Prior to picking up the Henry Lever Action (H001), I went through a lot of .22 LR rifles looking for the right one that seemed to fit me. Site after site has plenty of articles on top .22 rifles. The ones that would typically surface to the top were Ruger’s 10/22 (of course), Savage Mark II’s, some of the newer or popular survival rifles like Henry’s US Survival AR-7, or even the new Chiappa Little Badger. Each one of these had their own strengths or weaknesses according to whose review you were reading. I am sure they are all good in their own ways.
If you are looking for a semi-auto then the 10/22 surely will get your attention. If you want a bolt-action, the Savages do look great and get rave reviews about their triggers. If you are looking for a Survival Rifle, then you’ll be looking at the 10/22 Takedown or US Survival Rifle AR-7, and maybe even the single-shot Little Badger.
What I was looking for was several things: I obviously wanted a .22LR; a repeater but not a semi-auto; reliable; quality; classic-looking; able to use several types of .22 rounds; accurate; a survival rifle of sorts; and something to train others on in the future that would be simple and easy to learn; no magazine, ideally.
As you could guess, my short list screened out a ton of rifles. The two finalists were the Savage Mark II (which didn’t handle the no-magazines, but it was an exception) and the Henry Lever Action .22. I chose the Henry Lever Action. It was a good choice.
First of all, if you have ever handled Henry’s lever actions, they are extremely high quality and just plain sexy rifles. They look and feel quality. You can read their specs here if you want: Lever Action Specs. There are several things that made me decide to pick this up.
Price was definitely one- I picked up mine for $300. If you want to splurge, there is another Henry .22 lever action with an octagon barrel. It makes for a heavier rifle and gives it more of a bull-barrel feeling. I didn’t opt for this as it tacked another hundred dollars to the price, but it was definitely cool.
As you read above, I did not want a semi-auto, but I did want a repeater. So that left it to a bolt or lever action. Most will agree that you really can’t beat the accuracy and follow-up of a bolt-action. But lever action rifles is just plain fun and I do have an affinity for lever guns. This is my second. Henry’s lever is smooth, smooth, smooth. Like I said- it is quality when you cycle that action and you can feel it.
The Henry Lever Action also solved the “multiple type of .22” round issue. My thought was that if LR or Shorts became rare, I could probably pick up some .22 Longs. Too bad the gun and ammo scare happened- .22’s of all types are hard to get. Oh well. It is still cool to be able to use multiple types of .22. You can fit 15 .22 LRs, 17 Longs or 21 shorts. Aguila makes a rimfire round that they call Super Colibri, which means quiet. These are rimfire rounds that use the primer to fire the round. So it is not high-velocity as normal .22’s, but they are quiet and fun to shoot (they won’t work in semi-autos, FYI). Aguila calls them .22LR rounds, but they are shorter are more comparable to .22 shorts. Anyway, they are all ship-shape in this rifle due to manual cycling of the round- a perk of the lever gun.
I love the magazine tube in lever guns. You can load it up and carry around a good stock of ammo with no magazines or pouches. The saying goes, “Load it up, fire all day.” Another nice feature is that this rifle comes with a dovetail mount on the rifle itself- no mounts or rails needed. I have seen people put on scope rings on these mounts for some height, or they install the see-through scope rings which allow you to use the scope or the iron sites. Either way, it is nice to have that dovetail mount stock.
The iron sites are nice- adjustable rear and hooded front site. The irons alone are accurate out of the box and fun to use. I bought a Hi-Viz front site that was made specifically for the Henry Lever Action. It looks great, is simple to install and gives that extra burst of visibility with a fiber front site.
I commented on accuracy already, but to reiterate this thing definitely hits your mark. This is one that is probably more accurate than I. It is very easy to use, very easy to aim and that makes for an enjoyable day of plinking.
The walnut stock is solid wood and feels and looks great. If you love classic wood, you’ll love the Henry Lever Action 22.
There is no exposed/external safety on this rifle. Instead it has an internal trigger-safety that I did not know about until I read my manual (Always read your manuals!). What you do is to start cocking the hammer back until you hear a CLICK. That is the trigger lock kicking in. It is about mid-pull, or about half-cock of the hammer. Again, read your manual. Once locked, when you pull the trigger it should be fixed – unable to be pulled. This is obviously how you should store your rifle, but it does have this safety feature for anyone who was looking for it and didn’t notice it.
Overall, this is an enjoyable, fun rifle to own. It is simple, accurate, quality and has the classic Western feel to it. In the end, this was the correct choice of .22. rifle for my purposes. The Henry Lever Action 22 looks as good as it operates. You will not be disappointed.