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View Full Version : BEST lever action rifle??


nodule
March 26, 2011, 03:03 PM
Hi,

Who makes the best lever action .22 rifle for fun recreational range shooting?

Which brand is the best quality built that will last a lifetime +??

Henry, Marlin or Winchester???

I have heard that some Marlins are now made in China! Is that true??

Thanks

the rifleer
March 26, 2011, 03:05 PM
I'd personally go with a Henry. I don't have one, but I have heard terrific things about them.

shrewd
March 26, 2011, 03:13 PM
I've seen Henry golden boys sell for significantly higher than my 1984c marlin

seems too much to spend on a 22 if you ask me, but, it is a darn good lookin' rifle and I hear great things

FrankenMauser
March 26, 2011, 03:24 PM
Who makes the best lever action .22 rifle for fun recreational range shooting?
Browning
Which brand is the best quality built that will last a lifetime +??
Browning
Henry, Marlin or Winchester???
See above. Or... if limited to those three: Winchester*


*I don't like the pot-metal, painted receivers of the Henry .22 lever guns, but they are good rifles. And... With Marlin's recent move to Remington territory, fit, finish, and quality have gone down hill. They may return to their former glory at some time in the future; but for now, I will avoid Marlins that were produced in the Remington factory. Once the Remington employees get over the 'learning curve', I'll reassess the situation.

jmr40
March 26, 2011, 03:27 PM
The BEST 22 levergun currently in production is Marlin. Nothing else is even close. The Browning ain't bad. You can make a good argument in favor to the discontinued Winchester 94-22.

The Henry is a good gun if you want a shooter that you can get into for cheap. They are smooth, accurate and have a pretty good piece of wood on most. But with the painted aluminum receiver and plastic parts they are not in the same league as the others.

The Henry rifle has been made under several different names since the 1960's or 70's. I see examples in used gunracks quite often and they just don't hold up. Nor does the resale value.

Spend a little more on a Marlin, Winchester, or Browning and it will be worth much more than you paid by the time your grandkids get it. Buy the Henry for much less and you will enjoy a good rifle for several decades, but by the time your grandkids get the gun it will be worth far less than you paid, if not scrap metal.

mnhntr
March 26, 2011, 03:34 PM
I would have to say either Marlin 39A or the Wnchester 9422

kozak6
March 26, 2011, 04:43 PM
The Browning BL-22 is often regarded as the best .22 lr lever action.

nodule
March 26, 2011, 04:56 PM
Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??

.300 Weatherby Mag
March 26, 2011, 05:41 PM
Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??

Production was moved to New York...

WyomingWhitetail
March 26, 2011, 05:49 PM
i have a henry golden boy and its a very nice rifle. Its very smooth and very accurate. I need to refinish the stock now as its a little beat up and there are some dings in the receiver. Ive had it for probably 5 years and it still shoots and functions just like the day i bought it.

scrod008
March 26, 2011, 08:53 PM
Marlin 39A:D

603Country
March 26, 2011, 10:01 PM
I don't have a Henry and have never shot one, so I have no history with them. But...I have a 39A (circa 1982ish) and a 9422 (bought used) and I like them both. Of the two rifles that I own, the 39A is the most accurate, though the difference isn't large. I have found one thing about the 9422 that's a problem from time to time. If you have old 22 LR ammo, with the lead bullet being slightly corroded, it won't pass easily through the feed port. That gives me the irritating problem of ammo that won't feed. That's very bothersome. New ammo solves that problem. As for the 39A, it will hang up occasionally if you tilt the rifle to the left as you cycle the lever. So neither are perfect and the problems may be specific to my rifles, and both can probably be fixed by a trip to the gunsmith. If I had to choose just one for subsistance squirrel hunting, I'd choose the 39A. But...the 9422 has better walnut stocks. Happily, I don't have to choose.

Win73
March 26, 2011, 11:03 PM
I say the 39A. It is built as solid as a .30-30. Its receiver is machined from solid steel bar stock. If even half way cared for properly, one of them will last several lifetimes.

I have one of 1967 vintage. It has had untold thousands of rounds fired through it. It is still as solid as the day it was made. The only thing that I have had to do to it was replace the spring that holds the lever shut. After about 35 years of heavy use the spring got a little weak. A new one from Marlin cost me $2.00.

http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/cesample/P1300011.jpg

Bamashooter
March 27, 2011, 12:55 AM
Im partial to Henry but as you can see everyone has their own favorite. My suggestion would be to try diffrent ones til you come across the one you like.

dgludwig
March 28, 2011, 12:10 PM
I agree with mnhntr, either the Marlin 39 or the Winchester 9422 would be my pick for the "BEST lever action .22 rifle". The Browning BL-22 is also a pretty nice .22 lever.

