Gun Review: Henry Repeating Arms .30/30

Henry Repeating Rifles .30-30 (courtesy Jon Wayne Taylor for The Truth About Guns)

When I found out that RF had purchased a few lever guns, consummating his love affair with the cowboy classic, I considered it a grand sign and a symbol of his budding Texania. That’s a verbose way of saying it put a big ol’ smile on my face. I grew up with a Winchester Model 94. And by grew up I mean . . .

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have that gun. I’m told it was rolled up in a blanket underneath my crib.

I lived way, way out in the country as a child, our driveway was measured in miles, and before I was out of elementary school I was walking around the woods hunting with my own gun and my own dog. It was heaven on earth for a boy. Pretty soon that gun was the old Winchester 94 in .30-30, and it was the only center fire rifle I would own for more than 20 years.

Jon Wayne Taylor's lever guns (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

After I got out of the Army, my first rifle purchase was, oddly enough, another lever gun in .357 Magnum to go along with my Ruger Blackhawk in the same caliber. My love for the lever gun didn’t stop. It didn’t even slow down. Long before my first AR, or even my first bolt gun, I’d killed dozens of deer and hundreds of pigs with lever guns. I got a Marlin guide gun in .45-70, and then a series of Henry rifles in different calibers. When it came down to the prettiest of any of the modern lever guns, and the easiest to shoot, the Henrys won the day every time.

My love for the .30-30 was cemented one Christmas morning, probably some 20 years ago or more, when I got lucky and took two 8-point bucks with one shot. I was laying down, sighted in on a fat doe when one of those 8-pointers harassed her into leaving. I waited around to get another shot at her, but when she never showed up again, I finally shot him instead.

Henry Repeating Rifles .30-30 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

He dropped 10 yards from where he was hit. On the way up to him, I could hear some rustling in some Agarita bushes a good 50 yards away. I walked over to inspect it, and to my surprise, there was another 8-point on the ground, my bullet having taken him through the spine while he was laying down. I had quite a bit of butchering work to do before Christmas lunch that day!

I keep both of their skulls together now, staining one dark and bleaching one white. With that much horn on the wall and that much meat in the freezer, my confidence in the .30-30 was solid.

So when RF asked me if I wanted to review on one of his Henry .30-30s, I told him I could write it without firing it, as I had hundreds of rounds through them already. But, oddly enough, I don’t have a Henry in .30-30 right now, so I didn’t miss the opportunity to put some rounds through his.

Jon Wayne Taylor's hand-loaded .30-30 rounds (courtesy Jon Wayne Taylor for The Truth About Guns)

A little history lesson on the .30-30 . . .

That cartridge has probably taken more deer than any other cartridge in America. The only thing that could possibly hold a candle to it is the .30-06, and even then I still think the .30-30 just beats it for pure time. After all, it was invented in by Winchester in 1895. If that seems like a while ago, it was a full 25 years AFTER Benjamin Tyler Henry had patented his lever action rile.

The .30-30 got its name because it was a .30 caliber (.308) round loaded with 30 grains of smokeless powder. It was good enough back then, quickly replacing the venerable .45-70 in popularity, and these days it’s even better. Cheap and easy to reload, my hand-loads push a 150 grain round nosed bullet at 2,150fps out of a 20″ barrel. At 100 yards I’ve got 1,103 fps of energy, 778 fps at 200 yards, and I’m not pushing the maximum load at all. With new Spitzeresque rounds like the Hornady LEVEREvolution and some glass, or great eyes, a good shooter could push the old .30-30 all the way out to 300 yards.

Henry Repeating RIfles .30-30 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

As for the rifle itself, I said I had already gotten to love the Henrys above the other new lever guns, and this one didn’t disappoint. The model RF handed me had a polished brass receiver and a 20-inch octagonal barrel, walnut stock and fore grip, with a brass barrel band and butt plate, adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight and a brass bead front sight. The receiver is drilled and tapped for a Weaver mount, but I’ll be heartbroken the day my eyes get so bad that I have to mount glass on this rifle.

That’s because it’s gorgeous just as it is. Literally every person I showed it too said “wow.” Every one. My 11-year-old son asked me roughly four billion times if it was his Christmas present. It was admired by young and old alike, including some serious operators who operate operationally.

