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Thread: Henry Single Shot Initial Impressions

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Henry Single Shot Initial Impressions

    After failing to find a nice used 30 caliber handi-rifle, I decided to try the new Henry in 308 winchester, that I had complained was too much money. My initial impressions are quite good. I still stand by my opinion, that this rifle is too nice, it doesn't need to be so fancy. Looks are pretty low on my list of considerations, at least until the price gets a lot higher.

    I'll try and think of some similarities or differences between the handi-rifle and encore. The first thing I did was break the gun down, and with that, I think Henry is the best of the three. To take the barrel off, the hinge pin is held in by a detent in the center. All you do is open the action, and push the pin out. If you had smaller fingers, you could do it by hand, else I started it by hand, and pushed it the rest of the way with a pencil. You do not need to take the fore end off like you do for TC or H&R. I really appreciate simple, easy to work on designs. Oddly, the fore end cannot be taken off without removing the barrel. I did not try yet, but it seems to be held on by both a screw like both TC and H&R, but also a pin connected to the monoblock. What this seems to me is that you could (assuming it isn't already) free float the barrel besides the one screw.

    The barrel is tapped for the same scope base as H&R, which most would not like, but it works great for me, I had an extra scope base anyway. For those not familiar, the standard weaver #82 for H&R has three holes, but only in the rear half. It's an aluminum base, with only 2 slots. It's a poor mount all around. I switched my H&R's to the Warne M681M. It is a steel base, picatinny (weaver will still fit), shortened, and fits perfect. It is expensive, but worth it to me. It fits perfect on the Henry, and I mounted a Leupold VX-1 4-12x in Warne medium rings. I have not tried yet, but it seems there is plenty of room to use low rings. I did not have a hammer extension, and wanted the room to cock the hammer.

    This brings me to the next thing. I see multiple mentions of a super heavy hammer pull. Mine is heavy, but it's not over the top. I have an old stevens single shot shotgun with a hammer much heavier than the Henry. What I do not see, and is the achilles heel of the new Henry rifle is the trigger. This thing is HEAVY. I do not have a pull gauge, but it's right up there with my heaviest triggers of what I own, maybe 6-7 pounds. There is no creep at all, but it is a hindrance when shooting off the bench. I'll be calling Henry, I think a lighter hammer spring would do wonders. I was always of the opinion handi-rifles had a half decent trigger, so if you are somebody who hated them, you will not accept the Henry. To those who have not tried, the encore is not that special out of the box, but there are plenty of people who can turn them into a real hair trigger. I doubt the Henry could ever match the Encore trigger.

    As far as fit and finish, it's a Henry, you get more than you pay for. The wood looks great, everything is tight, and the bluing has no problems. I always preferred the push button of a handi rifle, but the lever on the henry really grew on me. I never liked the trigger guard release of the encore. Not just in looks, the lever is nice to operate. Maybe it's just me, but I've shot a few TC encores where the barrel seemed too tight, and you had to really slam the gun closed. I like when a gun just clicks closed, but is still locked up like a vault. In this respect, the Henry is very nice. The gun will not open or close with the hammer cocked. I don't know why you would want to, but I see a number of people who had asked.

    All that, and the only thing that matters to me is how it shoots. I did not buy any factory ammo, but had found some old factory ammo, a remington jacketed round nose, and federal FMJ. I can't give any more detail, other than the remington bullet seems heavy, possibly 180 grain. Neither were in the original box. I also loaded up some Lee 309-170-F cast of lyman #2, ahead of some blue dot. The bullets were not perfect, but fit well. The nose slightly engraves, and the body sized .310". Speaking of which, I never slugged the bore. I will do this, and report back. I didn't know what to expect, so I loaded the first one longer than I thought would fit. I put it in the gun, and it closed on it no problem. This leaves the base of the gas check about level with the bottom of the neck. Apparently the throat in the Henry is quite generous.

    Note: after a quick search, it appears the Reminton's were most likely Remington 180 gr core-lokt, listed 2620 fps.

    After getting it reasonably sighted in, I shot the remington's first at 50 yards. A 3 shot group went almost 1.5", not very good to me. I then switched to the cast bullets, and went right for 100 yards. The first couple shots went way low, but after some adjustment, I shot a 2" CTC 4 shot group. I was working up in powder, and all but the highest charge went 2"-3". I'm quite happy with that for a first try, with less than perfect bullets, with a heavy trigger. I only had 6 rounds of the federal's, but all 6 went into about 1.5" at 100 yards. I tried the remingtons again, but they just wouldn't group very well. I think the gun just didn't like the remington's, and I see no reason the right combo couldn't shoot under 1" groups.

