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Henry’s All-Weather lever action rifle has a lot in common with the other Henry .30-30 rifle I reviewed. Once again, Henry has succeeded in making a handy, accurate and extremely durable lever action rifle. That said, the All-Weather long gun is a huge departure from their standard product line.

As you’d expect, Henry All Weather rifle’s no Golden or Silver Boy. Its receiver isn’t shiny brass, or silver. There’s no fancy engraving commemorating first responders or veterans. Instead, Henry built a rifle that’s the ultimate in utility and durability with hard-chromed exterior metal surfaces, save the sights.

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Hard chrome is about the most durable finish you can put on a gun. It won’t chip or flake. It’s more corrosion resistant than many stainless steels used on firearms. Another change: the wood. On the previous models I’ve tested, Henry’s always used a nice grade of American walnut for its stocks. This time it’s an almost black stained hardwood with an additional weather coating on top to further seal out moisture.

The rear of the All-Weather rifle’s stock doesn’t sport the typical polished butt plate. Instead it boasts a comfortable and well-made rubber butt pad.

The stock is simple and, considering the purpose of the All-Weather rifle, looks good. I can’t help but think that it would look a little better with some checkering on the grip and fore-stock. Not only would checkering improve the appearance of an otherwise plain looking gun, it would improve a shooter’s grip in the wet. The large number of low cost laser engraving services available make basic checkering cheap and easy. Whether not it wold degrade the Henry’s protective finish is an interesting question.

The All-Weather’s barrel isn’t octagonal, just a utilitarian 20-inch round design. It’s also bit lighter than other “Big Boy” models. The steel-framed .30-30 version weighs in at seven pounds empty, making it an extremely handy gun when working in brush or carrying it all day long.

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You’d think a seven-pound .30-30 would get a little rough on the shoulder after a while, but the All-Weather’s rubber recoil pad is one of the better executed designs I’ve seen on a lever gun, and greatly helps to diminish some of the bite of 100 rounds of testing. My 11-year-old son shot a few tubes full of hunting rounds through the All-Weather. He came out unbruised and none the worse for wear. As for carry, the rifle also comes with sling studs, which go well with its overall “working gun” feel.

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The All-Weather was not without its disappointments. First, the silky smooth feel of the action I’ve come to know and love when testing Henry’s just isn’t there. It’s harder to get the action started, which pulls the gun down too much if you’re trying to cycle while still watching your target. My son wasn’t able to cycle the rifle unless he switched his grip. Then, once started, lever doesn’t glide. It has a few catches, requiring a bit too much work to get back into full battery.

The real setback: loading difficulty.

As I’ve said in other reviews, I prefer the tube magazine design over a loading gate. It’s faster to both load and unload, it’s safer than having to unload by cycling the action each time, and your rounds don’t end up in the dirt after you’ve shot once, bagged your deer, and then want to eject the rest. With a little practice, you can load the Henry rifle full-up faster than you can any pump action shotgun.

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But not on this rifle. With as few as three rounds in the tube, the inner magazine tube used for loading jammed over and over again while being pressed down on top of the rounds. Each time it took quite a bit of cajoling to get it all the way closed. On top of that, I had to hold the lever closed — otherwise the loading would cause the lever to pop open and the action to open up. Hilarity did not ensue. The more rounds in the magazine, the harder the problem to fix. I never could get five rounds in total.

Other than the loading issue, the rifle functioned well.

Once the rounds were loaded, I had no failures of any kind, with any of the 150, 170, or 180 grain rounds I tried. I fired both the Hornady LEVERevolution as well as the traditional round-nosed and flat-point bullets through the gun with zero problem. As usual, I lubed the gun up prior to firing, this time with Rogue American Apparel’s Diamond Back Gun Oil, and performed no cleaning or maintenance of the gun at all for the remained or the review. I put 100 rounds through the rifle in all.

As surprised as I was with the loading problems, I was just as surprised with the rifle’s accuracy. This time, though, in a very good way.

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I didn’t clean the gun prior to firing for accuracy. I shot my first few groups with the standard hand load I use for my other .30-30s. Thirty-two grains of IMR 4064 pushing a 150gr RN bullet makes my Winchester 94 turn into a far more accurate rifle than most people would expect. It did the same for the last Henry .30-30 I reviewed, too.

