Inherent accuracy of a .22LR lever?

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  • Inherent accuracy of a .22LR lever?


    I've been looking at getting my first rifle and have been tempted by a lever, like the marlin 39a. I have been to a few ranges and been lucky to use quite a few mates rifles. This includes 94/22's, CZ452/brno#2 and some larger caliber marlin levers.

    Not to open a can of worms, but one thing that a lot of the guys have told me is that if you want accuracy go for a bolt action, as they are stronger and inherently more accurate. Is this valid for a low power round like the .22LR? At an amateur level is this even a consideration? I have preferred the levers I have used to the bolt actions.

    If anyone has more info on what the "micro-groove" rifling means in real life I would be interested.

    Being in WA it's not easy to get multiple rifles in a single caliber, otherwise I'd look at an open sight 39A and a scoped 455. My interest is in silhouette, 3P field and possibly clas.

  • #2
    Olympic target shooters don't use lever action rifles. They are just not suitable for high end target shooting.

    But if you mainly want to have some fun at the range or do a bit of vermin control, a .22LR lever is a fine choice.

    Have a look at the Miroku or Browning lever 22. Well worth the money. They are practically identical.

    Micro grooving is a technique used by Marlin since the early 50s. It's a good marketing angle but proof of improved accuracy is hard to find. It works fine but is probably not better than other more conventional rifling techniques.



    • #3
      Rimfire levers and pumps can be quite accurate. Cowboy lever action match is shot out to 100m on small metallic silhouette targets, but they aren't benchrest rifles.


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        I will say this though - almost all the pro's who shoot lever rimfire as serious business are using Marlin 39A's. Bolty's will always be better than levers, but if you want to give yourself the best chance at decent scores with a lever then there really isn't any choice - you need a 39A. The others are made more as fun bunny guns.

    • #4
      Generally bolt actions rifles are constantly more accurate than levers but my Marlin 39m can shoot very accurately.

      Click image for larger version

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      Two 5 shot groups @ 50yds.


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        rimfire levers can have very acceptable hunting accuracy - I have a Winchester 9422 that shots 1-1.5 moa (enough to headshoot bunnies at 50m and heart/lung shots at 100m) - to be honest that's all I attempt while spotlighting with a bolt action 22lr anyway. follow up shots are marginally quicker too and your mag caps are higher.

        There's no functional difference for most normal 22lr distances imho. I prefer a bolt action for long range (200m+) plinking though

    • #5
      What are you going to use it for?


      • #6
        wether it is a bolt or a lever you need to find which ammo it likes best...
        I spent yesterday morning at the range with 8 different types of .22lr

        rem bucket of bullets were 30 - 50mm lower in poi than the standard boxes of 35m... no wonder the bunnys get away....and here I was thinking it was me
        most I put through were Winchester and 2 CCI and even they had a few flyers but most were moa rabbit eye at 35m.


        • #7
          Thanks for the feedback.

          At this stage I think I'll start hunting for a pre-rem 39a to plink & learn with. Once I'm more capable I'll get a cz and scope, probably .17hmr with a spare .22lr barrel for non-lever events & long range practice.

          Guess I should start with a larger safe


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            96/22 I had shot a little better than the 10/22 I had around 1.5moa with hunting ammo.
            Only have one lever action 22 at present an old erma, can't honestly say how well it shoots, never put a scope on it.
            Purchased it cheap to shoot LA silhouette, sighted it in with the fed bulk box HV HP, with a peep sight it will shoot 1-1.5" at 50m. Shot AA grade first try and knocking on the door of AAA the last couple of matches so haven't even tried any other ammo.