Henry Big Boy Classic in . 357 Magnum
In firearms history there are certain iconic styles and the lever action rifle must rate as one of the best known. We all remember the western series and movies that heavily featured the lever action repeating rifle.
Recently the opportunity arose to test and evaluate the Henry Big Boy in .357 Magnum and to say I jumped at the chance would be an understatement.
Henry Repeating Arms manufactures over 300,000 thousand rifles annually with a motto of “Made in America or Not Made At All”.
First impression out of the box were excellent, fit and finish between the American walnut stock and the highly polished brass receiver were flawless. Over time and if not cleaned this brasswork will develop a natural unique patina that may appeal to some. The barrel is a handy 20” with an octagonal profile with polished flats. The nicely finished crown is topped with a steel blade fitted with a brass bead that matches nicely with the fully adjustable Marble semi-buckhorn style with diamond insert and provides a nice sharp sight picture for those slow and fast shots. The straight walnut stock, brasswork and highly polished steel complement each other and make this a very striking firearm to look at and handle.
One departure from some of the other lever actions out there is the fixed 10 round tubular magazine with removable spring loaded brass liner. A twist of the knurled knob allows the liner to be withdrawn to facilitate loading. Simplistic in design and function I experienced no problems and soon got used to its operation.
The receiver comes tapped and drilled for scope mounting and Henry can provide the scope mount if required.
Cycling the standard size lever showed a smooth action when used both slowly or the more aggressive nature that most users of these type of firearms prefer.
With a weight of just over 8 ½ pounds unloaded the rifle felt solid and secure when coming to the shoulder.
Impressed, it was time to go to the range and put the rifle through its paces. A selection of ammunition both factory and hand loaded were used for testing.
Utilising a well-padded front rest and using a Splatter Shot Reactive target set at 50yds first up was the CBC 158g LFN . First impression was good with recoil being as expected and the operation to load and eject being positive and brisk. The first shots were ever so slightly high and to the left and more down to the shooter than the rifle. Subsequent follow up shots were to POA with nicely grouped clusters showing the accuracy potential of the rifle. Next I tried the S&B 158g FMJ load, recoil was stouter but the rifle still delivered excellent accuracy for a lever action.
Once again accuracy was excellent for this rifle and Henry Repeating arms must be congratulated on their workmanship and barrel quality.
Knowing the rifle would shoot well called for something a little more in keeping with its original intended usage. Moving to 100 yds. standard clays were placed on a target board and these became the targets for the remainder of the day. Shooting offhand clays exploded with regular frequency once I worked out where to aim in relation to the target. Upping the ante on the speed of operation I managed to get three ejected cases in the air before the first hit the floor, a nice testament to the smooth operation that the Henry rifle is known for.
Any misses were more down to myself than the rifle and ammunition. With the day finished a quick run through with a Dragon Tail Bore Pull and cleaning solution ended the fun day with the rifle.
In an age where most shooters want MOA rifles and the latest gadgets to shoot better it was nice to get back to basics and in some ways rediscover why I got into shooting in the first place. The Henry is a quality accurate rifle that puts the fun back into shooting and definitely puts a smile on your face.
Available in the ever popular .22RF, .357 MAG, .44Mag , .45 Long colt along with 30-30 and 45.70 calibres there is a calibre to suit all. With the ability to mount a scope easily to any of the above, anyone on the lookout for a quality rifle to add to their collection should seriously consider the Henry Rifle.
To see the Henry range of rifles, please click here.