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Old February 20, 2009, 02:05 PM   #1
doulos
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Henry Big Boy .44 First impressions

This is sort of long

Appearance
I took delivery 2 weeks ago of a Henry Big Boy in .44 mag. To say that I was impressed with the wood on this rifle is a mild understatement. The wood is just plain nice! And I haven,t seen too many lever guns with wood like this. The fit and inletting was very good. The pictures on their website don't do this gun justice at all. In fact Henry should invest in someone who knows how to photograph firearms. The pictures they use look almost cartoonish and make the gun seem clunky. But it really isn't. the bluing is good also. Some would say its too shiny for hunting : and well it is. I suppose I could cover the brass colored parts with camo tape easily enough if I wanted to hunt with it.


Cost
A lot of people denigrate this rifle because its expensive. I paid 700. But I priced Marlin Cowboys with octagon barrels and they were more. And I really wanted a octagon barreled rifle. (a marlin .357 is next for me)
Yes you can have other levers for less In fact Rossi pumas are nice and about 530 bucks. I like em all!

The question is this ---Did you get what you expected for the money. In this case I believe so. In fact I had a 2000 dollar Shiloh Sporter whose wood I couldn't even say was better than this.

Handling
It is a little hefty but it isn't heavy by any means. Maybe its just me because I routinely hunt with muzzleloading hawkens that weigh 10lbs. I didn't want a rifle that light any way because they are just not fun to shoot at the range and this is where this gun will probably see most of its time. It is definitely heavier than a Winchester 94 30-30 I had a long time ago. But the weight for me is a plus in target shooting. I prefer it for off hand.

Performance
I had about 40 rounds of ammo to play with today. 20 rounds of 2 different handloads and 20 rounds of Magtech 200 grain hunting ammo. My handloads were 200 Grain XTPS and Speer 210JHPs over Accurate arms #9. I use these in my G2 Contender. Next time I want to try some 240 grainers and cast bullets.

The gun functioned well with all ammo. None of it hung up or jammed. Recoil was almost nil from the bench(my pickup tail gate).The recoil is so light it surprised me After moving the sights up a little the gun was still shooting about 2-3 inches right. I didn't have anything to drift the sights with so I just kept shooting. The gun put about 5 Magtechs into a 2.5 inch group at 50 yards. At 100 yards it put 6 Magtechs into a 3.5 -4.0 inch group. I ant shoot any better than that with those type of sights. I actually shoot better with buckhorn and a blade type sights. I'm used to them from my Hawkens and they cover much less target at 100 yards. They just aren't as fast as these Marbles sights.
I also took 2 shots at a posted sign that was in a burn pile over 200 yards away. I missed the sign low by about 8 inches but both shots were only about 4 inches apart just low. With a marbles tang this would be a easy shot.
I would prefer a gun set up to use a sling but this will be used at the range mostly. If I want to carry it I can use a slip on sling like I use on traditional muzzleloaders.

I also liked the fact that the gun deposited the empties right at your feet. NO searching for your brass.

Trigger pull is a little heavy but breaks very clean.


Performance continued
I put another 60 rounds through the rifle with only one handload hanging up a little. It was a 240 grain Sierra JHC. But all others fed without a hitch. Accuracy is as good as I can hope for with these sights. Fun hitting clay pigeons on a berm at about 50 meters. Thinking of putting a marbles tang on it for fun.

Looking at other sighting options
They do have a scope mount for this. But I dont know how it wood look and the drop on the stock seems it might be a little too low much for scope shooting making cheek weld sort of hard.

As far as a peep or reciever sight goes they don't recommend tapping the receiver. I don't know why . The receiver is not brass but a composite alloy that has the same tensile as steel according to the company. I know they say you can shoot Garret ,Buffalo Bore or Corbon ammo out of it. In fact Corbon makes their proof loads. A ammunition supply company I do business with in this area tells me they sell thousands of rounds of all types of ammo to henry for testing purposes. And the receiver material has adequately held the lever screw on their test guns for thousand of shots. I have trouble with receiver and peeps with my glasses anyways,but have no problem with tangs.

All and all I think the gun is well put together and accurate. I think its going to be fun.
Any body else got one?
What loads are you using?
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Old February 20, 2009, 07:54 PM   #2
ursavus.elemensis
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I have one, too. I want to sell mine. I don't like it. I've had it about 1 1/2 years, and never fell in love with it, and now I downright dislike it. First, the crescent buttplate is sharp edged and just plain hurts when I hold the rifle up and press the buttstock against my shoulder. It isn't the recoil of fired shots that bothers me, it is the sharp edged buttplate gouging into me as i stand there holding the rifle. Then there is the weight issue. I have the scope mount on the rifle, and a scope that weighs very little. But between the rifle, the scope, and 10 rounds in the mag tube, it is just plain not much fun to stand there at the firing line holding this clunker in your hands. I guess that if I wanted to be used to holding 10 pound ML rifles, I wouldn't mind, as much, but I think the rifle is too heavy. It is not "handy" at all. It is not fun. The cheek weld issue is as you feared it would be. With the scope in place, it is real hard to get a cheek weld and still be able to see through the scope. Then there's that ridiculous magazine tube loading process. You have to pull the follower out of the magazine tube and then feed the rounds in through a slot in the side of the far end of the mag tube. It is impossible to do this without passing your hand in front of the barrel, and it is difficult to load the magazine tube at a range with other people shooting next to you. It is more awkward to do that than you might think.

