Help With Henry Big Boy 44 MAG


chaplain john stepp
November 9, 2006, 09:12 PM
I am Chaplain (MAJ) John M. Stepp. I just returned from my third tour of Iraq where I served as the Garrison Chaplain for Victory Base Complex, Baghdad. I have been deployed three times to Iraq and seven times in my careere. My wife, Pamela (the hero of my life), bought me a Henry Big Boy 44 MAG rifle.
Please do not comment on the weapon, it was a gift from my wife.
I need to know what is the best round ammunition (manufacturer, etc.).
I tried Blazer 44 magnum 240 gr, jhp. Those rounds have a tendency to not feed properly.
Any suggestions for what I should use in the 44 MAG and the 44 SPL. My wife and I love to go to the range together.

I bought my wife the Henry Gold Boy 22LR. What is the best round to shoot in that rifle?

Thanks for your help.

Chaplain Stepp

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November 9, 2006, 09:22 PM
Don't have any experience with the .44, but I'll offer some advice on the .22.
Pick up 50 rounds or so of any ammo that fits your range budget (obviously some of the high test stuff is a little steep for routine plinking) and give each one a try. For whatever reason, .22's seem to each be a little different in what they shoot best, and with ammo being so cheap and readily available its fun to try them all and see what you like best anyhow.
I've got a marlin I did this with and put about 1000 rounds of about 12 different types (some were from the same brand but different styles) through it. It was surprising to find out that it shoots remington golden bullets well under 1/2" at 30 yards, and Eley Target ammo prints closer to an inch!
Gives you something to do at the range, and its fun trying out all the different ammo.

And thank you for your service! :)

November 9, 2006, 09:27 PM
I don't own a 44 but I think the rule can be generally applied that most guns will have a preference for one or another kind of ammo. My best suggestion would be to buy a box of several different kinds and try them all out and see which gives the best accuracy.

The only question I might ask of you is what do you intent to do with the gun? You ammo requirements might be different if you want to hunt with it versus just target shooting.

November 9, 2006, 09:31 PM
i would stick with brand name brass .44 ammunition and avoid hollow point and wadcutter types until you establish the feeding reliability of the weapon. it is always possible that the firearm may be mildly defective from the factory, or may need a good break in.

having said that, aluminum case budget hollow point rounds have a bad reputation (deserved or not) when it comes to proper feeding and extraction/ejection

for the .22, i've always used the cheap federal bulk 500 bricks and have never had a problem

welcome home, thank you for your service

chaplain john stepp
November 9, 2006, 10:03 PM
To those of you who thanked me for my service. Thank you very much. This has been my pleasure. I retire in March 2007. Looking for a fine country baptist church to pastor so I can lead souls to Jesus and hunt and fish.
I will use the rifle for target practice and hunting.
I know very little about ammunition. Does the 44 SPL or 44 MAG come in full metal jacket? That seems to be the advice I am hearing the most at least for breaking in the weapon.
Again, can someone name me a reliable company that I can purchase in bulk.

November 9, 2006, 10:24 PM
If you are looking for cheap price, try Wolf. Some guns love 'em and some guns will missfire them all day long. You'll just have to try them out and that is half the fun at the range. On a side note, I found military chaplains much more realistic, understanding and accepting. Civilain chaplains seem to "push" their religion but I knew muslims talking to prodastant chaplains and pagans talking to catholic chaplains. Anyways, I'm off my soapbox. Thanks for your multiple tours.

November 9, 2006, 10:27 PM
I'm sorry, but I have to comment on your weapon... fine choice!!

I bought the basic Henry lever-action .22 a few years ago, the H001. It's a fine .22 that has relentlessly fed every single kind of ammo I could think of - shorts, longs, LRs, Stingers, you name it. I have gone without cleaning it for 1100 rounds - two full bricks - and it didn't flinch. I am very impressed with Henry quality. Not to mention that when I needed a question answered about the sights, I emailed the company and received a prompt, informative reply from the president! Can't ask for much better than that.

I have been curious about the .44 Mag rifle they sell for some time. How is the recoil?

As for ammo for the .22, I would recommend two things: Remington ammo has been, by far, the least accurate... and Federal has been the most accurate. This is strictly the 550-round bulk stuff I'm referring to.

For REAL accuracy, I have been quite impressed with the Wolf Match stuff and - even better - the Eley stuff. The Eley ammo is a little pricy, but the accuracy is top notch. At least in my Henry.

Lastly, I should confess that I'm not enamored with the little Henry's stock sights. I switched to a Williams peep sight (model FP-GR I think) at the rear, and it has improved things enormously. Just a suggestion. Good luck and happy shooting!

