When Henry Repeating Arms revealed their box-fed lever-action Long Ranger series, I asked to test one in .308 Winchester. Without a round fired, I was impressed and intrigued. Why had Henry departed from its traditional tube-fed designs?

“Because customers asked for it,” Henry GM Andy Wickstrom said, simply enough. The company figured they could make money selling a good product that customers wanted. That’s the long and short of it; the best plan for success and one I rarely see followed. But turning the plan into reality wasn’t easy.

Of course, Henry’s  motto “Made in America or Not Made at All” was non-negotiable. Then they had to re-think everything. The company didn’t want to build the same gun as its competition, yet it had to be recognizable as a Henry. So they used familiar grips, slightly modified. The same finishing, with different applications. A smooth action, using an entirely different mechanism. And a totally redesigned trigger.

I’ve taken points off Henry rifles in the past for good, but not great furniture. Not this one. The Long Ranger’s wood isn’t AAA Fancy grade, but it’s well figured and the model tested is at least a Fancy A grade American Walnut…maybe closer to AA.

The stock and fore-end grip areas are deeply checkered with a simple pattern. The wood-to-metal fit is very good, but not perfect. On the model I received, the shoulder stock fit is perfect, but the fore-end to end cap fit isn’t. (If you haven’t fit end caps to rifle stocks and become a neurotic nerd about it, you’ll never notice.) That stock includes a quality recoil pad and sling studs.

A smooth working action is a Henry hallmark, and this one is no different. Except it is. If anything, it’s better. After spraying a little RAA gun oil into the Long Ranger’s action, I was rewarded with butter-smooth cyling.

The Long Ranger’s action springs open and then quickly engages the exposed hammer to drive the bolt rearward. In fast action, the bolt’s about a thumbs width from my nose — if I keep a good cheek-stock weld. Thanks to that easy cycling action, that weld is easy to maintain.

I can cycle the Long Ranger with just my pinky, without any pause. In fact, with the hammer back, if you point the rifle in the air and “break the seal” on the action, the rifle will open completely on its own with just the weight of the bolt. A bolt that’s chromed steel with a six-lug rotary head.

The Long Ranger doesn’t have an external safety. If you want to safe the weapon after cocking, gently release the hammer. Similar to the traditional Henry lever guns, the Long Ranger employs the proven in-hammer sliding transfer bar as a safety. When you pull the trigger, the rifle will fire. That’s the only time.

The Long Ranger’s magazine fits flush into the bottom of the action. It’s released via a black, flush-fit round button. The magazine to metal fit was excellent. There’s no wiggling or odd angles to get the magazine to sit or release. Just a press on the slightly curved bottom of the magazine and an audible and tactile click lets you know it’s locked in. It releases with any solid push of the button.

The Long Ranger ships with one magazine (I’d certainly buy another). The lever-action rifle’s trigger is a huge improvement over many other lever guns. It’s just as good, if not better than most of the bolt-action rifles in this price range. After the teeny tiniest bit of pre-travel it breaks cleanly, at what I’d guess to be between three to four pounds.

The model tested was set up for a scope. There’s no front sight and the barrel isn’t cut for one. The receiver is already drilled and tapped and a two-piece Skinner rail set comes installed.

The Long Ranger’s stock geometry works for a scoped gun that’s meant to be hunted. Although the drop and length of pull is similar to traditional Henry models, the Ranger’s straight grip is shorter and the comb is considerably higher. The resulting rifle shoulders quickly and delivers a full view of the scope and reticle to my eye.

If I was going to use this gun from a rest most of the time, I’d opt for the lowest rings I could get. Reaching the hammer wouldn’t be a problem; Henry supplies a hammer spur with each rifle. If you want to use the rifle for snap shooting or firing from the kneel or off a tree, stick with medium height rings. Of course, your body’s geometry will determine how you set the gun.

For those of you who prefer iron sights, Henry makes a version with sights included. For me, a quality scope in fixed four or six power will suffice in magnification for hunting, and likely be more durable than I’ll ever need. I stand by the old rule of 1X per 100 yards for hunting rifles.

The gunmaker’s brain trust decided to chamber the Long Ranger in the three most requested calibers: .223, .243, and .308Win. Next year they’ll branch out to other calibers. And why not? Henry’s already adding machine capacity to meet booming demand. Again, I chose .308 Win.

