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Thread: Henry Big Boy ..fussy?

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    Henry Big Boy ..fussy?

    My new Henry seems a bit fussy ...or maybe it's me?

    A couple days ago, I picked up my Henry Big Boy in 41 Mag, it has a Blued Steel receiver and 20" (Rifle) Barrel (1:18.75 twist).

    I like the stock fit and "cut" checkering. I'm not crazy about the bead blasted finish of the receiver and I'm not crazy about the unpolished barrel with machining lines and matching mag tube. I do like the mag tube loading, as opposed to marlin's feed gate in receiver.

    Last night, I attempted to cycle some ammo I had previously loaded for the Marlin and my pistols. The Ammo loaded for the marlin (Ranch dog 255gr) had a OAL a bit too long for the Henry, The Henry appears to have a tighter chamber or a shorter chamber (that appears to be almost 0.100" shorter?), but that longer ammo would cycle, but it took more force than I like, to close the bolt. None of my pistol ammo would successfully cycle 100% of the time...about 25% or so would jam (FTF)...(three different cast bullet ammo and 3 different jacketed bullet ammo).

    So, today, I set out to load some ammo to test it, I hope to go to the range tomorrow (it's suppose to be a beautiful sunny day, should be 46 and little or no breeze). I had some Saeco 411 SWC 232gr. that were cast/sized/lubed from 2013 (sized .411 -Tamarack lube). They were cast from an Alloy I guessed to be COWW from a couple homemade boat anchors that I melted. The BHN measured 11 in 2013, but today I it measured at 16.6, I did several samples, to be sure. My notes from 2013 indicated that I added one ingot of a zinc contaminated alloy to the 3/4 full Lee pot, a common practice of mine, to use up the contaminated alloy. My best guess is that Zinc content couldn't be more than 2%. The bullets do have a bit of a galvanized finish, LOL.

    Anyway, I set out to make some dummy rounds to find a OAL that'd work, I made 4 of each.
    what I found:
    1.715 was too long, and would jam on the way up from the Mag tube. I started here because this was a good length to be seated to allow crimping into crimp groove.
    1.700 worked
    1.680 worked (almost 100% of the time)
    1.665 failed part of the time
    1.630 failed much of the time (this OAL had the case mouth about lined up with the front of the driving band)

    First, I should add that initially I had problems cycling all of the SWC dummy rounds, til I cycled the action a few hundred times. I'm not sure if the action just needed to be broke-in, or I needed to develop a nice smooth movement to open and close the action...because that seemed to help...Obviously I was always holding the gun, in shooting position, sites up.

    I was cycling these dummy rounds for hours...The conclusion: the cartridges with a shorter OAL seemed to "flop around" in the receiver, causing more chances for misalignment. Usually what would happen, is the ejection pin would push the rear of the cartridge sideways (outward of the ejection port), which would move the cartridge so the position of the primer are centered on the extractor, which then would push the nose of the bullet the opposite way, into the side of the chamber entry. JAM !

    I hope this gun doesn't end up as fussy as it seems right now.

    So, Once I seemingly figured out the OAL (1.695), I loaded up a box of 50 with standard Win primers and 11.7gr of vintage (Hercules) Blue Dot. Lyman says it should be moving about 1025 fps and around 20Kcup. In case these don't work in the Rifle, I'll bring a pistol along tomorrow, as well.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have three different loads I run with no feeding issues. They are 1.53, 1.56, and 1.58 OAL. They are 220gr LSWC,210gr XTP's,210gr copper coated TC's, and 210gr HiTec coated. All these have been very accurate out to 100 yds and work smoothly in mine.

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    well, the Saeco 411 SWC just didn't feed reliably enough during my range visit today. when I got home, I fired up the lead pot and cast a couple hundred Ranch Dog TLC411-255-RF. They feed reliablity in my Marlin, so that is the next one to try.

    Side note, I brought 3 flavors of homeloaded J-word ammo, while I mention some issues in the OP with my J-word ammo in testing...they all cycled and fired today at the range, and was pleased with accuracy (soupcans at 25 yards-offhand)...So I guess that's a last resort.

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    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    I have a Henry Big Boy in .357 with the alloy receiver. Mostly what I have found is the action needs to be cycled with authority or feeding issues ensue, and as you said, the sights need to be kept mostly upright.

    Once you get yours out on the range, I will be very interested to hear what your 100 yd results are, particularly if you shoot 10 shot groups. I had a devil of a time with mine, hopefully the same will not be true for yours.

