The Browning BL-22 - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 01-11-2019, 05:28   #1
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The Browning BL-22

I got another one of these sweet little .22's a couple months ago.
I was wanting a .22 lever, and spotted this Grade II at a gun show before I moved from Montana.
It looked unfired, and the guy wanted $350. I didn't quibble, as I had just saw a Grade I at the local LGS for $550.
After I got it home and checked the serial number, it showed it was made in 1976.

As I can't shoot regular irons anymore, as the front sight is too out of focus, I put on a Williams GRS peep I had on hand.
This GRS clamps on the .22's scope grooves. I knew it would take a higher front sight, so I put the tallest Williams FireSight I had, a .540" one.
Took it out to the range a couple weeks ago to sight it, and kept having to lower the rear sight, until it is now part way off the base.

So it will need an even higher front sight.
I was hoping not to have to shell out $$$ for a Skinner sight, but the Skinner sits lower on the receiver, and it won't need such a crazy high front sight.
The Skinner looks good on the BL-22, especially the brass option which goes well with the gold trigger:
RIMFIRE GROOVE SIGHTS
With the brass option and a smaller aperture for my old eyes, and shipping it will be well over $100, but will be worth it.

The BL has some cool features:
--Bolt locked to breech when firing
--Controlled round feeding, will even feed well upside down
--Shoots shorts, longs (do they even sell longs anymore ?) or LR.
--Trigger travels down with lever, no chance of finger pinch.
--Mag tube latch doesn't have to be lined up with a notch when closing, the latch can be turned any which way.
--Short 33 degree lever throw. You can leave your thumb on the upper tang, and just flex your fingers open and closed to work the action.
Really fast, the only thing faster is an auto loader.

I saw some reviews on the BL-22 and had to chuckle. No mention of the short lever throw allowing you to keep your hand on the grip to cycle, but 2 reviewers said it allows you keep the gun to your shoulder when working the action. ??? You can do that with ANY firearm. Not sure why they missed the whole point of the short lever throw.

Typical Miroku quality, superb fit and finish, tight wood to metal fit, and a mirror polish. Like most other guys, I could do without the glossy finish and would prefer a satin or rubbed oil finish.
I would have also preferred to have got a Grade I, as the engraving and checkering I could care less about. But the price was right.
If I can find a nice Grade I for a decent price down the road, I might buy it and give this one to my daughter.

The Grade II is one classy .22 though.
My only complaint, if at all, is the BL-22 is almost too light.
At 5 pounds, it is a bit light to hold steady for offhand.
I want to add a sling for stability, but hate to drill into the stock, so I might get one of those slings that attaches to a lace on cuff at the rear.

Some have complained about the triggers being heavy, but mine breaks crisply and cleanly at 4 3/4 pounds.
My only pic for now, just after I got it, I'll add some more after the weekend when I go out and shoot some more.

Last edited by sandog; 01-12-2019 at 03:10.
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Old 01-26-2019, 18:08   #2
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I finally got out today and shot the BL-22 some more.
Still have the Williams rear way down despite putting on an even higher front sight, so will eventually go with a lower Skinner peep, or maybe even slap on a Fastfire 3 MOA dot like I use on my Mini-30's.
But it is zeroed well, I busted every small rock, empty shotshell hull, and some golf balls I threw out.
A really fun gun to plink with !


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Old 10-17-2019, 04:05   #3
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I thought I'd revive this thread as I picked up a second BL-22. As mentioned above, I wanted the plain, Grade I version without the checkering and engraving, and found one a few weeks ago.
Maybe this one has denser wood as it seems heavier and more substantial, or maybe I'm just getting wimpier in my old age and like smaller lighter guns better.

I put a Skinner peep on this one, and had to go with a .570" high Marble's front sight.
The trigger is a bit heavier on this one but will get better with use.
I do find that working the action on this little lever doesn't disturb your aim like some of my other manually operated guns. Working the pump handle on the tiny 1906 Winchester (I recently did a thread on it here) throws your aim off quite a bit compared to the lever action.
Shown next to the 4 pound Nylon 66, the Browning looks small, and the 1906 Winchester looks really, really small.


I briefly tried one of my FastFire dots on the BL-22, but like the simplicity of the Skinner peep
51colt and Rockys Pop like this.
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