I have heard many shooters mention that nostalgia plays a part in their love of the lever-action rifle.
That’s fine, but I was not thinking of the old west and cowboy shooting when I purchased my first lever-action rifle many years ago.
Lever-action .30-30 rifles were standard hunting rifles. Many rural officers and state police carried lever-action rifles in the trunk.
In many cases, they were better armed than modern officers of the next generation.
As one example, a great uncle carried a Winchester .30-30 and a Browning automatic shotgun in the trunk of his vehicle.
His holster gun was a six-inch barrel .38 with Remington high-speed loads.
I feel that he was well prepared for whatever might come up. Putting down large farm animals was part of the daily course of rural work in those days.
I have owned a number of lever-action .22 LR rifles. They were pricey, but nice. Today, an affordable and reliable lever-action .22 is a reality.
The Henry rifle is a great rifle, pretty to look at and accurate. For anything a .22 LR rifle is useful for, the Henry is a good choice, and it isn’t dependent on high-velocity ammunition, something I like a lot.
The Henry is reliable with .22 Shorts, Longs, Long Rifle and even shotshells. You can’t do that with an automatic rifle.
When you examine the Henry rifle, the fit and finish is impressive. The walnut stock isn’t presentation grade, but it is nicely finished. When you work the action, the overall impression is of smoothness.
A lever-action rifle is operated by pressing the lever forward, not down. Since the little .22 isn’t very long, the lever throw is very short and fast. A gate-loading rimfire rifle isn’t practical.
The Henry rifle is loaded by means of a tube under the barrel similar to most lever-action rifles, but the tube was loaded by unscrewing the loading tube and dropping cartridges in one round at a time.
The brass tube isn’t exactly delicate, but don’t let it get bent! Twist the locking knob and move the tube to the point cartridges are easily loaded. 15 .22 Long Rifle cartridges may be loaded.
If you can find them, you can load 21 .22 Short cartridges in the magazine, which is a lot of fun. Shorts are expensive and sometimes in limited supply, but are a useful loading.
Game such as squirrel is easily taken with the .22 Short. After the rifle is loaded, work the lever downward to feed a cartridge into the chamber. Press forward and then bring the lever back into place.
If you are not going to fire at the moment, carefully control the hammer and press the trigger to lower the hammer, all while keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
After the hammer is lowered, bring the hammer slightly to the rear. You will hear a slight click, this is the safety notch.
Function and Feel
The rifle balances well. The Henry .22 is just over 36-inches long and the barrel is 18.25-inches long. This generates more velocity than many .22 carbines.
This is a nicely balanced rifle for all-day use in hunting small game. It weighs but 5.25 pounds. The sights are fixed sights with the typical buckhorn rear sight and a shrouded front post.
These sights are fine for use out to 50 yards or so at larger targets. The human eye and iron sights are a limiting factor. Most all shots at small game are at modest range.
Just casual shooting, plinking and marksmanship training seldom occur at ranges longer than 25 yards with the .22 rifle.
There is the typical 3/8-inch groove atop the receiver for mounting a rimfire scope. While I own several scoped .22 rifles, the Henry is too neat, small and handy for an optical sight.
Accuracy and Performance
I have fired this rifle a good bit and find that its accuracy potential is outstanding. I broke out several of my favorite CCI loads for accuracy and velocity testing for this report.
Most loads will put five shots into one inch at 25 yards. Here are the velocity results:
|CCI Quiet Load||716 fps|
|CCI Mini Mag Segmented Load||1233 fps|
|CCI Suppressor 45-Grain Subsonic||930 fps|
|Federal Match Small Game Hollow Point||1150 fps|
Conclusion: Henry .22 Rifle
The Henry H001 is a fine all-around rifle. I like the ability to store the flat and handy rifle practically anywhere — behind a truck seat, in a closet, or under the attic stairs.
The rifle isn’t sensitive to ammunition velocity or bullet weight. It doesn’t depend on a bullet traveling at a certain velocity because it is manually operated.
The rifle offers a good mix of accuracy, reliability and more than a little pride of ownership.
Have you shot the Henry .22 Rifle yet? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below!