    Apologies, I did not read down far enough. If you stretch yours out to 100 yds, please post the results. I'd be very interested.

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    Boolit Master
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    I suggest that the op remove the bolt and ejector and clean both. Then I suggest that he clean the chamber. Brass scrapings from cycling dummies may found their way into the chamber and under the extractor. My .44 has tight headspace, and I've noticed that some brass from a box of 50 will have thicker rims causing resistance to closing the bolt. I set these aside. This gun also had a problem with the ejector tip moving the brass toward the ejection port. I sent it back to Henry for feeding issues, and the problem was absent on its return.

    Like everybody including me says, Henry will take care of problems. It does seem to me, though, that a lot of these rifles go back for warranty repair. My .357 will soon make this trip because filling the magazine full will cause the lever to fly open once the tube is pressed down.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    I have a Henry 41 and had trouble with Lyman 410459 & 41032 feeding correctly. Contacted Accurate Molds and Tom suggested his recent mold 41-210A RNFP. I ordered it at .412 and size at .411. It is loaded with 2400 and is the only boolit I use in my rifle now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    SNIP...

    Apologies, I did not read down far enough. If you stretch yours out to 100 yds, please post the results. I'd be very interested.
    I will surely post 100 yd results, if I do that. But, right now, I don't plan on putting a scope or a peep on it. (I have a peep on my Marlin 41 mag and like it, but not sure I want a duplicate gun of a different manfacturer?) My eyes aren't the best. I got prescription glasses (for the first time) a few months ago and am struggling with open sites, even at 50 yards. If I keep this rifle with the sites it came with, it won't get any shooting action over 50 yards, unless I have a revelation with my glasses and/or eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightload View Post
    I suggest that the op remove the bolt and ejector and clean both. Then I suggest that he clean the chamber. Brass scrapings from cycling dummies may found their way into the chamber and under the extractor. My .44 has tight headspace,
    ...SNIP
    Yes, that is a great idea, if for no other reason, to get familiar with the action...as I haven't had it apart yet.

    Yes, tight headspace ! The problem with my ranchdog boolit ammo, may have been the way I sized the boolits. The nose might not have gotten sized? when I lubed them in my Lyman 45, I'll have to investigate that today. As I said, I cast some Ranch Dogs last night, and maybe I'll GC/lube/size them in the star...to be sure the nose is .411

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    I have a Henry Big Boy in .357 with the alloy receiver. Mostly what I have found is the action needs to be cycled with authority or feeding issues ensue, and as you said, the sights need to be kept mostly upright.

    ...SNIP
    My Marlin prefers to be cycled with authority, so that is always in the back of my mind when cycling this Henry. But so far, cycling it with authority seemed to exacerbate the frequency of the FTF (Jam)...a slow and smooth movement seems best so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Yes, tight headspace ! The problem with my ranchdog boolit ammo, may have been the way I sized the boolits. The nose might not have gotten sized? when I lubed them in my Lyman 45, I'll have to investigate that today. As I said, I cast some Ranch Dogs last night, and maybe I'll GC/lube/size them in the star...to be sure the nose is .411
    I suspected the nose was unsized and larger that .411
    The boolits I cast on Monday, and sized last night, before I sized them, the base measured .411 and the nose or driving band in front of the TL area measures .413 I was kind of surprised.
    But I set up the Star, and applied GC's and sized them...so these will be .411 all the way.

    Sidenote:
    I had to "double pump" the Star to completely fill in The TL area. I've never had to do that before? ...I don't think it's a larger amount of lube, but the more resistance the TL area creates. Anyone else ever run into that?

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    Boolit Man Highway41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    I suspected the nose was unsized and larger that .411
    The boolits I cast on Monday, and sized last night, before I sized them, the base measured .411 and the nose or driving band in front of the TL area measures .413 I was kind of surprised.
    But I set up the Star, and applied GC's and sized them...so these will be .411 all the way.

    Sidenote:
    I had to "double pump" the Star to completely fill in The TL area. I've never had to do that before? ...I don't think it's a larger amount of lube, but the more resistance the TL area creates. Anyone else ever run into that?
    Have you tried any boolits sized to .412? My 41 BBS will be here on Monday and all my lead is sized to 412. Just wondering if I need to get NOE to send me 411 bushing.