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But each rifle is an environment into itself, and the Henry All-Weather wasn’t such a big fan. The All-Weather never got smaller than the three-inch mark with this round. As it turned out, the answer for this particular rifle was store-bought Federal 170 grain SPRNs. With this off-the-shelf round, I was punching 2 1/4″ five-round groups off of bags at 100 yards. With iron sights, that’s as good as I think I could shoot anything.

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Speaking of sights. Henry does them well. I liked them on the Silver Series .44magnum, and I very much like them on the All Weather. The fully adjustable traditional elevator ramp rear sight has the same white diamond that really helps me line up the front sight, especially in low light. The front sight is the familiar brass bead, but this one is smaller with a thinner post than the .44.

All in all it makes for a sight that jumps right out in just about any level of light, and still allows me to get precise enough to take ethical shots on game out to 200 yards. Maybe more.

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This is the fourth Henry I’ve reviewed. The previous three got high marks. The All-Weather falls under the high bar set by those previous guns. While the lever gun’s durability is beyond doubt, it’s also true that more traditional rifles last generations with minimal upkeep. Hunters and guides in coastal areas would benefit from the All-Weather’s hard chrome treatment, but its flawed function detracts from its utility.

Specifications: Henry All-Weather .30-30

Model Number: H009AW
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle
Caliber: .30-30
Capacity: 5 rounds
Overall Length: 39″
Barrel Length: 20″ Round
Weight: 7 lbs.
Stock: Straight-grip Stained hardwood with rubber buttpad
Sights: Fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear, and brass beaded front sight
Finish: Polished
MSRP: $999.95

Style and Customization * * *
It’s a lever gun, but the utilitarian appearance is, well, untilitarian. Some checkering to the wood, or perhaps a laminate would have spiced thing up a bunch. There’s some customization you can get from Henry, but not with the same variety as some of their other rifles. The receiver comes ready to mount a rail for optics, and this is the one of Henry’s lever guns where an optic would look good riding on top.

Reliability * * *
Although I had no issues feeding rounds once loaded, I had a lot of issues during the loading process.

Accuracy * * * * *
With some rounds, very good accuracy. Wth a fairly inexpensive store-bought round that’s perfect for game, exceptional.

Overall * * *
The All-Weather’s durability and accuracy don’t make up for the less than stellar feel of the action and the difficulty loading.

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31 Responses to Gun Review: Henry All-Weather Lever Action .30-30

  1. SKS with a cheapo Tasco scope. Never jam, never fail. Drop it in the mud, still goes bang. Never clean it, still goes bang. Use it to pry a deer carcass into the truck, still goes bang. Will stop anything a 30/30 will, and you can always get all 10 rds in the magazine.

    • I always had a thing for the SKS. While functionally obsolete before it was even adopted, it was a great pinnacle of self-loading rifles in the traditionalist style. Most Garand shooters will find the battery of arms familiar and you don’t feel bad abusing it like you would a WWII antique.

      • I’m hoping I get a chance to experience another love affair with one if Trump makes those EOs go away. And those green crates with two spam cans of cheap ammo in them…

    • I have owned many an SKS and have found their reliability to be mythical. I would also like to know the recipe to launch a 180 grain round in the SKS.

      • What problems did you experience?

        The only problem I’ve ever had with an SKS was the rifle firing more than one round per pull of the trigger due to a moron former owner.

        • Yes, I have also seen slam fires from an SKS, but those were not due to user error. If I had to guess I’d go with a broken firing pin, which is not terribly uncommon. More common is a failure to fully cycle. Sometimes they bleed off too much gas and there isn’t quite enough force to eject that round and seat the next one. Good guns for sure, but, like every machine they do fail. And, of course, all the ones I’ve seen fail were used guns.

        • I didn’t have a broken firing pin. The previous owner(s) didn’t realize the gun had been soaked in cosmoline so they never cleaned the actual bolt properly. The rest of the gun was so clean you could eat off of it. It would fire 2-4 rounds per pull of the trigger because there was so much junk caked in there that the pin would only retract sometimes. Near as I can tell that’s why the rifle was sold; because the owner couldn’t figure out why it was firing repeatedly.

          Dropping this nice, clean looking bolt into a bowl of mineral spirits turned the liquid black almost immediately. Soaking the bolt in mineral spirits for a week solved the problem. Since then, I’ve never had a problem with that gun or any other SKS. Maybe I’m just lucky.

