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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.