Henry Repeating Arms Rifles: A Survey
By Gary Zinn
Henry is both one of the oldest and newest names associated with the American firearms industry. Inventor Benjamin Tyler Henry, working for business entrepreneur Oliver Winchester, patented a design for a lever action, tubular magazine repeating rifle in 1860. The Henry Rifle was the progenitor of various lever action sporting rifles developed subsequently by Winchester.
The Henry Repeating Arms company of today began when entrepreneur Louis Imperato started a business in Brooklyn, NY in 1993, manufacturing replica black powder revolvers. Imperato soon acquired legal rights to the Henry Repeating Arms brand name. The first modern Henry firearm to be manufactured was the H001 .22 rimfire rifle.
The Company has grown from its modest beginnings. The 2016 Henry product catalog shows that they now produce eight separate models of lever action rifles, plus one pump action rifle and a lever action pistol. They also make a single-shot, bolt action youth rifle and the AR-7 survival rifle. For 2017, Henry will be introducing single shot, break-open shotguns and a lever action .410 shotgun.
It is reported that Henry built some 300,000 firearms in the year 2013, which put the company seventh in production among all U.S. firearms makers. Henry RAC has over 400 employees.
Henry Repeating Arms Co. remains a privately owned firm, with Anthony Imperato, son of the late Louis Imperato, in charge. The Company headquarters were moved to a modern manufacturing and office center in Bayonne, New Jersey in 2008. A second factory in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, produces receivers and other selected parts for Henry firearms.
It is notable that Henry emphasizes a total commitment to its motto, "Made in America or Not Made At All." The company asserts that all materials and components of the firearms it makes are USA sourced and its guns are built in its own factories. Henry lever action rifles have earned a reputation for unusually smooth actions, good finish and attractive walnut stocks.
Also notable is the Henry Lifetime Warranty, stated as follows (with no lawyer-speak): "We offer a simple limited lifetime warranty. If you have a problem at any time and it is our fault, we will correct it immediately at no charge. The warranty does not cover excessive wear and tear to parts or accidental damage."
Henry brand firearms have grown, in variety and total production volume, to the point that I felt it would be useful to summarize the current offerings. My summary is based on information in the 2016 Henry product catalog and on the company website (www.henryrifles.com). Each firearm model is identified by model number and series name, with basic information about the series and the variants within it. Prices quoted are MSRP at the time this is written (Dec. 2016).
The staff of Guns & Shooting Online have reviewed several Henry rifles. I have provided a list of the review titles at the end of this article, as a reference for anyone who wishes to learn more about any of the reviewed products.
H001 - Henry Lever Action Series
The H001 model is the flagship series of rifles produced by the Henry Repeating Arms Co. The H001 rifle has an 18.25 inch round barrel and weighs 5.25 pounds. It is complemented by carbine (H001L) and youth (H001Y) models, with 16.125 inch barrels that weigh 4.5 pounds. All three shoot .22 S/L/LR rimfire cartridges. The MSRPs range from $360 to $375.
The H001M and H001V models, in .22 WMR and .17 HMR calibers, respectively, round out the H001 series caliber selection. The H001M rifle (.22 WMR) has 19.25 inch barrel and weighs 5.5 pounds. The H001V (.17 HMR) is Henry's dedicated varmint rifle, dubbed the Varmint Express. It features a 20 inch barrel, comes with a checkered American walnut Monte Carlo stock and weighs 5.75 pounds. The .22 WMR is priced at $500 and the .17 HMR at $550.
The Lever Action Frontier Model rifles come in the same rimfire calibers as above. The Frontier Model rifles are distinguished by octagon barrels (20 inches in the .22 S/L/LR and .17 HMR and 20.5 inches in .22 WMR). These rifles weigh 6.25 pounds and are priced between $450 and $550.
Just introduced are Frontier rifles with 24 inch barrels, in .22 S/L/LR ($470) and .22 WMR ($570). These should be accurate shooters with the extended barrels and sight radii.
The Frontier Carbine "Evil Roy" Edition carbines are distinguished by a bright brushed finish on the receiver and a nickel plated barrel band. .22 S/L/LR and .22 WMR models are available, both sporting 16.5 inch octagon barrels and weighing 5.5 pounds. Prices are $500 and $610.
