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Go West: Lever-Action Rimfires for Cowboy Plinksters

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Working the slick lever on a rifle is just as enjoyable and even more affordable in rimfires. Whether bringing up the next generation of young hunters or merely punching holes in tin cans, rimfire lever-actions represent some good, clean, all-American fun. A quick flick of the wrist cycles the action on these six great buys in lever-driven rimfire rifles.

Henry Golden Boy

Henry Golden Boy


Henry Repeating Arms has a reputation as one of the most patriotic of all current production lever-actions. The rimfire Golden Boy’s brass-lite receiver is immediately recognizable, and such a firearm is prized by experienced shooters and first-timers alike. If the flash of brass is not your taste, Henry produces Silver Boy rimfires, as well as dozens of special and limited editions.

In addition to the more common .22 S, L, and LR chambering, Henry also offers rimfires in both .17 HMR and .22 WMR. Prices online vary widely depending upon edition and options, from $425 to $899, with their standard classic blued lever-action rimfire available even cheaper.


Browning BL-22

Browning BL-22 Grade I

One of the most underrated lever-action rimfire rifles comes from Browning. Their BL-22 is lightweight, fast-cycling, and uses a unique trigger system that travels with the lever. Standard models use a blued steel receiver, though upgraded variations show combinations of engraving, enhanced finishes, and classy wood.

Adjustable iron sights and a grooved receiver offer easy aiming options. Like most of the rimfires on this list, the BL-22 handles .22 S, L, and LR. Getting that golden Buckmark logo on a lever gun is not the cheapest in the business, but they are a classic. Prices online range from $549 to $899.


Mossberg 464

The Mossberg 464 SPX is a tad more tactical. (Photo:

Known primarily as a budget bolt- or pump-action brand, Mossberg is seldom included in lever-action conversations. That’s a shame because even though the Mossberg Model 464 is not the company’s top seller, those lever-driven rifles have quietly landed in the hands of budget-conscious hunters and plinkers in both centerfire and rimfire.

The Model 464 chambered in .22 LR is one of the most affordable on the market. The standard 464 wears a black finish receiver, 18-inch barrel, straight grip walnut stock, and is drilled and tapped for scope mounting. A more tactically inspired 464 SPX wears a flash suppressor and sits in a synthetic stock with a six-position buttstock. Prices range from $299 to 399 online.


Winchester 9422

Winchester 9422


Springing from the wild fame of Winchester’s Model 94 family of lever-action rifles, the Model 9422 put rimfire rifles in the hands of adult and youth shooters alike. With models chambering .22 S, L, LR, and a .22 WMR variant, the 9422 works well for both hunters and backyard plinkers. With a straight grip stock, angled eject, and 20-inch barrel, the 9422 weighed in just a half-pound lighter than its full-sized centerfire lineage Model 94.

The 9422 is a takedown model, easily packed in halves with a single takedown screw. Pricing on the 9422s varies widely today, as the guns come in several finishes and variants. The initial run of 9422 ran from 1972 to 2005, with newer XTR models and a 9417 – a .17 HMR chambering– produced later in the run. Overall, the cost ranges online from $650 to $1,200.


Marlin 39 and 39A

Marlin 39


One of the most respected lever-action rimfires is the original Marlin Model 39. Working that buttery lever-action on a well-balanced, old-fashioned rifle with rich color case hardening and a hand-fit finish is a true treat. These takedown rimfires are a gem to this day, held mostly in the hands of collectors. To find a legit, clean, collectible Model 39 today will easily tip the pocketbook over a grand.

Luckily, the Model 39 is more accessible today in its newer form, the 39A. Whether standard or Golden Mountie, the 39A ensured that vintage quality Marlin lever-action .22 caliber rimfires were available to a wider audience. Prices on clean Marlin Model 39A rifles range online from $550 to $725.


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