Gun Review: New Original Henry Rifle in .45 Colt

Gun Review: New Original Henry Rifle in .45 Colt

New Original Henry (image courtesy JWT for

New Original Henry (picture courtesy JWT for

The 1860 Henry rifle is without doubt one of the most necessary rifles of all time. It helped modified a nation, and the very notion of what a rifleman was able to.

If you’re going to call your organization Henry, and also you make the 1860 Henry…nicely you’d higher make it proper.

They did. The Henry Repeating Arms New Original Henry is the best 1860 Henry rifle made in over 150 years.

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In some methods, the 1860 Henry Rifle was very like the AR15 of a century later. The Henry wasn’t meant to interchange any explicit firearm.  It was meant to interchange a complete idea of fight.

Although the spherical from the .44 Henry Rimfire cartridge was not as massive because the 1855 Springfield’s .58 caliber ball many of the common US Army was used to, extra rounds might be carried within the Henry rifle (something a couple of would be an enhancement) and on the individual.  A single soldier with a Henry rifle would equal the “firepower” of many historically armed males.  Sound acquainted? It ought to. It was the very same argument used to justify the .223 Remington over the .308 Winchester.

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Unlike the US Army of the Vietnam period, the US Army of the Civil War period simply didn’t see the worth in all that firepower. They additionally couldn’t overlook the fragile nature of the Henry. The unique model was definitely extra fragile than the trendy New Original Henry model, however it wasn’t to be dealt with with white gloves both.  Of course, in comparison with the muskets of the time, which have been strong golf equipment, spears (with bayonet hooked up) and satisfactory canoe oars, I think about all the things else appears a bit flimsy.

No, the massive Army didn’t purchase most of the weapons.  Direct purchases by the US Army have been measured within the lots of, at a time when the complete nation was a struggle. Oliver Winchester nearly went broke (as did each Benjamin Tyler Henry and Smith & Wesson’s Volcanic Arms division earlier than him) making an attempt to construct and promote the Henry.

At one level, in 1862, Mr. Winchester wrote a letter to E.B. Martin, one the corporate’s major stockholders, expressing his frustration and noting that he has provided to surrender his shares to the stockholders, simply to get out from underneath the failing business. Nobody took him up on the provide.  Much the higher for America, and financially, for Winchester.

What saved Winchester wasn’t a War Department contract, however particular person, usually civilian curiosity (good folks at Remington and Colt, please take be aware). You see, the entire time Winchester was making an attempt in useless to persuade the US Army to outfit their troops with a repeating firearm, just a few Winchester salesmen have been out promoting wherever from a single to some dozen rifles at a time.

These salesmen, some nice and a few not so nice, deliberately sought folks of be aware, together with members of the media (sure, there have been “gun writers” in 1861) to shoot and touch upon the weapons. The critiques have been 5 stars all the way in which round.

While the US Army ordered just a few hundred of the Henrys, it was this phrase of mouth that basically stored the curiosity going. Eventually, troopers have been saving up three months of their pay to afford a Henry.  When that occurred, the Henrys tended to multiply quickly inside a unit.

The biggest instance of that is the 66th Illinois Infantry, the well-known Birge’s Western Sharpshooters. The elite unit, based in 1861, is nicely value studying up on. You received’t have any bother discovering information on them. By the tip of the struggle, the overwhelming majority of probably the most storied items of the Civil War could be outfitted with Henry rifles, and a large number of them privately bought.

By the time of the reconsolidated nation’s western enlargement, “The Yankee Sixteen Shooter” was the stuff of legend. The success of the Winchester 1866 model, the “Improved Henry” and the ever present Winchester 1873 are fully constructed on the shoulders of that first .44 caliber lever gun.  The world would by no means be the identical.

Obviously, the trendy Henry Repeating Arms business didn’t make the unique 1860 Henry. If you need a direct lineage again to these unique weapons, don’t look for a corporation named Henry. Anthony Imperato, prince of a person that he’s, secured the rights to the Henry identify within the late 90s, and didn’t produce firearms underneath that identify till greater than 130 years after Oliver Winchester stopped making the unique 1860 mannequin.

