Bluing can be done yourself pretty cheaply IF you have the patience to do it AND take the time to do your homework before. I just finished my first bluing job (also an old .22LR). I used the bluing kit that Birchwood Casey makes and I got pretty decent results with it. A few things to remember if you consider doing this yourself:
1) Do your homework. Google "gun bluing", "barrel bluing", etc and take a look at the various videos and tutorials out there to get familiar with the basic process.
2) Disassemble your barrel as much as it can be. Take everything off the barrel that can be taken off.
3) Metal prep is key to the process. Use a good cleaner/degreaser to clean any oils off the barrel, wear a good pair of latex or chem gloves (one to keep the oil from your skin off the barrel and two, because the bluing chemicals are VERY corrosive). Use a good blue/rust remover and a wide range of grits of sandpaper to strip down and polish the barrel. I used everything from 80 grit all the way to 400 grit. TAKE YOUR TIME doing this and polish that barrel until it shines. Midway has a good video tutorial on the web for this process.
4) When you finally start the bluing process, remember to work in small sections and work quickly. Don't let the bluing solution stay on the metal any longer than about 60 seconds. Rinse it off completely, towel dry the area, then take a piece of 0000 steel wool and give it a light polishing to blend the color together. Repeat the process in the next area.
Now understand that this is the process I followed using the Birchwood Casey bluing kit (which is a cold bluing kit) so the process might be altered a bit if you use a hot bluing solution. So if you decide to blue the barrel yourself, really familiarize yourself with what you will be using beforehand.
Last thing...I'm the type of person who is comfortable taking things apart, rebuilding them, etc. Although this was my time bluing a barrel I wasn't really concern about my ability to handle it once I took the time to familiarize myself with the process and what was involved in it. If that doesn't really describe you, then I would most likely recommend against trying to blue the rifle yourself. You can ruin the rifle if you're not careful.
All told, I have about $35-40 invested in the whole thing. You can take a look at the pics I posted if you want to see how it came out.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do..