Gun Review: Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle in .45-70 Government

Henry Side Loader (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Loader (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Oh good people, ask and you shall receive. Henry Repeating Arms, after many years of many requests from clamoring customers, has gifted us all this Christmas with a side gate loading lever action rifle. It’s gorgeous. It works perfectly. It’s accurate. And this new Henry .45-70 Government chambering is capable of taking any animal on earth.

Henry has released this rifle in several calibers, including .30-30 Win, .35 Rem, and .38-55 Win, along with the .45-70 Govt, all with the same hardened brass receivers, engraved wood, and brass butt plates.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle receiver (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle receiver (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Right out of the box, what steals the show is that receiver. Like many other Henry rifles I’ve reviewed and owned, it glows with a light all its own.

There’s really just something about a brass gun. I’ve noted before, I can have any gun laying about — an MP5, an M16, a GLOCK or a Wilson Combat 1911 — but if a brass-framed Henry is next to them, everybody notices it first.

The receiver has a bit more than a satin polish to it, not quite a perfect mirror finish. That said, if you wanted to have the most “cowboy” shave ever, a straight razor and the flat side of the Henry receiver for a mirror would get the job done just fine. If you wanted to signal aircraft and create the perfect fingerprint magnet, about 30 seconds on a buffing wheel and you’d have your wish. Interior is almost as smooth as the exterior.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle open action (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle with open action (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Unlike the Henry lever guns it, this receiver now sports a side loading gate. Those of you more familiar with Marlin and Winchester firearms, as well as almost everything but a modern Henry and the original Henry rifle, will be immediately familiar with this “new” feature.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle magazine (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle removable tube magazine (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Unlike the Marlin and the Winchester, you can still load the Henry rifle through the far end of the magazine tube. But now, you can also load it, one round at a time, through the loading gate in the receiver.

The real beauty of this system is that you can load through the gate and still unload through the magazine tube, ending the need to cycle (and then find) every single round ejected by the gun. It has everything the modern Henry rifles are known for, as well as the loading gate of the “Improved Henry” of the Winchester 1866. It really is the best of both worlds.

I’ve verified that the richly engraved American walnut stocks of the Henry are machine engraved. There’s just no way they would be able to produce these guns in America at these prices otherwise.  That said, man, machine engraving has come a long, long way.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle fore stock (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle fore stock checkering and brass barrel band (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Henry stocks are deeply checkered with the engraving encircling the bottom of both the buttstock and fore stock. The fore stock engraving includes scroll accents as well as the Henry logo prominently displayed.

Not only is the engraving attractive, but it serves to give the shooter a great grip on the rifle under any weather conditions.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle rear sight (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

This rifle includes a similar sight setup I’ve reviewed on several other Henrys. The semi-buckhorn ramp adjustable rear sight has a bright white diamond insert. There’s a teeny tiny notch just above it.

The bright white front bead sits right inside it. Put the diamond insert directly under the front bead and the bead under the target and you have a great combination for precise shooting.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle front sight(image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle faux ivory front bead sight (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

That set-up affords accurate firing at long distances, but you can use the wider ears of the rear sight for fast shots close up, or on running game. The wide ears above and insert below also allow you to have what is essentially two sight pictures and two zeros, one for close and one for far away.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle receiver top (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle receiver top (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a Weaver style base for the use of a telescopic optic. I’d hate to ruin the lines of this gun with such a set-up, even temporarily, but I also recognize that everybody’s eyes aren’t the same. Heck, mine certainly aren’t what they used to be. Getting old ain’t for sissies.

The trigger is also the same as I’ve felt on other big bore Henry rifles. It breaks well at just over 5 lbs. That’s a little heavy for me, but I love a light trigger, and it’s right in line with similar style rifles.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle receiver left side (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle receiver left side(image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I learned — or I guess I should say re-learned — an important lesson with this rifle. If something feels off, something’s off.

When I was dry firing this gun, the trigger was 5 lbs on my Lyman scale and working great. But the first time I took it out, the trigger was incredibly hard to pull. I would squeeze and squeeze, nothing would happen. Then the gun would go off.

I stopped shooting and contacted Henry to see if anyone else had that issue. They said no one had. I went a few rounds with them on it, and they were very polite and responsive, suggesting I send the gun in. I didn’t want to send the gun in.

The problem made no sense to me, but I figured maybe there was something in the action, so I cleaned the gun, yet the problem remained. The problem remained because the same idiot was shooting the gun.

