Travis Pike for TTAG
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If you are the type who doesn’t take every gun purchase seriously, then the Henry Axe .410 might just be for you. This isn’t a terribly practical or necessarily useful gun for most people, but man is it fun.

The Henry Lever Action Axe .410 isn’t really a shotgun. It’s a firearm — technically a non-NFA firearm — much like the Mossberg Shockwave or Remington TAC-14. Like most Henry guns, it’s a lever-action model, this one with a side loading gate.

The barrel is 15.14 inches long and the axe has an overall length of 26.4 inches. The gun weighs a hefty 5.75 pounds making it heavier than the 12 gauge Mossberg Shockwave. The gun gets its name, of course, from its axe handle-style pistol grip.

While the Henry Axe isn’t a gun that’s necessary useful for a wide range of applications, it could be a heckuva snake gun and would dispatch small pests with ease. It would probably go well in a backpack or scabbard.

There is also its capability as a small game hunter. It would make squirrel and rabbit hunting a bit more challenging since the gun lacks a proper stock. The .410 load is OK as a defensive weapon, but at that point, a PCC is likely a better choice.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
The lever action firearm is chambered for .410 Bore 2.5-inch shells (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Henry Axe is topped with a polished brass bead front sight and no rear sight. It can be loaded via the side gate, or you can remove the cap of the magazine tube and drop rounds in like most Henry models.

The Lever Action Axe holds five rounds of 2.5-inch .410 ammo in its tube magazine. Three-inch is a no go with this gun. The Axe even comes with a threaded bore and uses Invector-style chokes. It’s topped off with sling swivels on the grip and the forend.

…And My Axe

The Henry Lever Action Axe is a cool gun, and Henry is nearly legendary for making some very fine, very fun firearms. The Axe is the traditional mix of American walnut and blued steel. The combo gives it that classic lever gun look that’s unmistakable.

One of the few knocks I have on the gun is that I would love to see some checkering on the grip. It’s not needed for a practical reason, I just think it would look nice and add to the gun.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
Just a little checkering on the American walnut pistol grip would be nice. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Henry Axe is a very refined gun. Each and every part of it operates smoothly and clicks carefully as you work the gun. This includes the lever, the hammer, and the loading gate.

Henry keeps the gun simple and original as far as lever-action designs go. There’s a lever, a hammer, and a trigger. And nothing else. No manual safeties added, and for that I am appreciative.

Game Time With the Henry Axe

If you’ve never fired a .410, it’s a cartridge best described as mild. Even in this fairly small gun, I had no worries about recoil or discomfort. Especially with the gun’s 5.75-pound weight.

The Lever Action Axe is actually fairly hefty for a .410. For perspective, the Mossberg 500 with walnut furniture and its 24-inch barrel weighs a mere half-pound more than the Axe.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
The Lever Action Axe’s pistol grip is stamped with Henry Repeating Arms’ cowboy logo on the end. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

That means the Axe eats up recoil like a champ. Buckshot and slugs are still mild shooting from this gun, and I haven’t found a 2.5-inch load I couldn’t fire one-handed. Although I wouldn’t recommend trying to flip cock it unless you are T-800.

I’m a big guy who actually enjoys harsh-recoiling weapons. My girlfriend, who weighs all of 114 pounds, doesn’t feel the same. Yet she handles the Axe like a champ and enjoys shooting it. We blasted away at self-healing targets, clay pigeons (on a berm), and some soda cans.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
The non-NFA Henry Axe has a removable full choke and a pair of sling swivel studs for easy carry (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Recoil is mild and the gun doesn’t buck, jump, shuck or jive when shooting it. Working the action is a lot of fun and feels oh so satisfying. The only issue with the action is, without the (stockless) gun being braced into your shoulder, it can be a bit awkward to work at eye level. If you lower it a bit, working the action is a little more intuitive.