November 9, 2006, 10:38 PM
First off, Thanks for your Service!

I have found that blazer ammo does not work well in leverguns. It jams my Marlins and makes me crazy! I would try American Eagle or the like.

Hope this helps you out,


chaplain john stepp
November 9, 2006, 11:08 PM
My mistake was that I bought 200 rounds of blazer ammunition, very reasonable price, before firing the weapon. I am going to try shooting 50 rounds of 44 Remington Magnum JSP before shooting anything else.
Hopefully, that will break the weapon in well.
The only reason I know that the Blazer jams is that I was practicing the lever action in my living room. I'm praying that once I break the weapon in I can go ahead and shoot those 200 rounds of blazer and never buy that stuff again.
Thanks for the heads up on the 22LT ammo.
I also bought my wife the Walther 22LT automatic pistol. She loves it.
Oh, thanks for the compliments on the military chaplains. We provide and/or perform ministry for anyone. I was the sponsor for the Wiccan/Pagan worship on Victory Base Complex, Baghdad. Interesting style of worship. I did have a change to discuss Jesus with them, but not in a demeaning or judgemental way. Most of the soldiers had been raised in a Christian Church. Enough sermonizing.

November 10, 2006, 12:05 AM
Hello Sir, Welcome back

I just got back from Iraq on Oct 3. :D I was also at Camp Victory, CCO 40th Sig BN from Fort Huachuca.
November 10, 2006, 02:15 AM
Winchester White box is reasonably priced and comes with JHP bullets in the 200 grain bullet weight. PMC makes reasonably priced .44Mag ammo that's never failed for me (I have a revolver though). .44 Special will mostly come loaded with lead bullets. The "Cowboy" loads sport 220 grain hard cast round nose bullets. I'd wager that those round noses would shuck easily into any lever action. In an article about your rifle I read recently the author claimed nearly 250 rounds without a hitch bobble or cleaning using Magtech ammo. Given the history of the "Big Boy" I'm thinking that you'll work out the burrs with a few range trips and once that's done it'll shoot pretty much any SAAMI spec .44 mag loads. As for the Defence suggestions, I'd have to recommend that you avoid the Cor Bon stuff as they tend to load everything to maximums. With a rifle barrel, you're going to best most performace claims as it is so you can afford to shoot whatever feeds well and shoots straight. Personally I prefer the .44 special because I'd rather be defending my case without the "Dirty Harry" magnum moniker attached. Plus Black Hills Ammo makes a Keith style 250 Grain Wadcutter hard cast lead bullet load that will match the .45ACP in terms of energy out of a 2" snubbie. That will only improve with a rifle length barrel plus it sounds less incriminating to say you used a cartridge that's almost an antique! Something you might consider is getting set up for handloading. The straight sided .44MAG/SPL cases are very easy to load, plus you can tailor them to your gun. Just please don't use handloads for defence as the legal ramifications are severely punitive to the shooter. Thank you for your service, and please enjoy your retirement.

November 10, 2006, 02:49 AM
It's a great gun! My dad is going nuts over buying one.

Seriously, having fired a few your wife picked well. She's a keeper.

Thanks for your service!

November 10, 2006, 08:22 AM
a Rossi. It didn't feed the first round at first, but I cleaned and lubed the action and it has been trouble free since then. The smith at the LGS where I got it suggested it will like copper jacketed bullets better than lead. I'm very happy with it and I like having a revolver and carbine that can share ammo.
That said, I know the caliber will push me into reloading.
My sense, without any objective data, is that brass casings feed with less friction than aluminum.
Good luck.

Old Time Hunter
November 10, 2006, 09:04 AM
Personally I appreciate your service over there, hope you can keep the moral up.

Regarding the .44 Mag, it will fire .44 spl without a hitch, or just get .44 Mag light loads. For target though, I use 240 gr SWC's with 8.5 grains of Unique. Your Henry can fire all day long without so much as a wimper. If you do not reload, get Cowboy loads they are easy shoot'n stuff.

For hunt'n, I recommend Remmington 240 gr JSP's, not the JHP's but the JSP's. The Jacketed Hollow Points have a tendendancy to flatten out after a couple of times in the magazine, short'ning the OAL and could cause feed problems.