OJ
March 28, 2011, 12:17 PM
I have no experience with other brands but I do really like my Browning BL22 - it handles shorts, longs, and long rifle ammo, the throw is short, and I like the balance.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y25/kmastf/RIFLES/ABL222.jpg

Accurate - good rifle, but I can't say it's better than others.

mbb300
March 28, 2011, 12:27 PM
Not having tried others i can say that i am very happy with my winchester 9422. i have put thousands of rounds through it and its still a tack driver. the only thing i will say is that when it was brand new it had a moderate period of time where it had some feeding issues, all of which worked themselves out since.

22-rimfire
March 28, 2011, 12:43 PM
The best current production lever action 22 rifle is probably the Marlin 39A or Browning BL-22. The second best is the Henry. The Browning BL-22 is a great little 22 rifle which I consider on equal to the Marlin but they always seemed a bit small for me and I don't care for them with a scope mounted on them. Price usually wins out and most choose the Henry these days. They aren't a bad choice overall if you don't mind a little plastic here and there.

maswell
March 28, 2011, 02:04 PM
I grew up with a BL-22 and am surgical with it. It has never let me down in the 25 years I've been using it, and it's always a fun piece to take out to the range or on a hike. I can't recommend it enough.

Smaug
March 28, 2011, 02:57 PM
This is a tough one, because no one seems to have experience with all of them. We all agree that the Henry is not going to hold up as well as the big boys.

My experience is with two old Marlins. My great uncle has about a fifty year old 39A. My brother has about a 30 year old 39M. "Mounty" (carbine) they're both outstanding guns. There was a little play in the lever of my brother's but that was it.

The Marlin design breaks in half with a quarter as the only tool needed for the serrated thumb screw. That is the icing on the cake.

az_imuth
March 28, 2011, 06:38 PM
I own and have experience with the Winchester, Marlin, and Henry (Golden Boy) and as far as accuracy goes they're all about the same in my hands. In other respects they all have their pros and cons. Even though the Henry's are built to a lower price point, they're built well for the price and have an action that is magnitudes smoother than most other lever guns. While the Marlins are great rifles and built like tanks, neither of the two I've had were anything near smooth at all. One was a '54 model 39A and the other is a '72 39M. I think the 9422 is a nice rifle that strikes a balance between aesthetics, durability, easy handling and a smooth action. Too bad they're no longer produced.

When you get right down to it you can't go wrong with any of them. But hey, I enjoy my single-shot Ithaca M49 Saddle Gun just as much as the others, if not more, so what do I know. ;)

SIGSHR
March 28, 2011, 06:40 PM
No best, IMHO, like asking What"s Best ?-Colt, S&W or Ruger. I am a Marlin Man myself.

bigwrench
March 28, 2011, 07:18 PM
I won one of the basic Henry .22 lever actions a few years back. A co-worker was really mad that I won cause he wanted it pretty bad. After opening the box and taking the thing out for a look I promptly handed to him and said "go ahead, have it, it's yours". The thing was so cheaply made and the sights so terrible. I've seen toy guns with better quality sights. He shoots it alot and loves it. I have winchester 94-22's, a marlin 39a, and a couple marlin 1894 .22 wmrf's, and am afraid I would have been disapointed further had I kept the Henry. Now my oldest daughter is of the age that she has outgrown her chipmunk, and I'll be giving the Browning a cklose look.

David the Gnome
March 28, 2011, 07:21 PM
My preference is for the Marlin as well. The first real gun I ever shot was my dad's Marlin out on our farm. He used it as his "turtle gun" to get rid of snapping turtles in our pond. :D

Jayhawkhuntclub
March 30, 2011, 12:58 PM
The Browning BL-22 is often regarded as the best .22 lr lever action.

By who? Homers who bought them?:cool: I've handled the Browning and it has a cheapness to it in my opinion. The Marlin is a better rifle, but is too big. Who needs a heavy 24" 22lr levergun? A lever should be short and handy. The 39 is still a great base design and is a classic. If Remington were smart, they'd reintroduce the 39M.

jmr40
March 30, 2011, 04:08 PM
I agree with that 100 %. I like the Marlin a lot, but the 39M is by far the best of them. I have 2 of them as well as the Winchester 94-22, which I would also like to see back in production.

gearhounds
March 30, 2011, 04:18 PM
Marlin 39A without a doubt. Has serious build quality, and if it has a fault, it is the weight. If Marlin put out a 16" carbine like my 1894 Limited .44, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

ronto
March 31, 2011, 12:28 PM
A Marlin lever gun in any caliber is a good bet.