Shooting from the hip like I’m Chuck Connors is a blast. You can fire away quite quickly and have a ton of fun. That’s assuming it’s safe to do so with a high enough berm, and you aim low. I did it with birdshot to see how fast I could go, and I never short stroked the gun. I’m guessing the short 2.5 inch shells help in this regard.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
While it’s drilled and tapped, why would you put a scope this gun? (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The lone front sight bead is more than enough for the Henry Axe, and it’s an easy-pointing gun. The grip angle of the “axe handle” stock is quite comfortable and ergonomic. It’s an interesting design that keeps the same downward curve that the Raptor grip use, which helps support the weapon and dissipate recoil.

The trigger is also impressive as shotguns go. It’s much closer to a rifle trigger than the oft-forgotten about shotgun trigger. It’s short and crisp like any Henry rifle trigger out there. It’s better than it needs to be on a gun like this.

Henry Lever Action Axe .410
The Axe has a similar form factor to many mare’s leg lever action pistols (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Reliability has been a non-issue. Manually-operated weapons tend to be quite reliable as long as their mechanics are sound and Henry Repeating Arms does an excellent job of building in sound mechanics, just as with their lever-action rifles. They’re masters of the lever gun.

Specifications: Henry Lever Action Axe .410

Caliber: .410, 2.5 inch chamber
Barrel Length: 15.14 inches
Overall Length: 26.4 inches
Weight: 5.75 pounds
Capacity: 5 2.5-inch rounds
Sights: Front brass bead
MSRP: $970 (about $775 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * *
It’s quite easy to aim and shoot. Loads hit right where you aim them, even with the lone front sight. Slugs were less forgiving and a little trickier with just the bead and no stock. Your effective slug range is limited with this gun to about 25 yards.

Reliability * * * * *
Cycle the action and pull the trigger and the gun goes bang. The Henry Lever Action Axe is a reliable gun and built to last. I would go as far as to say it’s overbuilt and will likely be a gun you’ll pass down.

Ergonomics * * * *
I knocked off one star for the awkward feeling of trying to work the lever while the gun is at eye level. Other than that the ergonomics are spot-on for such a unique firearm. The gun is comfortable to hold, handles well, and its simple nature makes things streamlined.

Customizability *
You can add a sling and change out the chokes. You can mount an optic, too, but why? A gun like this doesn’t need much customization.

Bang for Your Buck * * *
This is a tough one. Without a doubt, this gun is built extremely well and built to last. Henry didn’t sacrifice any quality control to make the Axe. However, with a street price of around $700, I can see a lot of people finding it hard to justify what they’ll consider essentially a fun plinking gun for that much money.

Overall * * * * 1/2
This is the most fun I’ve had with a gun in a very long time. The Henry Lever Action Axe .410 is a unique firearm and a joy to shoot. Every friend and family member who’s gotten their hands on it has agreed. It’s a well built, high quality firearm that happens to be a ton of fun.

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  1. As it sits I would only use it for an indoor defense gun. (Wouldn’t go through walls.) I would want a full stock on it for any serious shooting.

  2. I suggested to Henry they should make this!!!! If anyone from Henry reads this any chance for a discount coupon when I buy one?

    • Like the Henry lever action AXE .410. Price makes it expensive. any chance of getting a discount coupon on this product

  3. Not my cup. I would go around saying “Come with me if you want to live” repeatedly while shooting it however.

      • Finally getting out of mommy’s basement, while certainly commendable, is no one’s definition of ‘successful’. Try again asshat!

      • I would actually be more amused with one of these in 45-70 quite honestly. Heck if they could make this a convertible somehow (say take down barrel and a bolt face or something) that would be even better.

        • Andrew, I’m not sure I would want a 45/70 without a stock. The takedown with interchangeable calibers would be amazing (45 Colt would be better). Having a metal buttplate on a rifle is punishment enough. I know of the 45/70 BFR revolver, but that has an actual grip. I’ve wanted a Mares leg for a bit, but I’m planning on getting the Axe instead. I just wish Henry would chamber the small game rifle in 17hm2.