The first day I shot the gun, it was in weather like only Texas can have, 28 degrees and raining. I was wearing oiled leather work gloves. Although it wasn’t raining anymore, it was still cold and I was wearing the same gloves the next day. I wasn’t wearing those gloves when I was dry firing the gun indoors.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle ready to fire (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle ready to fire (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Take a look at the photo above. That’s how the lever should look when the gun is ready to fire. Now note the photo below.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle not ready (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle not ready (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The difference is slight, but the rifle is essentially out-of-battery in this state. It’s not supposed to fire that way. This is the state I was getting when I was wearing my thick work gloves, and I just didn’t pay enough attention.

The gun wasn’t firing until I squeezed hard enough for the rest of my hand to sympathetically contract and close the action completely. Then it fired as it should. Once I recognized this and actually closed the action fully each time, I never had the problem again. I put 300 rounds through the gun without issue.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle hammer (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle hammer (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

There is no cross-bolt safety, nor does there ever need to be on a modern lever action rifle. Instead, the Henry Side Gate relies on a hammer and a transfer bar to keep the hammer from engaging the firing pin until you pull the trigger. If you don’t want the gun to shoot, don’t cock it and pull the trigger. It’s that simple.

Sling studs are firmly mounted both fore and aft. A rifle this pretty deserves something a little nicer than a nylon strap. Henry offers some on their website, made by Diamond D Custom Leather up in the frozen north that would serve well and look great, and $75 isn’t a bad price at all.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle butt plate (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle butt plate (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The brass butt plate is functional and beautiful. It protects the stock from chips and abuse, and will last several lifetimes. Henry has removed any sharp edges from it, and rolled the edges a bit so it won’t bite into the shooter during recoil.

That said, this is still a relatively lightweight big bore gun. It’s a .45-70 Government in a 7 lb rifle. With mild loads, such as those that helped wipe out the buffalo in Springfield rifles, the shooter will feel a definite punch, but there’s no issue keeping the muzzle down.

I keep on hand what even I consider a ridiculous amount of Berry’s 350 gr plated flat point round shouldered bullets in Winchester cases backed by enough H4895 to get that bullet to just 1,500 fps.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle muzzle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle steel barrel muzzle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

With this capable combination, I was able to consistently put five rounds in five seconds into a 19″ silhouette at 50 yards from the kneel. A more competent shooter would likely do that much faster. Much of my shooting was done in this manner, and although it did leave me with a bruised shoulder, that’s after a couple hundred rounds over a few days time.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle grip engraving (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle grip engraving (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

For those of you unfamiliar with the .45-70 Government round, it should be considered at least three different cartridges. Most reloading manuals will have it split into three sections; the trapdoors and early models, strong actions, and the Ruger No. 1 (just in case the T-Rex ever returns). I emailed Henry and asked them about what pressures this rifle was able to withstand, noting the three different general categories.

The Henry representative came back with the perfect answer, and the one I was hoping for.

“Essentially, our .45-70 can handle the same pressures the 1895 action can handle”.

The reason that is the perfect answer lies back in those same reloading manuals where the Marlin 1895 is the standard for “strong” actions.

When shooting the heavier, longer bullets, shooters should take careful note of the overall length of the cartridge in their lever action rifle. Just because a rifle will feed a bullet doesn’t mean you aren’t crushing a bullet into the lands and then back into the case. The potential for increased pressure exists, especially with long bullets that have wide meplats.

.45-70 Gov. test ammunition (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

.45-70 Gov. test ammunition (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Beyond my own home-rolled rounds, I fired an array of brands and styles of ammo from this rifle.  Those included the 250 gr Hornady LEVERevolution round, which is easy to shoot and plenty of bullet for black bears, deer, and pigs. I also fired the ubiquitous Winchester 300 gr Hollow Point and the Hornady 325 gr FTX LEVERevolution round.

I had no issues with the fit, chambering, firing or ejecting of any of those rounds. The rifle performed flawlessly. I also shot a few of the heavier grained Buffalo Bore cartridges.

Be prepared for what a heavy 430 gr bullet moving at almost 2,00fps is capable of accomplishing, at both ends of this rifle. That round is generating more than 3,500 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.

