the Marlin because I don't like straight stocks and because I've heard they are mroe accurate than the Henrys. I don't know if they are more accurate, but I do know mine is very accurate.

39A's pop up on GB a lot. If you're patient, toss in lowball bids once a week and eventually you'll get one. I got mine for $375, in great condition, but it took me a couple of months.

FYI, if you ever want to put better sights on it, like the Williams reciever sights, make sure you get an older Marlin without the safety. The new ones have a safety that interferes with any receiver mounted sight system.

February 10, 2012, 12:54 PM
Get a Browning. They're pretty neat.

February 10, 2012, 02:00 PM
as far as your questions,
diferences are as follows in general. Marlin 24" barrel, pistol grip, american walnut and all steel. henry 20" barrel, streight grip, walnut, zinc/other metal reciever, the rest steel(barrel bands and front sight are now suspose to be steel also) and made in the USA(everything).
accuracy is comprable, i did out shoot my buddy with my 39a vs his henry but i had peep sights and i have a longer distance between the front sight and rear sight.
Henry has outstanding(from everyone who has to use them) customer service, while marlin(currently) is having issues.
Either one is a good rifle, i would find both and see what you like best in your hands, then shop around and take your time. Eventualy you will end up with what you want and maybe even for a price that would surprise you. good luck
PS, i havent paid more than 280 for any of my 39's, and my friend picked a couple up for 175otd ea, deals are out there if you have time.

February 10, 2012, 02:02 PM
Would a Henry Golden Boy model be an upgrade?

February 10, 2012, 02:03 PM
Find an older Marlin 39 used. The wait will be worth it.

February 10, 2012, 03:24 PM
The Golden Boy shifts up to a brass receiver so it's somewhat tougher than the alloy.

But really, it's a .22. Older alloy receiver Henrys are still running strongly after many, many thousands of rounds from reports I've seen. The only possible issue would be wear. But such alloys can be largely self lubricating when in contact with steel so again it's quite likely/possible that the alloy Henry receivers will last as long and for as many cycles as the all steel Marlin receiver.

The one factor that would sway me is the preference for the style of stock. If you want a pistol grip stock then you're going to want to shop for a good used Marlin.

February 10, 2012, 03:59 PM
I have both a 39A and 39M Marlin and I love them. Never handled a Henry so I won't comment on them. What I do know is the Marlin is VERY accurate, durable and reliable. I also found out by accident that the takedown knob has to come back to the same spot if you take it apart or else your POI shifts one way or another. When I first zeroed in my 39A, I took it apart to clean it and when the next time I fired it, it was way off. Ever since then, I tighten down the screw hand tight then turn it to a vertical position with a screw driver. Ever since then (and that was over 20 years ago I learned this) I haven't had any problems with zero shift.
Personally, I guess if I was looking for another .22 lever action, I would try to find a pre-Freedom Group Marlin. Ever since Freedom Group bought out Marlin, they have been having a number of QC problems. Some have been alright but from what I've been hearing, the quality isn't what it used to be.:(

February 10, 2012, 04:01 PM
Grunt... That date for the pre-FGM is usually what?


February 10, 2012, 04:27 PM
I'd be willing to bet anyone my Henry will easily outlast me and the next owner too.

All 3 of mine are accurate and worked "perfectly" right out of the box and they feed everything from CB caps to Vipers perfectly EVERY time, even if i mix them.

I don't think you will be unhappy with buying a Henry lever 22 rifle for a plinker or for a hunting rifle...


February 10, 2012, 05:57 PM
The Golden Boy shifts up to a brass receiver so it's somewhat tougher than the alloy.

Not True. It is still an alloy receiver. This is taken from Henry's website:

The Golden Boy's awesome 20-inch blued octagonal barrel, American walnut stock, brass buttplate and gleaming Brasslite receiver will

It is a brass finish over alloy.

Henry does have excellent customer service. My brother had an issue with a Golden Boy that had some cosmetic flaws. He ended up speaking with the company president, and they sent him a new rifle with a beautiful hand selected walnut stock. Henry sent a postage paid sticker for the original rifle, but the original rifle was stolen out of the back the car before it could be shipped, and Henry didn't hold my brother accountable for it. We were pretty impressed. They did want police reports and stuff, but they were very understanding.

February 10, 2012, 06:06 PM
This used to be true when I worked in a gun shop. I assume it still is.

Henry's do not have bluing on the metal. It's some kind of paint. If you look at the owner's manual, it is very specific about what can be used to clean the bore and outside. Some of the typical bore cleaners will remove the paint.

We had a guy that brought his back in about a week after he bought it. Finish was about 1/3rd gone where he tried to clean it.

I have a Browning .22 BLR. Gorgeous rifle, but the trigger stinks.