All in all, buying this rifle was a mistake for me, and I want to sell mine. I love my Winchester model 94's. They're so handy, so much fun to hold and shoot. They feel so natural just being held in my hands. They've got an easy, natural point of aim, and they are a lot of fun to shoot. This Henry Big Boy is a big pain.
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Old February 20, 2009, 09:31 PM   #3
j.chappell
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You either love them or hate them, there is no middle road with the Henry rifles.

I love the smoothness of their actions but that’s where it ends for me. I do not like the design one bit at all. A lever gun is suppose to be smooth, their lines are suppose to flow, they are to be handy, fast, fun and sleek. I find none of this in the Henry line of rifles.

I have thought ever since they were released that they were an odd duck. I have been looking for a decently priced used 45 lever for a while now and I have looked at a few of the Henrys only to reinforce my thoughts of them. They have a following, yes they do but I am not one of them.

J.
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Old February 21, 2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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I've shot my friends Big Boy and will stick with my Marlin1894, thanks.
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Old February 21, 2009, 01:31 PM   #5
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I Like my Henry rifle weight and all, added a scope mount only thing is I don't care for the .45 Colt round and would trade for a Henry .44mag but no takers.
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File Type: jpg img_bigboy_scope.jpg (4.4 KB, 225 views)
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Old February 21, 2009, 02:09 PM   #6
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I like my "Big Boy" also. It is heavy but it a great shooter and the action is smooth as butter. I personally see nothing not to like about this rifle except maybe for the weight.
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Old February 23, 2009, 07:59 PM   #7
ursavus.elemensis
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I'm trying to sell my Henry .44 Mag with scope mount. Would be willing to trade for a Winchester.
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Old February 23, 2009, 08:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
First, the crescent buttplate is sharp edged and just plain hurts when I hold the rifle up and press the buttstock against my shoulder
A crescent butt plate doesn't go against your shoulder it goes against your upper arm.
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Old February 23, 2009, 08:51 PM   #9
ursavus.elemensis
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it's a matter of semantics. You and I are essentially putting the rifle in the same spot. Not worth arguing about. The sharp edges of the crescent butt plate are a problem that contributes to making this an unpleasant rifle to use.
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Old February 23, 2009, 08:53 PM   #10
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Sooner or later, I am going to have to get me one of those. I am a sucker for smoooooth operation, and I agree with you that the extra cost (compared to a standard Marlin or Rossi), doesn't amount to much once you figure the full cost of ownership - ammo, accessories, etc. (plus it doesn't need an action job)

Congratulations
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Old February 24, 2009, 03:57 PM   #11
doulos
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I just dont think the rifle is uncomfortable to shoot at all. The butt plate is very wide and the recoil is so light I was stunned. With 240 grainers loaded to about 80% of max the recoil is like a rimfire.I could shoot this all day long with factory 240 grainers. Could be just me though. Im used to the very curved buttplates of 2 hawken rifles I have.

I am not sayin the gun couldnt be uncomfortable for some. It just isnt for me. Also fit and length of pull is very important to "felt recoil" and comfort. Its pretty subjective from person to person.
Some guns just dont fit certain people.

Last edited by doulos; February 24, 2009 at 04:10 PM.
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Old February 24, 2009, 09:17 PM   #12
ursavus.elemensis
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I've tried to explain, and I'll try one more time. The discomfort involved with the sharp-edged crescent buttplate is not a matter of recoil. It is uncomfortable even without firing the rifle.
... with-OUT-firing ... NO bang ... it's NOT about the RECOIL ...

Let me say it again....
The discomfort is with the sharp-edged crescent buttplate even if all the live ammo in America was moved to Delaware and I am in Idaho. The buttplate is too wide, the edges too sharp, and it is uncomfortable to hold the rifle butt against my upper arm/shoulder.

Ps. Others may disagree. I hope you do. Buy my rifle.
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Old February 25, 2009, 05:09 AM   #13
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I've tried to explain, and I'll try one more time. The discomfort involved with the sharp-edged crescent buttplate is not a matter of recoil. It is uncomfortable even without firing the rifle.
... with-OUT-firing ... NO bang ... it's NOT about the RECOIL ...

Let me say it again....
The discomfort is with the sharp-edged crescent buttplate even if all the live ammo in America was moved to Delaware and I am in Idaho. The buttplate is too wide, the edges too sharp, and it is uncomfortable to hold the rifle butt against my upper arm/shoulder.

