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Best lever action .22

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by c.dunwoody1234, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. c.dunwoody1234

    c.dunwoody1234 Member

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    Hello!
    I’ve been looking into a nicer .22 rifle and I’ve had my eye on the Henry Small Game rifle with Skinner sights and the large lever loop, but I was wondering if there were any recommendations for a high quality lever action .22 preferably made from wood and steel.

    Thanks!
     
    czhen likes this.
  2. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Wood and steel .22 lever gun? I think your only new option besides the Henry is a Browning BL22 of some sort. Yep, I'm not counting Chiappa's copy of a Marlin.
     
  3. LNK

    LNK Member

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    Wasn't the Marlin 39a decent? Not sure if they still produce them, but used would be ok right?
     
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  4. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Yep, I have one and it's a good gun. Pretty much have to find a used one as the only new one on Marlin's website now is a high dollar "custom" version. Not sure if Remlin will ever bring back a common 39 or not.
     
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  5. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    The Henry company loaned our rifle club several of their .22 lever guns for a youth firearms day. They were excellent rifles. I would not hesitate to buy one if I did not already own two Marlin .22 lever guns.
     
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  6. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Winchester 9422 is probably going to net the most votes for the very best conventionally available lever action 22.

    I tend to agree with this assessment but the Marlin 39 Mountie is quite a rifle as well.
     
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  7. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    If you fancy a used gun, the Marlin 39A and Winchester 9422 are both excellent. I’ve handled both, though only shot the Marlin (which I own.) The Marlin is a fantastic gun. The Winchester 9422 is generally smoother, from the examples I’ve cycled, and probably equally great at the range.

    New, I’d probably get a Henry. They’re very affordable, don’t feel cheap, and probably a heck of a lot of fun.
     
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  8. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    If there is a "best", it is certainly the Winchester 94/22. They're all milled steel. No castings. No stampings. No plastic. They're actually better made than any domestic levergun of the last 100yrs. It has been said that Winchester lost money on every one they ever made and I believe it. I remember paying $300 for one when Henry's were $200 and that seems like a crime today. The best will cost you a good bit more than anything in current production. It is sad that Winchester's domestic leverguns were on the rebound when they closed their doors.

    I put the Browning BL22 below because even though the quality is very high, they're a little bit of a deviation from tradition.

    Marlin goes third. Very good guns and well made but often a little rough and somewhat lacking in fit & finish.

    Henry is fourth. They're good guns and a good value but let's be honest, they have a zinc alloy inner receiver with a painted aluminum cover. They're made to a price point. That said, I have two of their rimfires and enjoy them very much. To the point that I sprang for an upgraded wood set for my 24" Frontier and robbed the satin nickel parts for it off my Evil Roy model.
     
  9. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    “Best”. An elusive term. My opinion, after all they all are, is the Marlin 39. It balances better for me. I like the action more than the Winchester, Henry and others.
     
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  10. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I'll take a 39a.
     
  11. Steve51

    Steve51 Member

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    I have a Henry classic lever action 22 and a Henry Golden Boy 22. Both are excellent rifles. I would really like to also have the Henry Small Game Carbine or Rifle - just can't decide which one.
    My grand kids still choose the classic as their top choice when we are shooting - it has a scope on it and they want to out shoot grandpa.
     
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  12. Plastikosmd

    Plastikosmd Member

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    I have a

    39a
    9422 (and the 9422 mag)

    each has a special place in my heart

    my 39a is a beaten, rough gun but shoots light out and I would take it anywhere
    If I had to live off the land and could only take one of my 22 rifles this would be it (Also due to the fact it’s a takedown and could be repaired in the field)

    the 94s are pieces of art, also accurate but I handle them with much more care (they were babied from new)
    When I set up my 22 ranges for friends to come over, I don’t let others use these two babies. They are works of art

    love them both
     
  13. BBarn

    BBarn Member

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    I've owned all four (Marlin 39A, Winchester 9422, Henry, and Browning BL-22). All four are very nice in their own ways.

    The Marlin is the earliest design and utilizes forged steel for major components. The Winchester is the strongest and most refined. The Browning is the most compact and typically has the best finish. The Henry's origins are rooted in Germany and features the smoothest lever action of the bunch. While the Marlin 39's roots go back to the late 1800s (Model 1897), the other three were introduced in the 1970s.

    My least favorite is the Browning, simply because I find it's short throw lever a bit stiff and awkward. The Henry is fun to shoot, but if you have an aversion to a painted alloy (Zamak) receiver, or a few plastic parts you'll want to look elsewhere. (The lower receiver of the Browning is also made of aluminum alloy). Fit and finish of the Marlin is generally the lowest, but it varies quite a bit and some examples are very well done. The Winchester is very nice in every way.

    Accuracy is going to depend on the particular gun, but of the ones I've owned the Marlins were the most accurate. If you are going to shoot it alot, I'd stay away from the Marlin and Winchester since parts availability will likely become an issue with those discontinued models.

