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The straight-grip Browning BL-22 is a fun, lightweight, lever-action .22 rimfire rifle with a blued 1:16 twist ratio barrel, polished blued receiver, recessed muzzle crown and many other goodies. The result is a .22 that will be appreciated by shooters of all experience levels. Key models are the junior BL-22 Micro Midas, BL-22 Grade I, BL-22 Grade II, BL-22 FLD Grade I, BL-22 FLD Grade II and the flagship BL-22 FLD Grade II Octagon.

Except as detailed further below, the characteristics are as follows. The polished blued steel receiver is nicely designed with scope mount grooves. BL-22 has adjustable sights and a three-position hammer. The tubular magazine has a 15-round .22 LR capacity that can also store 17 rounds of .22 L and 21 of .22 S. The tube is easy to load quickly and snaps assuredly into place with a magazine tube lock.

The trigger travels with the trigger guard/racetrack oval lever so it will never pinch your trigger finger. The throw is wonderfully effortless, short and fast, traveling just 33-degrees to eject and rechamber ammo.

There are currently six production models, all with straight walnut stocks and gently swelled walnut frontends. They differ in detail but share general characteristics. Let’s do a quick survey.

BL-22 Micro Midas is the youth model, complete with a 12” length-of-pull (LOP), 16.25” polished blued light sporter steel barrel and 31.5” overall length. The gold-plated alloy trigger is circumscribed by a steel trigger guard that features the signature gold Buck Mark inlay underneath. The glossy-finished stock is Grade I black walnut devoid of checkering or swivel studs. The Micro Midas has a straight stock design with a 7/8” drop at comb descending to a 1 1/2” drop at heel. It’s backed by a plastic buttplate. The magazine capacity is 11 rounds of .22 LR. Overall weight is 4 pounds 12 ounces.

The BL-22 Grade I is largely the same as the Micro Midas except the barrel grows to 20” and LOP is 13.5”. These increases cause a corollary expansion of other specifications. Thus, overall length is 36.75” and weight is 5.0 pounds. Also note: the tube mag is longer to take advantage of the longer barrel. Consequently, this BL-22 has a 15-round .22 LR capacity.

The BL-22 Grade II is the same as above but with a better grade black walnut.

The BL-22 FLD Grade I is offered by full line dealers, hence the “FLD” moniker. It is the same as the BL-22 Grade I but with a nickel receiver. BL-22 FLD Grade II has a higher quality wood.

Finally, we get to the apex model, which is the flagship BL-22 FLD Grade II Octagon. The standout difference is the octagonal barrel. The octagonal cross-section means increased strength and surface area, which is always nice for expedited heat-dissipation. In the good old days, this was a great way to over-strengthen a barrel. It was an expensive process that made guns so equipped sell for a premium. Even now, there is something breathtaking and special about an octagonal barrel. The barrel is 24”, but capacity remains 15. Overall length is 40.75”. Between the increased length and the octagonal barrel, weight bumps up to 5 pounds 4 ounces.

The straight-grip Browning BL-22 lever-action .22 rimfire rifle has a nice lineup that will find many admirers.

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