        • I am no gunsmith but I bought an SKS at a good price from a guy who could not get the front sight adjusted. Dried out cosmoline. I sprayed it every day with Liquid Wrench for about a week until I could finally get the sight to break free. I then dripped RemOil on it and it has been fine since. The firing pin would not rattle when I shook the bolt and I was concerned about a potential slam fire. A shot of Liquid Wrench and then a touch of RemOil. Problem solved. One of these days I will get a lever action, although probably a .357. I shouldered a Rossi at an LGS and it fit perfectly.

      • strych9, you aren’t lucky, you just haven’t shot all of them. Which would be a challenge considering the number made. The vast majority of the SKSs out there have no significant reliability issues, but of course, since it is a machine made by humans, some of them will. The argument of “never fails, never jams” with any whole model of gun always loses. That gun hasn’t been made and never will be. I can honestly say that I have a pistol with over 30,000 rounds through it that has yet to have a malfunction. That pistol is my Berretta 92FS. Is every 92FS that way? Nope. That doesn’t make it a perfect gun, but that doesn’t make the ones that wouldn’t go 30k bad guns either.

        • They only made like 15-17 million of them. I’m up for the challenge as long as someone else pays for the ammo.

  2. $1000 for a .30-30 that has loading issues to the point it won’t accept a full mag? Thanks, but no thanks.

    Henry makes nice stuff but this sounds like a turkey.

  3. Your testing sample has the same problem my steel receiver version did. The lever would also come loose while loading. A trip to the factory left it with more battle scars than solutions to problems. Henry bought it back from me, but it was still a bad experience. It was a Christmas gift from my wife on our son’s first Christmas. It was supposed to be the gun I would eventually teach him to hunt with. They may make great guns, but they’ll not be getting a dime from me anytime soon.

    • I’ve reviewed several Henry rifles now, and shot very many more. This is the first time I’ve seen this issue. It was disappointing but I still have an extremely high regard for Henry.

      • I have another Henry, a Frontier Model .22, which I have nothing but praises for. The CS experience (at least from a communications standpoint) was also excellent. Opening the box after it was returned to me and seeing unfinished metal on replacement parts, a front sight almost off the barrel, and a new rear stock (the first one broke while they were fixing it) that was several shades too dark to match the fore end and had been oversprayed with lacquer (milky white runoff) kind of ruined my perception of them. They did buy it back, but I contend they shouldn’t have had to. I would gladly give them another try in the future, but I they need to deal with their growing pains before that happens.

    • Your story makes me genuinely sad. No, really.
      I’d always taken Henry’s quality for granted and never thought I’d hear of someone buying anything from them that they regretted.
      What could they do for you to give them another chance?

      • Nothing. This is a known issue that they have been dealing with for years. The fact that it it is still an issue on factory new rifles doesn’t bode well, IMO. I gave Mr. Imperato the opportunity to replace the rifle they messed up or refund the cost thereof. He apologized and said he felt it best to issue a refund. I would’ve preferred one last shot at “making it right,” but that was his choice.

        Shame, really. Before I got to open this on Christmas, I was already eyeballing the 45-70.

  4. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Henrys. It’s a shame this one failed to live up to the others. I’m curious if the feed issues were limited to just this one particular rifle you tested, or if it’s a known issue. That would probably make or break whether or not I’d consider buying one.

  5. Are loading gates patented? I would gladly plop down cash for a beautifully American-made lever gun if these things had a loading gate instead of a flimsy copper tube that has to be removed.

  6. I’m not sure what is worse, failing one of the key gun safety rules (hand in front of muzzle) or cycling the action to unload the gun. I know the action is open when unloading the tube, but it still seems wrong to put your hand in front of the barrel. Their tube fed magazine and lack of any bullet retention during cycling are the two things that I hate the most from Henry’s. If your gun is slightly canted to the right when cycling the bullet falls out.

    • So the rifle pulls the bullet out of the cartridge and then dumps the bullet if you hold the rifle wrong? That is doubtful, perhaps the ammunition was defective.

    • “If your gun is slightly canted to the right when cycling the bullet falls out.”
      This is in direct contradiction with my experience with any Henry levergun.

      Also, I much prefer the tube magazine and find it faster, cleaner, and safer than the loading gate style.

  7. Well, that’s a bit of a bummer. You don’t suppose the balky action and mag tube issues are related to the hard chrome finish by any chance?

    As an aside, my visiting Texas cousin has a Marlin 336W. While it looks a bit better than some of the horror stories I’ve heard, it’s action was quite stiff. LOTS of Hoppe’s #9 and LOTS of RemOil and LOTS of cranking that lever have helped it somewhat but it’s still a good deal stiffer than it ought to be.

    Tom

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