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Old September 16, 2019, 08:59 PM   #1
Jacket67
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Opinions for Future Henry

Hey TFL,

I have a love for lever guns, particularly Henrys. I have a .30-30 that I got as a college graduation present last year. I've recently been looking into which one to get next and narrowed it to 2 (technically 3) options: .45-70 big boy, and the Long Ranger (either in 6.5 creed or .308).

Given I have the 30-30, which would you recommend to get? I'd use it for hunting and just as a fun gun most likely. I feel like the big boy would be fun to shoot/have other people shoot just because of its recoil and power. The .308 makes a lot of since for cost/bullet and hunting/target shooting abilities. 6.5 creed is similar in this regard, but I believe ammo is more expensive and I'm not sure on how big of game it can take (such as elk and bear if needed).

The 30-30 is a great deer rifle and general plinker, so I'm looking at something with more range and/or more power. What would you choose and why?

Thanks in advance.
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Old September 17, 2019, 05:07 AM   #2
PatientWolf
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.308 is the #1 cartridge at our deer camp and is (and likely always will be) available nearly everywhere (until the next shortage, where it will dry up immediately). 45-70 is more traditional for a lever action and allows for a tube feed but is more expensive to shoot and can be a little harder to find than the .308, but is still readily available.

6.5 creedmore? I don’t really think of that when I think of lever actions.
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Old September 17, 2019, 10:00 PM   #3
Blue Duck
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I don't know how good the Henry .308 is, but I have owned and hunted with a Browning BLR in .308 for nearly 30 yrs and with good ammo, it will do about all that needs done in the lower 48, and do it very well.

I have numerous rifles, but I keep coming back to the Browning Leveracton .308 as my go to gun, but then I prefer the handling qualities of the leveraction over the bolt action, or most any other action for that matter, and the .308 just gets the job done, with very reasonable recoil, great accuracy, flat enough trajectory, and enough power without the ear splitting report of a magnum. A 30 caliber, 180gr softpoint starting out at 2500 to 2700 fps is all that is needed for about anything I will every get to hunt, although sometimes I do get a little bored and want to try something else, but I always keep coming back to the .308 win.

Last edited by Blue Duck; September 17, 2019 at 10:11 PM.
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Old September 18, 2019, 12:00 AM   #4
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I'm an old school guy, not a bandwagon guy. So, admittedly, I look at .308 Win as the short fat girl who doesn't hold a candle to the tall , elegant beauty that is the 30-06. But regardless, the answer to your question is 6.5 Crredmoor. It delivers all the performance of the .308 more economically and with less recoil. The 45-70 is super fun. But it's really fun in a single shot period rifle loaded with black powder and a large chunk of lead. Even in the notoriuosly heavy Henry, proper smokeless loads of 45-70 are no great fun after the first few.
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Old September 18, 2019, 01:22 AM   #5
Blue Duck
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I have seen animals shot with the Creedmoor and I wasn't impressed. It's capable of great ballistics for long range target shooting, but you have to be very careful on the hunting bullets chosen. I have seen several animals run off for it to be my choice for game at reasonable ranges. Now, if you loaded it with bullets like the old 175 gr roundnose that used to be available for the 6.5 x 55, then you have something. I have seen my brother in law loose hogs with well placed shots with it, one we just lucked out and found. He made a good shot, but the wound channel was very small and left no blood trail.

I love the 45/70 in a leveraction for short range smack on hogs and deer. I have killed a lot of stuff with the 45/70 and found it to be very good on hogs and deer for the first 100 to 150 yards with 300 gr hollowpoints or softnose. I like the 350gr bullets pretty good too.

The beauty of the .308 is it's chambered in a lot of short action rifles, and has about 15% less Recoil then the 30-06. The old 06 is still good though, but it ballistic advantage, does not always outweigh the advantages of the usually slightly lighter weight and recoil of the .308, and I doubt anything smaller then an elk can tell the difference when shot by it.

Last edited by Blue Duck; September 18, 2019 at 01:34 AM.
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Old September 18, 2019, 11:31 AM   #6
jackstrawIII
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In my opinion, the Long Ranger is a solution looking for a problem. I have ZERO use for a "long range" lever gun; in fact, it's not even logical:

Lever guns require at least 6-8" of room underneath the action of the gun in order to cycle. Most people when they're "long range" shooting are either doing so off a bench, a rest, or in the prone position. In those 3 positions, the lever cannot be worked without moving the gun. If you can't cycle the action without moving the gun... I don't see the point.

