I can't do a direct apples to apples comparison (yet) but my dad has a Marlin 44Mag and I have a Henry 22LR and the Henry is absolutely no comparison better in every way to the Marlin. I have a 45LC Henry on order so I will be able to compare similar action lengths finally but I still expect the Henry to be miles ahead of the clunky and rough Marlin action. I have cycled the Henry 44Mag in a store and it felt a lot better than dad's Marlin, but it wasn't a side-by-side.
My dad also has an old Winchester and it is very comparable to the Henry.
With that being said, the Marlin isn't a bad rifle by any means, just not as good as the Henry IMO.
The Henrys are very comparable to older Winchesters except with a much smoother action. Henry has the smoothest lever action of any, hands down. They offer great customer support also which I think is important. The only thing I found cheezy with my Henry .22 LR was the plastic barrel band that it came with. I called henry and they sent me a new metal band at no charge. When I lost the rear sight on mine, they also sent me another one at no charge.
Banjo- I'm not sure if the Henry Company of today is the same of the past. As far as I can research, the current Henry Repeating Arms has been producing lever actions since the early nineties. As opposed to the currently produced Winchester lever actions, Henry Repeating arms makes sure that their rifles are home grown, American made products.
The original company that produced the Henry (During the Mid 19th century) turned into what we know as Winchester est. 1866. They produced an updated version of the Henry Repeating Rifle.
Brick- Have you ever shot a Henry? No one is asking to take your rifle from your cold dead hands But in my experience (Mine), the balance and action of the rifle make it to be an outstanding experience. The alloys used on the exterior and interior mechanisms are by no mean 'weak' or inferior. If you have not been able to experience a Henry, I suggest you try it. If you have, please, enjoy your rifles.
I myself have owned both Marlins and Henrys. My grandfather had an older Winchester that I shot extensively in my late teens. They are all fine rifles and hold their place in history. But in truth, all I currently own are Henrys. They are the ones I chose to keep. There are many side by side reviews of lever actions on the net. Before my purchase of my last Henry, I found them to be very informative and helpful.
P.S.- I always find it funny, The Henry Repeater is the rifle that won Little Big Horn.
Ish, you are correct. What I said was that Henry was "established" in 1862, not in business since then. The new Henry Arms company does a great job of keeping the tradition alive while still using state of the art materials and machinery to build them. My next new rifle with me a Henry .17 HMR lever action varmint express. For 30-30, I prefer my old 94's.
The Henry Big Boy is not really anything like the original Henry leverguns of the old west days. However, the Marlin 1894 is still very much a recreation of the original 100 year old design.
Yes, the Henry 22s are really nice to shoot, but I doubt I'd trade my Marlin 39 for a Golden Boy. Remember, Annie Oakley shot a Marlin 39 and the Marlin 39 is the oldest rifle design still in production today.
There is a reason for Marlin's longevity....their quality and products are very good and historically accurate.