The Long Ranger lever gun was as reliable as any bolt action rifle I’ve ever shot. Shooting 250 rounds of mixed ammunition revealed no failures to load, eject, fire, etc. The magazine holds four rounds, (4+1). It loaded and unloaded easily, and never gave me any issue locking into the rifle. For the first 215 rounds, I didn’t clean the rifle in any way. The Long Ranger gave me no problems of any kind, with one exception.

After firing 210 rounds through the gun, into my second round of accuracy testing, the HPR 150gr  TTSX BT cartridge was very tight in the chamber. It was the only round where I hand to change my grip and really tug on the lever to get the round to eject. There were no pressure signs on the brass or primer. Measuring the round at 2.705″, it’s the shortest round I tested, and although within SAAMI spec, a little over 1/10″ shorter than Barnes lists for that bullet.

After five rounds, I measured the group, then continued the testing with other rounds. I then cleaned the entire rifle, and tried the round again, with the exact same results. That round was very difficult to eject, no others were. The group with that round was also almost twice as large as some others. I’m intrigued, but the simple answer is that I’ll stay away from the HPR ammo with this rifle.

That HPR round scored a group size of 1 3/4″. That’s a five-shot group from 100 yards, all bagged up (as were the others). For the accuracy testing, I pulled the 6X fixed scope off and used a Vortex Viper 6-24X scope, set at the 24X setting. I took two days to do the accuracy testing, and I took whatever time it took to pull the trigger. (Not exactly hunting conditions.) That 1 3/4″ was the worst of the group, and frankly, good enough for most hunting. The gun did much better with other rounds.

Using Remington’s 168gr Hog Hammer round topped with the Barnes TSX bullet, the gun scored an average of 1.25″ after four five-round groups.

The inexpensive and commonly available Federal Premium 168grain SMK cartridge scored an extremely consistent 1″ group after fully 10 five-round groups. It outperformed the hand load I built to replicate it by a tenth of an inch — all done on a filthy dirty bore.

The five-shot group was particularly telling on this rifle, Many of my three-shot groups were well under one MOA. But 100 yard five-shot one MOA groups with factory rounds from a lever-action rifle is outstanding. I was expecting 1.5 to 2MOA. I was not expecting a Minute of Angle rifle in western guise.

Although that accuracy from the bench is great, this Long Ranger’s real joy is from other positions common in the field. At only seven lbs, with a 20″ barrel, this really is a walk-all-day and shoot-all-day rifle. It’s handy in the brush, but can reach way out there down power line cuts and into the fields when you need to. If you need fast follow-up shots on sounders of running pigs, this rifle will do it. One of the true do-it-all affordable rifles.

I shoot a lot of guns for TTAG. Most of the time, it’s an assignment, and it’s work. Usually, I’m happy to turn a gun back into the office and get my next assignment. This one is different. The Long Ranger is a must-have for me. It will be hanging above the door real soon.

Specifications: Henry Long Ranger Rifle 

Model Number: H014-308
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle
Caliber: .308 7.62X51
Capacity: 4+1
Length: 40.5″
Barrel Length: 20″ Round
Weight: 7 lbs.
Stock: Straight grip checkered American Walnut with butt pad
MSRP: $1014.95 (found online for $50 to $100 less)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style, Fit and Finish * * * * *
The Long Ranger’s bluing is well executed, the checkering is both functional and appealing, and the wood is far better than I would expect at this price range. Little features — how the round magazine release blends into the flat receiver, the bolt’s finish, and the checkering and quality of the wood itself — shows that Henry’s paying attention.

Accuracy * * * * *
I own some two dozen bolt guns. Of all of them even remotely in this price range, only one, the heavier and [$100] more expensive Ruger Hawkeye Predator in 6.5 Creedmor, matches the Long Ranger in out-of-the box accuracy.

Reliability * * * * 9/10th
It may not seem fair to take off anything for what amounts to a sticky bolt, but there’s perfect and there isn’t. But to be perfectly clear, 250 rounds went into the gun, 250 rounds went out the barrel, and all of them fired well.

Overall * * * * *
The American-made Henry Repeating Arms Long Ranger shoulders fast and points like a stick. It’s MOA accurate and oh-so-pretty pretty. The best part: it’s not a bolt gun or an AR. Win.

