There’s just something about a lever-action rifle. They’re ingrained in our history. They’re in every good western and even a few sci-fi flicks. The characters that preferred them are almost as well-known as the lever action itself. The rifle played a part in settling America’s frontier. In short, the lever-action is among a few gun designs that are practically built into America’s DNA. And yet, I had shot one but once . . .
Luckily for me, Henry Repeating Arms came to the rescue, sending me not one, not two, but three of their infamous lever action .22s; the H001, H001T Frontier with the octagonal barrel, and the Golden Boy.
While I’m still settling in with these rifles, there’s one thing I can say already — I really enjoy aspects of each one and would love to combine them into one perfect (in my opinion) Henry lever action. What would it take? I’d graft the hooded front sight of the H001 onto the heavier (and snazzier looking) octagonal barrel of the Frontier, and form it all into the overall shape of the Golden Boy.
Why? The hooded front sight is the best choice of the two (compared to buckhorn sights) to aim swiftly and more accurately while still looking at the target. The octagonal barrel was the precursor to modern bull barrels, and the extra weight adds to the balance and steadiness of the rifle and reduces recoil. It also keeps the barrel cooler when shooting multiple rounds swiftly. And we all know that’s half the fun of a lever-action.
The Golden Boy’s shape (stock angled lower than the H001 in relation to the barrel) is my preference with one important reason: I’m not in love the small stocks on these rifles. For me, it’s hard to get a comfortable head position and still see through and align the sites properly. Most times my head was floating, or just barely touching the comb.
With any of these rifles, I’d build up the comb to meet my cheek and fit my ideal head position and the Golden Boy’s design has the most promise for this. Unlike the other stocks, if I built up the Golden Boy’s comb, my head would be upright and very comfortable. That would allow for swifter sight acquisition, better eye alignment and improved balance in the shooting position.
Now to put a few hundred more rounds through these rifles. Not so much to test them, but to enjoy the beauty of these great lever-action guns.