Lever actions excel for freehand shooting where speed and mobility are paramount. For "long range" shooting, a bolt action rifle just makes WAY more sense.

That said, if you want another lever gun, go with the 45-70. If you want a 308, but a bolt action.
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Old September 18, 2019, 03:57 PM   #7
Lohman446
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If you have to ask...

Get the 45-70. And I mean that seriously. You are committed to a lever gun and torn between the "grand daddy of lever gun cartridges" and an ill-advised long range lever gun in .308 or some baby cartridge that is still hiding behind its mamma's apron strings .

The .45-70 is a natural in a lever gun or falling block rifle. The .308 and 6.5 don't belong anywhere near a lever gun.

I mean if you were committed to the oddity like the .308 or 6.5 you wouldn't have to ask. Since you have to ask the answer is obvious and its 45-70
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Old September 18, 2019, 06:04 PM   #8
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A .308 would be cheaper to feed if you don't load your own ammo. Otherwise, the 45-70 rules. It's easy to load for, and if a 45-70 won't put it down, you need air/artillery support.
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Old September 18, 2019, 07:41 PM   #9
Blue Duck
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I honestly don't know where you guys are coming from, regarding the .308 in a levergun.
I have used one for about 30 yrs and it's one of the most versatile hunting rifles ever made. It has plenty of knockdown power at close range and mine will outshoot lots of boltactions for accuracy. With it I have shot a pickup bed full of running deer at close range in my life and quite a few standing and walking deer and coyotes at 200 to even 350 yds on occasion. Topped off with a good 2 x 7 Leupold scope it will do about all that needs done. The only down side out of the box new is it needs a trigger job, and IMHO the stock usually needs shortened to suit me. But a lot of bolt guns have crappy triggers too, new out of the box.

Don't get me wrong, I love traditional leverguns like Winchesters and Marlins, and own several. I have currently three 45/70's and for under a 100yds to 150yds, I love them.
And they hit hard, my favorite hog medicine. But the .308 is a better all around rifle.

But if you want a 45/70 by all means get one. My first leveraction was a model 94 Winchester but my second one was a Marlin 1895 45/70, as a teenager, money earned from my first real paying job. But I ended trading that one off for a Remington 700 in 30-06 a couple of years later when I finally admitted to it's range limitations, but back then I couldn't afford more then a gun or two at a time, The 06 when down the gun trade road a couple of years after that, and so the story goes. But while I may sell and trade a lot of guns off and have, that now battle scared Blr .308 will stay in my possession until my body tells me I have no more use for it.

Last edited by Blue Duck; September 18, 2019 at 07:55 PM.
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Old September 19, 2019, 04:50 AM   #10
Tony Z
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On the spur of the moment a year or so ago, I picked up a barely used Henry .308 single shot, with a ghost sight already installed. Very much a fun gun to shoot and quite accurate with the rear sight. Quick shooter, too. Did I say it is a fun gun?
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Old September 19, 2019, 05:18 AM   #11
fourbore
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since you have a henry, I suggest you look at Winchester and marlin options.

I like 44mag for a brush gun on deer. I like the 45/70 for fun. In Marlin I prefer a slightly used older model. I like everything that comes from Miruko with the Winchester name on it. its a big world of levers out there. You could go nuts and look for a Model 99 in 250. Just, dont get stuck on Henry. Nothing wrong with henry. The Winchester 92 (so smooth) and marlin 1894 are very nice too.

In a 6.5mm, I would look at a Remington model 7 or who ever makes a good light hunting weight rifle. Kimber if the budget will stand it. Dont get stuck on nothing but Henry, dont get stuck on nothing but levers.