        • I think part of the NFA “firearm” loophole is that it must be smooth bore so you would have issues with rifle calibers.
          Now if you glued some Velcro to the grip and called it an “arm brace”…

        • I have a 450 Bushmaster pistol and it’s very shootable even though it doesn’t have a brake and weighs about 2-3lbs less.

          In terms of the legality you’d have to do something with the stock but it would be a “pistol.” Mare’s legs aren’t exactly rare either so 45-70 shouldn’t be out of the question. You just need a virgin, never been a rifle receiver is all.

    • I can buy a mauser M18 and have hundreds of dollars left over to go to the purchase of something else. Overpriced and under powered.

  4. TTAG why is my comment in jail? Cant keep the Sex lady or the trolls at bay but my comment gets moderated out?

    Again I suggested the Axe the 1st day they requested open suggestions. If Mr. Imperato or any of his workers read this, any chance for a manufacturer’s discount?

    • Better than a shovel? A shovel is hard to beat. Saves ammo, saves ears, saves putting a hole in your shed floor, provides a handy scooping instrument to move the recently killed snake. I’ve never understood the need for a snake gun.

  5. Guaranteed not legal in NSW. The Ruger Precision Rifles were only allowed when the stock was pinned in place.

  6. It seems like useful advances in firearm technology have reached a lull, and so instead we keep getting these gimmicky toys whose major characteristic is taking something easy and making it difficult. “Hmm, how can we make a gun that’s too big and unwieldy to be very good as a pistol and too short and unstable to be very good as a rifle or shotgun?” Or, “How can we make a novelty concealed carry gun that is both low capacity and underpowered?”

    Seems like we get a new one every week or so.

  7. As for as a snake gun. I would just buy snake loads for one of my .44s. Of course, the last ten or twelve rattlesnakes I’ve killed I just picked up a handy stick and hit it over the head. Less expensive.

  8. I’m a fan of .410 and I’m fond of lever action, but…I’m a Henry hater. If you want a .410 on the smaller side for a saddle gun or on the ATV, especially without having to wade through the AOW nonsense, look into a Mossberg 505 youth sized shotgun.

    • we know. your thuttythutty no cycle good.
      the last ad i saw (not that it was anything new) has imperato saying, i paraphrase, “if you’re not satisfied with your henry for any reason let us know and we will do whatever it takes to make you happy.”
      i guess some folks just wanna be haters. me, i’d take them up on it.

    • Not sure what is there to hate about Henry. I wrote an email to Anthony Imperato with a picture of my .22 rifle, he sent me a swag package. My colleague sent his Big Boy back with several faults, they didn’t even ask him when he purchased it, they repaired everything on it for free, the rifle was back in his hands within two weeks.

      Really confused about the “hate” part. Maybe you don’t like the style, or the name, or the materials used, but hate is really a strong word here.

    • Full choke might split the bullet, open choke I can’t see why not. May have a little difficulty chambering though. I regularly use .44 mag in an H&R break open .410 that I’ve cut the barrel on with no problems. The .45 LC I have to push a little harder to get it in the chamber.

  9. See this gun advertised a lot but are they ever going to be in stores for sale ? Been waiting for nearly two months.

  10. I would like one that has all stainless metal and regular length 410s like 3 inch, also inter changeabilty with a 45 similar to the judge

  11. first time on site, I recently purchased a axe for my wife for home protection, My father was murdered in Canada years ago, and had he had something like this he would probably be alive. I am happily married and I am on the road a lot. With all the crap going on in the country and all the crazies ,I bought this little gem and I have not been able to try it out cause I cant get any 2.5 shells. My wife is pissed. I have tried every website ,every store with in a hundred miles of where we live in Arkansas. So I am happy that your all having fun with your Henry. maybe Ill get some ammo before this year is up. 2021 is looking pretty bad.

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