February 10, 2012, 07:32 PM
Been looking at the Marlin 39A and the Henry H001Mwhy are you comparing a Henry in .22wmr and a Marlin in .22lr?


There's nothing wrong with the Henry, they're cheaper and easier to find. Look at the entire H001 series, they have a nice youth model and the Lever Carbine (my favorite) as well as the "Frontier" which has an octogan barrel and easier-to-upgrade sights.
Worries about the material are silly, it's a .22 and a manual repeater, and the parts that mater are steel anyway. The plastic barrel band is fine, although the metal one looks a bit nicer ... new models have the metal, and a used or new-old-stock model will accept the new parts which are quite inexpensive.

I can't imagine how someone would strip off 1/3 of the paint following the directions in the manual ... no solvent I've ever used has had any effect on the finish on my 3 H001 series leverguns (H01L, H001ML, H001TM).

February 10, 2012, 07:59 PM
BFDave... On the Henrys, whats the difference between the H001M barrel and the T with the octagon barrel?...
Also, on several sites they describe the rifle finish as 'Blue'... that shouldn't 'wipe-off' if it's Blued?

February 10, 2012, 08:14 PM
GZOh, I believe it was 2010 when Freedom Group bought out Marlin.

February 10, 2012, 09:05 PM
I gave my old 39 to son #2 and missed it so bad I kept my eyes and ears open and ultimately found a 1946 model 39 a year or so ago. It had four extra holes drilled and tapped on the side for a god-awful side mount and skinny scope. I bought it, pulled the scope, plugged the holes and have a really nice 39. Next up, strip the stock and give it a good oil finish. Then, vernier tang sight.
No microgroove...real cut rifling. Shoots pretty well but my 67 year old eyes need a little help.

February 10, 2012, 10:17 PM
A Marlin 39-A was my first rifle my wife got it for me for X-mas in 1963 I still have it and I have carried it a lot of miles and have shoot a truck load of jackrabbits when I was young. The famers were paying .25 cents a peice for them around Wichita and I shoot a lot of them. That little rifle was my pride and joy I was so proud of it and I had good eyes back then and I could hit a jack 75 to 80 yds away most of the time and if I could get to a fence post a 100 yds was possible most of the time. The little rifle still shoots as good as it ever did. My Son bought one 20 years ago and we still have them both and still hunt with them. I am sorry I do not have any experience with the Hennery rifle. But my Son and I both think the world and all of our 39-A Marlins. I hope you find what you want and enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed ours. ken

February 10, 2012, 10:19 PM
BFDave... On the Henrys, whats the difference between the H001M barrel and the T with the octagon barrel?...
Also, on several sites they describe the rifle finish as 'Blue'... that shouldn't 'wipe-off' if it's Blued?

Not BFD, but Henry's description of their finish is as follows:

Finish: Blued barrel and lever

The difference between the H001M and the H001T is the caliber and the barrel type. The H001M is the round barreled (18.25") rifle in .22 WMR (magnum) with checkered walnut, while the H001T is an octagon barreled (20") rifle in .22 S,L,LR with uncheckered walnut.

February 10, 2012, 10:48 PM
I now have both rifles that you are looking at. I got a 1964 Marlin 39A this week. It is a much, much nicer rifle than the H001. The quality is nowhere close to the same. If you upgrade the Henry to a Golden Boy, quality might be closer, but IMHO, still not as good. here are some pics of my Marlin:



February 10, 2012, 11:06 PM
GZOh, it looks like az_imuth beat me to it.

For a general plinker, I would NOT want to give up the option of shooting .22short, particularly the superb CCI load known as a "CB short". They're quiet, really quiet, and you can cram a LOT of them into that tubular magazine.
Anything in the H001 line (other than magnum or .17hmr offerings) will run shorts. The Golden Boy line will also run shorts, but check to see if the GB stock angle works for you before buying, it is a historically correct angle, and I find it uncomfortable and distracting.

If you just want a rifle in .22wmr, either the H001M or the H001TM will serve you well, the difference being sights and barrel profile. Henry's website is quite informative, although I suppose their description of "blued" for finish is a bit misleading. For whatever reason, a black glossy firearm will be referred to as "blued" in many cases ... it isn't a Henry thing, it is a gun industry thing. The rifles are black, and don't tend to rust or lose their finish unless abused or cleaned by overzealous military types who think a soak of the entire gun in gasoline/diesel is a good idea. Don't drown it in solvent and you'll be fine.
The Henry sub-forum over on rimfirecentral is probably the best source of detailed info, other than just calling Henry Repeating Arms yourself. (if you call and get someone named "Tony" ... chances are you're talking to the owner, he's pretty cool and really believes in customer service)

February 11, 2012, 07:01 AM
Thanks for all of the help and information guys... really appreciate it.

