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Old March 26, 2011, 03:03 PM   #1
nodule
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BEST lever action rifle??

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
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Old March 26, 2011, 03:05 PM   #2
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I'd personally go with a Henry. I don't have one, but I have heard terrific things about them.
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Old March 26, 2011, 03:13 PM   #3
shrewd
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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
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Old March 26, 2011, 03:24 PM   #4
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Who makes the best lever action .22 rifle for fun recreational range shooting?
Browning
Quote:
Which brand is the best quality built that will last a lifetime +??
Browning
Quote:
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.
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Old March 26, 2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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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.
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Old March 26, 2011, 03:34 PM   #6
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I would have to say either Marlin 39A or the Wnchester 9422
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Old March 26, 2011, 04:43 PM   #7
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The Browning BL-22 is often regarded as the best .22 lr lever action.
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Old March 26, 2011, 04:56 PM   #8
nodule
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ok

Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??
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Old March 26, 2011, 05:41 PM   #9
.300 Weatherby Mag
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Quote:
Yeah but arent the Marlins now make in China??
Production was moved to New York...
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Old March 26, 2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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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.
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Old March 26, 2011, 08:53 PM   #11
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Marlin 39A
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Old March 26, 2011, 10:01 PM   #12
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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.
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Old March 26, 2011, 11:03 PM   #13
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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.

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Old March 27, 2011, 12:55 AM   #14
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 12:10 PM   #15
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 12:17 PM   #16
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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.



Accurate - good rifle, but I can't say it's better than others.
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Old March 28, 2011, 12:27 PM   #17
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 12:43 PM   #18
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 02:04 PM   #19
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 02:57 PM   #20
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 06:38 PM   #21
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 06:40 PM   #22
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No best, IMHO, like asking What"s Best ?-Colt, S&W or Ruger. I am a Marlin Man myself.
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Old March 28, 2011, 07:18 PM   #23
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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.
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Old March 28, 2011, 07:21 PM   #24
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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.
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Old March 30, 2011, 12:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
The Browning BL-22 is often regarded as the best .22 lr lever action.
By who? Homers who bought them? 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.
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