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Old June 10, 2019, 07:37 PM   #1
Quincy
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New "Original Henry"

Has anyone bought or looked at the .44-40 Original Henry? The one made stateside, not by Uberti or a different Italian copy. I'm thinking about one, but no one locally has one. Curious about what your thoughts are.

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Old June 10, 2019, 08:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Has anyone bought or looked at the .44-40 Original Henry? The one made stateside, not by Uberti or a different Italian copy. I'm thinking about one, but no one locally has one. Curious about what your thoughts are.
My thoughts?--buy it!
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Old June 11, 2019, 06:28 AM   #3
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X2^^. If you can’t find it locally buy it from one of the internet stores.
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Old June 22, 2019, 07:41 PM   #4
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There are dozens and dozens of online reviews and YouTube videos. Almost all are positive. Have your local gun shop order one from Henry.
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Old June 23, 2019, 12:38 PM   #5
Ralph Allen
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I bought one when they first came out a few years ago. Beautiful gun. Flawless and smooth functioning. The only "complaint" I have is the barrel is bored for a 44 mag and not a 44-40. If I recall correctly I ended up slugging the barrel and found that I needed to go with .430-431 lead bullets. I think standard 44-40 is .427-428. Not looking at my notes, so don't quote me. Standard 44-40 ammo the accuracy was pretty sloppy. After slugging the barrel and figuring out that issue, I have absolutely zero complaints. Hopefully you reload.
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Old June 24, 2019, 01:33 AM   #6
Pathfinder45
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I like lever-guns, but the Henry always seemed to me like an incomplete prototype that should never have been produced for the market. As a historical piece, it has its place..... They got it right when they added a forearm and loading gate, calling it the 1866 Winchester. I could see having one of those.
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Old June 24, 2019, 08:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pathfinder45 View Post
I like lever-guns, but the Henry always seemed to me like an incomplete prototype that should never have been produced for the market. As a historical piece, it has its place..... They got it right when they added a forearm and loading gate, calling it the 1866 Winchester. I could see having one of those.
I've got an Uberti copy of the '66 Winchester as a 19" Yellowboy carbine and you are right, the addition of the side loading gate and forearm from the Model '60 Henry is a big improvement and makes shooting it a joy.
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Old June 24, 2019, 09:52 AM   #8
Driftwood Johnson
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Quote:
I like lever-guns, but the Henry always seemed to me like an incomplete prototype that should never have been produced for the market. As a historical piece, it has its place..... They got it right when they added a forearm and loading gate, calling it the 1866 Winchester. I could see having one of those.
Howdy

Oliver Winchester would probably tend to agree with you. Although patented in 1860, production only ran from 1862 to 1866 with a total of about 14,000 rifles manufactured. Production did not start until 1862 because the company was financially strapped. And although he tried, Winchester never achieved large scale military contracts.

Compare that to the Winchester Model 1866 which was produced from 1866 until 1898 and close to 170,000 were produced.

The Henry rifle of course stood head and shoulders above its predecessor, the Volcanic rifle. Oliver Winchester was well aware of its shortcomings and that is why he hired Nelson King as his plant superintendent after B. Tyler Henry left the company. The side loading gate of the Model 1866 was King's invention, and using a separate tube as the magazine, as opposed to the integral barrel and magazine of the Henry, cut machining time of the barrel of the '66 in half.

By the way, I have an Uberti 'Iron Frame' Henry. Yes, the traditional barrel groove diameter of 44-40 was .427. The barrel groove diameter of my Uberti Henry is .429. I have had great success with soft lead .428 bullets. This is because some of my 44-40 rifles have .427 groove diameters and some have .429 diameters. I compromised on .428 so I did not have to inventory two bullet diameters. My soft lead bullets probably bump up to fill the rifling grooves when they are fired.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; June 24, 2019 at 09:58 AM.
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Old June 24, 2019, 10:36 AM   #9
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As I recall, the original Henry rifles were chambered in the 44 Henry rimfire. One reviewer suggested they should have chambered the new "original" Henry in 44 Russian, a similar sized cartridge to the 44 Henry rimfire. That or the 44 Special, then the bore size would be correct.
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Old June 24, 2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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They could have just kept it as a rimfire and Winchester could make the ammo for it. But I doubt that would be a profitable gamble.
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Old June 24, 2019, 12:43 PM   #11
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Henry Repeating Arms has done an effective job marketing the Henry name, long, long before they began manufacturing their reproduction of the 1860 Henry rifle. The ones I have seen have nice wood and the metal is nicely finished.
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Old June 24, 2019, 12:52 PM   #12
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Most modern 44-40's do have .429 bores. RCBS makes cowboy dies that size to .429 but standard 44-40 dies size to .427.
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Old June 24, 2019, 04:25 PM   #13
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I have 3 Henry rifles and I would be hard pressed to get rid of any of them.