BTW... Beautiful Marlin boykinlp!


February 11, 2012, 07:13 AM
GVOh, easy easy to tell the newer Marlins is the detail number on the few I have seen start with MR. good luck

February 11, 2012, 08:19 AM
i ended up buying the Henry. i am 55 years old, and i will never wear out a gun. if i was young, i probably would have got a Marlin. the Marlin is definitely higher quality, and probably a little more accurate. my take is this. if you want a rifle, that you will shoot all of your life, then pass it down to your kids, so they can pass it down to their kids, buy the Marlin. if you want a gun to shoot, have a lot of fun with, and have your kids wear out, buy the Henry.

February 11, 2012, 08:35 AM
I have had both the Henry and the Marlin, also a Winchester in 22lr. I kept the Henry not because it was any better but because I don't mind taking it on 4 wheeler and actually using it. The Marlins have become so expensive I hate to treat one rough.They are also longer than the Henry's unless you find a Mountie and they are even higher than the standard length.
The Henry is a slick action and has been very reliable for me. The Marlins are obviously a better made gun but becoming rare and expensive. So bottom line do you want a shooter or a safe queen.

February 11, 2012, 09:01 AM
I've got a Marlin 39A that I bought new in 1982. It is EXTREAMLY accurate and is a squirrel killing machine. About the only thing "wrong" with it is it's heavy. It should be, it's pretty much a solid hunk of steel and walnut. You will never regret buying one.

I've never fired a Henry, but I have looked at them, and have thought about buying one. I don't think they'll ever attain the status of a Marlin, (or a Winchester 9422) but they seem to be from my observations, and from reports I read here and about, to be good guns.

If I was just looking for a plinker, I'd probably buy a Henry. It would do the job. I suspect the finish on the receiver (cover) would show wear quickly though. If I wanted the better rifle overall, the Marlin is in a class by itself and IMHO, is well worth the difference in price.

I must be the only person in the world who thinks the "Golden Boy" is the ugliest, most gaudy rifle I've ever seen. I wouldn't buy one if they cost less than the standard Henry, much less pay more.

February 11, 2012, 11:06 AM
Does WINCHESTER still make a lever-22?...

February 11, 2012, 12:06 PM
Does WINCHESTER still make a lever-22?...

No, not since around 2005-2006 when they discontinued production of the 9422.

February 11, 2012, 12:36 PM
Both my Marlin 39A and my Henry Golden Boy lever-actions are wonderful. Both are reliable and accurate. Of course, the Marlin is heavier, and the price higher. Neither would be a mistake. No scope for the Golden Boy.


February 11, 2012, 12:49 PM
I love my henry. It's been through everything and is still my favorite 22. It's super accurate and super reliable. That said here's a interesting new candidate


February 11, 2012, 04:54 PM

I'm a big time Marlin 39 fan... I have a 1950, 1975, and 1996 39A, and two 1970 Model 39 Century Limiteds as well.

I love 'em all.

But every time a conversation about the various qualities of lever-action 22 rifles came up on the various forums it seemed to turn into a two way pissing contest between the Marlin 39 family lovers, and those who prefer the Henry's.

So, I figured the best way for me to settle the argument FOR ME was to just buy a Henry, shoot it "head to head" with my Marlins and make up my own mind.

So yesterday I did that..

I bought a new Henry HT001Y (youth or "trapper" version). The gun shop had both the HT001 (regular length) and three HT001Y's. My ignorance of Henry's was such I didn't even know there WAS a "youth model".

I held them both, and for some reason the shorter (more "carbine" style) appealed to me so I bought one of those. My bride was with me and she liked the "looks" of the HT001Y so much that she bought one for herself. (Consecutive serial number to mine no less).

We came home and I gave them both a cursory cleaning and we went "out back" to our firing range to test them out.

Both rifles needed the rear sights adjusted for windage correction, but it was an easy process, and pretty soon they were hitting pretty much poa/poi..

So, after only one day of owning a Henry lever action rimfire rifle here's my observations.

The metal receiver of the Marlin "looks" light years better and of much greater quality than that of the Henry, but the slick lever action of the Henry puts that of the Marlin 39's (or at least of the 5 I own) to shame.

Or, if snail snot is considered extremely slick, I'd say the action of the Henry is definitely "snail snot" slick.. My Marlins, while ok, are simply not nearly as slick..

I was surprised in that I like the dark walnut wood of the Henry's a lot, altho the various woods on my Marlin's are quite nice too.

