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Which .22 lever-action?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by rickr44318, May 18, 2006.

  1. rickr44318

    rickr44318 Member

    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.
  2. Tom C.

    Tom C. Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. conanman

    conanman Member

    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.
  4. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    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.
  7. RuralTurtle

    RuralTurtle Member


    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.
  8. Bridger

    Bridger Well-Known Member

    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!
  9. pete f

    pete f Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    My (scoped) BL-22 would shoot MOA all day with CCI Stingers. Can't go wrong with a Browning...
  11. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Well-Known Member

    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.

  12. rickr44318

    rickr44318 Member

    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”
  13. Polishrifleman

    Polishrifleman Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. toivo

    toivo Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Bill T

    Bill T member


    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.
  16. 270Win

    270Win Well-Known Member

    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!
  17. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. brentwal

    brentwal Well-Known Member

  19. Seven High

    Seven High Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. AnthonyRSS

    AnthonyRSS Well-Known Member

    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.


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