For no logical reason, it warms my heart to read about a young man, just out of school, looking at more classic rifles.
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Old September 19, 2019, 06:09 AM   #12
Tony Z
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Agree Fourbore! I wish there was far more interest in classic looking firearms, from muzzleloaders, to levers and bolts. Nothing nicer than walnut and deep, shiny blue!
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Old September 19, 2019, 09:49 PM   #13
Blue Duck
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Yep, I am a blue steel and walnut guy, through and through, also. I have had a hard time warming up to a plastic stock, except on AR's and FAL's and such.
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Old September 21, 2019, 06:38 PM   #14
Terrierman
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I just bought a youth model Henry single shot. As pretty of a gun as you will find. This one has great wood, and the wood to metal fit is flawless.
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Old September 22, 2019, 02:21 AM   #15
TruthTellers
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I like Henry too, but I don't look at lever actions and think that one in .223 or .308 is proper or better than a bolt action. Then when I think about a .45-70 rifle, if it doesn't have a loading gate, I'd rather have a single shot, preferably a Thompson Center or a Ruger #1 for the extra strength to shoot the hotter loads.

I wouldn't rush into another Henry, especially when it's one you're not sure you really want.
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Old September 22, 2019, 06:10 AM   #16
Tony Z
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TruthTeller, take a peek at the Henry break open, single shots. I picked up one used, with a ghost sight, and the size/weight, make it a very fun, handy gun (.308). The gin is the blued action, with a nice butt pad, and easily controlled with low perception of kickback, to this soon to be 67 year old body.
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Old September 22, 2019, 01:23 PM   #17
Shane Tuttle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lohman446
Get the 45-70. And I mean that seriously. You are committed to a lever gun and torn between the "grand daddy of lever gun cartridges" and an ill-advised long range lever gun in .308 or some baby cartridge that is still hiding behind its mamma's apron strings .

The .45-70 is a natural in a lever gun or falling block rifle. The .308 and 6.5 don't belong anywhere near a lever gun.

I mean if you were committed to the oddity like the .308 or 6.5 you wouldn't have to ask. Since you have to ask the answer is obvious and its 45-70
THIS ^^^^

Granted, the .308 is a proven cartridge. The .45-70 is a proven cartridge in a LEVER action gun. It will do anything you want, be it lighter loads for fun or heavier loads for serious game.
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Old September 23, 2019, 08:39 AM   #18
Lohman446
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Quote:
I honestly don't know where you guys are coming from, regarding the .308 in a levergun.
I should clarify its not the .308 I am against. Nor is it the lever gun. Nor is it, if one had decided that is what one wanted, the combination.

If the question was "thinking a bolt action gun should I get a .308 or a 45/70" the answer would be if you are asking go with the .308 in a bolt.

However when one is undecided and asking don't go with the odd combination.
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Old September 23, 2019, 10:01 AM   #19
ammo.crafter
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Long range lever gun?

Why?
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Old September 23, 2019, 04:19 PM   #20
Dr. A
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Hello,
I have several 45-70's and have to admit they fit the bill on being a top toy. However, if you are wanting to shoot long range, you will need to perfect a reloading technique and define what you want to accomplish. They are great for hunting, but not really that much greater than most other hunting rounds. Ammo is expensive! I have two long rangers (223 and 308).. I also have multiple 6.5 Creedmoor's, but only in bolt actions. I thought long and hard about another 6.5 Creedmoor, but decided against it. The bolt actions 6.5's can share ammo, but when you get a lever action Henry (or Browning) to the mix, you need to use brass unique to that particular rifle. I have half a dozen 308's so I have to pay close attention to my 308 Henry brass... I do like this gun, and have used it on hogs quite a bit. I do like to shoot it at longer distance targets, but understand why some folks would not think it ideal. To me, there is almost no wood on any gun I have more beautiful than my Henrys. I got the 223 to play with and found it to be one of the most accurate guns I own. The 308 can be accurate, but like most things wood, the zero will wander after a few shots. All are worth while, but if I had to have a favorite, I'd be hard pressed to say the fun I've had with my 45-70's can be beat. The Long Ranger Henry's are more of a couple of hunting guns. I do love that 223! Its very easy to clang a 6 inch plate at 400 yards with it. I started shooting them quite a bit more once I set up my 550 yard range.
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Old September 24, 2019, 08:55 PM   #21
Blue Duck
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I don't think anyone chooses a levergun for quote "Long Range" but instead versatility.
The average shooter can run a levergun a little faster for close range repeat shots, if needed, and one that is chambered in at least a medium range cartridge can still make that 300 yr shot, if they can shoot, without too much guess work. And for some people who just prefer leveractions over bolts, they are not handicapped with a short-range weapon, only.
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