This Henry Classic Lever Action .22 Magnum was my first lever action, and the third article in this series. I had originally bought a .22 WMR handgun and matching carbine, but the quality and performance disappointed me. Which is why I sold them both, but kept the ammo. And we all know that if you have hundreds of rounds of a particular caliber, there is only one thing to do. So I went searching for a new rifle to use them in. As luck would have it, a friend was parting with his nearly new Henry. I even got more ammo out of that deal. This was the start of my appreciation for Henry lever actions.
The official model designation is H001M. It’s got a 19.25″ long blued steel barrel with a 1:16 twist rate. On the front of the barrel is a hooded blade sight. At the back is a fully adjustable rear sight. If irons aren’t your thing, the receiver is grooved for 3/8″ rings. Underneath the barrel is a tubular magazine that holds 11 rounds. Length of pull is 14″. In a world of plastic, anodizing, and Cerakote, it’s nice to see checkered American walnut. It’s on both the stock and forend. All that adds up to 37.5″ and 5.5 pounds. Just right for a an afternoon in the field or at the range.
The honest backstory
Initially, I really only bought this Henry Classic Lever Action to burn up all that spare .22 Magnum ammo. For anyone who has followed this site a while, one thing should be apparent. While I’m not at all a bad shot, I’m certain that I have more enthusiasm than skill. So I figured this would be fun to own, my nephews would help me shoot up my ammo, and then I’d flip it for something else. That was the initial plan. And then I took it out to see how it shoots. (If this was a video, I’d insert a clip of a car executing a perfect 180 degree u-turn right now).
Loading and shooting
Before I get to the good part (shooting) I need to cover the loading part. A twist of the rod under the barrel unlocks it so I can be removed. Drop 11 rounds in, primer end first, then reinsert the rod. Now, I’m not old enough to have seen The Rifleman when it originally aired, but I remember reruns, and watching Chuck Connors work his lever action. (Note to self: spring for the big loop one of these days) With that in mind, all it takes is a smooth flick forward and back to chamber a round.
First shot was a 4″ steel gong that my friend had set up at about 60-70 yards. Or paces. We weren’t very high tech at the time, just casual shooters. When I heard the round strike it, I was more surprised than anything else. Surely it was a fluke. Bang. Ring. Bang. Ring. This repeated for 10 out of 11 rounds. Now, I’ve read the reviews, and I sort of knew what to expect. I know it’s not difficult to get around an inch (2 MOA) at 50 yards, off a bench and with an optic. But this was offhand, with iron sights, and my not-so-young eyes. To say that I was pleased would be an understatement.
Was this some lever action magic or what?
No, it’s not magic. At least, not the kind that involves incantations and newt parts. Not at all. What we have here is a mechanically accurate action and barrel in a well-balanced rifle. Couple that with some flat shooting .22 WMR, and it’s a recipe for success. That it comes from a lever action just adds to the overall fun. Henry has found the sweet spot for sharp-shooting lever actions. Since that first trip, I have put several hundred rounds through this rifle with not so much as a single hiccup. It eats any ammo I have fed it without complaint. And it hits the target just about every time too.
Why you might want one
I’m not here to sell you a Henry Classic Lever Action .22 Magnum. But if you’re reading this because you’re thinking about getting one, I’ll be your enabler. It’s a quality rifle at an affordable price. MSRP is $552, but disregarding the last 18 months of insanity, you can generally get one for less. Even at full retail, you’re getting a solid shooter that’s accurate and reliable. Your kids and maybe even grandkids will thank you for it when you hand it down to them. At least, they better. It’s definitely what I consider to be one of my “heirloom” pieces. The recent addition of the Integrated Butt Stock Cover with Integrated Sling from RLO Custom Leather improves the looks and handling even more. Keep an eye out for an upcoming review of this beautiful leather work from Rick Lowe.
Why you might not want to buy one
Don’t take the following comments too seriously, unless you see a bit of yourself in them. I got the .22 WMR first, and love it. Yet I also had almost 20,000 reasons, sitting on a shelf in my garage, to buy the .22 LR version. And when .22 LR started to get a little harder to find, I noticed people dumping .22 Long ammo super cheap. Like, 3-4 cents per round cheap. Which meant I had to get the Classic Lever Action in .22 LR as well (My wife got it for me for Christmas. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world). And what good is a lever action without a companion arm? Having a rifle and revolver chambered in the same round is the way, right? So I got myself a Single-Six Convertible revolver too. Now I can switch out the cylinder to match whichever lever action I’m using. Yes, I accessorized my first Henry Lever Action with another $1,000 worth of complementary firearms.
There are some arguments that can be made against getting an “old-fashioned” lever action. And they are all mostly wrong. Or at least misguided. “A semi-auto is faster”. Sure, but the lever action is probably more accurate. “If you want accuracy, get a bolt rifle”. Yeah, but I can work the lever action easily, without taking my eye off the target. Off a bench, the bolt action may have the advantage. In the field, the lever is the winner in my book. And let’s be honest, Chuck Connors is to lever actions what Chuck Norris is to the internet. Be like Chuck. Either one.
In all seriousness, the Henry Classic Lever Action line is an easy decision for a rimfire lever action. You’ll get your money’s worth, and have a lot of fun punching paper, popping cans, ringing steel, or even taking small game. The hardest part might be choosing which caliber and model, as Henry offers a pretty wide range. I really enjoy both of mine, and can’t imagine parting with either. And they have the best warranty around. As their CEO, Anthony Imperato says, â€œHenry owners have my personal guarantee to make certain that they are 100% satisfied with their purchase of our rifles. If you are going to spend your money on a Henry, I can assure you that we will do whatever it takes to make sure that you are happy that you bought a Henry.â€ Check them out at HenryUSA.com.
Comments? Questions? Do any of our readers own a Henry? Anyone tried one out? Feel free to share below.
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