I only had 3 of these rounds left from a previous shooting session with a different Henry .45-70 rifle, and that was fortunate. Out of a fairly lightweight lever action rifle with a metal butt plate, three rounds seated on the bench was all I wanted to shoot.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle on the bench (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle on the bench (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Like the other Henry rifles I’ve reviewed, there’s plenty of accuracy potential with this new side-gate loading rifle. There’s really no reason it should be any different than the other Henrys, and it’s not.

This particular rifle absolutely loved the Hornady 325 gr FTX round. The maximum case length of the .45-70 Government cartridge is 2.105″.  Not a single five-round group of the 20 I fired for accuracy testing scored a group larger than the case length at 100 yards.

This surprised me so much that I did it again with a second box of the same lot on another day, with the similar results.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle best groups (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle best groups (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Two-inch groups, with any set-up of irons, is about as good as my eyes will accomplish (I got new glasses!). This rifle will likely do even better with magnified optics. Given the level of precision possible with that bullet and this rifle, it’s difficult to overstate the capability of that combination on game.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle groups (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle groups(image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

With the same set-up, both the 250 gr Hornady round and 300 gr Winchester round scored well, but nowhere near the 325 gr Hornady round. The Winchester cartridge scored the worst, with an average 3.6″ five round group over four shot strings. The 250 gr Hornady round scored better, right at 3 inches.

All accuracy shooting was accomplished seated at a bench at 100 yards with the rifle held in a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest and factory iron sights. The rifle or barrel were not cleaned during the testing.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle sights (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle sights (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Henry website says this rifle is suitable for Elk up to 125 yards. A competent marksman with this rifle will put a bullet inside an Elk’s vitals at over twice that distance, and with some commercial rounds, it will still be generating over 1,000 ft/lbs of energy when it gets there.

I said for years that if Henry ever went to a side loading gate, they’d lose me as a customer. I know I wasn’t the only one. Henry called my bluff, but accommodated me and shooters like me at the same time.

With their side gate lever action rifle, Henry has, again, listened to their customers, and if anything, blown away our expectations. I have no doubt they’ll put this combination into other styles. They have set an extremely high bar for beauty, reliability, and accuracy for themselves, or anyone else to follow.

Henry Side Gate Loading Rifle at home (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle at home (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Specifications: Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle

Model Number:  H024-4570
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle
Caliber: .45-70 Government (.30-30Win, .35Rem, and .38-55Win also available.)
Capacity: 4 Rounds
Barrel Length: 19.8″
Barrel Type: Round Blued Steel
Rate of Twist: 1:20
Overall Length: 38.1″
Weight: 7.09 lbs.
Receiver Finish: Polished Brass
Rear Sight: Fully Adj. Semi-Buckhorn w/ Diamond Insert
Front Sight: Ramp w/ .062″ Ivory Bead
Scopeability: Drilled and Tapped
Scope Mount Type: Weaver 63B
Stock Material: American Walnut
Buttplate/Pad: Brass
Length of Pull: 14″
Safety: Transfer Bar
MSRP: $1,045 (about $899 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * * * *
Er. Mu. Gerd. Look at it. LOOK AT IT!

Customization * * *
There’s typically not much customization for a lever action rifle, and that’s really not the point of this rifle in the first place. You can mount a scope or sling it.

Reliability * * * * * 
Cycled fast or slow, with any round and an almost 200 grain difference in bullets, zero issues.

Accuracy * * * * *
It shoots well enough with any round to take game beyond the reasonable ballistic expectations of the round itself. With the right round, the rifle was capable of surprising levels of precision.

Overall * * * * *
Henry has done a phenomenal job with their side-gate loading lever action rifle. Henry is one of the few companies that seems to be really listening to their customers, and then producing quality that exceeds expectations.  Kudos to a great American company, yet again producing a great American rifle.

SIDE NOTE: Mr. Anthony Imperato, if you are listening: Long Ranger in .35 Whelen or 9.3X62mm. The one gun to rule them all! Consolation prize: The rifle above with a 24″ Octagonal barrel and a tang mounted elevator sight.

comments

  1. avatar DrewN says:

    Side loading Big Boy steel carbines in revolver calibers please. I see no point in the added weight of brass and an octagon barrel.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      That could happen if the company financials will support it. Like any business, Henry isn’t in it to lose money.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I have no doubt they will, but it likely won’t save any weight. Their other “All Steel” models weigh about the same as the brass for a given barrel style and length.
      For instance, this rifle in .45-70 (which is round barrelled, not octagonal) weighs 7.09lbs and has a 20″ barrel. An all steel in 45LC with a round 20″ barrel weighs half an ounce less.
      Cut that barrel to 16″ and you lose only half a pound.