With an Accuracy International .338 Lapua Magnum and this rifle sitting on a table, no one’s eyes went to the AI first. And everyone picked up the Henry. It gleams like Gollum’s ring and everyone who sees it has to get their hands on it and cycle it a few times, just to see how it feels.

Receiver, Henry Repeating Arms .30-30 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

It feels great, too. I put just a touch of RemOil in the receiver before I did anything and the action cycled like wet ice on wet ice. Loading the rifle is the simplest of all the lever guns. You twist and pull the release the tubular magazine’s stopper/plunger. Insert five rounds, one by one, push the stopper/plunger back in and twist to lock it. Cycle the action and you are ready to fire. You can add another round for a total of six in the gun if need be.

Not ready to fire? Carefully lower the hammer. The weapon is effectively “saved.” To unload the rifle, you can either do what every other lever gun does and simply cycle through all the rounds by working the lever, or you can pull the stopper/plunger and pour out the rounds in the tubular magazine. You’ll only have to cycle the round in the chamber.

I find this method far superior to other guns that load only through a side loading gate. First, it’s safer; the weapon doesn’t have to continually be put in the “fire” mode with the hammer back over and over again as you cycle the action. Just leave the hammer down and dump the rounds.

Henry Repeating Rifles .30-30 lever gun (courtesy Jon Wayne Taylor for The Truth About Guns)

Yes, your fingers will have to be close to the muzzle, but leave the hammer down and that’s not a problem. That hammer isn’t going to magically cock itself, and that trigger doesn’t fire unless you make it fire. There’s a solid firing pin block and the weapon can’t go bang with the action open.

It’s also just a lot easier without having to cycle all of the rounds. If you load five rounds and don’t shoot all five – which is the way it usually is when hunting – most of the time you end up ejecting rounds into the dirt or grass or mud, then having to find them and clean them up. If you’ve expended all of your rounds and you still need to load another quickly, simply open the action, insert a round into the breach, and close the action, like you would for a pump action shotgun.

Henry Repeating Rifles .30-30 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Now, usually when I test a semi-auto pistol or an AR, I put at least 500 rounds through them to guarantee reliability. For this test, I decided that 100 rounds would be plenty, and probably way more than required. Heck, I know a lot of people who have never put 100 rounds through their .30-30s in total.

My old Winchester 94s are under 7 lbs., and without a butt pad. The Henry is a bit heavier, at 8.3lbs, and again no butt pad. But man that little bit of weight feels a whole lot better on the shoulder. Doing the math, this gun has about half the recoil of my Savage 110 in .30-06, and is a lot more enjoyable to shoot. So, with 100 rounds in hand…to the range!

Henry Repeating Arms .30-30 and minitaure schnauzer (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

As I do when I hunt, I spent most of my time shooting the Henry Repeating Arms .30-30 lever gun from the kneel. I also shot leaning against a tree, as well as using various stumps and cedar tree branches as a rest. From all of these positions, striking a 5″ steel plate at 100 yards wasn’t a big challenge. I hate shooting from the prone – a back injury has made this pretty painful for me – but the rifle itself shoulders and is supported fine from this position as well.

Even without a steady rest, shooting solely from the kneel, I have 100 percent confidence that I could take pretty much any animal in the lower 48 with this rifle with one round, save only the biggest of the brown bears. And if I was shooting in a blind, or off a solid rest, I know I could make those deer, black bear, and pig shots out a lot farther.

Accuracy testing at 200 yards, Henry Repeating RIfles .30-30 lever gun (courtesy Jon Wayne Taylor for The Truth About Guns)

Shooting off bags, I got a consistent 2 1/4 inch group at 100 yards. But, as noted above, the caliber is fully capable of sufficient energy well past that. Is the rifle? Yes. Shooting off a front bag only, at 200 yards, I was hitting 5 1/2 inch five-shot groups. And a few of them were better.

Accuracy testing Henry Repeating Rifles .30-30 lever gun from 150 yards (courtesy Jon Wayne Taylor for The Truth About Guns)

Note: you’ll have a solid 6-inch or so drop at that range if you’re sighted in at 100. That group gets you in the vitals, and the limiting factor for me at least wasn’t the rifle or caliber, it was my eyes. If I want to guarantee getting into a 6″ target, 200 yards is about all my eyes will handle with open sights like these. A double ghost ring can take me farther, but I lose them entirely in low light. With a scope I have no doubt this is a 300 yard gun. And that’s from a cartridge invented 120 years ago shot from a gun invented 145 years ago.

