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Old March 3, 2020, 04:30 AM   #1
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Help deciding on a Henry

Hey yall. I recently began reloading .45 Colt for two handguns I acquired, an Uberti Cattleman II and an Uberti 1875 Remington, both with 7 1/2" barrels......and absolutely love this cartridge. I have now been looking into a .45 lever gun. At first, I thought of Marlin, but I've heard they haven't completely recovered their previous glory, and probably never will. Then I set my sights on Henry, as I have yet to hear anything bad about them. I'm leaning towards one of their steel big boys, but can't decide on whether I want to go with their 20" rifle or 16.5" carbine, color case or standard steel. This rifle will be more of a fun gun, but I may use for hunting at some point. Any suggestions?
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Old March 3, 2020, 06:21 AM   #2
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I have the same story & have been looking at a Big Boy All Weather model (20”) at the LGS down the street for $850
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Old March 3, 2020, 08:05 AM   #3
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First off, my opinion is that Marlin has largely recovered from the "mediocrity" in their lever guns. I've had a couple of Henry's and still have one of my favorites from them, the brass big boy in 45-70 with 22" octagonal barrel. It's not a haul in the woods all day gun or as quick as a shorter barreled trapper style carbine--but it has what it takes to get the most (or least) you want out of the cartridge IMO. It's definitely a "pounder" with full-power loads with that brass butt-plate, but if your going to do sustained shooting with it you can add a buttpad. My personal opinion is the extra length barrel is worth it, even with the weight penalty. Mine is very accurate as well.
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Old March 3, 2020, 09:01 AM   #4
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Good choice , in 45 Colt would be the best of two world's . If your a reloader and want to shoot it just for the fun of it , you could shoot a medium load . As far as what barrel length I would go with the 20" just looks more balanced to me but you must like the 16.5" . For hunting , your not hunting mountain goats at long range , either one you can't go wrong. Go with your gut . Be well.


Last edited by cw308; March 3, 2020 at 09:07 AM.
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Old March 4, 2020, 07:00 AM   #5
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I have two BBS’s in .357 and .41 and love them. These are the rifle length. The balance is perfect and they just seem to fit me like a glove. As easy and natural as these handle I just can’t see any real advantage to the carbine length, especially the loss in capacity. Now, I don’t have any experience with a carbine length and maybe with some experience I would change my tune, but I doubt it.
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Old March 4, 2020, 07:39 AM   #6
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The carbine lengths carry easy on ATVs.
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Old March 24, 2020, 06:56 PM   #7
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Mine had a break in period but . . .

I had the Henry 45 colt big boy with the octagonal barrel. It had a break in period before it shot well . . . but I think most of the break in was me leaning to shoot the thing. It was a fun gun and is one of the few that I regret having sold.

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Old March 25, 2020, 09:23 AM   #8
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agree with you
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Old March 26, 2020, 09:56 PM   #9
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I would buy a 20" barrel and color case receiver. For no other reason than, they are cool.
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Old March 27, 2020, 09:27 AM   #10
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^^^^ this. I have the rifle length steelbig boy in .357. Two weeks after I bought it the case colored receiver came out. I love mine but if I would’ve waited for the case colored option I would’ve loved it a little more.
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Old March 27, 2020, 09:52 AM   #11
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I can vouch for both recent Marlins and Henrys. I bought a Marlin 1895 a few years ago and it is put together as well as my 2006 1894C (pre-Remington), so I wouldn't hesitate in buying a Marlin. The sights are straight, wood to metal fit is good, action cycles smoothly, etc. I have 300-400 rounds through it and am very happy.

That being said, variety is the spice of life and for S&G's two years ago I bought a Henry H009CCH, which is a 30-30 with a 20" octagonal barrel and color case hardened receiver. Really well put together and a super smooth action. Given that, I would suggest you look at the color case hardened 20" Big Boy. Super cool rifle. Let us know what you decide.
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Old March 27, 2020, 05:06 PM   #12
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Add me to the list of those who favor the 20-in bbl. In general, it will handle better and not add much weight to the Henry, which is a pretty heavy gun to begin with. Also, the .45 Colt is probably the best 157-year old human contraption still in regular use. I suppose because it is accurate, it throws a heavy chunk of lead with great penetration, it doesn't rattle your teeth like a 44 mag, and quality guns are available. Gosh, I think I need another one. Since you handload, you will be having fun testing loads for accuracy. The heavy Henry is very good for this at the bench, and good bases are available if you want a scope.
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