Unlike Henry, which makes all the things in America, a modern-day Winchester lever motion rifle will say “Made in Japan.” That’s to not disparage Miroku, who makes the weapons for Winchester. I’ve shot the heck out of the trendy Miroku weapons and they’re fairly good. And all of that’s inappropriate, as a result of Winchester doesn’t make an 1860 anymore, in any nation.

But man, Henry sure does.

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As traditional, the brass receiver of the Henry is the very first thing folks see. I’ve remarked up to now that if you happen to put a brass framed Henry on a desk subsequent to the most recent and greatest AR-15s available on the market, no one picks up the AR first.

Want to shave, sign plane, or gaze not directly on the clouds? The Henry receiver is simply the factor. It’s shiny sufficient to make pictures tough. Every photograph you see on this assessment is after having the rifle for just a few months, training and competing in half a dozen Cowboy Action Shooting matches with it, and over 1,000 rounds fired, together with black powder cartridges.

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That mirror polish doesn’t finish with the receiver. The total 24.5″ of heavy octagonal barrel gleams. It’s acquired that sort of shine that makes it look moist even when it’s 104 outdoors and it hasn’t rained in a month. (Ask me how I do know.) It’s only a attractive rifle.

In my first critiques of the Henry rifles, particularly those I actually preferred, (and that I preferred quite a lot of them) I had to look for something to ding their rifles on in order that I might preserve them out of the five-star class. I guard my 5 star scores rigorously. So I took points off for not having attractive wood.

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No such deduction may be made on the New Original Henry. Henry has invested in stunning American Walnut for the shares on these rifles. The explicit New Original they despatched me will not be the fanciest of those fashions I’ve seen, however the wood is a step up from the opposite Henry fashions, and an enormous leap forward of what others are providing.

The T&E mannequin I acquired has waves and curls within the sample. Near the comb, there’s flake and flame that play off the sunshine. It’s the sort of factor you neglect you’re watching.

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Lemon Pledge, (though fairly good on gunstocks for shine), has no place on this inventory. Instead, I stole from my ample jar of “buffler grease” and rubbed it in with my hands. The outcome was as anticipated. For the primary time, it wasn’t simply the polished brass receiver that stole the presentation. The wood may need even upstaged it. My meager images abilities don’t do it justice.

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The wood to steel match can be appropriately for the interval. Tight and flush, the road what place the wood meets the receiver and butt plate are even all through the rifle. Proud wood could be acceptable on some Victorian period rifles, however not this one, and that I’m glad to see it was executed proper.

This degree of detailed polish isn’t simply fairly, it’s traditionally appropriate. The unique Henry rifles let go within the early 1860s have been additionally nicely polished, after which some.

You might get — and Winchester pushed — a number of engraving patterns proper from the manufacturing unit. Winchester additionally let go numerous engraved silver plated weapons. Winchester nicely knew that eye-catching weapons created greater than income, they created a buzz.

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The New Original Henry additionally sports activities the right curved brass butt plate, with a storage tunnel. It’s polished, nicely match, and each accents and protects the inventory. It’s additionally sort of a ache. As it will have in 1865, the ends of the butt plate result in slender points.

The Henry 1860 was designed previous to the widespread navy use of firing rifles from horseback. Not that folks didn’t experience horses and shoot rifles. It’s simply that while you solely had one shot, you bought off the horse, stood up, and took your shot.

Military shooting was executed standing, with the physique bladed to the goal. You needed a inventory that was curved, that may sit into the pocket of your shoulder and use much less of your chest and extra of the deltoid to backstop the gun. That’s why you’ll see principally extremely curved butt plates from the 1700’s by way of the mid 19th century.