In short, the Henry Repeating Arms .30-30 lever gun is a beautiful, accurate, reliable rifle. At around $800 on the street it’s an heirloom quality piece for a sensible price. As RF would say, what’s not to love?

SPECIFICATIONS

Action Type: Lever
Caliber: .30-30
Capacity: 5 rounds
Length:
39″
Barrel Length:
20″
Weight:
8.3 lbs.
Stock:
Straight-grip American walnut with buttplate
Sights:
Fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear with brass beaded front
M.S.R.P.:
$950.00

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * *
An American classic. The American classic? Could be.

Fit and Finish: * * * * 
The brass is a high polish all around and just gorgeous. The details are all just right and the wood is great. Great, but not incredible. Really, I’m taking a star off for not having breathtaking wood, partly because I want Henry to make one of these with breathtaking wood.

Accuracy * * * * *
For an open-sighted gun with semi-buckhorn sights, it shoots as well as my eyes will let it. An absolute deer slayer inside 200 yards just out of the box.

Ergonomics * * * * *
This is an 8.3 lbs .rifle that’s 39″ long. It’s easy to walk with, easy to maneuver in a blind, and super easy to hold and shoot in any position. It’s a brush gun that’ll be good when you get out of the brush and have to take a 200 yard shot across a clearing.

Reliability * * * * *
All 100 rounds were shot, and maybe my shoulder is a little worse for the wear, but the gun isn’t at all. A good clean and shine-up and it looks as good as new, and not a single hiccup of any kind. This rifle’s usefulness will likely outlive yours, and certainly mine.

Customize This: * * *
Sling.

Overall * * * * *
The gun ran as long as rounds got cycled and a trigger got pulled, and it shot well enough for anything in the Texas hill country. It’s with a heavy heart that I’ll be handing this one back, but I know it’s going to a good home.

comments

  1. avatar Jason says:

    I hope “Golem’s ring” is a reference to something in Jewish literature that I’m missing, instead of Tolkien’s classic character, Gollum.

    1. avatar daniel says:

      Clay guardians don’t really see a need for rings, it’s probably a mispelled reference to LOTR.
      On another note, the Golem is like a massive open carry when you’re forbidden from weapons in the city of Prague. (It’s a pretty interesting story)

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I am the guy that stood up, in the theater, to sing along with the Dwarves Song during the Hobbit. And yet, once again, I am out-nerded here.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        I’m honored?

        If it makes you feel better, on the opening day of Star Trek: Generations, when the saucer section of the Enterprise E crash-landed, I was in the front row. You could cut the shock in the packed theater with a knife.

        So I stood up in a crouch, made the appropriate hand signal, and yelled, “SAFE”. The house erupted in laughter, and for a good minute after, you could hear people saying, “safe”, to the folks around them.

        But I haven’t seen the Hobbit movies yet.

        1. avatar auldzalt says:

          I was stationed aboard Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and had just pulled into Hawaii. Went to a movie in Honolulu because part of TOP GUN was filmed aboard the Chucky V. The lights go off, curtain starts to open, did I mention that about half of the Tomcat crew members were in attendance? A friend of mine from one of the SH-3 War Winnebago squadrons yells “If you can’t hover your queer.” Most of the audience laughed, fighter pilots are humor impaired anyways.

        2. avatar John M says:

          *NCC 1701-D, not E, crashed in Generations ?

    3. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      That ring wasn’t really Gollum’s, no matter what he told you. It belonged to a Mr. Sauron.

    4. avatar John L. says:

      I suspect a smell checker struck again…

      1. avatar Tom w/a Glock says:

        My mother was the best “smell checker” on the planet until age dimmed her sense of smell.
        I’m not not sure any of want to know where you’ve stuck ~your~ smell checker!

  2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    They make a beautiful rifle. I had the .22 mag Henry. But the drop of the stock made it so I couldn’t get any cheek weld.
    Looks as though the stock is a bit taller on this. I would still favor the .45-70.