None of them have the new load gate.

I grew up shooting a 22 rimfire rifle (a Remington Fieldmaster) that had a tube loading magazine. The Henry rifles that I have are loaded the same way.

I have no problem with that, unlike a lot of folks that like to nit pick about everything.
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Old June 24, 2019, 07:59 PM   #14
Driftwood Johnson
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As I recall, the original Henry rifles were chambered in the 44 Henry rimfire. One reviewer suggested they should have chambered the new "original" Henry in 44 Russian, a similar sized cartridge to the 44 Henry rimfire. That or the 44 Special, then the bore size would be correct.
Quote:
They could have just kept it as a rimfire and Winchester could make the ammo for it. But I doubt that would be a profitable gamble.
Howdy Again

Left to right in this photo, the cartridges are 44-40, 44 Henry Rimfire, 44 S&W American, 44 Russian, 44 Colt, 44 Special, and 45 Colt. In the black powder era all cartridges were completely filled with Black Powder, so a good comparison can be made of the relative power of each cartridge just by comparing their sizes.






The Henry cartridge pictured is the original Henry Flat with a flat nosed bullet. The bullet weighed 200 grains, the powder charge was 26 or 28 grains of Black Powder. This cartridge achieved a muzzle velocity of 1125 fps out of the 24" barrel of the Henry rifle. Later a pointed 216 grain bullet was used for better ballistic coefficient and slightly lower velocity.

The 44-40 cartridge nominally contained 40 grains of Black Powder under a 200 grain bullet. Muzzle velocity out of a 24" rifle barrel was 1245 fps.

Notice the Henry cartridge has a copper case, not brass. This is mostly because the rim had to be soft to be crushed to ignite the priming compound. The Henry rifle (as well as the Winchester Model 1866) had a forked firing pin that struck the rim in two places 180 degrees apart, to increase the probability the priming compound would ignite. That is about as powerful as a rimfire cartridge could be, since the case had to be soft enough so the rim could be crushed and to ignite the priming compound. That is why the 44-40 had a brass case and Boxer priming, to accommodate the larger powder charge.

I hear guys complaining all the time on the SASS Wire about the current Henry replicas not being chambered for the original 44 Rimfire round, or a similar short round such as 44 Russian or 44 Special.

Good luck getting somebody to produce a 44 Rimfire round today. I have a box of 41 Rimfire derringer ammo produced by Navy Arms a long time ago. They are collectors items. I am not aware of anybody else producing large caliber rimfire ammunition today, there simply is no market for it.

As for 44 Russian or 44 Special, there are aftermarket parts that can be fitted to the Uberti Henry rifles so they can shoot those rounds. Personally, I could not care less. I am very happy with my 44-40 Iron Framed Henry.






Uberti produces their version of the Henry chambered for 45 Colt and 44-40 as does Henry Repeating Arms. Personally I believe they both made the right choice, choosing cartridges that are readily available many places. Try finding 44 Russian on a shelf sometime. Even 44 Special is harder to find than 44 Mag.

Other than some proof rounds at a government proof house, my Henry has never had any Smokeless powder run through it, only Black Powder. My charge is about 35 grains of Schuetzen FFg under a 200 grain bullet, because modern solid head brass does not have as much powder capacity as the old balloon head brass. Even so, 35 grains is plenty for me. I have no need or desire to be shooting more 'historically correct' ammo in my Henry. Yes, I could stuff more rounds in the magazine if they were shorter, but I can load 13 44-40 rounds on Sunday and shoot all week long as it is.