That’s additionally why, across the time our nation pushed to the West, you see many weapons provided or modified to a carbine model with a flatter inventory to be shot extra off the chest, ahead going through to the goal. The New Original Henry follows the identical sample as the unique, which curves to satisfy the shoulder.

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Shooting standing with the physique bladed, because it was designed for, this arrange works nice.  If you’ve gotten been taught to shoot extra going through the goal, as most fashionable shooters have, this might be an issue. First, these points on the inventory are going to dig into your chest and collar bone one thing fierce. They definitely did mine.

The different drawback is that the well-polished butt plate will then slide round throughout quick biking of the motion. Considering that there isn’t any foregrip on the gun, this makes quick maneuvering and firing of the gun fairly difficult.

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When it was produced from 1860-1865, the Henry rifle had no loading gate. Nelson King hadn’t invented it but (so far as we all know).  The New Original Henry, identical to these pre-King variations, hundreds from the entrance of the magazine underneath the muzzle.  As I described in my Uberti 1860 review, the loading course of isn’t doubtless what you’re used to.

First, clear the rifle and switch it over. Now push the follower all the way in which up till the bar indicator on the entrance of the muzzle pushes out about 1/16th of an inch. Then, and this appears like opening a some magic lock, rotate the complete mechanism across the gun to the left.

Keep the rifle angled, not straight up and down, and easily feed the rounds into the journal, bullets going through up. That journal will take 13 255 grain rounds, and with one within the chamber, you’ve gotten 14 rounds of 45 Colt. The originals, loaded within the barely shorter .44 Henry Rimfire, would maintain 16 complete.

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The New Original Henry doesn’t come within the unique caliber, the .44 Henry Rimfire. Good factor, as a result of that ammo is fairly onerous to search out and darn close to unimaginable to make. The fashionable Henry is available in .45 Colt and .44-40 WCF, neither of which might exist till nearly a decade after the 1860 had ceased normal manufacturing.

I selected the .45 Colt model for this assessment as business ammunition is way simpler to come back by than the .44-40 WCF. Reloading permits a shooter to duplicate the load and muzzle velocity of the unique cartridge, which was a 200 grain bullet shifting at 1,100 fps from the rifle size barrel.

The set off mechanism on the 1860 Henry was easy from the start, and the New Original Henry isn’t any totally different, though i’m wondering if those made 155+ years in the past have been nearly as good. Using a Lyman digital set off scale, the typical pull measured over 5 pulls on the New Original Henry was three lbs 12.7 oz, with little or no deviation. There isn’t any discernible creep or squish.

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The barely curved and polished shoe breaks clean, and the set off place itself is great for cautious purpose or quick hearth. Unlike the extra curved variations of the later 1873s, the flatter Henry shoe is in an incredible place for firing simply because the motion closes.

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Note that Henry made these rifles as near the originals as attainable, with the exception the chambering and superior metallurgy. That signifies that there’s no detent underneath the lever and, consequently, it’s attainable to drop the hammer by pulling the set off even with the motion open.  This may trigger concern, however there’s not sufficient momentum or journey house for the firing pin to maneuver ahead sufficient to strike the primer and make it go off with the motion open.

I loaded up a number of instances with Federal and CCI Large Pistol primers and tried to get them to go off by pulling the set off whereas the motion was open. There was no place I might get the primers to go off apart from with the motion fully closed.

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The upside of this function is that, together with an incredible set off, the motion may be cycled and fired shortly, particularly for a firearm with a reasonably lengthy motion stroke.

Henry nicely deserves their popularity for buttery easy lever weapons.  No different main maker available on the market makes a lever that cycles nearly as good as a Henry.  Wit the simplicity of the 1860’s motion, they’ve taken {that a} step additional.

Just just like the originals, there isn’t any switch bar and no cross bolt or tang security. There is the standard half cock place. I positioned the rifle on half cock and bounced it up and down on a hardwood flooring a bunch of occasions and couldn’t get it to launch.  All I acquired out of that train was some dented up hickory flooring boards, however an extended fall on a rock floor may nonetheless be an issue.