      1. avatar DrewN says:

        Unrelated,but if they do chamber the Long Ranger in .35 Whelan I’ll buy one. If they do a 9.3 I’ll buy two. I just re barreled a quarrelsome LH Weatherby MkV in .300 (22 inch though) to Whelan and it’s absolutely fantastic. Such an easy shooter.

  2. avatar Mister Furious says:

    It’s beautiful; I just want one case color hardened in pistol cartridges. I like the idea of 35 Whelen in the long ranger as well.

  3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I don’t own a Henry, but I’ve shot them. Fine rifles. I think the brass receivers look very cool. I have a friend who has a number of original Henrys and “Yellow Boy” Winchesters. Always thought they were the best looking of the bunch. Not so crazy about that engraved wood. Just me. Like the flat top receiver. Easy to mount ghost ring sights.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Not so crazy about that engraved wood. Just me. ”

      Me as well, at least in their effort to reproduce artwork with a machine. I’m completely cool with using machines for checkering, for example. Machine-straight lines look better…

  4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Wow. What a beauty!
    And I do like me some side loading.
    The price on this seems very reasonable.

    (Jon, if you want to offload this one, let me know…)

  5. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    The .45-70 Springfield having some kick, a heavier rifle may be desirable. Reason: to reduce recoil. The brass receiver? I don’t know if this would be good or not while hunting big game in timber: deer, bear, elk, moose, caribou, etc. Perhaps it would prevent rust and corrosion during a rain or snow storm. I don’t know. I would think this rifle would be highly practical for hunting moose in both Alaska and Canada.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      It will also take down an Indominus Rex.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Is that larger, or smaller than Rosie O’Donnell? 😉

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Not nearly as mean as a Rosie.

        2. avatar Steven Ford says:

          “Is that larger, or smaller than Rosie O’Donnell? 😉

          Not nearly as mean as a Rosie.”
          She is in the Big Bore collection

      2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        THat’s a Whole Lotta Rosie.

  6. avatar Steve H says:

    This rifle in 9mm! If there is some technical reason why this can’t be done, I’d appreciate anyone’s explanation. I have a Henry H001 (.22LR/L/S) and it is hands down my favorite rifle to shoot. An absolute tack driver out of the box. I don’t hunt, so I can’t justify the cost of a big bore just to punch holes in paper.

    Mr. Imperato is a real gentleman, runs a great company with excellent customer service, makes his products entirely in the USA, and answers his emails personally. What more can a customer ask for!

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I’m sure it could be done with some R&D. I’ve suggested this to Henry numerous times. The lack of a rim on the 9mm is the biggest hurdle.

      1. avatar Steve H says:

        I’ve suggested this to Henry as well. I hope they’re listening! I really don’t want to add another caliber to my inventory, and 9mm is very reasonable for now.

        1. avatar Arandom Dude says:

          The only lever guns I know of in rimless cartridges have box magazines with small capacity like the Henry Long Ranger, Savage 99, etc. You can’t make the magazine poke out too far lest it interfere with the lever. A 9mm lever action is possible, but it would suck.

        2. avatar ColdNorth says:

          ARandom Dude,

          One option would be the Marlin Levermatic action from the 60s. It has a very short lever throw, and the magazine well is slightly farther forward, so you could fit a longer magazine. The Model 62 Levermatic was chambered in .30 Carbine.

      2. avatar Jeff O says:

        That and most 9mm is FMJ with a pointier nose than levergun calibers. Stacking those up nose to primer is probably not a great.

        1. avatar Perry says:

          Suggest 147gr hollow point. It looks rather flat-nosed. Currently a good deal at americanreloading.com.

    2. avatar ColdNorth says:

      Maybe it would be possible with a miniaturized version of the Long Ranger action- magazine fed, and works with rimless cartridges. That would allow for more variety of bullet shapes as well.

  7. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Still waiting for the .357 or Mares Leg with side loading gate. It’d make a great sbr suppressor host!

    1. avatar MLee says:

      Here’s one you’ll like then. I was at the gun store on Spokane, Sharp Shooting and the gunsmith was about to test fire that lever action that he had just installed the suppressor on. So I shot a video and put it on my Youtube channel.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        Exactly.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      A 340gr hardcast .44 pushed at just 1,000fps through a suppressed rifle is a 50 yard pig killing machine.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        I have 300 Blackout for pigs and a Buffalo Classic in 45/70 for nostalgia. Im thinking 2 legged predators at Zero Dark: 30.

