Chiappa LA322 Takedown 22 Long Rifle Lever Action Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 13th, 2016


Click pictures for a larger version.







Takedown screw.





Magazine loading port.











I love leverguns. There is no type of rifle that is as uniquely American as the levergun. I have many types of rifles, but there are none which bring me more enjoyment than does a fine lever action. Each of my bolt action rifles are very accurate, and work well for precision long-range shooting, whether the target be live or inanimate. My ARs are very efficient and useful. Every American should own an AR (or several), but they are not something which I like to sit around and rub on, while enjoying their beautiful lines. They are tools. However, a fine levergun stirs the soul. There is just something about them that I cannot quantify and express with words. Of the many leverguns that I own, I enjoy those which fire the family of 22 rimfire cartridges the most.

These days, we do not see as many 22 leverguns available as we once did. Henry Repeating Arms is a prolific producer of good 22 rifles, and they offer several versions. Browning still has a 22 lever action available, but the once common Winchester and Marlin are no more, at least for now. I was delighted to find out a couple of months back that Chiappa was introducing a new 22 levergun to the market, and I now have four of them here; one is the satin nickel with black wood that was sent from Chiappa for review, along with three of the case-colored/blued, wood version which I ordered from Lipsey’s in Louisiana just last week.

At first glance, the Chiappa LA322 Takedown Rifle looks a lot like the recently discontinued Marlin Model 39, as the split receiver takes down for maintenance in the same manner, by loosening a thumb-screw on the receiver’s right side. However, internally the Chiappa is different, using a self-contained module to handle the duty of moving the cartridge from the fifteen-shot magazine tube into the chamber. Also, the Chiappa does not have a steel receiver, but has a receiver made of a cast non-ferrous alloy.

Like many truly American rifles which are no longer produced in the US, it is left to the Italians to produce many of the old rifles which we love. For decades now, the Italian gun industry has provided replicas of vintage firearms to the American market, preserving the quality and feel of the originals. While not a true replica of the Marlin design, the Italian Chiappa looks and feels pretty much the same.

The LA322 wears an eighteen and one-half inch barrel that is rifled one turn in sixteen inches. The front sight ramp and barrel band are an integral unit, which appears to be made of aluminum. The steel magazine tube has a removable internal tube, like most other tube-mag 22 leverguns. The magazine holds fifteen 22 Long Rifle cartridges, and loads through a port near the muzzle end of the tube.

AS mentioned above, I have here two different versions of the LA322. One version has a straight-gripped wood stock that is covered with a soft-touch synthetic black rubber, and has a matte chrome finish on the receiver, lever, mag tube, and barrel. At the time of this writing, I could not find this version on Chiappa’s website, but according to the box label, this model is called the “Kodiak Cub”. The other version that I have here also wears a straight grip, hardwood stock, blued-steel barrel and mag tube, with a case-colored finish on the receiver. Both models are of takedown configuration. The Chiappa website states that these rifles weigh 5.5 pounds, but both of mine weighed closer to 5.75 pounds each. Their website also states that these rifles are drilled and tapped for scope bases, but mine are not. They are grooved to accept rimfire tipoff rings. Trigger pulls on both styles are crisp, with only a slight bit of take-up, and release with around three pounds of resistance.

I tested the Chiappa LA322 rifle with several brands of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The velocity results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the sixty-two percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the rifle. Bullet weights are listed in grains.



Bullet Weight


Federal Bulk HP



Winchester DynaPoint HP



PMC Match Solid



Wolf Match Solid



CCI Mini-Mag HP



CCI Mini-Mag Solid



CCI Velocitor HP



Remington Yellow Jacket HP



Remington Hi-Speed Solid



American Eagle HP



PMC Zapper HP



Olin Solid



Winchester XPert HP



Hansen Solid



CCI Blazer Solid



CCI Stinger HP



CCI Quiet-22



RWS Match Solid



Armscor HP



Aguila Colibri Short



Remington Subsonic HP



Aguila Super Subsonic Solid 60 915
Aguila Super Max 30 1630
Winchester Wildcat Solid 40 1163

The Chiappa LA322 fed and fired every cartridge flawlessly, with two exceptions. One Armscor cartridge failed to fire, even with repeated strikes from the firing pin. This is no fault of the rifle, but was a faulty cartridge. The only other hitch was that the PMC Match ammo would not feed smoothly in the Kodiak Cub. It fed, fired, and ejected, but I could feel resistance each time. That leaves twenty-two different types or brands of ammunition that worked flawlessly through the LA322 leverguns. Even the 22 Short ammo fed and fired perfectly.

Accuracy was outstanding. While these rifles are grooved atop the receiver for rimfire scope mounts, I fired for accuracy using the open sights. I do not like to mount a bulky scope atop a trim little levergun. The rear sight is windage-adjustable in its dovetail, and elevation-adjustable with its sliding ladder elevator. I do not see open sights as well as I once did, but the results at twenty-five yards were impressive. Group sizes measured between one-half inch and just under two inches, depending upon the ammunition, and the shooter’s ability. The groups shown are representative of the groups fired with each type of ammo listed in the pictures.  Again, I was very impressed with the rifle’s accuracy. 

The Chiappa LA322 rifle uses a traditional half-cock safety notch on the hammer, and thankfully, has no other needless manual safety.  The LA322 with the case-colored frame has a suggested retail price of $469 US as of the date of this review, but I have seen them selling in the $410 range. The Kodiak Cub, with its tough weather-resistant finish has, as far as I can determine, a suggested retail price of $809 US, but I have seen them selling online in the $600 range. Both rifles are dandy little compact carbines with each having an overall length of only 36 inches, and when taken down is less than 25 inches for the largest piece. They are built right, reliable, and accurate.

Check out the entire line of Chiappa firearms and accessories at

For the location of a Chiappa dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order quality rimfire ammunition online, go to and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Jeff loves lever-action rifles, and 22 calibers in particular. The Chiappa LA322 captures the spirit of the fine Marlin Model 39 leverguns of yesteryear.



Chiappa LA322 (bottom) compared to Marlin Model 39 (top) shows internal differences between the two designs.







Rifles are grooved atop the receiver for tip-off scope mounts.