Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Range Review: Henry Golden Boy .22lr

Ok, I made the mistake of going to a local Gun Store yesterday.  Seriously, a guy like me in a gun store is worse than a kid in a candy shop.  I want it all.

I originally went there to look for a bolt action .22lr that I could use to teach my daughter how to shoot.  Maybe in a couple years I could even pass it down to her.  My father taught me on a beautiful little .22lr bolt and I still have good memories of those lessons.

Anyway, while looking at 22s I noticed the Henry lever action.  I asked to see it and as soon as I laid my hands on it I was sold.  It's a beautiful gun but as soon as you pick it up you realize this is no toy.  First off, it's heavy.  I think it's around 7 lbs, especially with the 20" hexagon barrel.  The Walnut stock is beautiful and it cycles like butter.

It wasn't cheap, around $550, but it looked like a high quality gun so I was hoping it was worth it.

After the range today, it was totally worth the price.

It took a little while to get used to the buckhorn sites, I'm used to matching the top of the rear site with the top of the front site.  With these, you match the round dot on the front site with the round hole at the bottom of the rear site.  Once I got that straight it shot beautifully.

These are probably the most accurate iron sites out of the box that I've ever shot.  Seriously, with just the iron sites and a little practice I was hitting silhouettes out to 100 yards.

I ran two hundred rounds through it, 100 Remington Viper 36gr, and Winchester Xpert HV 36gr hollow points.  It was a joy to shoot.  It cycled flawlessly with the two different rounds I brought with me.  I wasn't sure how it would go with the hollow points (they were pretty cheap so I figured I'd give them a shot), but they cycled just as well as the Remington.  Not a single failure to fire, failure to cycle/eject, with either brand. Accuracy was about the same too.  I loaded one tube with a mixture of both and couldn't tell a difference between shooting them.  (I know, there isn't a huge difference between the two in the first place other than the tips).

The only complaint I had with the Henry is the reloading.  To reload you pull the inner magazine tube out until it clears the loading port.  Put the rounds in, slide the magazine tube back in and secure it.  Ready to go.  The first couple times it's a little weird but once you get used to it you can reload fairly quickly.

(You can see the loading port on the magazine tube about halfway to the muzzle)

Now, it isn't difficult or awkward, but it's more awkward than having the more traditional loading port in the receiver.  To reload this one you have to stop shooting, put the gun down, and reload it, rather than being able to reload on the go like the receiver loading guns.  With the older versions you can fire a round, reload a round, fire a round, without taking the gun from your shoulder or missing a beat.

Also, this might not be best rifle for teaching your young ones.  You load it awfully close to the end of the barrel, so you need to pay attention to where body parts are and where you're pointing the barrel while loading.  There's also no safety switch or lever so you have to be very aware of the hammer position too.  There is a "safe/load" position for the hammer, but I would consider hammer manipulation of a loaded gun a more advanced lesson.

Basically, I think this gun is the perfect for the range, plinking, or maybe small game hunting.  The reloading is a fairly minor complaint considering you can load 15 rounds (though they do go fast when you're having that much fun shooting them).

It's just a fun gun.  It's pretty, it shoots great, and works great mechanically.  It's really nice to have a gun that I love to shoot that is also a cheap date at the range, it's only 15-20 bucks for a box of 500 .22lr.  I had an absolute blast at the range and definitely look forward to taking it again.  I think this might be my new go-to-gun for plinking and silhouette shooting.

And if that means I have to go back to the gun store to get a bolt action for my daughter... I'm ok with that.  We can go plinking together.

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