  3. avatar Rimfire says:

    Good evaluation! Lever guns still have a place in America. After years of lugging around other guns I returned to my roots and grabbed the 94 Winchester. Hunting became fun carrying that gun, lightweight and just fits the carry hand so well. I am in Wisconsin, so no need for a long range cannon, the old 30-30 does just fine year after year.
    Carrying Dad’s gun fills me with pride, keeping a family tradition alive as well. Yes, we know that they are not for every hunting situation, but for me it is the perfect solution, even 121 years later.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    My last lever gun was a .30-30 marlin my son took over. Except for rimfires all my lever guns have been .30-30.

    My first was a brand new winchester that cost less than a hundred bucks.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “My first was a brand new winchester that cost less than a hundred bucks.” – yeah but that long ago you could still trade scalps for one.

      1. avatar Tim Going says:

        I’m only 25, and my first gun was a ’94 .30-30 that my dad traded a handmade tomahawk and a leather saddlebag for. And if that isn’t the most Native American thing I’ll ever say, then I don’t know what is!

      2. avatar jwm says:

        I miss the days when you could kill and scalp an enemy. Take his horses, burn his shit and abuse his women and not have to do a bunch of paperwork.

        Kinda takes all the fun out of doing a genocide on an indiginous population. 🙂

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          Its the paperwork that really is the problem isn’t it? Everyone hates paperwork. It takes the fun out of everything

          🙂

        2. avatar Dean Carpenter says:

          Move to Iran and blend in. The horses may be hard to find these days.

  5. avatar Art out West says:

    Dang, I need to get a lever gun. No collection is complete without one.

    Then again, no gun collection is ever complete. Is it?

    1. avatar David B says:

      My wife says mine is. “Do you really need a 4th gun?” If she only knew, if she only knew.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        I assume she meant “Do you need a 4th gun…on you right now?” And I mean come on, that’s a fair question.

        1. avatar David B says:

          Lol. 3 is the most I’ve ever carried and felt silly doing it and it was more of a doing-it-to-do-it.
          In case you’re wondering, NAA .22 mag, Taurus 738, and an LCR.
          Speaking of the LCR, I hate that gun. The recoil with SD loads brutalizes my hand when shooting one handed. Firm grip, high grip, whatever–it hurts. But, I still carry it. It works. Just hope I never have to use it. Normal EDC is G26.

      2. avatar Art out West says:

        If your wife still knows exactly how many guns you have, then that is a good sign that you have too few.

        Your wife should say something like: “You already have a bunch of guns. Do you really need more?”

        3 Might actually be a pretty reasonable limit.

        3 rimfire rifles
        3 rimfire pistols
        3 rimfire revolvers
        3 shotguns
        3 Modern sporting rifles
        3 Bolt action centerfire hunting rifles
        3 milsurp rifles
        3 lever action rifles
        3 pocket pistols
        3 full size centerfire revolvers
        3 full size centerfire pistols
        3 black powder firearms
        3 more miscellaneous firearms in whatever category you prefer

        That gives us a total of 39 firearms. Let’s throw in one more and make it 40 just for the heck of it. I think 40 would do it for me.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          40? You mean in your truck, right?

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

        3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Three … is a magic number.

  6. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    The weight and lack of a loading gate put it in the “no” column for me. It sure is pretty though.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      The steel version has a round barrel and only weighs 7 lbs. I see the advantage in the Henry loading system in a purely hunting weapon where you’re probably unloading the weapon frequently, but for a defensive weapon the loading gate in the receiver makes more sense.

  7. avatar Michael S. says:

    The wife bought me one of these (steel receiver made in WI) for Christmas. I just called to send it back today. It shoots wonderfully, and is beautiful from a fit and finish standpoint. But the magazine won’t hold more than 2 rounds without the brass tube jamming on a round, keeping it from going all the way down. No amount of jiggling, tilting, or turning can make it close.

    This is my second Henry, the first being a Frontier Model .22 that is the most accurate .22 I’ve ever owned. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one – and a chance to fix it – based upon that experience. Given modern QC and manufacturing methods, this shouldn’t be an issue. Especially when the gun was inspected by three or four individuals.

    1. avatar Michael S. says:

      Wanted to add that mine will be wearing an optic once repaired. I’m leaning towards a 1-4×24 Viper PST (capped turrets) to be able to mount it super low while having the benefit of a 30mm tube’s additional light. Maybe a VX-3 in 2-7×32 at most. The sights are great, but dawn and dusk whitetail hunting and irons don’t go together with my eyes.

