Ideal for both new and seasoned shooters, the Browning BL-22 22 Rimfire is a lever-action rifle characterised by superb accuracy, quality construction, and light weight. It is distinguished by the short 33-degree lever throw that allows for fast action even with small hands. The Browning BL-22 comes in Grade I and Grade II.
- Length – 36 3/4”
- Barrel Length – 20”
- Weight – 5 lbs
- Range of Twist – 1 in 16”
- Magazine Capacity – 15
The Browning BL-22 22 Rimfire is a lever-action rifle that was introduced to the market in 1969. This particular model is currently manufactured by the Browning brand at its Miroku factory in Japan. It is available in .22 short, long, and long rifle calibres. The BL-22 comes in Grade I and Grade II, but there is no real difference between them other than the cut checkering in the Grade II rifle’s stock.
This rimfire rifle features quality construction with black American Walnut straight-grip stock with gloss finish, polished blued barrel and receiver, tubular magazine, recessed crown, and adjustable steel blade front sight and folding rear sight. It also has the traditional exposed three position hammer. The receiver is grooved to accommodate scope mounts. The tubular magazine — which can hold 15 rounds of 22 short, long, or long rifle ammunition — is easy and fast to load. A simple flick of the wrist ejects the cartridge for quick loading, and the magazine lock securely snaps the tube in place.
What’s unique about the Browning BL-22 22 Rimfire is its short 33-degree lever throw. This allows for fast and easy follow-up shots without having to take the buttstock off from one’s shoulder. The gold plated trigger stays with the trigger guard and moves with the lever to prevent the occurrence of finger pinch. Moreover, the BL-22 has a length of pull of 13.5”, shorter than the usual rifles. The short distance is seen as an advantage to smaller individuals who use this firearm.
The action is strong yet smooth, and the rifle does not experience jamming even after numerous rounds. The BL-22 guarantees remarkable precision that’s been the trademark of Browning. The 15-round magazine capacity is also a plus; this rifle holds more than the average ones of the same calibre. The magazine’s loading latch at the end of the tube facilitates effortless loading.
The straight-shooting Browning BL-22 is perfect for new and experienced shooters. Beginners can build their accuracy with this rifle, and will appreciate the fast cycling of the short throw lever action and the trigger system that averts instances of finger pinching. Experienced ones will find the BL-22 easy to handle, light in weight, and superior in construction. This rifle is best for hunting squirrels, rabbits, and other small game, and is also great to use for tin can shooting. But while the Browning BL-22 has its pros, it also has its downsides. The short lever throw is promoted as an advantage, although there are users who see it otherwise. Rifle owners who are used to the traditional long throw feel that the BL-22 is more like a child’s rifle. The trigger assembly that moves with the lever is also a non-traditional feature, so it takes getting used to. Many complain about its trigger pull being heavy as well, which is a nuisance when trying to sight in the rifle and make good groups.
Some also feel that the stock sights are not very good, and therefore buy scopes to put on the rifle. This often leads to making the firearm heavier than usual, taking away the advantage of its weight. It is therefore recommended to purchase aftermarket optics that is small and light — that is, if users don’t find the scope mount grooves on the receiver too meagre.
Most users also find dis-assembly and reassembly a big headache. Some experience that, after taking apart the BL-22 for thorough cleaning, putting it back together proves to be a challenge. Even if it appears that everything has been reassembled properly and correctly, something would always be wrong. Consequently, they would have to bring it to a gunsmith for reassembly or ask other users tips and tricks on how to rebuild their BL-22 the right way.
Taking into account the positives and the negatives, many owners and gun enthusiasts still highly recommend the Browning BL-22 Rimfire, and consider it one of the best lever-action rifles. Precision, performance, and ease of use make the BL-22 a good choice for both novices and pros engaged in small game hunting.
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