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The sight arrange on the New Original Henry is a well-known one.  A easy flip up, drift adjustable rear and a stable blade entrance sight.  The entrance blade is metal, and polished, a reproduction set as much as the originals after the yr 1862. (The first couple of years had a extra rounded entrance sight.)  With this arrange, a superb bore, and a 22″ sight radius, higher than acceptable precision is feasible with nearly any decently constructed spherical.

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Like the originals, this Henry comes with a barrel-mounted adjustable elevator sight. I’m all the time inquisitive about these sights for weapons that are available a number of calibers. The rear sight is graduated in 100 yard increments from the very attainable 200 yards all the way in which out to the very definition of wishful pondering, at 800. (Your ballistic arc would clear a six story constructing.) Are these elevation marks only for show, or do they really work?

I don’t have a goal sufficiently big to check the sights at 800 yards, however I can strive them out to 300. At 200 and 300 yards, the bottom two marks on the rear sight, the marks equate nicely with precise level of affect, in case you are utilizing the best load. My 255 gr bullet spherical must be leaving the barrel at or over 950 fps for the marks to be level of purpose/level of affect out to 300 yards. Anything lower than that and the rounds landed brief.

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Using the 180gr, 800fps spherical I take advantage of for Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS), I used to be capable of simply print 4″ five-round teams at 100 yards whereas shooting from a Caldwell Stinger shooting relaxation. Commercial Winchester Cowboy Action Lead Flat Nosed 250gr rounds printed related teams.

Stepping up fairly a bit in energy, with a 255 grain bullet at slightly below 1,100 fps from the rifle barrel, the group measurement shrunk to a mean of two.7″. That is about nearly as good as my eyes can see at this vary, and the limitation is probably going the shooter greater than the rifle itself.

Out of the container, the rifle was sighted dead-on at 100 yards for elevation, however I did have to faucet the rear sight ever so barely proper to get the windage on monitor.

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For these of you who’re excited by searching small to medium sized game with these rifles, be aware {that a} cartridge total size of 1.6″ will cycle simply nice, however something longer received’t. I attempted lengths longer than this, they usually simply wouldn’t clear the journal tube to go totally into the lifter.

There is an argument to be made that fashionable metallurgy would permit the motion to deal with greater than the 14,000 PSI max strain for the .45 Colt, and thus heavier bullets could possibly be used.  Even if that have been true, and i’ve no information that claims it’s, the rifle merely received’t operate. In brief, these 300+ onerous solid .45 caliber bullets I like in my Ruger Bisleys simply received’t work within the Henry.

Still, for our little Hill Country White Tail Deer and smaller pigs, a reliable marksman should not have any problem taking game with a 255 gr spherical shifting at 1,000+ fps out to about 50 yards. The spherical remains to be producing 500 ft/lbs of power at twice that distance.

I let TTAG know I needed to assessment one in every of these weapons, however I additionally needed to place it by way of its paces at just a few Cowboy Action Shooting matches. I used to be crystal clear with Henry that their flagship rifle would get beat up a bit, as CAS is fairly onerous on weapons. It took some time to get one, however surprisingly, Henry stated “OK, have at it”.

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I’ve shot in six matches with this rifle to this point, (362 rounds fired) in addition to one lengthy vary match (20 rounds) and an entire lot of follow periods (as a result of I would like them, badly). Since then, it’s been bumped on flooring, partitions, been set down onerous on loads of tables, and cycled a thousand occasions or so, and different tough dealing with.

It’s had a pair unlucky occasions. First, the zipper on the rifle bag I used to be carrying it in broke, spilling it out onto parking zone gravel. Then, one of many of us being useful tried selecting it up after a black powder shoot, not realizing how scorching the barrel could be. He let go of the entrance of the barrel, hammering it down on the iron rim of a wood barrel. That left a mark. It’s nonetheless attractive. Maybe much more so. After all, the true great thing about a gun is within the expertise.