Keg
March 31, 2011, 01:07 PM
I like my Marlin 39 mountie and my 94-22 trapper......The browning is OK..I don't particularly care for it tho......

badlander
March 31, 2011, 05:19 PM
Buy the Marlin 39A your grandchildren will thank you!

L_Killkenny
March 31, 2011, 06:52 PM
Marlin and Winchester depending. Just like their .30-30 big brothers the Marlin is a little more rifle like while the Winchester is more carbine like. IMO of coarse. But no matter if you agree with that statement or not you have to agree that they have 2 different feels.

I like the BL-22s, nice finish, nice action. So nice I bought one for my Dad on his B-Day 8 or 10 years ago. But they are small.

Ruger 96/22. Prehaps the best .22 lever PLINKER ever made. 10 round detachable mag (up to 50 round mags if you like, yuck) , accurate, good action, etc etc. Just doesn't look cowboy enough for some folk.

Henry. Not on par quality wise with any of the others. Not saying they are bad but they aren't as good. But the yare the cheapest option so that makes some sense.

LK

Tyrenz
March 31, 2011, 09:11 PM
+1 on the Browning. The action was smooth as silk, reloading is relatively quick and easy. I could also consistently hit golf balls at 100 yds using the iron sights. Awesome rifle.

Singlesix1954
March 31, 2011, 09:49 PM
I have a "Golden Boy" I love it and have no plan of dumping it. It is smooh in action, acurate , and just plane fun to shoot. That said the 39A will shoot just as well, and I would have to say is better built. I say buy the 39A!

jhansman
April 1, 2011, 12:11 AM
My Henry .22LR Frontier has the smoothest action I've yet used in a lever gun, but the 1895 Marlin Cowboy .357 I sold some years ago is the one gun I wish I had back. Rarer than hen's teeth now.

RevDerb
April 1, 2011, 03:24 PM
Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??

Short answer: NO

Laserlips
April 1, 2011, 04:19 PM
Just personal opinion of course...

The only lever action 22 rifles I've ever owned (and still own) are one 1996 Marlin 39A, and two 1970 Model 39, Century Limiteds..

The 39A is the "tack driver" of the trio (but of course it's heavier, with a longer barrel), but both of the Century Limited's are very, very accurate, and actually more "fun" to plink with.

I love my Marlins, but I have two Browning SA22's that are very accurate, and a blast to shoot.. Not lever actions of course.

The most accurate rimfire rifle I own, and none of the 7 I own are "serious target rifles", is my Winchester 63...
Heck, hard not to love 'em all.......

My reasoning for not desiring a Henry has nothing to do with the build quality, or plating or anything else. In fact if you do casual research you'll be hard pressed to find a dissatisfied Henry owner.

My lack of interest in a Henry is simply because they are all over the place, common as deer ticks, and I just prefer something a bit different...

You can buy a Henry, a very good Henry, at any respectable gun store in America.. Heck, two if you want 'em, and they're pretty darn cheap, relatively speaking.. But if you want a Marlin 39A or Mountie, or CL, or even the sweet little Browning SA22 you have to do a bit more looking..

A lot more looking for a Winchester 63... (But it's worth it)..

I think IF I were looking for the best all around "plinker" that I would want to "hand down" from my little rimfire rifle stash I'd pick one of the Century Limiteds.. They have 20" octagon barrels (always nice), the action is sweet (pre re-bounding hammer/cross block safety) and enough "bling" to set them apart from most of the competition..

Just personal opinion, no offense to anybody.. I'm old, I hate conflict.. :o

Jesse

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a73/Laserlips/100_2227.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a73/Laserlips/100_2467.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a73/Laserlips/100_2421.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a73/Laserlips/100_2476.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a73/Laserlips/100_2397.jpg

TX Hunter
April 1, 2011, 05:03 PM
If you want a lever action .22 rifle that is built to last a lifetime.
I would recomend a Marlin 39A.
Its expensive, but you get what you pay for. and on the bright side, it would be cheaper in the long run because you wont have to replace it.

Obambulate
April 1, 2011, 05:26 PM
I have a Henry Frontier Model and love it. For the money they are very hard to beat, and the company has legendary customer service.

I would not call it the BEST lever action, though. That's too subjective.

Win73
April 1, 2011, 10:16 PM
I would not call it the BEST lever action, though. That's too subjective.

Okay, let's replace "best" with "most durable". That has got to be the 39A.

COSteve
April 2, 2011, 12:48 AM
The BEST 22 levergun currently in production is Marlin. Nothing else is even close. The Browning ain't bad. You can make a good argument in favor to the discontinued Winchester 94-22.Hands down, the best 22 levergun currently made is the Browning BL-22. It's precision action and quality of workmanship is and always has been the envy of both Marlin and Winchester. Yes, the 39A has the longevity record and the Winchester has the name, but neither have ever had the quality and smooth action of the Browning. The comparison between them isn't even close.