  12. #12
    JonB, my Marlin cycles both WFN and OWC smoothly. It cycles SWC but it tends to catch a little. If you are using it for hunting, I wouldn't exclude them just because it's a lever. It might surprise you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highway41 View Post
    Have you tried any boolits sized to .412? My 41 BBS will be here on Monday and all my lead is sized to 412. Just wondering if I need to get NOE to send me 411 bushing.
    Yes (sort of?), I spent all day yesterday monkeying around with both my lever guns and ammo I assembled 3 to 4 years ago for my Marlin ...and reading my old notes for different batches of boolits I used... As well as, loading more dummy rounds with other boolits, some that were cast on Monday.

    I won't go into all the details...BUT...I did have some ammo made with a plain based Ranch dog 255gr (I have two molds, one PB and the other GC)...and one batch of the plain based ammo was sized to .412 with an older die I had in a lyman 450...now that lyman 450 had issues, and the Ranch Dog 255gr boolit was long enough to be effected by it...crooked sizing. So that ammo had boolits that were sized to .412 and was shiny on one side of the nose and not shiny on the other side(in essence, it was crooked), which effects runout (I couldn't see the runout with the naked eye, but knew it was there). Anyway, that ammo wouldn't cycle 100% of the time...It could have been due to runout, and it could have been the .412 thing? or PROBABLY a combination of both. All I can say is, Henry put a pretty tight throat on my rifle. That .412 boolit is probably real close to the size of the throat, to not allow much out-of-tolerance ammo.

    SO, my recommendation is to order the .411 sizer...but of course, you may not "need" it...as it's a different gun...and you didn't specify the boolit...and I don't know if your standard practice is to set your OAL to touch the throat like I do? I know some levergunners have varied practices.
    Good Luck, and i hope this rambling helps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcduff936 View Post
    JonB, my Marlin cycles both WFN and OWC smoothly. It cycles SWC but it tends to catch a little. If you are using it for hunting, I wouldn't exclude them just because it's a lever. It might surprise you.
    Well, I had never attempted to cycle boolits, other than the Ranch Dog, in my Marlin, til yesterday...to compare with the Henry.
    To my surprise, the marlin successfully cycled SWC's at any reasonable OAL (I had several length dummy rounds made up), and of course the Ranch dog boolits cycle great. The 196gr Button nose WC cycled most of the time...but it is a short OAL, probably causing the occasional FTF.

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    And, while I was doing all this yesterday, I found some boolits I "swapped for" from another member, before I started casting my own. about 1000 of a lyman 410032 SWC about 206gr cast in COWW BHN measured 14.9 and they've been on my shelf for about 10 years. The lube still looks good, his own secret recipe. I will assemble some dummy rounds today, and maybe load some to these to see what either of my leverguns think, I have some HS-7 to try.

    FYI, they are labeled as sized to .412
    when I measured them (with a Mic), I found them to be .412 on one side of the parting line and .410 on the other side ...that dang Lyman

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    Boolit Man Highway41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Yes (sort of?), I spent all day yesterday monkeying around with both my lever guns and ammo I assembled 3 to 4 years ago for my Marlin ...and reading my old notes for different batches of boolits I used... As well as, loading more dummy rounds with other boolits, some that were cast on Monday.

    I won't go into all the details...BUT...I did have some ammo made with a plain based Ranch dog 255gr (I have two molds, one PB and the other GC)...and one batch of the plain based ammo was sized to .412 with an older die I had in a lyman 450...now that lyman 450 had issues, and the Ranch Dog 255gr boolit was long enough to be effected by it...crooked sizing. So that ammo had boolits that were sized to .412 and was shiny on one side of the nose and not shiny on the other side(in essence, it was crooked), which effects runout (I couldn't see the runout with the naked eye, but knew it was there). Anyway, that ammo wouldn't cycle 100% of the time...It could have been due to runout, and it could have been the .412 thing? or PROBABLY a combination of both. All I can say is, Henry put a pretty tight throat on my rifle. That .412 boolit is probably real close to the size of the throat, to not allow much out-of-tolerance ammo.

    SO, my recommendation is to order the .411 sizer...but of course, you may not "need" it...as it's a different gun...and you didn't specify the boolit...and I don't know if your standard practice is to set your OAL to touch the throat like I do? I know some levergunners have varied practices.
    Good Luck, and i hope this rambling helps?
    Not rambling at all. Especially since this is my first lever gun ever you've given me things to think about. Right now I have some of the same RD boolits (got them here a couple of years ago and I'm pretty sure they were some of yours) and a bunch of Keith SWCs 225-230gr from an NOE mold. I've held off on getting a good 41 mold yet as I want to find what works best in the Henry first and then work up a load that works well across all three of my 41's. BH, RH and the Henry. The BH and RH cylinders were throated by DougGuy and can run the 412 sizing but I couldn't find any information as to what was working best for the Henry's so far.