      1. avatar WedelJ says:

        That will be an interesting looking, yet (IMO) well thought out pairing. Short-to-medium range gun with a short-to-medium range optic, and yet also combining the most classic of classics with the newest of new. I may have to follow suit!

  8. avatar Fuque says:

    My wife has put the kibosh on anymore gun purchases until she gets her browning Buck.
    But a lever action is on the list.

  9. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    That Henry does look nice.

    ‘Nuther Model 94 30-30 hand-me-down owner here. I just love hunting with that rifle.

    On the 30-30 and recoil, with H4895, reduced loads for the 130 gr Speer HCFN recoil little more than a light .22. It’s a GREAT plinking load for the little ones to practice with, and Hodgdon calls it suitable for hunting.

    It’s just such a fun caliber and rifle combo all around. I’ve considered a Contender barrel in 30-30 Win as well.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      The 110 grain fmj intended for the m1 carbine was a very usefull light load in the .30-30 in my youth. Once you learned the difference in POI between those and the heavy loads you have a pretty decent way to knock rabbits and squirrels down at ranges out to 50 yards.

  10. avatar Geoff PR says:

    An ‘.06 has better terminal performance than .45-70?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Geoff PR, assuming you mean the .30-06 vs. the .45-70, absolutely yes. There is no comparison. The .30-06 has almost twice the energy at 200 yards compared to the .45-70.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Mr. Taylor,

        It all depends on your application. If your shots are limited to 150 yards or less, I’ll take a rifle in .45-70 Government every time over a rifle in .30-06.

        Remember, on the .45-70 Government platform, you can expect a muzzle velocity around 2,100 fps with a 325 grain .45 caliber bullet. (That’s almost the same muzzle velocity as the .30-30 Winchester cartridge and yet the bullet is twice as heavy!) That large, heavy bullet is going to be much more effective at dropping a moose or even a charging bison or grizzly bear than a .30 caliber, 180 grain bullet exiting the muzzle at 2,700 fps.

        As I recently heard from someone, “There is no replacement for displacement.” That .30-06 bullet may be whizzing along faster and do more damage within a few inches of the point of impact, but it slows down rapidly and creates much less damage at slower velocities. The .45-70 bullet might impact a little bit slower, but it is going to maintain a much higher velocity, much deeper into the animal target and create much more horrific damage, much deeper into an animal. While that difference doesn’t matter on a broadside shot of an average deer, it is a night-and-day difference when shooting a beast like a moose, bison, or grizzly.

        Like I said, it all depends on your application. If I am concerned about dropping a moose, bison, or grizzly within 100 yards, I want the .45-70 Government. If I am concerned about hunting deer out to 300 yards, then I want a .30-06. If I want to hunt moose, bison, or grizzly out to 400 yards, then I want .50 BMG er, uh, .338 Lapua!

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          Well said, sir.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        Malarkey!

        Buffalo Bore and Grizzly load .45-70 “+P” that generate 3500-3800 foot pounds at the muzzle with 22″ barrels. My stainless 24″ barrel is good for a bit more energy than that. Those big, heavy .458 slugs just hit harder than .308 slugs at 2700-3000 FPS. The .45-70 drops deer with much more authority than the .30-06 at close range, even with Hornady 325 grain slugs running a good bit slower than the numbers listed on the side of the box.

        The .45-70 generates a whole lot more momentum than the ’06 and makes big ‘ol holes. That changes fast given range with the horrific ballistic coefficients of .458 slugs.

        This based on knocking down deer with both a stainless 24″ barreled .30-06 Winchester 70 and stainless 24″ Marlin XLR. If I had a shot next to a fence, and needed to drop a buck in its tracks, I’d want either a .458 slug or the extra 300-400 FPS of a .300 Win Mag.

  11. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I’m thinking my next purchase will be a lever gun probably in .30-30, although I’m leaning toward the Marlin 336BL. (I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed when I open the box though.) I have large hands and standard loops feel like I’m having to cram my fingers in them bare handed and I think they’d be just about useless with gloves.