Ps. Others may disagree. I hope you do. Buy my rifle.
Yesterday 03:57 PM


Try a shooting vest with a pad on the shoulder.
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Old February 28, 2009, 12:08 AM   #14
2fewdaysafield
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Glad you like your Henry

doulos said "the receiver is not brass, but a composite alloy...."

Why does the Henry catalog say "solid brass receiver, buttplate and barrel band". Page 21, lower right.

Glad you like your Henry. I'm rather partial to mine (.357).
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Old February 28, 2009, 01:13 AM   #15
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I prefer the Rossi or Armi Sport 92 hands down - (Winchester 1892 copies), but regarding the former, preferably pre safety (pre 2006 except for any LSI "Puma" models,-- i.e., any Interarms-era or pre mid-06 EMF "Hartford" 92s are ok)....for the slimmer design and lighter weight. Nothing beats a Winchester 92 or clone. Second choice would be Marlin, but it's a little heavy and clunky in form too--just not as much as the Henry. No, these Win 92 designs inherently weren't designed for (easy mount of traditional) scopes...but on a 16-20" pistol-caliber carbine, the two concepts are a little antithetical anyway to me. Cimarron just finally added the .44 mag to their Armi Sport 20" saddle ring carbine line up.
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Old February 28, 2009, 05:21 AM   #16
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Henry calls the reciever something like "brassolite" but the catalog does say solid brass. I have a big boy and I do believe it's brass but the .22 Henry is a cast reciever with a brass overplate.
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Old February 28, 2009, 09:20 AM   #17
Singlesix1954
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The reciver on the goldenboy has a brassalite cover. The Bigboy has a solid brass reciver. Henry has a special manufactuing proses to forge, mill, & heat treat thier bigboy brass reciver to standards never seen before in gun manufacturing. The whole prosess can be explained at (henry-guns.com)
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Old February 28, 2009, 09:40 PM   #18
2fewdaysafield
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Thanks for clarifying singlesix
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:06 AM   #19
doulos
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This is a reply to a question I had about the receiver strength from the owner of Henry Repeating Arms about the composition of the Big boy receiver

"Thank you very, very much for ordering a Henry Big Boy - the receiver is a special material that is chill cast, heat treated and machined in such a way so it has the same tensile and yield properties as steel.

Sincerely,
Anthony Imperato, President
Henry Repeating Arms
59 East 1st Street
Bayonne, NJ 07002

The receiver must be an alloy and not solid brass because I can get a refrigerator magnet to stick to it. So it must have some steel in it. Granted the magnet doesn't stick like it does on the barrel but it sticks.
The magazine tube is totally brass and it doesnt stick at all. So there is some steel in the receiver somwhere.

Me myself I am not too worried about its strength. The gun has been out for almost nine years now and problems would have surfaced by now.

I also read a review of the rifle by Mike Venturino stating the the gun is proofed with very high pressure loads from Corbon . And that any factory load is OK. That would include Garret and Buffalo Bore which are max for .44 mag.

Since most of my shooting is much below that level I am not too worried. The gun also has a lifetime warranty.

Last edited by doulos; March 1, 2009 at 02:20 AM.
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:08 AM   #20
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I believe the "brasslite" used on the Golden boy 22 rifles is brass covered aluminum.
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Old March 1, 2009, 06:31 AM   #21
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Personally, I've no worries at all about its strength. And their lifetime warranty is quite impressive. Since I was buying mine used, I inquired about the warranty. It applies whether you buy new or used.

I just got mine a few weeks ago and haven't had her out to the range yet, but there is no doubt in my mind she will be perfect for her main task...a fun plinker. The sights are a bit of a dilemma. My eyes aren't what they used to be, even with glasses and since I'm planning to have a go at whitetail with her in the fall, I'm thinking about mounting a tang or possibly a scope. I'd prefer a scope for hunting, but it would certainly add to the already substantial weight and I have my doubts about the appearance with a scope mounted. But that's an issue that can wait until I've gotten some serious range time in.

All in all, I love mine so far.
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Old March 1, 2009, 11:36 AM   #22
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I know what you mean about eyesight. .Look at Marbles web site they may have some interesting options for you.
So far ive had a blast with mine.
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Old March 1, 2009, 12:38 PM   #23
2fewdaysafield
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Checked out the Marbles site. Nice stuff there. There is definitely a sight change in my Henry's future. I still have terrible memories of the semi-buckhorn sights on my first deer rifle (Win '94, 30-30) and my eyes were WAAAAY better in the early '70s than they are now. Question of course is which one? Tang, universal peep or bullseye? Since I switched from the '94 to bolt guns, I've always used scopes and have little experience with irons (other than my years in the army). So I'm a bit in the dark as far as irons. Any suggestions on best irons for a max of say 150 yards (usually under 100)? I'm not a serious target shooter, just a plinker and the new sights will be purchased with hunting in mind.
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Old August 15, 2011, 09:02 PM   #24
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Henry Big Boy Sling

There is a sling made specifically for the Henry Big Boy. SlingALL on ebay. Got mine the other day and it is sweet. Check this thing out. And I am a Henry lover for life, the action is like butter or PAM.
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