Henry Rifles have the reputation of being the industry leaders in lever action rifle manufacturing and one of the top five rifle manufacturers in the country. All of the rifles they produce are made in the United States. In fact, they have a company motto that says “Made in America, or Not Made At All.”
If you compare the original Henry Rifle to what is out today, you will find that not a lot has changed. They still operate with the same lever action design that was thought of in the 1860’s. There are many more calibers and options than in the past, but the accuracy and reliability remain strong. The company now features various models including an All-Weather model, Special Edition models, and a few single shot rifles. Henry Rifles has also branched out and produces single shot and lever action shotguns. Among all of the models one thing remains the same: producing the highest quality American made rifle they can.
I was fortunate to be sent a Henry All-Weather Lever Action .30-30 to try out this year. My very first hunting rifle was a lever action .30-30 so I was excited to get the chance to try this rifle out during the season here in Wisconsin. At first glance, this rifle doesn’t look like a typical Henry with the American walnut stocks that I am used to seeing. The All-Weather model features a stained hardwood stock that helps to resist wear, tear, scratches, moisture, and temperature variations. The All-Weather also doesn’t feature the traditional blue-barrels and other metal parts. This version has a silver metal that is plated to prevent chipping, peeling, flaking, and is impervious to corrosion. This treatment will also help to reduce friction on all moving parts and has a low-gloss look.
So the first question anybody wants to know is, how does it shoot? I recently took the rifle to the range and it brought back memories of my first deer hunt when I was 12 years old. Back then, I used a .30-30 lever action and was happy with it. It reminded me of the first time my dad took me out shooting prior to the season. I can say that shooting a lever action again was just as fun as it was 28 years ago.
The grouping was decent, but that was most likely my fault. I haven’t shot open sights on a rifle much in my hunting career. The top of the receiver is tapped for those that would like to mount a scope to the rifle. With the weight of the rifle, the recoil wasn’t all that noticeable. The action itself was smooth and solid at the same time. I did not encounter any jams when cycling the rifle.
Easily one of my favorite features of the Henry Rifle is the process to load and unload. Like other lever action rifles, the Henry has a tubular magazine with a 5-round capacity. What is different from what I was used to in the past is the actual loading process. To load and unload, you remove the inner part of the tubular magazine and feed the rounds in one by one. To unload, you do the same steps in reverse. Other lever action rifles require you to cycle every round through the firearm to completely unload it. That could in turn be a bit of a safety hazard. You do still have to cycle the round that is in the chamber to have the rifle 100% unloaded.
Again like other lever action rifles, the Henry Rifle has a hammer that has to be pulled back in order to fire. The hammer also acts as the safety for the firearm. I have seen other lever actions that have a traditional safety which would allow the shooter to keep the hammer pulled back and ready for firing. In a hunting situation, it will take a little getting used to with regards to having to pull the hammer back in the heat of the moment. I also worry a little that the hammer might get caught on something and make the rifle ready to shoot.
For the type of hunting that I do in Wisconsin, this rifle will be perfect for close encounters in the woods or while doing a deer drive in the thick and nasty places the deer like to hide. A .30-30 is not a long range rifle no matter how you look at it. But it excels at being a short range “brush” gun.
Shooting this rifle brings back a sense of nostalgia from back in the day when settlers used lever action to chase buffalo in the plains. The Henry All-Weather is a well-made rifle designed to handle anything that a hunter can throw at it. While I tend to baby my rifles, I might have zero hesitation to drag this rifle through the nastiest conditions I can find. I am confident that it will hold up for many years to come. Eventually I hope to hand this rifle down to my daughters to use on their first deer hunts.
Written and Submitted by Edward Gramza IV