    The Henry is a little heavy and comes with a price tag that’s a bit higher than I’d like to pay, but I haven’t ruled it out completely. I’m curious how the trigger is because I’ve heard the Marlin’s isn’t very good. I can see the advantage of the Henry loading system (kind of like a hinged floor plate on a bolt gun, but I’d prefer a loading gate. This will be my only unscoped rifle and will double as a self defense weapon and tactical reloads are a consideration. Seeing as how JWT’s 150gr. load killed 2 deer with one shot I think I’ll pick up some Federal 125gr. hollow points for defensive duty.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      After taking a look at Henry’s website I see that you can get a large loop lever for any of their rifles for $50. I looked for one for a Marlin 336C and only came up with a Wild West Guns lever for $180, which is why I’m leaning toward the 336BL. Definitely another plus for Henry. Also the steel .30-30 with a round barrel only weighs 7 lbs. and it’s priced a bit lower too.

      1. avatar WedelJ says:

        Sounds like you just made your decision! BTW, I have had a Henry for a while and everyone loves it.

    2. avatar Morgan Orlins says:

      Governor, you asked about the trigger on the Marlin? I have BOTH the Marlin 20″ in 30-30 cal, and two Henry rifles (22mag & 357). The trigger difference is tremendous. Both of my Henrys break cleanly at about 4lbs. The triggers on my 357 and 22mag are exquisite, and add to the accuracy of the rifles.

      The Marlin 30-30 is a different matter. Although I shoot it very accurately at less than 150 yds., I have to work REALLY hard at that because of the worst trigger imaginable. It’s frikkin CONCRETE! It sucks. If not for that awful trigger, the Marlin would be a 5-7 inch shot group at 200-230 yards. But the best I can do with it is 8-9 inches at that range. I hope that I’ve helped?

  12. avatar michael says:

    I just bought a henry 30/30 new n box from my buddy for 300 bucks.Havent shot it yet, but has a ghostring sight on back. Beautiful rifle. Also have a 1978 marlin 30/30. The henry is way prettier than the marlin, but like em both. One good thing about levers is they dont take up alot of real estate up in the safe! Lol.

  13. avatar PeterW says:

    Love shooting my 336 but it’s expensive to feed for plinking and too much recoil for my wife.. must needs some reloading equipment and I can address both issues.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Indeed. As I mentioned above, the 30-30 reduced load with H4895 and 130 grainers is a nice little plinking round. Very little recoil at all, even with a light rifle like a Model 94 (no scope).

  14. avatar kenneth says:

    Now you need to talk RF into a lever action, pistol calibered, carbine version. Like a .454 Casull, that you can still use .45 Colt in.

    1. avatar Chuck says:

      You mean like the ones that Rossi makes? They have a 16″ “Trapper” in stainless, or the 20″ version in blued.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        They also make a 24″ model, and a 20″ model with an octagonal barrel and a hard case receiver. The latter is on my wish list in 38/.357, which is cheaper to shoot than .45 Colt. All run a bit over $500 NIB if you look around. they are built on an action based on the 1892 Winchester.

  15. avatar larry says:

    My 1984 Marlin 336 30-30 has taken its fare share of WhiteTail. It is my favorite gun hands down.

  16. avatar anaxis says:

    While I personally prefer the magazine tube vs. a loading gate for the reasons JWT mentioned, over the years I have run into used lever-guns for sale with dented mag tubes. With that in mind, I won’t shoot my old Winchester 1906 off anything harder than a sandbag, ruck, or tree branch.

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    I enjoy lever guns and I like the .30-30 chambering too. If I was allowed to hunt deer with a rifle (MA is a shotgun only state for deer), a lever action .30-30 would be a good choice, as would a bolt action .243. Alas, neither is allowed.

    The Henry would be a useful self-defense tool except for it’s limited capacity. Topping off is a time consuming process, unlike a side-loader which can be topped off on the fly (or on the run). So, a lever gun would be a safe queen, and not a cheap one to run, reserved for trips to the range. Sigh.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      In MA, is it ok to shoot a with a rifled barrel out of a shotgun?

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Yes. Slugs and slug guns are permitted. Rifled barrels are permitted. Because hunting land is tight here, most shots are at 50 yards and under, and rifle bullets travel too far for safety — so says the DEM.

        I don’t agree but I understand. It’s one of the very few MA firearms regulations that actually has a reasonable basis.

        1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

          More than a few states in the mid-west ban high powered rifles for deer hunting.