64 Responses to Gun Review: Henry Long Ranger .308 Rifle

  1. 1. Wow that’s expensive, I’ll buy 2 bolt guns instead
    2. Great accuracy for a lever action ie for a gun Herr Mauser made obsolete a century ago
    3. If you make a 308 detachable magazine rifle that doesn’t fit an AR-10 magazine you are doing it wrong

    • Mag cannot be any larger or the lever won’t cycle. Watch Mrgunsngear’s video review where he explains this. His groups were really tight.

    • There’s still a small (niche?) market of gun buyers who aren’t interested in polymer wonders. A few of us really like walnut and steel (which inherently costs more than plastic and aluminum) and are willing to save up a little longer for it.

      Sure, you could buy two Ruger Americans, Savage Axis etc. for the price, but you you can also buy a hell of a lot of Big Macs for the price of prime rib.

    • If you design a lever gun that takes 20-round AR-10 magazines, you can call it “The Nonfunctional Knuckle Smasher™”.

    • Obviously not a lever gun fan.
      1. Unless you’ve used a Henry, you don’t understand the quality of the worksmanship. Plus, unlike the Browning BLR, this gun is entirely US made at about the same price. And BTW, a Savage bear hunter bolt action has a street price of $1000. A winchester 70 featherweight has a street price of $900
      Except for custom gun manufacturers, Henry’s customer service put’s everyone else to shame. They offered to send a youth stock FREE to a neighbor wh’od bought a 22 and didn’t know there was a youth version.

      2. Mauser made the lever obsolete for military purposes, NOT for hunting. Just how fast can you make a follow up shot with a bolt action compared to a lever? From my experience and others. No way near as fast.

      3. This is a HUNTING rifle. The less crap you have sticking out, the less chance of your rifle getting hung up on something when working through the brush. And if you need 10 rounds to put an animal down, you shouldn’t be hunting at all.

      Another point to ponder. I shoot left handed. I have a .338 Marlin Express that’s a 5 round subMOA gun. Didn’t have to look for a left handed bolt. My sons and my right handed friends can easily shoot it too. Won’t by an AR because the way the action works I get hot gases burning the inside of my nose, but not with a lever gun.

      Any gun that gives bolt accuracy that a leftie can shoot w/o having to look for a gun built specifically for left hand shooting gets a big plus in my book.

      • Don’t leave anything, especially guns to your kids! They won’t appreciate it the same as you did. Better yet, don’t have kids, or a wife!! They’re both useless, unlike your guns, whom you can always rely on!!

  2. I love lever guns! Have had a few over the years including a Winchester in .25-35, awesome little gun! I have an old Marlin 1895 in .38-55 presently, but it needs a LOT of work. Hey Henry, how about a lever gun in .38-55 with a 26″ barrel?

  3. It looks good, but maybe not Henry-ish enough. Maybe they can figure out a new way to load the mag- like the mag is fixed in place and you have to take out the baseplate, spring and follower, then insert the rounds, then put those parts back on.

      • Henry rifles are great, everything about them is nicely done- except for the loading (but that’s my own personal preference). I think they are modern classics. I especially am happy about their new single-shot line, and I hope we see more creative thinking like that from them.

        • Lol! Henry fixes the biggest complaint about their guns on this model and people still give them shit. Ugh.

      • “…that Mrs. Consequence knows about.” And this one is pricey enough to ping the radar.

        More seriously, though, there’s a real danger it would become hers in short order; she’s a woodworker as well as a shooter. I’ve “lost” a good 1911, a very nice Henry lever gun, and have been convinced to convert her AR to wooden furniture….

        There are worse problems to have. 🙂

        • I thought I was good with an AR10 and a bolt action. This just hit the top of the Henrys-to-buy list.

        • Sounds like you need to put some money aside in a savings account she doesn’t know about, and send the statements to an email she doesn’t know about.

  4. Next steps for Henry:

    1. 6.5 Creedmoor: nothing beats 120 GMX Superformance in short action.
    2. “Pistol-grip” buttstock: not an AR abomination, just the swell grip they offer on other rifles.
    3. Threaded barrel
    4. Profit

    • 6.5 Cteedmoor as well as .338 Federal will be two of the additional rounds released later this year. They already have some of their guns suppressor ready. No plans on the pistol grip though.

      • Thanks for the tip. I hope they get around to a pistol grip sooner rather than later. I learned from a Marlin 1895 that the straight stocks just don’t work for me.

        I would be interested in technical details about it, like exact magazine COAL, and whether the bolt lugs lock into a barrel extension or the barrel itself is cut. I believe I read that the barrel is threaded in. I know it’s early days, but the wildcat potential could be there. Thinking now of short magnums like the 6.5 SAUM and 7 WSM especially.