      2. avatar Lance F says:

        There should be an option to get all Henry Side Gate guns with threads from the factory. The big boy side gate in .44 with threads would be my choice.

    3. avatar st1100boy says:

      A side loading .357, preferably something “no frills”, would be a must buy for me.

    4. avatar Rincoln says:

      Here’s a 357 I had threaded. Didn’t go SBR length. 158gr 38’s are whisper quiet.

      https://www.rincolnia.com/images/Public/38SPL_SUPP.mp4

  8. avatar TommyGNR says:

    Pretty. If they had it three years ago I would have plunked down the money. Kind of lost interest in 45-70.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      It is available in a lot of other calibers as well. Can’t wait for the .357

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        .35 Rem, .38-55, and .30-30. Also a .410 shotgun. Henry does have a website ya’ know.

        1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

          Yeah but why would it be my responsibility to tell him every single caliber the side loader comes in?

          I’m disappointed I can’t order a long ranger in 7mm-08.

  9. avatar Noah says:

    Review on the Marlin Dark 45-70 would be nice…

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I don’t think it will be much different than the .30-30 model, just a bit more punch.
      https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gun-review-marlin-336-dark-in-30-30-win/

  10. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    ““Essentially, our .45-70 can handle the same pressures the 1895 action can handle”.”

    So, 70 grains of black powder pushing that slug are good-to-go?

    Sweet!

    I like the serrations on the extended hammer, lots of ‘purchase’ for safely lowering the hammer on a live round…

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      The serrations are nice and give purchase when cocking or lowering the hammer, but Henrys also have transfer bars that make lowering the hammer even safer. I always keep a round chambered in my .45 colt big boy carbine and feel a lot more relaxed when lowering the hammer than compared to my CZ 75.

  11. avatar Steven Ford says:

    I would like a big loop with 6 Round magazine please, Brass, Steel or All Weather is OK.
    A Skinner peep sight would be a great addition for these 70 year old eyes.

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      am not a big fan of the semi buckhorn, aiming to add some skinner peep sights to my Henry at some point in the future. Spoiled with the large loop, so if I ever get another lever (Henry or not) I will surely replace the stock one with a large loop. Gives it a more robust appearance and in my opinion, easier to manipulate.

      1. avatar Steven Ford says:

        I had the Skinner rear peep waiting for my 45/70 1895 when it showed up at CountyLine guns. I didn’t know that a large loop was available for the Trapper. I know that Marlin went through a rough period, the fit and finish of that 1895 is outstanding. Although not nearly as purty as the pics of the Henry.

  12. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    If I ever owned a firearm as a thing of beauty that’d be it right there.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      guns like this..and i’ve got a few….look great on a wall…but a little gaudy in the woods…

      1. avatar Steven Ford says:

        I was seeing visions of all my lever actions on a wall with the big boy on top, but to shoot it, I would want larger loop and at least peep sights. Skinner makes some in Brass that would look mighty fine on that there work of art. A case hardened steel would be another good choice, but my hands have been beat up enough over the years, I need a big loop.

  13. avatar Merle 0 says:

    Definitely interested in one in .35 Remington.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Go buy one. .35 rem is available in sidegate. The more of the initial sidegate models they sell, the more likely other models will join the sidegate lineup. 🙂 They won’t do it if the credible demand and the $$ isn’t there.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Note that 38-55 Win chambering. It’s not that common anymore, and really the 35 Rem is the better caliber. However, for a brief period of time, it was reborn as the 375 Winchester. It is dimensionally similar, being only 3.7mm shorter, but with much higher pressure. It was chambered in the Marlin 375 and the Winchester Model 94 Big Bore Rifle. It launched a 220gr bullet at 2,400fps. Again, that’s in .375 diameter.
      I seriously doubt it, but just in case the new Henry’s will handle that pressure (50,000CUP), I’ve asked Henry if that .375 Win is safe in the new rifle. I really, really can’t imagine it would be. But just in case there’s some miracle world where it is, I’ll let the readers know. (After I buy 5 of them.)

      1. avatar Mister Furious says:

        Any idea why Henry went with 38-55 instead of .375 or any number of less obsolete lever rounds?

