I have the Henry Big Boy in .357 Mag. It is by far one of my favorite rifles. I love to chase one of those orange rubber target balls or blocks down the range with it.
Below is a copy of a review I posted about a year ago on our local boards on it:
I rarely post here, for several reasons - first, most of my guns have been bought used; and second, most of you have models like mine or at least have shot them, so I can't add anything new.
However, I recently picked up something I though I would share. Today is the first time I have shot it.
Henry Repeating Arms "Big Boy" chambered in .357 magnum. HRA uses the Henry name, though is unrelated to the original Henry, and specializes in making new guns somewhat faithful to the guns that built America. They make the guns here in the US, in fact their motto is "made in America or not made at all." HRA makes a lot of .22 variants, but they have several lines that are chambered in larger pistol and rifle rounds, including 30-30, .44 magnum, .357 magnum and .45 colt. Picking it up, I felt I was holding a piece of history, and a wave of nostalgia flowed over me.
First, this is one of the most beautiful and nicest put together guns you will see. The fit and finish are superb. The American walnut stock has been exquisitely finished. The action is in brass, as are the barrel band on the forearm and the buttplate. In the picture it may appear that the buttplate is checkered, it isn't. That is just a reflection of the material it was laying on. Yes, it's THAT shiny LOL.
The barrel is octagonal, in tribute to the rifles of the 1800s. As you can see from the photo, it's quite heavy. However, I didn't find the heft of the gun to be a distraction, I think it contributed to steady shooting and "point and shoot" accuracy. The magazine is tubular and runs almost the same length as the barrel. It holds 10 .357 or 11 .38 special. Some might object to the tube magazine, preferring the side chute thing. I don't mind the tube at all, I have a Winchester 62A (been in the fam since 1948) with the tube mag, so i am quite used to it.
The back sight is buck's horn, which I found rather odd since I don't have it on any other rifle, but it didn't create any problems. The front sight is gold bead, which I have on a couple of my performance center revolvers, so it wasn't new to me. I am very partial to the gold bead front sight - it seems to always catch the light and stand out to these old bi-focal eyes. Overall I really liked the sights.
The lever action is smooth, and I didn't have any problems with it, except for some of my .38 special loads that weren't as hightly crimped as others. The next batch I will crimp them a little more. Some of them were a little "shorter" by the time I got to the end of the magazine. But when i switched to a different batch with different cases that are crimped a bit more it was fine. All the .38 specials were 158 gn LRN. THe .357s were fine, I was shooting 158 gn jacketed soft points. (I prefer 158 gn so i don't have to worry about my old K-frames with screaming hot light loads LOL)
This rifle being chambered in .357 means I can also shoot .38 special, so that's what I started with. First shots were at 15 yards, and were in a 1-1/2" group in the 10 ring right out of the box. The gun will do better, that is me figuring out the ballistics of a round coming out of a rifle rather than out of a handgun. I then fired it at 25 and 50 yards, measured. Similar results. I rarely shoot out to 100 yards with iron sights, not because the rifle won't do it but because these old eyes cant see clearly that far LOL.
I have some of those orange self-healing hard rubber blocks and balls that you shoot and they jump. I started at 10 yards and bumped them out around 50 yards easily. The heft of the gun made swinging and reacquiring the target very natural and I had those things hopping all over the range LOL.
I had similar results with .357, with even better accuracy.
The heavy barrel had a couple of other effects. First, recoil is absolutley a non-issue, even when shooting full house .357 magnum. It has LESS recoil than my AR15. Second, the barrel hardly heated up at all with either load. I could always hold it for realoading right after shooting. That was nice.
I have read reviews where folks have said this is their gun of choice if SHTF since any number of powders and lead can be used for reloading if ammo becomes unavailable. Interesting thought, though not a primary concern for me LOL.
Bottom line - this is a terrific shooting rifle, and would be a great addition to any collection. It would be good for hunting anything you might shoot with .357 magnum with it's accuracy, but personally i would not likely go beyond 100 yards in range. It's also great fun to shoot. Sharing ammo with handguns I already own means I didn't add another caliber, and .38 special is stone simple to load. Just another example if the versatility of the .38 sp/.357 mag rounds. I would like to also try the .44 magnum and .45 colt versions.