Ideal smallbore rifle

Centerfires, rimfires, pistol cartridges and everything in between.
H.Plummer
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Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

Looking for your expertise on what woul be the best rifle for smallbore lever action.
Henry? Marlin 39/39A? Winchester 9422? Other?
Be specific about particular models and configurations.
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Merlin
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by Merlin »

39A or the Cimarron 1866 24" barrel. Henry is a fine gun but light.

If you are strong the heavyweight 1866 is wonderful. I shoot my 1952 Ballard rifled 24" 39A more than either of the others. I personally don't think the Ballard is any better than the Micro-Groove as I have/have had multiple examples of each and they all seem to shoot very nicely. I personally don't think you have to search for an accurate rifle just make sure you don't get a poor example.
Last edited by Merlin on Mon Jan 16, 2023 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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H.Plummer
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

Thanks, Merlin!
Tell me about your 39A. Barrel length? Micro groove or ballard? Etc...
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by cedestech »

Titles have been won with all 4 of them and probably a Remington pump 22 also.... it is what you have and shoot well.

Most "traditionally" common 39a, taking over as most common (and won Western Nationals) Henry 24", If like a heavy gun (10#'s) Uberti 1866.

All of them can be right around 1 MOA rifles depending on the rifle and ammo...

;)
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by krgriggs »

I have both the Cimmarron in in 22lr with 24” barrel and Marlin 39a’s a lot of these. The Cimmarron is good if you like heavy rifle for offhand. The Marlins 39a’s are good as they come in different configurations from and are more reliable. I have a # of Marlin 92’s,97’s and 39’s that work good also but are lighter than th 39a’s but these you can get in 28-32” barrels if you have the money to spend. Seems I always go back to my 39 a’s.
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by hermit5 »

Don’t overlook the Winchester 61 pump.I was introduced to this rifle by Al Foust.This was before before prices went up.
Although very light weight they shoot remarkable well and the trigger on mine needed no work.It has the grooved receiver and a Williams FP-TK clamp on 22 sight was installed.I changed out the front sight for a post.
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by Jetmugg »

Marlin model 57. It's a "full sized" rifle with a one-piece stock, short throw lever action, and great barrel. The main disadvantages are there aren't many model 57's around, and the triggers often need to be tuned up by someone who is familiar with those actions.

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PAndy
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by PAndy »

All the rifles mentioned can work fine in my view. I would add the Marlin 60 semi auto to the list (especially 22" barrel models with last shot hold open feature) and the Winchester 9422 Legacy model if you can find one.
These days, I think finding sights that fit is an important consideration for any rifle. Some models of rear sights seem hard to find.
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

Thanks for the replies. I think I'll keep my eyes peeled for a 39A but not be in a hurry to buy one. I like the build quality versus the Henry.
In the meantime, I'll shoot my Henry Frontier 20" with the Skinner peep sight and see how it goes.
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by shootmore »

Maximus, at 15 years old, won the SB Lever Action Nationals at Raton 2022 with a Henry Frontier Octagon rifle. H001TLB. I also have one, and we have two of the 22wmr for pistol cartridge division.
LeverActionNationalSBchampion2022-07smaller.jpg
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Last edited by shootmore on Wed Jan 18, 2023 6:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
H.Plummer
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

Wow, congrats to Maximus!
What kind of rear sight is he using?
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by shootmore »

Centra - its a mechanical sight. A Williams will do just fine too for a lot less.
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by edgehit »

Marlin 39A. They’re solid firearms and parts are plentiful should it break. They’re easy to work on with the take down receiver.

I could practice to put up better scores but tinkering is more fun.

I’d find a 39A with Serial number beginning with 18 so that it has the heavy barrel. I’d buy a Lothar Walther 0.39” DIA stainless rimfire barrel and reline the Marlin, chambered with a match Bentz reamer and have the crown cut to 12 degrees. I’d have a local EDM shop make a titanium hammer and firing pin to decrease lock time. For sights I’d install Zander’s front sight and Williams rear with a glue-on vernier to assure repeatable settings. The factory butt plate is too slick so I’d replace it with a Pachmeyer basket weave rubber pad. A custom leather cheek pad of appropriate thickness provides good cheek pressure using an upright head position at the perfect eye height. The forearm can use some relief before bedding with a silicone rubber gasket sealant to distribute pressures and dampen barrel vibrations. And lastly, a heavy rifle is a stable rifle. I’d weight the magazine rod internally with tungsten rod. Bed tungsten in the forearm. Then I’d glue a hunk in the butt stock to balance it out.

#:-s
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

:ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :))
And once you have your perfect rifle you'll sell it so you can start tinkering again!
Thanks, Joe, I enjoyed that!
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Re: Ideal smallbore rifle

Post by H.Plummer »

I actually found a 39A at my local gun shop just a couple days ago and had a chance to handle one in person. Does anyone else think the forearm looks like a loaf of French bread? Anyway, I fondled it for a while and when I put it back on the rack another customer picked it up immediately and purchased it. We struck up a friendly conversation and he told me that he had looked at it the day before and returned on this day to buy it only to find it in my hands. He had initially passed on it because of 4 holes drilled in the barrel to mount a scope but he determined that they were actually drilled by Marlin for a couple of years, 1951-1953. He left a happy customer and I left more educated! The 9422 is a much more attractive rifle IMHO, and to me that matters. Call me weird!
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