American hunter | {Hardware}: Henry Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate

Many people dream of what it was like to cross the west when the west was still wild. The wide spaces offered impressive landscapes beyond the description of words, untouched by the scars of urban sprawl and man-made structures. But these wild lands also presented treacherous dangers. For those taming the western border, the lever rifle was king.

The Henry Repeating Arms Company takes its name from the inventor of Henry’s original coaster rifle, Benjamin Tyler Henry, and has been manufacturing its own family of US-made lever rifles, including the Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate, since 1996. This is one of those guns that are so pretty you won’t even want to touch it, let alone shoot it. But at the same time, one look at this American beauty creates a strong need to shoulder her, look through the visor, get the action to work and lose the lead.

Hence, I rule out that it is a real shame that this capable weapon cannot serve its purpose. It must feel the fire in its belly. The west is no longer wild in the traditional sense, but America still has plenty of adventure to offer, especially for the American hunter. Thanks to Henry Repeating Arms, a Henry rifle can still go with us.

Henry’s reputation as a centerfire was built on the handgun caliber Big Boy. Today this family includes six lever rifles – three standard lengths and three carbine lengths – with chambers in .44 Mag./.44 Spl., .357 Mag./.38 Spl. And .45 Colt. I opted for the Big Boy in standard length in the classic .44 Mag./.44 Spl. for my test.

When drilled open, the standard length Big Boy Color Case Hardened weighs 7.84 pounds, the shorter carabiner a little less. While not ultralight by today’s modern centerfire standards, the Big Boy is the lighter end of most lever rifles and is easy to grab over steep terrain or long distances. Slung over the shoulder or in the saddle sheath, the Henry Big Boy is capable of almost anywhere.

Henry Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate Action with the lever pulled down

The weapon has an overall length of 37.5 “or 34.1” carbine length with a 20 “or 16.5” barrel. Those who focus more on close range hunting and shooting within 50 meters, or those who hunt and shoot in narrow corridors, may prefer the 16.5-inch carbine option. If you want to stretch it a little (at least as much as possible with a lever pistol with .44 mag.) Could use the 20-inch barrel. Regardless of this, the heavy octagonal barrel made of blued steel offers an authentic look and feel.

New to the Henry Big Boy (and to all Henry rifles) are current series models with a practical side loading door, in contrast to its predecessors, which only had the tubular magazine loading from above. This makes it a lot easier to load in no time, and I’d be lying if I didn’t notice the added visual appeal. Even so, the Big Boy still has a detachable, top-loading magazine plug, and it’s still a convenient way to load the magazine to its 10-round capacity. The full-length Big Boy has a classic lever, while the carbine-length rifle has a cowboy-style big loop lever. If I did most of my hunt in large, often cold areas, I would prefer to walk with the carbine, as the larger lever is easier to operate with gloved hands. It looks damn cool too.

As for the rest of the weapon, both long and short models feature engraved fish skin on both the straight wrist and fore-end. With a satin finish, the rich American walnut shows its grain without being conspicuous. In addition, the shoulder rest is equipped with a simple black solid rubber butt plate.

Henry Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate Octagonal Barrel with Top Loading Detachable Magazine Tube Configuration

Aesthetics aside, this Henry Big Boy is a gun that shoots great too. It’s well balanced in the hand, and with a 14-inch draw length, it’s easy to shoulder for most builds. How does the Big Boy work in the heat of the action? Phenomenal. The trigger is crisp. It has a clean break and stands out from many of the factory lever pistol triggers currently on the market. In addition, this weapon has an automatic in-hammer transfer bar safety.

It comes with an adjustable half hamburger with a diamond insert on the back and a brass bead bead system. It’s easy to level the sight and get the target or vital signs within 100 meters. Of course, it’s drilled and tapped for BB-RSM rifle scope mounts too if that’s your thing.

Overall, this is a smooth lever pistol. The action of this rifle is a masterpiece. With proper maintenance and lubrication, the Henry Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate Rifle should provide years of dependable performance. You’ll probably like this one, it’s the best lever rifle I’ve ever owned.

Henry Big Boy Color Case Hardened Side Gate Accuracy Results Table


Technical specifications

Type: Lever-action medium fire rifle
Caliber: .44 Mag / .44 Spl. (Tested), .357 Mag / .38 Spl, .45 Colt
Magazine: tubular; 10 rounds (tested)
Barrel: 20 “(tested), 16.5” (carabiner); 1:20 RH twist rate (.44 Mag / .44Spl), octagonal blued steel
Deduction: 4 lb. Draw weight
Attractions: fully adjustable half horn with diamond inlay, rear sight, brass pearl front sight; drilled and tapped for optical mounts
Safety: Transfer bar
Share: straight wrist; American walnut; Satin finish; 14 “LOP
Metal finish: Case hardened in color, barrel blued
Overall length: 37.5 “
Weight: 7.84 pounds.
Equipment: none
MSRP: $ 1,141; henryusa.com

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