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Although not the most common model, the Henry Frontier Threaded barrel lever action is worth tracking down if you’re a fan of suppressed rimfire. It combines some of the best things about recreational shooting into one highly entertaining package. That includes the affordability of rimfire, the fun of a lever action, and the pleasant shooting experience that only a suppressor can provide. Whether you’re taking out empty cans, pests, or small game, it’s ridiculously amusing. With the suppressor mounted, working the lever and the hammer dropping are pretty much all you hear. Well, that and a round hitting whatever your target is. And then maybe some giggles from yourself and whoever you happen to be shooting with.
Henry Frontier Model Threaded Barrel 24″ specifications
Model number H001TSPR, the main feature of this Frontier is of course the threaded barrel. At 24 inches, the blued octagonal steel barrel offers an outstanding sight radius. And its 1:16 twist stabilizes all but the super heavy subsonic rounds. Of course, it’s threaded 1/2 x 28 and includes a knurled thread protector. Both pieces of the stock are American walnut, with the buttstock offering a 14″ length of pull. The zinc receiver has a black finish, and is grooved for 3/8″ scope rings. At the rear is a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn sight with a diamond insert, paired with a front brass bead. The closest it has to a mechanical safety is the 1/4 cock hammer. The whole thing measures 42.5″ muzzle to plastic butt plate, and weighs 7 pounds even.
Fit, finish, and accessories
Overall fit and finish is pretty nice, given that they are produced with an eye towards affordability. And by that, I don’t mean that Henry skimps on quality. I have no expectations of invisible seams between the wood and metal on a rimfire rifle at this price. The receiver isn’t blued because the cover is a durable alloy, rather than steel. It should still hold up to a couple lifetimes of use, and most people consider Henry firearms to be heirlooms that they can pass down to their kids. Like all Henry firearms, the threaded Frontier has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. In the unlikely event something goes wrong, they will make it right.
The one and only accessory (from Henry) that might make my list of “must haves” is the large loop lever. Having installed one on my own personal rifle, I find it useful for big hands as well as gloves. If you’re getting this for your kids to use, that may not be a concern. For me, I do like the extra room as I have big hands. As far as cases, slings, and Henry branded gear, you can find all that here.
Some give-and-take engineering
Naturally, the lever action itself makes for a quiet suppressor, since only the hammer moves when firing. There’s no annoying bolt moving, and the round is held tightly in the breech on ignition. But it wasn’t as simple as chucking the barrel in a lathe and calling it good. Because the tubular magazine rides below the barrel. If you already owned the original Frontier model, it’s entirely possible to have the barrel threaded and the front sight relocated a little farther back. But reloads would be inconvenient, as the tube you need to remove would be blocked by the suppressor. Unthreading the suppressor, reloading, and then reinstalling the suppressor would quickly become tedious. Henry engineers came up with a workable solution.
First, they truncated the magazine tube. My original Henry lever action holds 17 rounds of .22 LR, while the unthreaded Frontier model holds 16. The threaded Frontier model has a capacity of ten .22 LR rounds with the shorter tube. But it can be reloaded with a suppressor installed. So it gives up some capacity. But Henry chose the Frontier with its 24″ octagon barrel as the model to get the threading treatment. In exchange for lower capacity, we still get the stiff barrel and generous sight radius. Both contribute to outstanding accuracy. Plus, adding a 6″ suppressor means the bullet is exiting a full 30 inches from the breech. It’s that much quieter at the ear because of this.
For the first outing, I initially loaded it up with some 710 fps CCI Quiet rounds. The result was quiet. So quiet that I thought maybe it didn’t fire, or I had a squib stuck in the barrel. But the friend that I was shooting with confirmed that he saw the round strike the ground near my target. Turns out that the lower power, low-velocity rounds give up a lot of energy, as it landed a few feet short of the target. If you have a property where it’s legal to shoot, your neighbors wouldn’t ever hear these rounds, making it great for close-range pest control or target practice. And that was before we installed the suppressor.
With my trusty TacSol Axiom threaded on to the end of the barrel, I stepped up to some higher velocity, but still subsonic ammo. Working the lever, I’d hear the hammer drop, and then the bullet hitting home. Or maybe the zing of a ricochet. Not much else though. This Frontier is about as close to “Hollywood quiet” as I’ve gotten. And it was more than accurate enough to clear my Throom KYL rack at around 40 yards with the iron sights. At fifty yards, my neighbor’s kid could hit the 2″ plate all day. My eyes are a bit older, and a little less reliable. Picking off empty shotgun hulls and bits of broken clays was easy though. All the while, it’s hard not to giggle a bit. The lever was super smooth out of the box, and the trigger breaks around 3.5 pounds (according to my questionable trigger gauge), which seems about right for a field gun or one being used by younger shooters.
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s what I ran through this Henry. In addition to the CCI quiets, I fed it some CCI Longs as well as SV. Because lever actions aren’t fussy about ammo, it also saw plenty of Federal bulk, Blazer, Aguila, Norma, and even vintage Cascade. Everything subsonic stayed subsonic, which made for a quiet experience. For maximum giggles, I recommend the CCI SV, as it’s easy to find, and generally very consistent. Rounds rated at 1070 fps were quiet and rang our steel targets nicely. Those rated at 710 fps were near silent with a suppressor and ear pro, but lacked energy at longer than backyard distances.
All the ammo labeled supersonic was still quiet with the suppressor in place too, but not quiet enough to go without ear pro. There was still a supersonic crack, but that was muted by quality ear protection. Either way, the threaded Frontier was definitely the quietest and most pleasant shooting firearm I have had since owning a suppressor. And not so much as a hiccup over hundreds of rounds. Which has been my experience with my other two Henry rifles as well.
No surprises here. Mixing classic cowboy action with slightly more modern suppression is an unlikely, but wholly welcome combination. During my review period, I let about a dozen other shooters try the threaded Frontier. Whether they were new or seasoned shooters made no difference, every one of them broke into a huge grin when they shot it. I’m not sure it’s even possible to not smile when shooting this rifle. Lever action rifles seem to bring out our inner kid, inner cowboy, or perhaps a combination of the two. It’s possible that they automatically increase the amount of fun an afternoon plinking session provides. Throw in a suppressor, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a better way to burn through some rimfire ammo.
What’s the cost of this much fun? Well, besides whatever you paid for your suppressor and stamp, the Henry carries an MSRP of $580.00. I’d like to say that the actual retail price is lower, but it was out of stock on all my favorite sites. Which is also a nice way of saying that you shouldn’t expect to find one much below MSRP. But it’s worth it. The rifle is solid, reliable, accurate, and I’ll mention one more time, fun.
I’d like to thank Henry Repeating Arms for providing their threaded Frontier rifle for my testing and evaluation. Might have to start a Go Fund Me so that I don’t have to send it back. Because it would make a great addition to my collection of Henry lever actions. I’m known for saying “suppressed is best”, and this is one of the best ways to shoot suppressed.