Bolt Action Vs. Lever Action Accuracy

Discussion in '.22-Rimfire Forum' started by tleach, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. tleach

    tleach New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Generally speaking, is the accuracy of a lever action rifle (Henry, Browning, Marlin, Winchester) inferior to that of a bolt action rifle (CZ, Savage, Remington, Ruger, etc.)?

    I'm a southpaw and own a Winchester 9422M and love it. Getting a 9422 seems to be out of the question. A Marlin 39A or Browning BL22 seem to be likely candidates, however, I wonder if I shouldn't get a bolt (maybe a Savage) for target shooting.

    Thanks in advance for all of your advice! :)
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
  2. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    I've always found bolt actions to be more accurate, but I don't do any competitive shooting, and I don't have any hard facts to back that opinion up.

  3. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    The Olympic rules allow any style of rifle to be used in competition. Our Olympics shooters use nothing but bolt action .22s.

    That should tell you something about bolt action accuracy.

    If you use a lever gun (the BL22 is my favorite) you won't notice much difference except while target shooting. For serious target work you'll need a bolt gun.
  4. Tom

    Tom Member

    Nov 18, 2004
    Bolt guns should have an advantage. In sporting guns, that advantage is smaller than you might think. The one piece stock is an advantage for most bolt guns, but good lever guns like the 39A are pretty good, and autos like tricked out 10/22 will rival the best of anything.

    Using bolt guns for target shooting is nice when time isn’t a factor, but in games where time is more important, autos are making inroads. Smallbore silhouette comes to mind.

    I just got my old 39A rebarreled. I still need to get to the range to do some hardcore testing to compare it to my CZ 452 and tricked out 10/22. I suspect it isn’t as accurate as the 452 or 10/22, but I don’t expect it to be too far behind.
  5. HeadHunterII

    HeadHunterII New Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Marrero, LA
    I have shot so many .22's and unless you are using it for hunting you won't be able to tell the difference between a Marlin 39A, Marlin 981 or a Ruger 10/22. These things are so accurate these days and the manufactuing of the ammo is so precise (even on bulk pack rimfire) that you would have a hard time telling if one was better than the other. Now, bullseye competition would be different. You would be able to tell, but hunting or just plinking around... no.
  6. Purely from the perspective of potential accuracy, I would have to opt for the bolt action, tleach. That said, for general plinking or small game hunting with a .22, the lever action is one heck of a lot of fun and plency accurate for that kind of shooting.

    By the way, welcome to TFF!! :D
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    While the Browning BL-22 is a beautiful gun (I had one) be forewarned it is a bit short in the stock for a grown man. I added a stock spacer about one inches thick and it was still too short in the pull for me. I'm tall at 6 ft 2 in and that may be the difference as the buyer, a shorter friend, did not complain.

    Bolts are more accurate. You've got to have at least one bolt rimfire! Its a must. CZ's are the most for the least money. They can shoot extremely well, with a little work. The newest 453 even has a set trigger with a trigger pull around one pound in the set mode. That helps you personal accuracy immensely.

  8. I'm giving one of those some serious thought, LDB. I kind of favor the 452 Varmit (with the bull barrel) or the 452FS with the full Mannlicher style stock.
  9. tleach

    tleach New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. I was at the gun store yesterday and have narrowed down my choice to either a CZ 452 with a LH bolt or a Henry with bull barrel. I REALLY, really want 'em both :rolleyes:, but that's not doable right now.

    When I make the decision I'll let everyone know.

    Thanks! :)


    BIGBOOMER New Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    The Great Northwest
    I have a CZ 452 and can attest to its accuracy. Its a lot of bang for the buck!

    Best regards, BIGBOOMER
  11. tleach

    tleach New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I did it, almost. I ordered a CZ452 with a LH bolt. ;) Not too many left hand guns in stock. :(

    Thanks everyone for your comments and advice.

  12. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

    Apr 25, 2004
    Pensacola Fl. area
    Terry you will love the CZ452 I have one that I shoot clays with on the back berm @140 yards then I shoot the smaller chunks that are left one day I will put a good scope on it ( iron sights now) so I can do it wit skill and not luck :eek:
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