Accuracy, head to head, is not something I've had the opportunity to observe yet, but I'm thinking even when I do it won't be "apples to apples" because the extra weight and barrel lengths of the Marlins (even the Century Limiteds) I believe will make for tighter groups than that of the shorter barreled, lighter Henry HT001Y.

I will add that I think all of my Marlins and my sole Henry are each inherently capable of greater accuracy and smaller groups than my average marksmanship skills are capable of taking advantage of. :D

I'd say, to my mind, the Marlin 39 is obviously of "higher quality" overall than the Henry, but that quality comes at a price.. I only paid $267.50 OTD for my Henry, and each of my Marlins were much higher to buy than that.

I think a person looking for that "hand me down" heirloom quality rimfire rifle would be better served with an older Marlin 39A (pre-cross bar safety/pre-rebounding hammer models).. New production 39A's have a bad reputation for quality issues at present.

I think a person looking for the "best bang for the buck", and one who wants a "shooter" more than a "collector" would be well served with a Henry..

I'm not selling my Marlins now that I have a Henry, but then I'm not selling the Henry either.... :)

Nice to have choices, and in my opinion, a person won't go wrong whether he/she buys a new Henry or an older Marlin 39..

It all boils down to personal preference, and isn't it nice to have choices?

I will say that if I wanted to plink out in the back yard with my Buddies I'd probably pick up my 1975 Marlin 39A with the excellent Williams peep sight.. (that sucker is awesomely accurate).

But if I were a critter killer (I'm not), and I was planning on spending the day in the woods carrying a 22 cal rifle around it would be the lighter, shorter, Henry for sure.

No offense to anyone, just personal observation..

Best Wishes,


February 11, 2012, 08:41 PM
The Marlins have become so expensive I hate to treat one rough.They are also longer than the Henry's unless you find a Mountie and they are even higher than the standard length.

Here is my Marlin 39A Golden Mountie, 1967 vintage. That gun has had thousands of rounds shot through it. I hope to pass it down in a few years to my grandson who is now five months old.


February 11, 2012, 08:48 PM
Thanks for the comparative analysis Jesse, it was very helpful and informative.
Went to a gun shop today and held both a Henry H001T ($425) and a Marlin 39A ($625).
Without question the Marlin was a heavier and seemingly, better made rifle. However, the owner, who has had the shop for almost 40 years,
said the 'older' Marlins were the way to go. He indicated that the newer Marlins (serial M XXXX) were not in his opinion the same. He felt, as you indicated, the Henrys were a very well made rifle and for the $$ a very good value. He gave me a range which rents both Henrys and Marlins and recommended I shoot BOTH. So that will be my next venture.
Again, thanks to all for the input.


February 12, 2012, 07:46 AM
The Golden Boy has a more severe comb drop than the standard non-brass models. For the life of me, I can't understand that, but whatever. You have to shoulder both the Golden Boy and the standard rifle to see which one fits you better. If the standard rifle fits you better, but you just gotta have the brass look, you can have the receiver cover brass plated by an aftermarket company (check the RimfireCentral Henry forum for a link).

February 12, 2012, 08:02 AM
The Golden Boy has a more severe comb drop than the standard non-brass models. For the life of me, I can't understand that, but whatever.

The drop in the comb is intended to loosely resemble the stocks on the genuine Henry's, old Winchester '66, '73, etc. Personally, I don't have a problem with the drop and can shoot it just as well as any of my other lever guns. Some folks like 'em, some folks don't. As PX15 stated, it's nice to have options.


February 12, 2012, 08:06 AM
I own a Henry H001T Frontier (the one with the octagon barrel). It's going on six years old, and I have over 12,000 rounds through it. It's got the smoothest action I've ever experienced, and the trigger is outstanding right out of the box. Everyone that shoots it wants to buy it from me.

The rifle has never had a malfunction (not counting ammo that didn't fire, but that's ammo, not the rifle, and every .22 rifle eventually has an issue with ammo). I used it for Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette competition, and did so well against the Marlin guys that a couple of them actually went out and bought a Henry H001T and started using them in the matches.

I see people claim that the Henry isn't going to last because the receiver isn't made of steel, or that the paint on the receiver cover is eventually going to chip off "because, well, that's what paint does". My rifle will probably out-live me, which is all that matters, and I probably headed off the paint problem by stripping it off (it took three days and repeated soakings in paint remover to do so). Because I was going to use the rifle for silhouette competition, I replaced the sights (like you probably do with practically any off-the-shelf rifle you buy).

In my oh-so-humble opinion, you simply cannot go wrong buying a Henry .22 lever-action rifle, especially if you choose the H001T. They're reliable, good looking, accurate, and completely made in America (from material sources, to machining, to final assembly). Here's mine:


February 12, 2012, 10:27 AM
Here is my '73 Winchester, 1891 vintage.




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