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Opinions needed on Browning BL22

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by joe_kidd, Jan 15, 2008.

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  1. joe_kidd

    joe_kidd Member

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  2. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    I have had one since 1987 or 88 - I was in 7th grade, and I bought it with birthday money and lawn-mowing money. It's been a good shooter and I've enjoyed it greatly. I've easily gotten my $125 investment back in the joy and pleasure it brought me.

    It has a very short action - something like 33 degrees - so instead of having to work the lever with a full length throw (think typical 30-30), you can keep your palm against the stock and only use the fingers to work the action and cycle the gun.

    It's very accurate. I have never scoped and sandbagged it, but I've never had a problem popping starlings and sparrows out of our barn when I was a kid. We shot 8" metal plates at well over 125 yards, and I would hang in there with my buddy who had a scoped Marlin BA .22. It's short size and light weight make it a great rabbit and squirrel gun.

    Mine, at least, has no manual safety. The hammer is the traditional 3-position hammer (resting against the firing pin, half-cock, full-cock). I've never had an accidental firing from half or at rest position, and I hope and pray I never have to find out what happens or if anything will happen when the hammer is struck.

    Trigger pull is light and crisp with very short take-up. Not a "target" trigger by any means; I'm thinking of this compared with other .22s I have owned or shot.

    One caveat: It's a smaller gun - both in overall length and, I think, in the stock. Before you buy it, make sure it fits you. Qhite honestly, I don't shoot it a whole lot anymore because I am now 6'4", 290lbs. It doesn't fit me well any longer. But, as it's only a .22, it doesn't "punish" me when I do shoot it. I'm keeping it around because my daughter enjoys its short action, and I hope one day my son will get it for his first rabbit and squirrel hunts.

    Get it...enjoy it...and shoot the heck outta it. Great rifle.

    Q
     
  3. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

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    Good rifle.
     
  4. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    The trigger stays with the lever, eliminating pinched fingers, and the magazine tube cap is push-button release, so there is no peg-and-slot search, just push it closed after loading. Off a rest at 100 yards with a 4X32 scope in Williams low mounts and the necessary hammer offset piece, mine would hold 1" groups with stingers, It also had a vastly superior wood-to-metal fit and finish. It weighs only 5 pounds and has a real nice set of folding leaf sights, much better than the crummy ladder-type buckhorns you usually see on lever .22s.

    When I was shopping for a lever .22, there were the glenfield, Marlin, Erma and Winchester 94/22. I went to the last shop in town and told him about the others and asked him if there was a quality Lever that didn't look like a piece of crap, and he just smiled and pulled out that Browning box...As soon as I laid eyes on it, I simply told him to wrap it up, it was that much better than anything I'd seen. Didn't even ask how much...Didn't care (turned out to be the same price as the Winchester)... Yeah, I like 'em.
     
  5. Slugless

    Slugless Member

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    Great rifle, very well made, mine stays in the safe because it's too small for me. And I'm an average sized guy. A Marlin 39A-Mountie has taken its place.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  6. huntinstuff

    huntinstuff Member

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    Fantastic little lever gun. I shoot it and so does my little guy (he's 8).

    Nice and quick lever for rabbits or grouse.
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Well made. Pretty. Excellent machining, fit and finish.

    It feels like a toy, though. It's too small and light for an average-sized American man, IMO.

    I prefer my Marlin 39A, which is longer, heavier, has a heavy barrel, and a good deal more heft all around and in the stock, which feels a lot more substantial in the hand. Handles like a centerfire lever rifle. Nice checkered walnut and polished blue, too. The sights work well for me, they're semi-buckhorn, but with a notch and a hooded front sight that sits precisely in it. I have never been pinched by the trigger, though the trigger system on the Browning is a neat-o design.

    Also have an old 39M, which is somewhere in between the 39A and the BL22 in heft, though it still has a full-sized buttstock. I like that, too, but they don't make them any more. They can be found used, though it seems not many are too eager to part with them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  8. Wolfgang2000

    Wolfgang2000 Member

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    I bought mine in the 90's. I couldn't fine a new Marlin with a straight stock, and the Winchester 9422's that I looked at all had loose hand guards. I've never regretted the decision. It's really a fun gun to shoot. The throw of the action is short enough that all I have to do is open and close my hand.

    If you want a lever 22 it's a good choice.
     
  9. HisDivineShadow

    HisDivineShadow Member

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    I liked the one I held in a gun store, looked like a fine gun, really short lever throw, only had to extend my fingers, almost bought one but the purist in me just couldn't, I need a trigger that doesn't follow the lever, forged steel receiver and classic oiled wood. So I am limited to a 9422 or 39A. Found a good condition 1974 Win9422 in .22LR so I am getting that one.
     
  10. ducktail

    ducktail Member

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    I have 2. One needs a little work by a Browning person. I have had this gun since the early 70's and let someone refinish it. Now has about a 40 pound trigger. The other is still a great shooter. Not near the age of the first.
     