    Keep us posted on your findings. I'm ordering the 411 bushing as soon as I finish this post. I'll chime in with my results after I get some trigger time with the Henry.

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    It's time to wake up this thread...you'll know why when I finish up posting a few posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    And, while I was doing all this yesterday, I found some boolits I "swapped for" from another member, before I started casting my own. about 1000 of a lyman 410032 SWC about 206gr cast in COWW BHN measured 14.9 and they've been on my shelf for about 10 years. The lube still looks good, his own secret recipe. I will assemble some dummy rounds today, and maybe load some to these to see what either of my leverguns think, I have some HS-7 to try.

    FYI, they are labeled as sized to .412
    when I measured them (with a Mic), I found them to be .412 on one side of the parting line and .410 on the other side ...that dang Lyman
    Well, I don't recall the exact results with these boolits, but I haven't had any success solving this problem.
    But on July 12th, I did give the Henry a workout shooting about 500 rounds through it, partially to empty some brass and also hoping that maybe a good workout, will fix the problem with the rifle.

    for those details, see post #39 and #42
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...=1#post4098145

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    In July, I bought a NOE 412-238 WFN mold, during NOE's 4th of July sale. I was hoping that would help the problem. I cast a batch of them, then I got sidetracked and I totally forgot all about these boolits and the Henry.

    In September, I brought the Henry to the one gunshow I have a table at. Hoping for some conversation with other gun enthusiasts and get their opinion. I got nothing. after the gunshow, I put the gun back in the corner of the safe and tried to forget about it.

    Then, a few weeks ago, I found those NOW WFN boolits that I forgot about, that I cast in July. I sized & lubed 'em and loaded some dummy rounds and well as some ammo for the range. I learned something, that my gun is not only fussy about boolit shapes, it may have a mechanical problem. These NOE WFN dummy rounds cycled great, no problems at all. I take the loaded WFN ammo to the range and have about 1 in 10 FTF/FTE.

    My next post is a copy of my letter to Henry, explaining in detail, what I think is happening.
    Last edited by JonB_in_Glencoe; 12-20-2017 at 08:04 PM.

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    So I sent Henry this email last Saturday.


    Hi,
    I bought my first Henry, a Big Boy H012M41 (41 Mag) in Feb 2017. I love the rifle and it's accurate.

    BUT, it has had FTF (fail to feed) and FTE (fail to eject) issues since I bought it. I didn't contact Henry right away, because I wanted to give the rifle a good workout and try different ammo. I have shot about 500 rounds through it so far...and still does the same thing.

    The problem I am about to describe only happens about 10% of the time, the other 90% of the time, the rifle functions as it should. Also, when I get a FTF or FTE, it doesn't matter how full or empty the magazine tube is, the issue seems random.

    About one round in every magazine full will not feed into the chamber, The jam seems to be NOT be happening with the round that is suppose to go into the chamber, but the next round (from the mag tube) is either pushed back into the tube, or it gets pushed to far backward in the rear of the lower receiver area.

    I believe the issue is with something in the action that is suppose to hold the next round (from the mag tube) in place during firing, I am assuming it's suppose to be halfway out of the mag tube, but I guess I'm not 100% sure of that, as this is the only Henry I've ever owned, but when the rifle is in that condition when I cycle the action to chamber a round, then it functions as it should. I'm thinking the recoil moves that next round, because when I cycle dummy rounds, I can't recreate the problem.

    Also, I own a Marlin 1894 (also 41 Mag), The action parts, specifically the carrier (or lifter?) does NOT have any 'play'. The Henry action parts, specifically the carrier (or lifter?) does have 'play' and seems loose for my tastes. Is the Henry design suppose to be loose and have some play?

    Lastly, I did buy this Rifle New, from a Henry Gold Dealer

    Thanks in advance
    Jon
    I got a reply on Monday, asking for more info.
    I sent that info.
    Today, I got another reply, saying "SEND IT IN"
    they are sending a prepaid UPS ship label

  20. #20
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    That Sounds like Henry..

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check