The H001 series Small Game Rifle and Small Game Carbine feature a large loop lever and Skinner peep sight mounted on the receiver. They come in .22 S/L/LR and .22 WMR. The rifle has a 20 inch octagon barrel and weighs 6.25 pounds. The carbine comes with a 16.25 inch barrel and weighs 5.75 pounds. Prices range from $500 to $590.
If I were going to buy a new rimfire "fun gun" tomorrow, the Small Game Rifle would be my first choice. The 20 inch barrel and 6.25 pound weight should make for stable and accurate shooting, while the Skinner peep sight would be kind to my old eyes. (A receiver-mounted peep is superior in target acquisition and consistent accuracy, compared with barrel-mounted open rear sights.) Also, this rifle just looks cool!
With polished/blued steel and American walnut stocks, the H001 series rifles are straightforward and traditional. They are what rimfire rifles made for recreational shooting and small game hunting should be.
H004 - Henry Golden Boy Series
The Golden Boy rifles are so named because of their highly polished "Brasslite" receivers, accented with brass butt plates and barrel bands, which are reminiscent of original 1860 Henry rifles. The barrels and levers are polished and blued.
The base H004 Golden Boy rifle is available in .22 S/L/LR or .17 HMR with a 20 inch octagon barrel; the .22 WMR version has a 20.5 inch barrel. All weigh 6.75 pounds and have prices ranging from $550 to $610. In addition, there is a youth rifle in .22 S/L/LR with a 16.25 inch barrel and a weight of 6.0 pounds.
The Golden Boy chassis has been used by Henry to create a large number of special rifles. These include engraved personalized, limited edition and tribute models.
In addition, there is the Golden Boy Silver, with nickel plated brass receiver, barrel band and butt plate. The Silver models come in .22 S/L/LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR. Prices range from $600 to $675. Barrel lengths and weights are as for the corresponding Golden Boy models. Personalized, engraved and special edition Silvers are also offered.
Something unique is that a Golden Boy or Golden Boy Silver can be made into a special gift or heirloom. This involves ordering a personalized receiver cover directly from Henry. The cost is $150. See the Henry catalog or website for details.
H003 - Henry Pump Action Octagon Series
This pump-action .22 rimfire is a throwback to an earlier era, when pump (or slide) action rifles were quite popular at country fair and carnival shooting galleries. Pump action .22s were also widely used for small game hunting and varmint control on the farm. (Been there and done that in my youth.)
However, in the last half-century or so, the popularity of the pump action has waned to the point that currently only the Henry H003 and Remington Model 572 pump .22 rifles are still offered. (Blame the autoloaders for this.) There is actually a lot to recommend the .22 rimfire pump action, which is almost as fast as an autoloader and more reliable.
The H003 rifle comes in either .22 S/L/LR or .22 WMR calibers and both sport octagon barrels, 20 and 20.5 inches in length, respectively. Both rifles weigh 6 pounds. Prices are $550 to $590.
I own a Rossi Model 62, a reproduction of the original Winchester Model 1890 "gallery gun." I pack lots of ammo whenever I take my Rossi to the range, because someone else will surely beg to shoot it. A fast-handling .22 pump rifle is an irresistible joy to shoot and the Henry H003 is just about the best available. It has become the "go to" .22 LR small game rifle of Guns and Shooting Online Owner/Managing Editor Chuck Hawks.
H006 - Henry Big Boy Series
Henry entered the centerfire rifle market in 2001, when it introduced the Big Boy short lever action for magnum revolver cartridges. The original Big Boy, now called the Classic, comes chambered in .44 Magnum/.44 Special, .45 Colt and .357 Magnum/.38 Special. They feature hardened brass receivers with brass butt plates and barrel bands and are supplied with 20 inch octagon barrels. These beautiful rifles weigh 8.68 pounds and are priced at $900.
Trim the Big Boy barrel back to 16.5 inches, the weight to 7.76 pounds, add a large loop lever and you have the Big Boy Carbines. Caliber options and prices are the same as for the Big Boy Classic. Like the Golden Boy, the Big Boy rifles are available in engraved limited edition, tribute models and a Silver version.