    Whichever you choose, it will likely bring some enjoyable 22 plinking.
     
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  14. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    It's a very common question on here. I collect lever action (and pump action) 22 rifles. I have a few of all the common ones plus some odd balls. I dont know about the newer models but of the common rifles the winchester 9422, the browning BL-22, the Marlin 39/a/as, and the henry are plentiful and not stupid expensive (although the Winchester and Marlin are well on their way).

    The marlin is a huge fat heavy gun compared to the saddle gun shaped others. That may be good or bad depending on the person. It's a super simple gun. Easily taken down and easy to repair. I dont believe they are made but they are still plentiful as are parts. I just got one (1987 model AS) with a worn firing pin. Pretty well used gun too. Took 5 minutes to clean it up and fix it. 99%of the "broken" marlin 39 rifles I've seen only needed the take down screw tightened. A fraction of a turn off and they will not work. I've seen them bind up the bolt and I've seen them bind up the feed tube only by being off a fraction.

    The Browing is not terrible to work on but the Marlin is easier to get apart for a thorough cleaning and is far more complicated internally. The triggers are usually not great and not easy to remedy. The trigger also moves with the lever unlike all the others. I wont say they are particularly hard to work on but they are worse than the other three. The extractor and spring are annoying as well as the moving trigger. The BL also has what they call a short throw lever. It takes less than half the travel of the others. Some people hate that.

    The winchester is similar in take down to the Browning. 1 screw. But it's not as many pieces to fall out.

    None of those three are made up of cheap zinc parts and will likely never need work other than cleaning. My 69 model Browning has never had a broken part. I've never dealt with Marlin, Browning, nor Winchester customer service so I have no idea on that.

    The henry is my least favorite of the crowd. Fine rifles but not something I'd expect to last. I have replaced parts in them. I have one of the older versions made by ithaca in germany as well as a newer (05ish I'd guess) Henry version. They are accurate and well enough made. Easy to work on. Simple in design and unlike the Winchester or Browning have side plates and easily accessible internals. Their customer service is great as well.

    All four are as accurate and reliable as the junky 22 ammo most feed them. That's what most of us use them for.
     
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  15. NorthBorder

    NorthBorder Member

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    Regarding the Henry's, do the Golden Boys have any zamac parts? Is the receiver brass or an alloy of brass? Thanks in advance.
     
  16. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Fund a 39A and you'll never ev3n consider selling it.
     
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  17. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Pretty much what it took me half a page to say. Lol.
    I'll add that while the marlin is an early design, it's a very simple, reliable and easy to work on design unlike many early designs of things.
     
  18. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    The inner serialized receiver is ZAMAK while the outer cover is "brasslite" plated aluminum.
     
  19. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    Fell in love with .22 lever guns back in the 1990's shooting a friends Winchester 9422. Then in late 2018 I came across the base model Henry .22 lever gun on sale and wound up buying it. IMHO they are very nice for the money, even with that outer receiver cover being aluminum, as has already been mentioned. Takes short, long, and long rifle 22 ammo, which is a plus in my book. Shoots so good I just had to put a Pic rail on it and a cheap Tasco red dot just to wring out all the accuracy it's capable of; which is better than my eyes do with iron sights these days. Nice little wood and metal gun and it shoots true. Might even go back to the iron sights because it looks a lot trimmer and it's basically just a fun plinker anyway. Step grand daughter loves shooting it also. These things are addictive. Here it is before the rail & red dot... IMG_3066.JPG ..
     
  20. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Marlin 39a All wood and steel. Proven design. Longest production rifle in the USA. I have a 1906 made Model 1892 (an earlier version of the 39a) that has the best trigger I've ever felt on a lever gun and rivals some of the best bolt guns. Very accurate. With a Marbles Tang Site, I compete in a 100 yard competition and the rifle is not the limiting factor. The long barrel makes them super quiet and a pleasure to shoot.
     
  21. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    ASC_1294.JPG

    Winchester 9422
    Browning Bl-22
    Henry or Ithaca
    Henry or Ithaca
    Marlin 39 (as)
     
  22. c.dunwoody1234

    c.dunwoody1234 Member

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    Thanks for all the input!
    I’d definitely like to own a Marlin 39a but finding one for a decent price seems very difficult.
     
  23. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    6-700 is about normal for a 39 A (or safety models I dont see them any cheaper really) . I saw 3 between those prices yesterday at Hyattgun (all A models) . Old Lever actions 22s are a lot like DA 22 revolvers. People just dont like the price tags for a 22LR. Winchesters will be just as high. Brownings slightly less. Hence the popularity of Henry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
  24. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I think every serious rifleman should have a Marlin Model 39, even if it has to be (and maybe better) bought used. Just my subjective opinion, steeped in "tradition", I dislike big "loops" on a lever-action rifle almost as much as I hate scopes on them. And the bigger the loop, the worser they are.
     
  25. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Yes. That is an issue. I have a feeling that before Coronisolation is over, they will become more affordable.
     
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