    These guns are starting to show up, and I got mine from gallery of guns. Hopefully this helps somebody decide on their own. I would still like to see a low cost model, but the Henry seems to be a good start for a platform. Improve the trigger, and you could have one heck of a gun. With such a nice hinge design, it would be a shame if Henry doesn't offer other barrels at some point.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 08-06-2018 at 02:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Part 2:

    I just slugged the bore, and it comes out at .3084". It is a 6 groove, 1:10" twist.

    Some things I had forgot to mention before...

    I did not shoot with the iron sights, but they are similar to the other Henry sights. I personally don't like them. The square front sight, with a tiny U rear just doesn't work. The rear sight flips down, which I thought would be perfect with detachable rings as a backup. As it turns out, the sights are not tall enough to use with the scope base installed. This way you can still mount a scope lower than a non-flip down sight, while still gaining that extra sight radius. You can't have everything.

    Another thing I noticed about the Henry design, is the trigger group looks like it can come out as an assembly. The Encore is similar, but it still has pins holding some parts. I've had no problems, but the handi rifle is not the easiest trigger group to work with. The splined pins H&R uses are cheap and effective. There do not appear to be any external pins for the Henry trigger. It doesn't look like anybody has posted a how-to of the Henry single shot disassembly yet, although I suspect it is a rather easy to work on set up.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 08-06-2018 at 03:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Jedman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report and explanation of the action. I have yet to see one of them and be able to look at it in my hands.
    I have a least a dozen handis left and half of them are in wildcats I have made so the Henry's look nice but don't offer enough caliber choices to get me interested in one, yet.
    I am sure the trigger can be improved, this is the main thing I have heard that people seem to complain about and one guy sent his back and when he got it back from Henry the trigger pull was heavier than when he sent it in.

    Jedman

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the review. Sooner or later I'm going to get one myself. My opinion, they are very nice looking rifles, and I especially like the traditional top lever.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Warne low rings will fit, and I've got a hammer extension on now. I used GrovTec GTHM-283; it's listed for Henry big boy, but not the single shot. It does fit perfect on the single shot though. That makes me wonder what else the single shot shares with the big boy. Somebody must know how to get the most from a big boy trigger by now.

    I loaded up more of the cast bullets, as well as some Sierra 125 grain ahead of IMR 30-31. I hope to make it to the range tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    How much does the rifle weigh? Is it more than 7 pounds with iron sights?
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Too bad you didn't ask this morning, I could have put it on the scale. It's listed as right at 7 pounds on the website, and I see no reason to doubt that. I'll see what it weighs tonight with a scope.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy

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    megasupermagnum

    I just picked up a new blue steel .44 Henry Single today. Haven't shot it or scoped it yet but my impressions are the same as yours. Nice fit and finish and wood that rivals my nicely figured Ruger #1. Hammer pull is heavy and at some point this thing is going to get a trigger job but at least there is no creep. Maybe Wolff or somebody will make an aftermarket spring kit. In the meantime, I have to say I'm impressed with the little bugger.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Walks's Avatar
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    I take exception to Megasupermagnum, maligining the WEAVER #82 scope base. I have a Handi-Rifle in .223 with a factory installed #82 scope base. I simply checked the tightness of the screws before clamping on a Simmons 3X9 Whitetail scope. 5 rounds in an inch & a half all day long. 25+yrs. Got a .30-30 bbl for it. Added the same scope base, rings & an old K4. 3 rds into the same inch & a half.
    My other Handi-Rifle in .25-06/.35Whelan is just as good. That scope base has never given me any trouble.

    And if that .35 Whelan with a hot 250gr load won't shake it loose. I doubt anything in a "henry" will.

    YOU just have to know how to mount a scope properly
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    I take exception to Megasupermagnum, maligining the WEAVER #82 scope base. I have a Handi-Rifle in .223 with a factory installed #82 scope base. I simply checked the tightness of the screws before clamping on a Simmons 3X9 Whitetail scope. 5 rounds in an inch & a half all day long. 25+yrs. Got a .30-30 bbl for it. Added the same scope base, rings & an old K4. 3 rds into the same inch & a half.
    My other Handi-Rifle in .25-06/.35Whelan is just as good. That scope base has never given me any trouble.

    And if that .35 Whelan with a hot 250gr load won't shake it loose. I doubt anything in a "henry" will.