P.S. VERY IMPORTANT: When loading a Henry, do not hold the rifle vertically and drop rounds down the magazine as can be seen in some videos. DO NOT DO THIS! Also, be sure you have a firm grasp on the follower. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO SLAM DOWN ON A COLUMN OF CARTRIDGES IN THE MAGAZINE! CARTRIDGES HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO FIRE IN THE MAGAZINE! Don't tell me how it is not possible because of flat nosed bullets. Just don't tell me that because it has been known to happen. I always load my Henry by laying it flat on the loading table at a slight angle and I allow the rounds to trickle down the magazine. Then I carefully lower the follower onto the stack of rounds. Be careful if you have sweaty hands, do not allow the follower to slip from your grasp!

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; June 24, 2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old June 24, 2019, 08:49 PM   #15
Jim Watson
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Uberti made a few .44 rimfire close reproductions. They sold as C&R because ammo is not being made.

Winchester made some .44 Henry centerfire 1866s. Most if not all went to Brazil.
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Old July 1, 2019, 07:54 PM   #16
Quincy
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Driftwood, since you only shoot true black powder in yours, what is your cleaning procedure? I've shot a number of muzzleloaders using black, and while a bit more time consuming, cleaning was easy enough wit hot, soapy water; but there is no receiver or mechanism for fouling to get into on a muzzleloader.
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Old July 2, 2019, 10:04 PM   #17
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy Again

First, I place a spent case in the chamber and close the action.

Then I place a patch soaked with my favorite BP cleaning solution in the slotted end of my cleaning rod. Holding the rifle vertically I twirl the wet patch down the bore, then pull it straight out. You must use the slotted end of your cleaning rod, not a jag. If you use a jag, the patch can get jammed in the spent case in the chamber.

I repeat this four or five times until the patch comes out gray and there is no crusted residue on it. At this point, all the fouling has been washed down into the case in the chamber.

Then I hold the rifle upside down and eject the spent case onto the ground. A spray of dirty solvent will accompany it, so don't get any on you.

At this point, the bore is clean.

Next I take another patch soaked with my favorite BP solvent and scrub the exposed surfaces of the carrier as well as the exposed surfaces where the carrier rides. I scrub off as much of the bolt as I can reach, and scrub the firing pin extension.

Then I work a little bit of BP solvent down into the frame where the hammer rests.

Next, I soak another patch in Ballistol and run it down the bore and rub some Ballistol on all the surfaces I have previously cleaned with solvent. I run a little bit of Ballistol down into the action by the hammer too.

Lastly I take a dry patch and run it down the bore, to soak up any extra Ballistol, leaving behind a light coating of Ballistol in the bore.

This method takes about ten minutes. The point of leaving the light coating of Ballistol in the bore is to prevent corrosion.

This method works best with 44-40 because the thin brass expands well to seal the chamber and hardly any fouling gets past onto the carrier or into the mechanism. With a rifle chambered for 45 Colt more fouling will get by because the thicker brass does not seal the bore as well. The same method will work for 45 Colt and BP, you just have to scrub the area of the carrier a bit more.

P.S. Notice I said 'my favorite BP cleaning solution'. I did not say hot soapy water. While hot water is traditionally the best solvent for Black Powder, you have to get it all out again. Not a problem with a muzzle loader, but a bit more problematic with the mechanism of a repeating rifle or revolver. I have been using a solution I call Murphy's Mix for many years, cleaning Black Powder firearms. It consists of equal parts Muprhy's Oil Soap, Rubbing Alcohol, and drugstore Hydrogen Peroxide. The water in the alcohol and peroxide does the real dissolving of BP fouling. When the water evaporates, the oil soap leaves behind a film of oil that protects the metal, and the peroxide adds a little bit of fiizz to help lift the fouling. I always get comments from guys who say plain old water is fine for cleaning BP, but you always have to get the water out. This often involves disassembling the firearm. I don't have to disassemble anything, the water evaporates and the oil stays behind, protecting everything from corrosion. I don't have to heat it, I usually clean my rifle at my car after a match.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; July 2, 2019 at 10:45 PM.
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Old July 4, 2019, 06:57 PM   #18
Quincy
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Thanks Driftwood, I appreciate the information, very informative.
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