The Texas “state championship” CAS match, Commancheria Days, is subsequent month, and that I’ll be utilizing the New Original Henry for that match as nicely. No, it’s not a short-stroked 1873 clone, and the dearth of a foregrip and loading gate are critical handicaps. But it’s additionally friggin’ attractive, enjoyable, and simply as quick as I’m at this level.

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This New Original Henry has been shot over 1,000 occasions now. That I’m positive of, as a result of I used a complete 1,000-count brick of Federal primers to feed it. These days, that basically harm.

That’s not how most folk are going to shoot these weapons, and but, it carried out flawlessly. Not a single misfire. Zero failures to feed, no hang-ups on eject, completely nothing ever went unsuitable with this gun.

The rifle was cleaned at spherical quantity 440. That’s as a result of spherical 360 to spherical 440 have been fired utilizing Goex FFG black powder. It nonetheless hadn’t failed, however it was fairly dirty by then.

The overwhelming majority of these rounds have been very delicate pure lead hundreds. These are each business and residential poured bullets, none of that are coated.  I haven’t had any drawback with main to this point. That’s resulting from a pleasant tight bore, but in addition low velocities and the prodigious use of gooey bullet lube. At the tip of every match, there’s a pleasant star formed sample of lubricant across the rim of the bore, so I’m doing one thing proper.

I do know, given the wonder in addition to the fee, most folk with these rifles are going to deal with them not often, shoot them sometimes, and admire them usually. That’s a disgrace. They have been exceptionally nicely constructed, and constructed to be shot.  I want I had this rifle final fall and winter. If so, I’m positive I’d have just a few pictures of it laying on lifeless pigs.

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The 1860 Henry is without doubt one of the most necessary rifles in historical past.  It’s intertwined with the story of American heated discussion, enlargement, and innovation. Several different corporations make a duplicate of this gun, however no one has made one like this. Henry has made the New Original Henry a credit score to the originals, and is the one business I do know of creating them like they used to, in America.

Specifications: New Original Henry Rifle

Action: Toggle Link Lever
Caliber: .45 Colt (.44-40WCF additionally out there.)
Barrel Length: 24.5″
Barrel Type: Octagon Blued Steel
Rate of Twist: 1:16
Overall Length: 43″
Weight: lbs.
Capacity: 13 (+1)
Receiver Finish: Polished Brass
Rear Sight: Folding Ladder
Front Sight: Blade
Stock Material: Fancy American Walnut
Buttplate/Pad: Brass
Length of Pull: 14″
Safety: Half Cock
MSRP: $2,514

Style and Appearance * * * * *
This is definitely the bottom mannequin New Original Henry, and it’s breathtaking.  The most typical factor I heard when folks noticed it was “”.  The wood, metals, polish, all the things is correct.  Quite a lot of work went in to get it that method.

Historical Accuracy * * * * *
i’d extremely advocate “The Historic Henry Rifle” by Wiley Sword for a much more detailed look into the Winchester-made Henry. It will show you thru loads of description, pictures, diagrams, and cutaways that Henry acquired the New Original Henry particulars proper. No points off right here for not making it the unique caliber which no-one might shoot.

Reliability * * * * *

Accuracy * * * * *
It is alleged that Birge’s Western Sharpshooters might put three pictures right into a three half of″ goal at 200 yards. I can’t do this with any open-sighted gun. But the New Original Henry will shoot simply in addition to I can, with any open-sighted gun.

Overall * * * * *
Henry took some time to place out this gun. There have been a lot of different rifles and shotguns with the identify “Henry” marked on them earlier than Mr. Imperato determined to take the time to launch the Henry rifle, by Henry. This won’t be a mass market gun. Few folks, compared to the corporate’s different choices, will purchase this rifle.  Those who do are the sort of folks I wish to have a beer with, hunt with, and shoot with. They’re those who needed a rifle that technology after technology may be pleased with. It warms my heart to see an organization as massive as Henry taking the time to make a historic rifle this nice.

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