  11. theNoid

    theNoid Member

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    I currently shoot a BL22 with the silver nitride receiver and longer, octagonal barrel. I absolutely love this gun, only problem I have with it is that it is so pretty, I sometimes leave it at home for fear of getting her scratched up in the truck. I grew up shooting a regular BL22 and have always loved this gun. Buy one, you won' regret it.

    Noidster
     
  12. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    Nice rifle. I gave mine to my daughter. I love the short lever throw. It makes other 22 lever guns feel sloppy.
     
  13. joe_kidd

    joe_kidd Member

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    Thanks for the opinions gentlemen, I value them greatly.
    To be honest this will be my first gun purchase, and I am undecided as to whether I should get a lever action (if I do it'll most likely be the BL22 with a scope) or a bolt action like a CZ 452 or similar. I know both are totally different guns, one part of me says go for the ol' Wild West "fun" option in the lever action, and another says to go for the "sensible" and most likely "more accurate" bolt action. Decisions decisions...
     
  14. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    IMHO: Forget both and get a Marlin Golden 39A.

    Fun AND accurate, and really good for offhand shooting. Also, it handles like a centerfire, so the skills you learn will transfer well. (Ditto for the CZ). American-made, top quality.

    I'm not the only one with that opinion.

    http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=261635

    If you really want a scoped rifle, get the CZ bolt action, not the little Browning. The Browning will end up oddly unbalanced with a scope on top. Be advised, while it is good practice, shooting a scoped .22 gets boring really fast unless you are shooting at small things, relatively far away. An iron sight lever gun is addictively fun. I've tested this on others, including my wife, and the agreement is across the board.

    Depends on what you want, however I personally wouldn't want a scoped BL22.
     
  15. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    I would 2nd that. Although the BL22 has the grooves for scope mounts, it wouldn't be right. Among other things, it just doesn't balance right. I tried it once, putting an old Weaver 4x32 on it. Naaaaaahhhhhhh....fuhgeddaboudit. Shoot it open sights - that's half the fun of the lever action anyway. And, you'll be surprised by its accuracy - it's a squirrel killing fool. You'll have to decide: the bolt action will, probably, be more precisely accurate. You want to do pinhole shooting, top that bad boy with a good scope and you're hot to trot. You want a really fun, fast handling and fast shooting hunting and plinking rifle, get the Browning. You're a winner either way - just decide what you plan to do. All purpose: Browning. Precision nail-driving: CZ (and, FWIW, if I were buying a new nail-driver, I would look long & hard at the Savage w/accutrigger first.)

    Q
     
  16. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    Having shot a BL22, and owning a 39 and a scoped CZ, auto's, pump and other's. I agree with Armedbear 100%. Nothing is as much fun as a Marlin 39a for casual shooting enjoyment.
     
  17. theNoid

    theNoid Member

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    Quoheleth said it perfectly. I wou8ld like to add that with a little practice, the BL22 with iron sights can be plenty accurate out to 100yds on pDogs and such. Sure, driving tacks can be fun, just not the same I can assure you. Buy the BL22 first, have a buttload of fun with it and get good with iron sights. Then venture into a tack driver if you decide you need one, and once again, I second the suggestion of the Savage with accutrigger.

    Consider this, I have known sveral people that have sold their CZ tack drivers and never REALLY regretted it. On the other hand, haven't met a single person yet that has sold their BL22 that didn't. I am probably going to step on someone's toes here but oh well, it's my opinion. The Browning will become an heirloom, it will be a gun you keep your whole life, or until you hand it down to your youngin'(s). I just don;t see a CZ with a scope on it as ever being as such.

    Noidster
     
  18. sd

    sd Member

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    buy the browning BL22, very nice little rifle. smooth and accurate. As stated if you want a scope then you should go with CZ bolt.
     
  19. gmhamilton3

    gmhamilton3 Member

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    My wife gave me one for Christmas about 10 years back. Absolutely beautiful walnut stock and a sweet shooting gun to boot. I did put a Nikon 4X32 RF on it. Yep as you get older open sights are a little troublesome. Growing up my brother and I shared an Ithaca single shot lever action 22 so I am kind of partial to that style. Anyways the gun is extremely accurate and fun to shoot. ...
    One other thing if you scope it make sure you are careful in decocking the hammer with a live round in the chamber, it is a little awkward.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  20. joe_kidd

    joe_kidd Member

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    Anyone fired one of the BL22's with the longer 24" barrrel length and octagonal barrel? Does it handle much different compared to the 20" barrel version?
     
  21. Z71

    Z71 Member

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    I have a BL-22. An older Japanese model. It's a excellent rifle, well made and accurate.

    I'll give it a ruthless critique! Trigger pull not all that good, too heavy and due to the rifles design, probably not much to be done for it. My Japanese made gun has a beautiful piece of wood on the back, and a plain grained lighter colored wood on the forearm. Could have matched it up a bit better. The stock also seems to be designed for scope use, as I have to scrunch up to use the iron sights. Stock works fine with a scope.