      • How about a .358 Winchester with an 18″ barrel, a 26″ .204 Ruger, and a 16″ .300 Blackout with a threaded barrel and iron sights? Maybe some WSMs?

  5. It’s nice that there are a few options out there for the half dozen or so of us who aren’t really interested in ARs and budget, plastic stocked bolt guns.

    I hope in the near future they offer a Long Ranger in a medium or large bore chambering. I’d pinch pennies for that.

    • Yea, nothing against AR’s, but not my cup of tea. Buddies have ’em & I’ve shot ’em, but no big deal. Much to my surprise, they all absolutely adore my Ruger 77/357 bolt gun. They ask for it, so I oblige.

    • I wasn’t kidding about buying it. Since I wrote this article I keep finding myself taking this gun hunting over many others. So far it has taken 5 deer and 7 pigs.

  6. Sweet! If I wasn’t poor, I’d go buy one of these right now. I love leverguns, and I don’t (yet) have a rifle in the bolt-action niche; this one would fill that niche with more style than any boltie ever could.

  7. Henry’s definitely marketing this rifle hard. I’m curious as to how it compares to the BLR, functionally, because I have a BLR in 7mm-08. I think the Henry’s barrel construction might lend itself to better theoretical accuracy and the trigger is easier to work on because it stays with the receiver. However, it’s more expensive than the BLR (~$100+ more than my SS Lightweight) and it’s heavier. Also, I’m partial to the pistol grip stock and I like the BLR’s trigger travelling with the lever (no pinching), although the trigger isn’t the greatest – needs a trip to Neil Jones, I think.

    • There is an iron sight version available. As for market, yes. They can’t keep up with demand and they are expanding capacity to be able to meet the demand for this line.

  8. I’d think this gun would be attractive to left-handers who are disappointed with the relatively slim pickings among bolt guns. Levers don’t discriminate against left-handed shooters.

    • The hot brass ejects to the right. Not good for lefties. My brother is a lefty and he never liked my marlin .30-30 cause of that right eject.

  9. I didn’t think I would really care about this gun too much but after reading your review I am starting to really want this gun. I am surprised it was that accurate and the trigger is heavier than I would like but I am sure it is very crisp and smooth at least. 1 MOA from a lever gun isn’t bad at all. I might have to get this. Would it go better with a matte or gloss Leupold scope?

  10. Already got a Henry 45-70 (all weather) after your last review. Dont want the wife to divorce me, so standing down for a little while until things cool down 😉

    • There’s no plastic on this gun. Prolonged sitting by an open fire would be a bad idea but sitting next to a wood burning stove with a heat shield while you warm your feet and your coffee won’t affect it at all.

  11. The BLR appears to be a bit more nicely finished. This appears to be a good solid rifle in the class of box magazine lever guns.

    • I had a whole comparison between the blr and the Henry Lever rifle but it got cut in editing. Some finishes offered in the blr are better, some not. The trigger on the Henry is far superior, and I got better accuracy out of this than any blr I’ve ever shot. The stock wood on the Henry is also much better than what I’ve seen with the blr. I really like the blr, I’ve shot them, I’ve hunted with them and they are great guns. But if you have the two side-by-side, fealt their balance and their actions and compare your groups there’s really no question that the American-made Henry is a better product.

      • Thanks for that input, JWT. The LR with irons definitely has my interest, but I’m hoping they eventually come out with a pistol grip (personal preference) so I can better compare the two myself, particularly with feel/trigger/smoothness of action. I’m hoping to eventually see 7mm-08 on the roster, too. I’m glad to read that it’s selling well, because they certainly are promoting the heck outta it.

      • I was hoping Henry would put on a Lyman peep or at least a Skinner and wrote them such when the Long Ranger first came out. Unfortunately they went buckhorn which are only adjustable in a dream. Can a peep go on this without fooling around with the front sight? Such as a Skinner?

        • I bought the long ranger. Had some issues loading the clip, and cbambering rounds. I sent the rifle back to Henry, and they took care of it. The customer service rep, and mr Imperato, both contacted me, wich is something you dont see from othermanufacturers, except Savage. The rifle is very accurate, more accurate than the blr, wich i also have

  12. I have a Browning BLR Lightweight in .308 and love that rifle. I want a Henry in .223 to go nicely with my CZ 527M in 7.62x39mm.

