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Old January 11, 2019, 03:31 PM   #1
stagpanther
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Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 5,660
Henry 45-70 Brass Big Boy--first impressions

Although the weather outside is less than ideal--18 degrees with winds gusting to 30 and windchill right around 0--I could't resist going out and banging some shots out of my new gun. Since I'm waiting on my reloading components; I bought a box of the cheapest stuff I could find--Federal's 300 gr powershok SP--and even those were a cool $40 a box at my lgs--or two bucks a shot. all the rest of the ammo was $50 to $80 a box.

First task was to get the stock iron sights zeroed. I never shoot stock buckhorn iron sights anymore since I have 60+ year old fading eyesight, not to mention double astigmatism--but with the 22" barrel the sight radius is just long enough that the front sight starts to come into focus for me. I'm pretty happy about that.

Unfortunately the irons were completely out of whack and I had to expend a lot of shots getting on paper. Since Henry test fires their guns before sending them out the door--my guess is that the sights have suffered the mishandling that happens with legions of zombies handling the gun during it's year long stay in Wally world's display case. Lots of drifting the rear sight back and forth--it became sort of a game of windage ping-pong after a while so I finally said the heck with it and loaded up 5 cartridges and shot the group below at 100 yds. For me--that's outstanding--and I hope it's uphill from here once I start using better tuned ammo. Even with the small brass bead it still covers the entire bull's red area. My take on the stock sights--they're very serviceable for people with sharp eyes in bright day-time conditions, but they get progressively harder to use as the ambient light gets dimmer. I also got a bit of glare off the bead when sunlight was hitting it. In other words--sort of like a mil spec stock AR trigger--they work, but you're likely to want to replace them if you get serious about target shooting or hunting. Nonetheless--even with my poor eyesight the group below is outstanding for me.

The action smoothed up nicely, and although you can single-shot feed directly into the chamber through the ejection port--I found the action does not work well doing that and tended to jam. Feeding from the magazine however, using the same cartridges that jammed, was smooth and easy with no hiccups. A minor irritation which hopefully has a simple solution.

Some of the things that stood out as big plusses to me. The thick octagonal barrel never seemed to even got warm when I shot in fairly quick succession, though some of that I'm sure was due to the cold. Another big plus which I think is due in part of the long and hefty barrel is the gun has little muzzle-flip and recoil tends to come back--impressive for an uncompensated big banger. Speaking of recoil--I barely felt it but that was certainly because I was wearing a down parka over a sweatshirt.

But the one thing that separates this gun from all other lever guns I've shot--is the trigger. It is IMO far and away the best trigger I've ever encountered on stock equipped lever gun. I'm not talking a trigger with such a light pull that it breaks just by looking at it--but one that is at once safe without a safety but performs fantastically when you're out in the cold wearing thick clothes and gloves--which is exactly how I used it today.

More testing and development to do--but I could very well have a serious contender for "best lever gun" I've ever had.

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Last edited by stagpanther; January 12, 2019 at 12:17 PM.
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