    DON'T take it apart, not unless you are experienced at gunsmithing and familiar with the type. Have some parts shouldn't be removed. This gun had been my dads. I got all the guns when he died, but 'shared' with my brother in laws. My brother in law took the little Browning apart to clean(it needed it), had difficulties getting it all back together. I received the rifle back in pieces! Some of the internal parts need a 3 armed gunsmith to reassemble! I have it reassembled and working, but brother in law keeps forgetting to pick it up.

    I have 3 little rimfire leverguns, the BL-22, Henry standard rifle, Winchester 94/22MXTR. They are all good and accurate, but I like the Winchester design best. Too bad the one I have is a .22 magnum. I also wish I had a Marlin, everbody that has a marlin 39 loves it.

    The Browning BL-22 is good. It ain't perfect, at least in my opinion. When my dad died and left me his guns, I had no problem passing the BL 22 on to my brother in law, and keep shooting my Henry 22. Henry ain't the gun a Browning is, but more comfortable/better trigger, just as accurate, better wood awards go to the Henry. Thats about the time I bought the used Winchester 94/22 .22 magnum. It's a definate step above the Browning, I bet the Marlin is too, but don't have one to say for sure.
     
  22. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Why would you spring for the 24" Browning when the Marlin 39A is readily available?

    I handled three different rifles when I bought my 39A: the Golden Boy, the 39A and the BL22. The 39A was an easy winner. Just hold the thing in your hand.
     
  23. theNoid

    theNoid Member

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    While I love to shoot my dad's 39a, on a regular shooting basis I will take my BL22 over it. The 39a is a bigger, heavier gun and just isn't conducive to most my shooting situations. The 39a is great shooting from a bench and punching little tiny holes in paper. The 39a is great out on the prairie if I have a good rest or shooting sticks to use on every shot when killing pDogs. Figure when out on the prairie on a good day, I am taking aim and pulling the trigger 500-plus times. Shoot, even on a bad day it's 100-plus. Sure, I am a big guy, but that extra weight and size of the 39a is not always good in my opinion. On the other hand, the Browning, being smaller, and lighter makes for a better truck gun for me, is easier to handle when on horseback, and even when on the 4-wheeler. After saying all of this, and having shot my dad's 39a, I will indeed be owning one in the future, but which gun I take on a particular day, will indeed depend on the purpose it needs to fulfill. Hell, within the next few years, I do intend on owning the Browning, the Marlin, the Henry, and Winchester as I know they are great guns and each will fulfill a purpose generated spot in my shooting needs.

    To quote the above "The 39a is an easy winner." definitely depends on the shooting situation and purpose.

    Now I am not usually one to argue with people about what's the best of anything, but ArmedBear did ask why one would buy the Browning, so I just figured I would throw a few of my reasonings out there.

    The best thing for the OP to do is go out and feel and fondle every option out there, and then decide what fits their purpose and comfort needs the best. From there, practice, practice, practice. As long as you pick any of the great guns here, based upon your needs and comfort, you will get good enough that you will probably never regret your purchase.

    Noidster
     
  24. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    To clarify...

    I was talking about the 24" gun, as the OP asked. I wasn't comparing a 20" BL22 with a 24" 39A. I also have a 20" 39, and it has its own merits. It's lighter and more compact than the 24" heavy barrel rifle. It is, however, both a bit larger and a big heavier than the BL22, and hence still (just barely) fits an average-sized adult male, which the BL22, pretty as it is, really doesn't.

    My opinion, which the OP asked for. It's an opinion that's backed up by my wallet, and nobody who has tried my either of my rifles has said anything but, "Now I see why you like that thing!"

    My advice, as opposed to my likes and dislikes, is this: don't buy ANY rifles mentioned (Browning, Henry, Marlin) without at least handling all of them! They'll all work well enough. But they all feel quite different from each other. Oh, and close your eyes, too. See what FEELS good.:) Also, try any particular variant you might want, like the different barrels.

    DON'T allow yourself to be seduced by a picture.
     
  25. theNoid

    theNoid Member

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    I just love blanket statements :barf:. I am 6'3", 200lbs, a bit larger that the average-sized adult male from what I can tell everywhere I go, and my BL22s have always fit me great, both my shorty and the longer version. It all depends on personal preferences which is why I recommend the OP go out and fit himself to the proper gun of good quality.

    Once again, I am not against anyone buying the 39a, it is a wonderful gun in the broad spectrum of being a great gun. I will own one for sure. But it is not ALWAYS the best for everyone in all situations. I don't feel there is an ultimate best...each has it;s merits and all are great...that have been mentioned so far.

    joe_kidd, if you are anywhere near Wyoming, you are ore than welcome to come on over and shoot a couple hundred rounds through the Henry, Browning, and Marlin...not too mention about 10 other various guns in the bolt and semi categories. For that matter, anyone is always invited to come on out and let's do some shooting on the open range folks.

    Noidster
     
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