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Unlike the Winchester 94, and other stereotypical lever guns, the Henry does not load through a gate on the side of the receiver. The gun is loaded in the manner of the old .22 gallery guns, where the front cap of the tubular magazine is unscrewed and removed, and the rounds are loaded directly down the tube. The spring follower is then loaded down over them, and the and cap is replaced. This is largely done, because the little 22 rim-fire rounds have rather soft, delicate cases, and would probably be damaged going through the loading gate, and up into the tubular magazine. Fifteen rounds of 22 Long Rifle may be dropped down the tube, before pushing the tubular magazine follower in after. The gun will also load and chamber longs, and shorts, though these are getting hard to find (and expensive to buy) these days. After firing, the spent cases are ejected out of the right side of the receiver. A lever action 22, with a magazine filled with sixteen rounds, can be a remarkably fun thing to have in the woods, on a brisk fall day. The days of the cowboy, and of the Old West are long gone; but we can still dream.
The Henry seems to be pretty well put together, and the parts mesh nicely against each other. The lever action is exceptionally smooth. The blue on mine was good looking, rich and dark; but did show a slight mottling, which is not apparent in the photographs, and has gotten no worse in the several years that I have owned the gun. The Henry functions flawlessly, and I have never had a problem, misfire, or any type of jam.. Other than the deletion of the side loading gate, this is mechanically the same as my big 30-30 lever action, or one of my lever action carbines. These guns have no safety, and require none. The exposed hammer is a certain indicator of the state of the gun, and may be gently lowered to half cock, to render a loaded gun safe.
The trigger on the Henry is grooved, and very light and crisp. The sights are adequate, being the traditional Patridge type of square notch rear site, allied with a square blade front. This is slower than the more common buckhorn sites, often found on lever action rifles; but is generally considered to be more precise. The rear site is adjustable for elevation, via a slider, while the front sight is hooded, which greatly helps in speeding up sight alignment. The top of the receiver is grooved for a scope; but I will never install one. To my mind, a scope on a lever action (particularly a 22) is obscene. The virtues of the lever action are it's light weight, compact design, and hardiness. Mounting a scope negates all of these virtues.
The Henry. by today's standards, in not a very expensive rifle. A new Henry will probably go our the door for around $225 - $250. The guns are made at the Henry factory in, of all places, Brooklyn, New York. The company has expanded it's line quite a bit, and now offers a series of lever action, pump, and semi auto rifles. The even make their own version of the old AR-7 survival rifle. The current company has no connection with the original Henry firearms company, which was to eventually become Winchester (now U.S. Repeating Arms Company). For a handy, fun little rifle, particularly when paired with a single action 22 revolver, the Henry is pretty hard to beat.