H012 - Henry Big Boy Steel Series
In 2015, Henry introduced the Big Boy Steel, in the same calibers as the original Big Boy, plus .41 Magnum. There are both rifle (20 inch barrel) and carbine (16.5 inch barrel) versions (except no carbine in .41 Magnum), which weigh 7.0 and 6.59 pounds, respectively. All together, there are seven specific Big Boy Steel models, all priced at $850.
I own a Marlin Model 1894c in .357 Magnum and a Ruger 96/44 in .44 Magnum. They are a hoot to shoot and have practical usefulness as camp rifles and for short range hunting. The original Big Boy and Big Boy Steel rifles would be equally fun and useful, but I feel that the Steel models are more practical. The brass receiver Big Boy is heavier, so it is more burdensome to lug around.
H009 - Henry .30-30 Series
Here are two rifles with longer actions than the Big Boy, including steel receiver with round barrel and hardened brass receiver with octagon barrel variants. Both models have 20 inch barrels and are drilled and tapped for scope mounting. The caliber is .30-30 Winchester.
The H009 uses an improved, slicker, Marlin 336 type action with a transfer bar in the hammer that eliminates the need for a cross-bolt safety. The steel model H009 weighs 7.0 pounds and the brass model 8.3 pounds. Prices are $850 to $950.
H010 - Henry .45-70 Lever Action Series
Like the .30-30 Series, this series features steel receiver / round barrel and brass receiver / octagon barrel options. The caliber is .45-70 and, like the .30-30 Series, the H010 action is of the improved Marlin type. The steel receiver model has a 18.43 inch barrel, weighs 7.08 pounds and is priced at $850. It comes with a ghost ring type peep sight may well be the best "Guide Gun" type rifle made today. The brass receiver model comes with a 22 inch barrel, weighs 8.1 pounds and carries a price tag of $950.
For something special in a .30-30 or .45-70 lever gun, consider the Henry Color Case Hardened Edition rifles. Both have color case hardened steel receivers and levers, with octagon barrels (20 inches for the .30-30 and 22 inches for the .45-70). Very classy! These rifles are priced at $995.
But wait! Henry is not finished offering .30-30 and .45-70 options. The All-Weather Lever Action models have hard chrome plated (satin, not bright) metal and black-stained hardwood stocks. Barrel types, lengths and firearm weights are as for the H009 and H010 rifles with steel receivers. Both all-weather models are priced at $1000. In addition, there are a couple of special edition variants of the .30-30 and .45-70 rifles.
H011 - Original Henry Rifle Series
The current Henry Repeating Arms Co. may have carried the Henry name since its early days, but it was not until 2013 that the company introduced a modern rendition of the 1860 Henry rifle that started it all. The following observations were made in the Guns & Shooting Online review of the new Original Henry Rifle:
"This is not a close copy of a Henry rifle; it is a Henry rifle, line by line. The new Original Henry is identical to the Henry rifle of 1860, except it is chambered for the classic .44-40 Winchester centerfire cartridge instead of the long discontinued .44 Henry rimfire cartridge. Purchasers of new Original Henry Rifles can, therefore, shoot them."
"Actually, the new Henry is better than the 1860 version, because while the same basic materials are used in its construction (brass, steel and walnut) the new model takes advantage of modern metallurgy. The brass used in the new receiver, for example, is heat treated and far stronger than antique brass. Henry Arms claims these receivers have the same tensile and yield strength as steel."
The Original Henry Rifle (H011), with brass receiver and the Iron-Framed Original (H011IF), with color case hardened steel receiver, both come with 24.5 inch octagon barrels in .44-40 WCF caliber. The folding ladder rear sight is also true to the original Henry design. The weight of both versions is listed as 9 pounds.
These pieces of firearms history are priced at $2300 for the brass receiver rifle and $2750 for the Iron-Framed version. A deluxe engraved "1 of 1000" brass receiver rifle (H011D2) can be ordered for $3495. Just added to this model line are an Original Rifle in .45 Colt caliber, a .44-40 carbine with 20.5 inch barrel and a Silver (nickel plated brass receiver), deluxe engraved "1 of 1000" rifle.
H014 - Henry Long Ranger Series
This is the newest Henry rifle, introduced in 2016. It is mechanically very different from traditional lever action rifles, using a sophisticated action with capabilities that cannot be matched by the older designs. The Long Ranger features a geared lever action and 6-lug rotating bolt head that locks into a barrel extension. This advanced action allows the rifle to be chambered in modern, high pressure cartridges.