    Tired of the tacticool crap. Not everything needs to be an AR-15 and use Pmags.

  13. I have a Browning BLR Lightweight in .308 and love that rifle. I want a Henry in .223 to go nicely with my CZ 527M in 7.62x39mm.

    Tired of the tacticool crap. Not everything needs to be an AR-15, have a Costa Grip friendly handguard, and use Pmags.

    • I decided that the tacticool crap was not for me & have stayed away from it. If that is what someone else likes, go for it, that’s why we have choices.

  14. I would like to see the Long Ranger offered in a ”pistol grip” stock. And on this model, offer a Large Loop Lever.

  15. I picked one up a few weeks ago from Cabelas. $850 I believe. I haven’t taken it to the range yet but fit and finish are great and I really like the trigger. I wish I’d gone to the website before buying though…I didn’t realize that they were going to be selling a version with iron sights or I’d have waited. They won’t have sights or spare magazines available until March unfortunately.

  16. I also picked up a LongRanger .308 in January 2017, while it was on sale at Cabela’s. Unfortunately I haven’t been to the range with it yet either ( broken leg).
    I have 2 pros and one con. First 2 pros; I am very impressed with the quality of wood and despite the trigger being heavy (4.5) it is crisp with a tiny bit of travel (this is way better than either of the two axes I purchased prior to accutrigger option).
    Only con I can think of is that the action feels very rough and that I am fighting machine burrs the entire stroke. Where is the silky bolt drop promised to me by a misguiding gunwriter? When I asked the gun desk “experts” at Cabela’s why, they told me; that’s what I should expect since “the gun only came out a few months ago”. OMG what in the world does that even mean?
    Moving forward I have cleaned, lubricated, and hand worked this LR action a thousand times. And I have loaded some FGMM clones (per Dan Newberry). Unfortunately action has not improved. This gun cost twice what my BLR did (20 years ago) and feels like half the gun so far. My BLR is a steel .243 that still shoot dimes at a 100.
    Any thoughts on (1) how to proceed with smoothing my action? (2) is a barrel break-in proceedure in my near future?

    KGB

    • KGB, remove your clip magazine and I’m sure you will find a silky smooth action. All clip feed levers have this issue because they depress the cartridge feeder spring when operating the bolt. If you truly have a ‘rough action’ , contact Mr. Imperato at Henry and I’m sure they will ‘make it right’.

      I’ve read the comparisons with the Browning BLR. I owned a Browning BLR in 308 Winchester. It functioned well, however, because the trigger traveled with the lever, the trigger pull was very heavy (7+ lbs) and not really very suitable for accuracy while hunting. I attribute the heavy trigger pull to two misses I experienced. Second, the high gloss wood finish on the stock and high gloss bluing gives the rifle an incredible glare in sunlight while working through the woods. My hunting partner commented on the glare to me. I kept mine in the shade when not moving. I sold it for these reasons. I’m glad to see Henry’s Long Ranger come out with these issues addressed. I noticed other comments. I had spoken to Henry’s management and I understand a large loop lever will be coming. That was another shortcoming with the BLR. It was hard to handle with gloves on when hunting in cold weather. I’m sure if this rifle gets customer support, other options like pistol grips and additional calibers, like the 6.5 Creedmor and 338 Federal, which aren’t available in a BLR will come. Thanks to Henry for a fine rifle.

  17. Spitzer bullets and tube magazines do not mix. Think about the bullets acting as a firing pin for the cartridge iahesd of it,

  18. I owned a Browning BLR in 308 Winchester. It was accurate on the bench, but the high gloss finish on the stock and highly polished barrel were good for scaring game from glare in the fields and woods. The trigger was very heavy and not conducive to field accuracy. In fact, I missed two deer inside of 25 yards with it. You’ll like the trigger on the Henry Long Ranger. Similarly, the BLR needs a glove loop lever. I could barely fit three fingers into the loop with gloves on when the weather turned cold. The free floated barrel on the Long Ranger will surpass the BLR. I sold my BLR twelve years ago, I asked Browning to address these issues but no response.

  19. So glad to have someone make a truly hunter’s rifle agian. I have the Savage 99c in 308 and it has always been my go to rifle. Now that Hennry has made one I must have one . And I will have to get my son one as well as he has always admired my savage . Way to go Hennery . I love the 308 round and own 5 rifle in that caliber. This will be # 6.

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