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Henry Repeating Arms president Anthony Imperato confirmed to me this morning that the New Jersey-based arms maker will be offering their steel-framed, round-barrel lever action rifle in the thundering .45-70 cartridge in March of 2012.  We loved Henry’s Big Boy .44 Magnum earlier this year, and we’ve come to expect great things from them.  What’s not to love about lever-action goodness in a huge .45-70 package, other than football ballistics and the price of ammo?

Details are a bit scanty right now, but it appears to be a Super-Sized version of Henry’s current steel-frame .30-30 rifle with a round 20-inch barrel and a pistol-grip stock.  Magazine capacity should be 5+1 (possibly 6+1), and XS Systems’ ghost ring sights will be standard.

Unlike the stunning brass-framed Henrys, which Farago considers almost too beautiful to shoot, this one looks like a knockabout working gun.  Henry has already promised to send us a test model, and I’m sure I won’t mind that it will sport a boring-looking rubber buttpad instead of a lovely but painful solid-brass recoil pad.

PRICE UPDATE:  Mr. Imperato just got back to me with pricing for the big Henry.  With an MSRP of $799, I expect the street price to settle at $600 to $650.  The Henry steel-framed .30-30 has an MSRP of $750 and a street price of about $500, and I’d expect the big bore to see a slightly smaller street discount from the list price.

This big-ass Henry will inevitably compete with the Marlin 1895 (street price $500+) which has remained in production during TFG’s partial lever-action shutdown.

Even with a street price of $100 to $150 more, I think the Henry’s pricing will be a real threat to the stock Marlin 1895.  Many Marlins (mine included) need replacement sights and a trigger job before they’re outstanding shooters, and these upgrades will add one or two Benjy’s to a Marlin’s price tag.  A $650 Henry, with factory-excellent sights and trigger, won’t need any customization at all.

There’s also no word on what Henry will call this cannon. I’m guessing that ‘Really Really Big Boy,’ ‘Fat Boy’, and ‘Big Bad Boy’ didn’t make it off the PR guy’s desk. Any suggestions?


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  1. They’ll just call it the Big Boy .45-70, and I’ll just call dibs on one right now.

    BTW, those football ballistics are more like rainbow ballistics, but the arc is so smooth and predictable that long holdover shots with iron sights are absolutely possible, even for these old eyes. At the expreme end of its arc, the .45 Gummint has enough power to bring down most any North American animal. It’s a buffalo gun with the recoil to prove it.

  2. Way to go Henry with the new 45-70! If anyone from Henry is reading the comments here, I want to buy a .357 lever action blued steel receiver preferably with the ammo loading built into the receiver and not the tube. I might still buy a s-l-o-w to re-load .357 tube fed lever carbine action, yet my intent is to turn it into a semi-tactical lever action carbine that I can use for home defense and social unrest.

    • 10 rounds of .357 is more than enough for 95% of all home-defense situations. Nobody feels under-gunned with a shotgun, and they rarely hold more than 6 or 8 rounds. For side-loading, however, you’ll probably have to go with a Marlin (good luck) or a Rossi Puma.

      Reloading the Henry’s tube magazine from the front is an ungraceful procedure, and it’s best performed at a relaxed pace. From start to finish, a Henry *might* reload as quickly as a Marlin or Rossi, but reloading the Henry’s tube renders it inoperable until the process is finished; it’s hard you can’t do it while maintaining coverage of a possible threat.

      For Cowboy Action Shooting, I suspect that a Henry shooter would want to shoot the magazine dry and then manually load one shell at a time into the chamber if there were stages that required slightly more than 10 shots to complete.

      • Chris, thanks for your reply. Ten rounds is probably more than enough for most HD cases. As for dealing with a hypothetical social unrest/looting/survival environment who knows what the need will be for guns. Currently, I would not use a 357 carbine for home defense unless a dangerous mob was rushing down the street. Rather, my go to HD guns are (under current society breakins) a Ruger SP101 357 and/or a Ruger SR9C 9mm.

  3. It loads in the mag tube. Full of Fail IMO. It may not be a big deal to some,.. but it annoys the hell outta me.

  4. Loading a tube from the front just doesn’t work for me. It’s awkward and slow. If Henry changed that I’d buy their firearms.

    • +1 Despite all the wonderful things I hear about the quality of Henry rifles, I won’t buy one because of that stupid loading system. It was a bad idea 150-ish year ago when they started it and it’s a shame that they still haven’t fixed it.

  5. I like the tube loading. I have never been in love with the side port loading on lever actions. If you can’t get it done with whats in the tube of a 45/70 you should not have started it. Also you don’t have to rack every cart. through the action to unload. Big plus in my book.

    • Yea, for a hunting firearm, I actually like the front loading design. It lets you unload the rifle without having to cycle every round through the action. Is it what I would want for a fighting rifle? No, but neither is a .45-70 lever gun in general.

  6. I don’t care if TFG is assembling the 1895’s if the quality is as bad a the 1894 you reviewed. This timing couldn’t be better following the previous lever posts. Great news! I’d call it “The Big Shot”

  7. Well, it seems cool, anyway. I’ve handled a couple of Henry .22s and they seemed a bit chintzy, but if the quality is there…

  8. The 20″ barrel Rossi model 92 in .454 Casull is a much lighter (6 pounds), cheaper & better gun than the clunky Henry based on the decades tested & proven John Browning Winchester model 92 design & can hold 9 cartridges of equivalent power to the .45-70. The Rossi 92 has BOTH side loading & tube loading options in one gun. As usual the Henry gun is too big, clunky & expensive for my taste.

  9. I just ordered a 45-70 and can’t wait to get it. I bought ammo before I even ordered this Henry. This will make my 4th Henry and been very pleased with all of them. Tube feed does slow you down but for me it gives me a chance to calm down and improve my shots.

  10. will henry make a side loading 45-70 if so i would buy one will henry make a 55-90 if so i would buy one

  11. Also, Anthony did not tell you that the tubular magazine will rip out the notch that the retaining pin turns into to lock the inner tube in when you use anything other than anemic loads. Buffalo Bore Garrett and HSM Bear Loads all bend the tube. I bought my rifle in February and it has been to Henry to be repaired twice. And after only 5 rounds of Bear Loads (405 gr gas check bullet at 1680fps) the tube is bending again. All it would take to fix the problem is to reinforce the last half inch or so of the outer tube with another layer of metal.
    They have been great about repairing the rifle but a week to get there, a week to get fixed, and a week back to me all adds up. Before the last repair I contacted customer support and asked that I receive an explanation as to why these were breaking and what was being done to my rifle to alleviate the problem. NOTHING!! Only a note stating that the outer tube was replaced and 20 rounds of wimpy Winchester ammos was fired without a problem. DUH!! The enclosed letter and the call to customer service both stated that the issue was happening with heavier bullets. Why wouldn’t they test the gun with the ammo that has been causing the problem???
    The loads that cause the problem are accepted ammo according to Henry and the Marlins seem to be handling them without a problem. Wouldn’t you think that Henry would produce a higher quality rifle than the Remarlins?

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