In addition, I'm afraid that the current Marlin 39As are a mere shadow of the quality they once were. Maybe Remington can salvage their failing reputation and bring the QC back up but I'm betting against it.

That said, for the money, I think that the Henry levergun will give any other lever 22 currently made a run for it's money value wise. Yes, it doesn't have a machined steel receiver and yes, it's got some production shortcuts. But the fact is that of those 22 leverguns made today, dollar for dollar, the Henry might just be the best value.

At less than 1/2 the cost of the Browning, Marlin, or Winchester it's not as pretty but it's got a buttery smooth action, is as accurate as any, and has a lifetime warranty second to none. As to durability, there are shooters over on the Henry forum of RimfireCentral.com who've run well over 10,000 rds through their Henrys and they are just a buttery smooth and accurate as they were when new.

For me, I'd love to have a Browning Field Grade II like this,

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/images/images-by-title-name/BL-22-FLD-Grade-II-MID-024108-m.jpg

but I settled for what I could afford, my customized Henry H001.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v726/Coloradoglocker/100_0760.jpg

SCDeac82
April 2, 2011, 03:32 AM
I have the Win 9422. It is a lovely little rifle.

The stock is well finished.

JB

phil mcwilliam
April 2, 2011, 06:32 AM
My brother has the Marlin 39A. It is one of the most accurate .22s that I have ever shot. That 39A is more accurate than a lot of bolt action .22s.
If I wanted a .22 levergun as a keeper ,it would have to be the Marlin.

mavracer
April 2, 2011, 07:07 AM
I have a "Golden Boy" I love it and have no plan of dumping it. It is smooh in action, acurate , and just plane fun to shoot. That said the 39A will shoot just as well, and I would have to say is better built.
+1 the Browning is a better built gun as well.
The henrys are well enough built to last a lifetime

dgludwig
April 4, 2011, 12:52 PM
Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??

Where in the world did you pick this rumor up? :confused:

Laserlips
April 4, 2011, 02:04 PM
Nope..:barf:

Big Shrek
April 4, 2011, 04:59 PM
Winchester got put out of the Lever-action biz in part due to Marlin making a better lever-action, (Marlin 336, 1894, & 39 Series)
which could also sport a scope with ease...Winnie's Top-ejects were always a pain to scope...
and never really looked right with a scope.

Also Winnie's were never as precise as Marlins or Brownings. That hurt 'em a lot over the years.
Notice that all Winnie makes now are Wall-hanger Commemorative rifles...

The Marlin 39's are made like Main Battle Tanks...they'll last hundreds of years, and they hold their value very well.

The Brownings very solid, but at the price point, I'd grab a Marlin.

I've been totally NOT impressed by the Mossberg 9422 & the Henry's...after you've used a Marlin or Browning,
they fail to thrill at the range or after you've dissassembled them.
I do like the outer LOOK of the Golden Boy...but the guts convinced me that I'd be best off with a Marlin.

One final thing...check out what top competitors in Cowboy Action (SASS) are using...
you'll find a TON of Marlins...not much of anything else.
A dialed-in Microgroove Marlin is like having a Match Barreled monster :D

MemphisJim
April 4, 2011, 05:40 PM
I love lever guns and intend to acquire some more, starting with the Marlin 39A, to be followed (ideally in quick order) by a Browning BL-22. For the moment, though, I must content myself with a Henry H0001T and a Winchester 9422...and I absolutely love both of them.

az_imuth
April 6, 2011, 09:00 PM
Winchester got put out of the Lever-action biz in part due to Marlin making a better lever-action, (Marlin 336, 1894, & 39 Series)
which could also sport a scope with ease...Winnie's Top-ejects were always a pain to scope...and never really looked right with a scope.

I hope you are aware that Marlin had nothing at all to do with Winchester's decision to get out of the "Lever-action biz". There were many reasons for them to stop production, but Marlin certainly wasn't one of them. Of course, if you can cite something other than your 'non-biased' opinion to back up your claim then I'm ready to stand corrected.

Also Winnie's were never as precise as Marlins or Brownings. That hurt 'em a lot over the years.
Notice that all Winnie makes now are Wall-hanger Commemorative rifles...


You obviously have no love for anything Winchester, which makes it hard to take your opinions seriously.

I own and like Marlins, as well as Winchesters and others, and I think it's unfortunate that you always paint such a lopsided representation of anything that doesn't have the name "Marlin" stamped on it someplace.