Well, being the "newbie" here, I don't want to step on any toes, but here's my thinking on why I passed on the excellent Henry lever action rimfire rifles when I started looking around for a place to throw my money away on a casual rimfire plinker.
First I did reasonable research online on the various firearm forums for recommendations (auto/pump/lever) and there seems to be general agreement that in the semi's the Ruger 10/22 is the 22 cal rifle for everybody.
And whatever aspect of the Ruger 10/22 you don't care for can be changed out..
I don't doubt the 10/22 is a fine 22cal rifle (and I love Ruger pistols in particular), but it has no "soul", or whatever that special "something" is that holds appeal for me.
I bought a new Browning SA22 (ATD)..
My wife was so taken with the beauty of the SA22 that she has basically "taken" it from me. But that's ok.. She and I have been married for over 43 years, and when I see a new gun I can't live without she generally finances it for me.
But, before I lost my new SA22 to my bride, I shot it enough to know that it's a wonderful 22cal rifle, and I should think a perfect "tree rat" or small critter gun for those who hunt. (I don't).
My 1st SA22 was surprisingly accurate and a pleasure to shoot.. So, I shopped around and lucked up on a used SA22, for ME, which isn't as pretty, but shots just as well and accurately as my new one did.
In my research for the "perfect" autoloader in 22cal. I kept running up on posts regarding the "perfect" lever action 22... And in that line of 22's the Marlin 39A seemed to have a loyal, and large following..
My Buddy said to try a Henry, and I checked them out and they are beautiful to behold, and inexpensive to purchase, but it seems there are a zillion and three out there, as every gun store I visited had several on the rack for sale.
Again, for me, (and no offense to satisfied Henry owners), I just never could get excited about the Henry, even knowing it has a reputation for butter smooth action, excellent accuracy, and a top notch warranty, backed by top notch folks.
I know the materials that make up the Henry will last a long, long time, but I just hate the thought of the plated receiver and plastic barrel bands, etc..
I'm an old fart, and my hands aren't so steady anymore, and my eyes aren't the sharpest, so any reasonably accurate 22cal rifle is capable of shooting smaller groups in the X ring than I am, at my age, marksman enough to take advantage of.
A reputation for unusual accuracy is a neat thing, and I kept reading the accuracy of the Marlin 39A is very accurate for a non-target 22 cal rifle.
So, I found a like new 1996 39A at a gun show and brought it home...
It IS amazingly accurate...
Of course the 39A is heavy, has a 24", barrel both of which I think contribute to it's inherent accuracy, but the price of admission for a 39A is not unreasonable considering the smile it will bring to the face of it's shooter come plinking time..
I am so pleased with my 39A that I wanted another, just fer, and last weekend my wife and I drove over to Boaz, Al. to pick up a very nice Marlin Model 39 (Century Limited) I found on GunBroker.
The Century Limited is basically, as I understand it, a "gussied up", or "blinged up" Mountie, and it's shorter and lighter than my full size 39A but still is surprisingly accurate.
I like it..
I don't think there's ANYTHING wrong with either the Ruger 10/22, OR the Henry rimfire rifles...
I just think some folks drive Fords, and some folks drive Chevy's, and, for themselves, both are driving the right vehicle..
Sorry for rambling, but it's about the only thing I do well anymore..
Best Wishes, and no offense to anyone. Just personal observation..