Henry Steel Frame Single Shot H015-223 Rifle

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Henry Steel Frame Single Shot Rifle
Illustration courtesy of Henry Repeating Arms.

Over the past 10 years, firearms companies around the world have flooded the market with plastic and polymer-based guns. If that were not bad enough, they have expanded the ugly AR15 platform to just about every possible combination, all in the name of "modern sporting rifles." It is as though they have forgotten that firearms are supposed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. No matter what you do to it, the ungainly "black stick" will never be pleasing to the eye.

We understand some of the reasons for the trend (lower manufacturing costs, faster assembly lines and misleading advertising), but we fail to understand why so many companies have just given up on producing firearms the old fashioned way. It is as though they are in a race to the bottom.

We will leave the answers to those questions for other writers/articles at a later date. In this article we want to discuss the new break-open, Single Shot Rifle produced by Henry Repeating Arms Co.

Henry Arms is a company founded by CEO Anthony Imperato that only produces high quality firearms and does so at reasonable prices. Mr. Imperato refuses to join the "race to the bottom." If he can't make it in the United States, he won't make it at all. We might also add, if he can't make a quality firearm, he won't make it.

Henry rifles have earned a reputation as the smoothest and most reliable lever actions on the market. That reputation is absolutely correct. However, not everyone wants a lever action rifle and with the bolt-action rifle market flooded with products, the logical next niche for Henry Arms to fill was with a single-shot firearm.

The single shot rifle niche has only one serious competitor, the Ruger No.1, and they are now outsourced to a specialty shop and sold as distributor specials. They are still superb rifles (we have two), but the price has steadily increased over the years to over $1,500. The market and demand for a quality and reasonably priced single shot rifle was, therefore, wide open.

After considerable design planning and in-house testing, Henry Repeating Arms launched their single shot centerfire rifle line in September 2017. We were fortunate to get one of the first models in our requested caliber of .223 Remington.

This rifle is absolutely one of the most beautiful rifles that we have seen in years. It is offered with matte finish on a steel frame, or a polished finish on a hardened brass frame. The steel frame model (reviewed here) comes with a pistol grip butt stock and recoil pad, while the brass frame version is supplied with a straight hand stock and brass buttplate. Steel frame guns (#H015) are available in .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .44 Rem. Magnum and .45-70. Brass frame guns (#H015B) are offered in .44 Rem. Magnum and .45-70.

The satin matte finish on our steel frame test rifle (#H015-223) is flawless. The wood to metal fit of the American walnut stock and fore end are the best we have seen. We are not sure how they do it, but by whatever means they are using, keep it up! The stock is attached to the frame with a draw bolt, while the fore end is secured with a screw, not a spring clip.

While we are on the subject of the stock, the laser cut checkering does exactly what checkering is supposed to do, provide a more positive grip for the shooter. This is an obvious tactile and visual improvement over the stamped faux checkering on so many firearms on the market today.

There are no plastic parts in this gun. This little break action rifle harkens back to the days when single shot rifles were made of steel and walnut with great care and owning one was a source of pride.

However, do not get the idea that this is just an old design that is being remanufactured in the 21st century. Henry updated and improved the original designs. They installed a rebounding hammer that cannot touch the firing pin unless the trigger is deliberately pulled. There is no manual safety to fumble, nor is one necessary. An internal interlock system does not allow the barrel to open if the hammer is cocked, or the barrel to close if the hammer is cocked while the action is open.

For us lefties, the top lever can be pivoted to the left or right to break-open the action. From all of us left-handed people, "thank you Mr. Imperato."

Unlike a lot of break-open guns that have ejectors that throw the spent casing out, the Henry H015-223 rifle is equipped with a positive extractor that allows the shooter to easily remove the case without damage for reloading. If you are a reloader, this is a real plus, especially if you have ever used a .223 black rifle.

By this time, some of you are wondering, why would we want a single shot rifle? Think about it, how many times in your hunting adventures have you ever required more than one shot?

We know, you want the other rounds as a backup, but if you never need them, why carry them in a magazine that merely adds weight to the rifle? (You can always carry a few extra cartridges in cartridge loops or a convenient pocket for quick reloading, should it be necessary. -Editor) Jim likes the challenge of using a single shot rifle, whether it be a muzzleloader or a centerfire. Having only one shot ensures that you take proper care in placing your shot and only firing when you are certain of a clean kill.

The Henry H015-223 comes with an adjustable folding rear leaf sight and a brass bead front sight. The polished 22" barrel is drilled and tapped for a Weaver #48082 mount. We recommend buying the Grovtec hammer extension (GHM 283) from Henry if you plan on using a scope on the rifle. We mounted a Sightron SII 3-9x42mm riflescope on our test rifle using Weaver High Quad Lock rings to ensure that the hammer cleared the scope.

All that remained for us to determine was how well the rifle shoots. As well made as the Henry H015-223 is, if it does not shoot tight groups, why buy it?

We went to the range with some new Sig Sauer .223 ammo, both 40 grain predator tip rounds and 60 grain HT hunting rounds. We also included Jim's standard 55 grain Hornady V-Max loads.

We fired multiple three and four shot groups from a bench rest using our Caldwell Tack Driver bag at 100 yards. The following targets answer the question of accuracy.

Henry Single Shot Rifle targets

This rifle produced consistent groups measuring around 3/4" (center-to-center). Our best groups were only 1/2", using the new SIG SAUER 40 grain .223 predator loads. That is incredible accuracy from a standard factory rifle right out of the box. Before we forget, the trigger has no creep. It has a consistent and positive release at 5.5 pounds.


  • Action: Break-open, single shot
  • Caliber: .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO (also available in .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester)
  • Capacity: 1 Round
  • Barrel Length: 22"
  • Twist: 1 in 9"
  • Overall Length: 37.5"
  • Weight: 7.18 pounds
  • Receiver: Blued Steel w/matt finish
  • Rear Sight: Fully adjustable folding leaf
  • Front Sight: Brass Bead
  • Scope Ready: Drilled and tapped for Weaver 48082 base
  • Stock: American Walnut w/steel swivel studs
  • Butt Plate: Black rubber recoil pad
  • Length of Pull: 14"
  • Trigger pull: 5.5 pounds
  • Safety: Rebounding Hammer
  • 2018 MSRP: $448.00

The H015-223 is a quality rifle at a very reasonable price. This rifle is built to the same high standards as all of the other Henry centerfire rifles. It is NOT a budget model in any sense of the word.

It is ideal for those who would like to introduce new shooters to our sport, without forcing them to use a cheaply made, entry level firearm. It is also ideal for those of us who want the challenge of hunting with only one round on board and those of us who prefer the uncomplicated durability of a single shot rifle.

Whether you are a bolt gun or lever gun shooter, you owe it to yourself to pick up one of these Henry Single Shot Rifles, either as a backup or as your primary rifle. Jim has plans to buy another Henry Single Shot in .308 caliber for deer hunting.

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