    YOU just have to know how to mount a scope properly
    And what happens when the scope doesn't fit? There are only two slots, no adjustment. It either fits, or it doesn't, the problem was never screws shaking loose. Loctite can fix it if they do. A Leupold 1-4x scope fits with tall rings (you have to strain a little on 4x), but no 3-9x ever worked on my H&R's until I changed bases. A Konus 1-5x isn't even wide enough to get the rings on at all. You can't move the scope far enough back for anything without tons of eye relief. If Warne is too much money, buy EGW, DNZ, I think even Leupold makes a base. Anything is better than the Weaver #82. I'm glad it works for you, but it's a sub-par product, with way to many alternatives to even bother with it. If I hadn't tossed them all in the scrap pile, I would have sent them to you.

    I weighed the rifle, and it comes in at 8 pounds 4 ounces with the scope. The rings weigh about 4 ounces, the scope is listed online as 13 ounces, and the scope base is easily 4-5 ounces. With iron sights, the rifle is definitely under 7 pounds.

  11. #11
    The WEAVER #82 scope base does stink with only 2 slots. I fixed that on several of them by taking a file and made another slot.

    Easy Peasy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I had not ever thought to try that. At one time I had found a set of offset scope rings, and that works out pretty well, but looked goofy.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the review! I've been looking for a .308 and have pretty much settled on getting one of the Henry single shots. I have a Handi in .357 that is fun to play with - both smokeless and BP. I already load 30-30 so have a selection of molds that throw a variety of weights. I wish the Henry was available in 30-30 - would even like one in 32 H & R - but I understand that to offer them in every caliber to please all is not a good business decision. As time goes on, perhaps they will add other calibers.

    Your review answered a lot of my questions and it saved making a post to ask a bunch of questions over what you already covered. I'm right handed - have eye issues though so have to shoot left handed. The thing that I was impressed with was the the barrel lever could be pushed in either direction to open.

    I only have one Henry among the "herd" - a 22 lever - but it is certainly a quality piece and I give them a lot of credit for maintaining the quality, using good wood for the stocks (I'm older and grew up with nice walnut stocked guns). I haven't had the opportunity to handle one of these rifles yet - but like the Handi Rifles - I can see how one may not be enough. I don't hunt anymore so it will strictly be a "play plinker".

    Thanks again for the great thoughts on them and the information - greatly appreciated.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I too shoot left handed, and always prefer something I'm equally proficient at the other side. This is my #1 beef with bolt actions. I never thought much about the lever opening both ways, I always press mine to the right no matter what. It's just habit at this point.

    At first I gave some thought about 30-30 vs 308, and too wanted the 30-30. The more I thought about it, 308 is probably the better choice anyway. The benefit of 30-30 is of course the long neck. Beyond that, the 308 is more economical. You can get lake city brass for practically nothing. You can load 308 with fast powders and get the same velocities as 30-30, with only 12-18 or so grains of a much cheaper powder in 308, vs 28-31 grains of an expensive rifle powder in 30-30. Or you can turn the heat way above anything 30-30 can do. The neck is shorter, but as I found out, the throat is long enough that you don't have to have the gas check below the neck if you don't want. Or you can if you want, it's not a big deal in my experience. The 308 brass is thicker, not that 30-30 brass is short lived, I would have to think 308 brass will last longer for plinking. I have not tried black powder in 308 before. It works fine in 30-30, so why not 308?

    It seems like they set this up to be a good switch barrel gun, so I would really hope to see a 327 federal barrel offered at some point.

    As far as eye problems go, I assume you are after a scope. If not, just know the sights that come with are not so good, they are very close to what you have on that 22. There are enough aftermarket options though, I would even think the H&R handi rifle peep sight from Skinner sights would work on this one.

  15. #15
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    Thanks very much for a great review thus far. Look forward to more as you get acquainted with it. I too am a Handi fan and saddened by their demise. Never got into Contenders.

    We live in the age of the $500 sub-MOA bolt rifle. They may not be pretty, but accurate rifles are interesting. I own five Handis at the moment and they've all been made Handi accurate, which to me means 2 MOA or better. My 35 Krag is MOA and my 444, latest acquisition, is astounding me and keeps getting better. I want another 30-30, letting mine go was a mistake. I had a 30-06 barrel that I never could get to shoot and a 223 barrel that put me off that glorified puppy shooter cartridge for good. I have a Ruger No 3 in 30-40, one of the lucky accurate ones, and a Pedersoli rolling block in 45-70. All my single shots and all by way of saying, a single shot rifle, especially a break action, is really made for a rimmed cartridge (yes, just my opinion, not yet Gospel). So what Henry management are thinking with 223, 243, and 308, beggars my understanding.