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Yes sir. The 38-55 chambering is a huge nod to the cowboy action shooting sport. It would surprise many here to know that cowboy action shooting is one of the world’s largest Shooting sports.
          I have received word from Henry’s representative that it is not safe to fire the 375 Winchester around in this rifle, as I had suspected. That’s because the 375 Winchester operates at a much, much higher pressure than any of the other cartridges carried in this rifle. That’s not surprising, but it is a shame.
          I think the next shooting sport that I’ll throw time and money at his black powder cartridge silhouette shooting. But I don’t know if I have enough time, or enough money. Those guys make PRS look cheap.

  14. avatar Kevin says:

    Well. Now I will buy a Henry. Make mine a 35 Rem

  15. avatar RidgeRunner says:

    Nice, I knew it was a JWT review when I saw “lever action.” Interesting, and beautiful, and Lord knows I do love me some lever actions. But I purchased a Marlin Trapper stainless in 45-70 this year and cured me of that particular caliber for a minute. Great review, as expected. Honest, too!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I take it that “cured of that particular caliber” means it kicks like a mule. Just think that once upon a time, back in the black powder days, they were made in 50-110, and the Army was testing them for issuance to troopers (but not in a lever action rifle).

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        They were also 9 1/2lb single shots.

      2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        Mark, you’d be correct, it is what you might call STOUT. I am not recoil sensitive, but dayum, the only thing I have close to it is my Mossberg turkey gun shooting 3 1/2″ magnums. I’ll also say that when hunting with either I don’t even think about the recoil, just immediately jack another round in. But for me that 45.70 is not a plinker, not a total pleasure to shoot like my Marlins in 30-30 and .44. I don’t regret the purchase and have the 45-70 I wanted. Already taken a buck with it at about 40 yards through think stuff, DRT.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Thanks, I like the Marlins a lot, but I’d much rather have the longer barreled models. (So I do.) Hard to find fault with the ease of movement, balance and the overall handiness of the carbine length models though.

      1. avatar Kahlil says:

        My next lever action purchase, whenever that may be, is going to be at least an 18-20” barrel. My little 16” big boy is a tad too short to sit upright in the holders/rests in between shooting rounds at my local silhouette matches.

        1. avatar Steven Ford says:

          It has been 25 years since I handloaded a round, but I am fairly certain my old Dillon 500 is up to the task. If life hadn’t got in the way…… Anyway to the present. I would snap up a Henry (or Marlin, or Taylors) side gate and an accurate six-shooter in .45 LC and (I think) be perfectly happy. I, like others in my generation, polished way too much brass in the service of my Country, and would be tickled with a case hardened version.

      2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        Yessir, the Trapper is very maneuverable in a blind or tree, which is my intended use. Skinner peeps look fine through aging eyes, and big loop, too, fine for a gloved hand.

  16. avatar Matt Williams says:

    Dats purdy.

  17. avatar Mark N. says:

    Just not a fan of “brassies,” even if they are strong as blued, or better yet, case hardened steel. The latter is what I find beautiful. Price is quite decent, and it is one of those calibers that I’ve always wanted, even if I don’t hunt.

  18. avatar Nanook says:

    I also bought the Marlin Trapper. This isn’t a child’s gun, put a bigger lever loop on it…

  19. avatar Will Drider says:

    Accuracy testing for group size on “steel plates” ie about the poorest target I can imagine. If your going through the paces of doing a Review, why would you do such a sloppy accuracy test, even for a lever gun of which most users don’t expect tack drivers but they are entitled to accurate results.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Then you need to think a lot harder. The plate allows me to see the actual exact center of the impact of the round, making precise measurements very easy. It doesn’t work for every bullet type, but when it does, it works great.

  20. avatar RGP says:

    I’m a 71 and 1886 type myself, but that side loading Henry looks tempting.

    Curious how difficult it would be to convert that Henry to a curved lever and pistol grip stock. Is the lower receiver tang one piece with the receiver or a separate piece?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      It would not be difficult at all. That said, they generally come out with a pistol grip version of their rifles, so you might just wait a bit and get exactly what you want right out of the box.

  21. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    If I hadn’t found such a stupid good deal on my 1895 a couple years ago ($350 after rebate), this would be my first 45-70. I’ve always liked the Henry style, but the tube just seemed like a pain on anything but 22. I really like how you get the best of both worlds now. When this eventually comes out in .357/.38 (hopefully), I might just have to add another lever action to my collection.