    2. avatar paulWTAMU says:

      Hell, if you get one in 357 mag they hold what, 10 or so shots? I wouldn’t feel capacity constrained with 10 rounds of .357 magnum out of a 20″ barrel.

  18. avatar Thundervoice says:

    I want to give this rifle to my son-in-law in the not too distant future. Has anybody had any engraving done on this rifle? I want to embellish it some before giving it to him.

  19. avatar Yngvar says:

    How much ground clearance do you need to reload from the prone position?

    1. avatar Ing says:

      In my experience (with a Marlin lever-action .30-30), you’re going to want about 8 inches or so to be sure you don’t bang your knuckles into the ground when you work the lever. You can do it without leaving the prone position, though you might have to adjust your arm position a little. To reload the magazine, no clearance whatsoever. You could lay the rifle right on the ground if you had to.

  20. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    look for a high rate of rifling twist in the handgun chamberings if you want to throw the heavy bullets. my old 16″ 94ae trapper wont spin any .44’s weightier than 270gr without tumbling.
    an aperture sight will increase the sighting length if mounted behind the ejection port.

  21. avatar Pascal says:

    I tested one at the Firearms Festival then when I was done, I found a quite place to make a call home to CT to my FFL and purchased one in .45-70. Why? because I also have single action pistol in .45-70 pistol 🙂

  22. avatar Benzo says:

    GREAT article, JWT. I never considered owning a lever gun myself, but now I’m trying to decide exactly which variation to get (first)…thanks for that!

  23. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I bought a Henry Big Boy in .44 spec/mag a couple of years back to celebrate making it through prostate cancer. Its a great rifle – accurate, smooth action, beautiful wood and steel. As a rule I don’t name my firearms, but this one is called Marge in honor of my wife of 39 years. Every man needs a good woman and a good rifle and I’ve been blessed with both.

  24. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Tomahawks and knives and lever guns oh my! Very nice article. I’m looking to get all 3. I would say essential for prepping(there’s that word). Oh at least hanging out in the woods…

  25. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I looked at a used Henry pump gun today. It looked really nice. I plan on eventually grabbing their cheapest .22lr rifle for plinking. It just looks like a heck of a good time.

  26. avatar Mark N. says:

    The big question I have about the Henrys is the action they are built upon. The original Henry design was limited, as I recall, to pistol cartridges because the toggle-link action was not strong enough for heavy rifle cartridges. although the 1876 Winchester could handle less powerful rifle rounds, it wasn’t until winchester collaborated with J M Browning on the 1886 rifle, replacing the toggle action with the locking breach, that Winchester lever actions guns were up to the power of any available rifle cartridge. The famed 1894 is the same Browning action. So what did Henrys so to beef up the action, and is it still the same toggle link from 1866 that makes it difficult to tear down for maintenance?

    1. avatar Michael S. says:

      The current Henry receivers are based largely upon the Marlin action, sans the side loading gate, of course. That’s why they’re able to handle 30-30 and full power Buffalo Bore 45-70 loads.

  27. avatar Kap says:

    Article brought me back to my first Rifle I used as a young man which was a sears Lever action .22 {sorry to say I sold that rifle when I went off too the South East Asia War Games!}
    Prior to this event for Hunting I used My Dads Model 94, I found that the Action would Rattle while still hunting! that rifle disappeared into the DNR’s care, {Long story}, A Marlin was bought and used for years, better rifle, solid lockup! Dad passed rifle went to older brother!
    Refused too buy or use use a rifle after War Games until Daughter took Hunter Safety and wanted to go hunting so bought a JC Penney’s version 30-30 made by Marlin still going strong 30 some odd years later, Semper Paratus!

  28. avatar oldgreyguy says:

    I have a 1953 Model 94. It’s not for sale. I use it every season. I’m trying to decide which Grandson to leave it to.

  29. avatar Sian says:

    Henry make a rifle with a loading gate PLZ

  30. avatar JoeVK says:

    My father-in-law bought a brand new .22lr Henry when my son was still an infant, with plans of giving it to him, as well as teaching him how to shoot, and how to clean it and, most importantly, how to handle it safely. Unfortunately, he passed away when my son was 3, so the giving part is now up to my mother-in-law, and the teaching part is up to myself, my wife, and my dad. He just has to prove he’s mature and responsible enough for it. Though at this point, he’s proven he’s a 14 year old who’s as responsible and mature as a 7 year old.

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