    223 is bloody useless. I understand that the AR crowd and those with wasting skeletal diseases depend on the little thing for something. But in a single shot? It makes no sense.

    I suppose Henry see a youth market for the .243, nothing at all wrong with that cartridge. And old duffers buying the grand-son his first deer rifle in a single shot cowboy-looking rifle may keep his mother from having the vapors. But the kid wants a Steyer AUG, or a chassis rifle in 338 Lapua, or something from Halo or whatever the video game du jour is.

    308? I get the pantheon of fanboys who imagine that "short action" means something in a bolt rifle. But Tommy Tacticool isn't buying a single shot, and he thinks Henry is the dork in the next cubicle at work. Given the poor choices Henry have put in offer, .308 Win garners the number 3 slot for people who weigh over 85 lbs.

    44 Mag and 45-70 both make perfect sense. Surprised 45 LC isn't in the initial offer though.

    In the age of the $500 sub-MOA bolt rifle and the good $600 AR-15, the three smaller caliber offerings do not make good economic or demographic sense, baring the .243 for the youth market perhaps.

    I look forward to either additional offerings or a custom shop barrel selection. They look like nicely made rifles. I'm pleased Henry is able to make them in the US. I'm confident that by the time they make one in 375 H&H or another equally unlikely cartridge that I might be interested in someone will have figured out the trigger fix. I'm impressed that Henry has done this and hope they are successful.
    Last edited by RPRNY; 08-14-2018 at 12:44 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with the 223, 22-250 or a faster varmint cartridge would have been a much better choice. 243 is always popular in the single shots, but with that, you can still pick up 243 handi rifles for $200-$250 just about anywhere. It seems H&R made more of those than anything, and I'd just buy used if I wanted that caliber. I'll disagree with you on 308, just based on the fact that this rifle is a similar, yet new design. If Henry had come out with 300 win mag, and guys were finding they were shooting loose in a thousand rounds, it wouldn't be good. It happened with the Contender, and to a certain extent, the handi rifle. 45-70 was the best choice by far, although why did they lop it off at 22"? With the price of the H&R buffalo classic, it would have only made sense to make a copy. I doubt you will have to wait too long before a 30-30 version comes out.

    I like my Rimmed cases, the problem is there just isn't many popular ones for a rifle. I'd be all for a 30-40 krag, I doubt it would ever happen. Why do you not like rimless cartridges in a single shot?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    Why do you not like rimless cartridges in a single shot?
    The rimless cartridge was a solution to box magazine feeding issues. There are no such issues with a single shot. There are however issues with extraction of a rimless cartridge in a single shot. Finally, headspacing on a rimmed cartridge is quite straight forward. The 35 Whelen exemplifies the problems with headspacing a rimless cartridge. These issues are exacerbated in a single shot where extraction is then an additional problem.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    "The 35 Whelen exemplifies the problems with headspacing a rimless cartridge." How so?

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardB View Post
    "The 35 Whelen exemplifies the problems with headspacing a rimless cartridge." How so?
    The minimal shoulder can cause problems in a break Action Gun. The 35 Remington had a similar problem in the contender. Once your cases are fire formed, if your dies are set correctly you should not have a problem.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Whether its a bolt, lever, or break action, they all head space the same. I can't even begin to guess what problems there would be that wouldn't happen in any other gun. How's this for a wildcat? A 300 win mag, shortened so the powder space is about the same as 308 winchester, but with a neck as long as a 30-30. Then you get the belt to headpace, it still works in most repeater's, plus who wouldn't like a longer neck? I guess it would just be easier to get a 30-40 krag to feed from a box magazine. 30-40 krag really is an underrated cartridge.

    As far as extraction, I could see it being a problem, but I've never encountered it. I shoot with a few people who are into the contenders and encores. 22-250, 6 and 7 mm benchrest, 7-08, 300 win mag, you name it. I've never seen a problem with the extractor. In the H&R's, I've seen some hotter loads where the spring loaded ejector wasn't strong enough, that can be fixed with a little polishing usually.

    I got out to the range, and shot a few groups. Maybe I was shooting better today, or the lower mounted scope was really helping with parallax. My cast bullets shot into a 1.5" 5 shot group. I only had time to do the two lowest strings of a 125gr Sierra and IMR 30-31. Both groups went right at 1", even with a less than perfect rest today. Sub MOA with my first jacketed 308 reloads. Not bad at all.

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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