  22. avatar Ing says:

    WANT. (heavy breathing slowly subsides…) I’ve wanted a .45-70 for a long time, and this might just be the perfect example of the type. Plus it’s so pretty…

    There are only two complications. First, I’m still relatively poor and this beauty ain’t cheap. And second, she’s got heavy competition; I’ve also wanted a levergun in .357 mag/.38 special for a long time, and a pistol-caliber carbine would be a great companion to the .38 special S&W revolver I inherited recently.

    1. avatar Steven Ford says:

      I went companion on my .22WMR Henry and my .44Mag Trapper Not sure I would want to try a .45/70 pistol. 🙂 I would love to see a Carbine in 10MM though, with hardcast rounds It would be a great companion to my Alpha Wolf.
      sf

  23. avatar Right click says:

    Can’t wait for blued steel 16″ or 18″ bbl.
    In .357 magnum.

  24. avatar AD says:

    18 in. small loop in .357 will separate this fool from his money. Just do it, Henry.

  25. avatar Ogre says:

    I have no desire to get a side-gate Henry .45-70 as I already have two Italian-made Model 1886 rifles in that caliber. The rifle seems a bit gaudy – I’d probably let that brass get a patina – and has only two advantages over the Model ’86 that I can think of: the ability to mount a scope or ghost ring centered on the receiver, and the ability to unload the magazine without levering all the rounds through the action.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      “I’d probably let that brass get a patina”

      Agree that a patina would look better, but they have a rather tough clear coat so it won’t happen without modification (or extreme abuse I guess). I assume it’s the same stuff they put on stainless appliances to prevent fingerprints.

  26. avatar strych9 says:

    Every damn time I think “Yeah I don’t need another gun of that type” JWT comes along with a review that makes me want something OF THAT TYPE.

    Damn you and Bless you at the same time, Sir.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Pretty sure I’ve heard that refrain from every woman I’ve ever been with.

  27. avatar IdahoBoy says:

    “Mister, you ever seen what a Henry rifle can do in the hands of somebody who knows how to use it?”

    Couldn’t resist a gratuitous movie quote.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      “This oughta do.”
      🙂
      Best movie ever.

  28. avatar Ralph says:

    SASS shooters need side loading Henry’s — in pistol calibers.

  29. A great collection of images. I am interested in .35 Remington.

  30. avatar GunnyGene says:

    We all need to understand that Henry is a niche player in the larger firearms market, even tho they are the largest in the lever gun market, and must compete for consumer dollars across the board. Most of today’s consumers spend their money on semi-auto’s – rifle and pistol – and have little interest in anything else. In fact, I’d suspect that most have never even heard of HenryUSA, and wouldn’t be inclined to plunk down $1k+ for a lever gun anyway, when they can buy an AR and a Glock, and a pile of ammo for less.

    In my case I’m in 2 niche markets, .41mag, and lever/wheel guns (Henry BBSC, and Ruger NMBH in that caliber). It’s a great caliber and 2 great companies, and worth the money to indulge myself. I do have a variety of other firearms, but these are my favorites.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Well, Buford Pusser liked his .41 mag. Knew how to use it, too, at least according to legend (and the coroner). I’ve always been intrigued for that reason, but I keep trying to limit my calibers and resulting ammo stockpile. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

  31. avatar MojoMedicineMan says:

    45-70 Govt
    35 Whelen
    Keep’m coming!
    Whooo!

  32. avatar Cambo says:

    Cool rifle. When. Budget allows I’m getting one. How about a guide model?

  33. avatar Allen Felt says:

    The great rifle I also have a great collection of the rifle but this is just loved thanks

  34. avatar LARRY Gary says:

    Can you tell me if Henry rifles will be making a 45-70 lever action with side gate and octagon barrel soon ?

  35. avatar Fred says:

    I think that Henry is a stunning looking rifle; and my hat goes off to Henry for making a rifle like that, with the octagon barrel, the polished brass and the wood carvings in a world of boring unartistic stuff. Henry is a breath of fresh air that use to be the way it was over 50 years ago when people took pride in their work and wanted that pride to show on the outside as well. Wish I could afford that .45-70 rifle.

  36. avatar Gary Sherwood says:

    I just got a Henry big boy 45.70. I took it to the range and was kind of all over the target even with a bench rest. Im not happy with the rear sights. They are too hard to adjust accurately. Tapping here and there. The elevation minute adjustment can’t be moved easily. There should be graduation marks on it to keep your place. Fine adjustments should be made with the turn of a screw as opposed to sliding up or down.

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