Note also that the Long Ranger feeds cartridges from a detachable box magazine, rather than a tube magazine of traditional lever action rifles. The obvious benefit of this is than one may use standard spitzer (pointed) bullets, instead of the flat point, round nosed, or soft polymer tipped bullets that a tube magazine makes necessary. Box magazines are also easier to load and unload than tubular magazines, although they hold fewer cartridges and cannot be reloaded without taking the rifle out of service.
The rifle has a 20 inch, sporter contour barrel and a stated weight of seven pounds. Initial chamberings are .223 Remington, .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester. (Additional calibers are expected.) The MSRP is $1015.
The Long Ranger platform has a lot of potential. I hope to see the .260 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, .338 Federal and .358 Winchester cartridges offered in the future. Is it too much to ask for a Long Ranger chambered for the .257 Roberts cartridge?
Other firearm models
Here are three miscellaneous items that round out the current Henry product line.
The U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle (H002) is a special purpose semi-automatic .22 LR rifle. Its working parts (receiver, barrel and two 8-round magazines) take down and stow in the synthetic stock. Weight is 3.5 pounds and prices are from $290 to $350.
The Mini Bolt Youth rifle (H005) is a single-shot .22 S/L/LR youth training rifle. It has a 16.25 inch barrel and a short length of pull synthetic stock. It weighs 3.25 pounds and is priced at $275. A very useful and much appreciated product.
The Mare's Leg Lever Action Pistol is something else. Starting with a H001 or H006 series lever rifle, chopping the stock off just behind the grip and cutting the barrel and magazine to 12 - 13 inches yields the Mare's Leg. It is no longer a rifle, nor is it a useful handgun. This is a version of the hybrid weapon carried by Steve McQueen in the 1958-1961 TV series "Wanted: Dead or Alive," which made McQueen an international star. MSRP from $440-$450 for .22 rimfire calibers and $975 in centerfire calibers. The Mare's Leg looks like fun, but I can see no practical use for it, so I will not discuss it further.
All Henry rifles, except the Long Ranger, are supplied with adjustable iron sights. Early models of Henry rifles, particularly the Golden Boys and Big Boys, were not designed with convenient scope mounting in mind. However, the company has worked out these bugs, so that newer models are amenable to mounting optics. Here is a summary of the current accommodations for mounting scopes on Henry rifles.
The expansion and diversification of the Henry product line in a period of roughly twenty years is noteworthy. Even more so is a recent flurry of product introductions. As of November 2016, the Henry website listed the following new products. (The Henry designers and production planners have been busy in the last couple of years!)
In addition, Henry has announced that in 2017 they will enter the shotgun market. They will introduce a .410 lever action shotgun (apparently based on the .45-70 rifle) and a traditional single barrel, break-open shotgun in 12, 20 and .410 bores. These new break-open shotguns will be available with brass or steel frames. All of these 2017 shotguns are nicely finished and come with checkered walnut stocks.
Finally, for 2017 there will be a steel frame, break-open, single shot rifle. It will be chambered for a wide range of calibers, ranging from .223 Remington to .45-70. These rifles will come with adjustable iron sights, detachable sling swivel studs and deluxe, checkered walnut stocks and forends.
The Henry Repeating Arms Co. is, first and foremost, a maker of traditional lever action rifles. They have the field for popular and useful rimfire and center fire calibers in these rifles well covered. With the introduction of the Long Ranger rifle, the firm indicates a willingness to compete in the high performance rifle market, using a modern lever action platform.
My takeaways from all this are that Henry has achieved a dominant market position in rimfire lever action rifles, is highly competitive in revolver caliber (.357, .41 and .44) and traditional centerfire (.30-30 and .45-70) lever guns. They have a new product, the Long Ranger rifle, that could make them a player in the high performance centerfire rifle market and they intend to compete in the entry level shotgun market.
Guns & Shooting Online reviews of Henry rifles in the order they are listed on the Product Reviews index page:
Guns & Shooting Online reviews of Henry rifles in the order they are listed on the Rimfire Guns and Ammo index page:
Copyright 2016 by Gary Zinn and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.