Dan K
November 10, 2006, 09:17 AM
Own a Henry Big Boy in 45 LC. Have been trying different rounds for reliable feeding, at this point I've found semiwadcutters aren't the most reliable, get a jam from time to time. Lead round nose works best. And yes, the gun definitely needs breaking in, I'm having less problems with it as time goes on. Make sure you buy a spare extractor, also have found that if there's any dirt in the square cutout in the side of the receiver where the loading ramp rides in will cause you problems, this gun likes and needs lube too, esp. the bolt and lever pivot point.

November 10, 2006, 12:38 PM
Hey Chaplin, You wouldn't happen to be at Ft. Jackson at the Chaplins school would you? A good friend of mine is the IT guy there.

November 10, 2006, 01:53 PM
Does the 44 SPL or 44 MAG come in full metal jacket?

I don't know if they're available FMJ or not, but you may want to reconsider using them even if they are.
I have lever guns of my own and those of my friends as well, and the instruction manuals have specifically said NOT to use FMJ.
The reasoning behind the warning is that there is a small but possible risk of FMJ igniting the primer of the one in front of it due to recoil inertia in a tube magazine, and also if the rifle should be dropped.
While i don't know how likely it would be or if it is really a major risk, the warning makes sense, since anything is possible, even if the liklihood might be considered remote, so why take a chance?
Use JSP loads, and you will almost always avoid the potential.

November 10, 2006, 03:32 PM
Try for ordering ammo

I've priced and purchased .44 special and .45 colt and .454 casull ammo from them - they had the best prices for the type of ammo I wanted and a pretty good variety to boot.

chaplain john stepp
November 10, 2006, 08:14 PM
I am stationed at Fort Still, OK home of the artillery center.
I fired my Henry for the first time today. Loved REM 44 MAG. Hated the Blazers. Two Jams in 8 rounds. I gave the rest of the box away. I have 150 rounds of Blazer left.
I'm going to try the cowboy rounds next. The consensus seems to be to use brass cartridges and no hollow points until the gun is well broken in.

Again, Thanks for the words of encouragement. Tonight the last of my brigade comes home from Iraq. They drove 16 million miles on the mean roads of Iraq and all of them came home. Praise God!

Chaplain John

chaplain john stepp
November 10, 2006, 11:08 PM
Reference the Henry Big Boy 44 MAG recoil?
What recoil? The weapon has a hexigon barrel and it weight 8.8lbs which absorbs the recoil very well.
I figure my wife won't be able to feel any recoil at all in her golden boy 22 LR. Still waiting to get on the range with that sweet thing (I'm talking my wife here). ha Ha

Jim Watson
November 10, 2006, 11:44 PM
Hated the Blazers. Two Jams in 8 rounds. I gave the rest of the box away.

Just as well. At one time - don't know if they still do - CCI recommended against shooting Blazers (original aluminum) in lever actions.

chaplain john stepp
November 11, 2006, 08:30 AM
I order some ammunition for my Henry's:
PMC .22LR Zapper HP 38-gm for the 22LR.

Magtech Cowboy Action .44Special 240GR. LFN

Winchester Cowboy Load .44 Special 240 Gr. Cast Lead

I also found rounds designed specifically for hunting and the FMJ.
I re-read my weapon manual and it does not forbid using FMJ.
I will probably by the hunting and FMJ round just a few at a time and zero the weapon with which ever feels best for me. Then, I will hunt with that one.


November 11, 2006, 08:46 AM
Thank you for the Service

I have a winchester in 44 with the 18" Bbl I have shot 44 spec. 44 Mag Blazer and my favorite load 24Gr. H-110 over 240 JHP with a HEAVY crimp.

never had any feed issues but want better sights and hate the crossbolt safety

just my $.02


November 11, 2006, 07:42 PM
I was stationed at Altus for over two years. I hope you get PCS'd to someplace with seasons...and scenery...and rain...and trees...and less wind...

Jim Watson
November 11, 2006, 08:50 PM
I will probably by the hunting and FMJ round just a few at a time and zero the weapon with which ever feels best for me. Then, I will hunt with that one.

Many places, FMJ is not legal for hunting. Not humane or sporting. Go hunting with softpoints or one of the big wide flat nose LBT bullets if you can find them and the rifle will feed them.

September 10, 2011, 03:29 PM
I have a big boy .44 and find it needs the shortest magnum round you can find. I make my own. Henry reccomends the leverevolution. I havn't tried these because they have thier own probs. Other lever guns have this same prob. I have not fired mine with .44 specials yet but i suspect the jamming will not occur with them. The Henry .44 also requires a very positive movement with the eject. and as was stated before i believe, henrys are sensitive to positioning, try to cycle it at an angle and it will tend to jam. i find keeping it shouldered and cycling works well and sets you up for a very fast follow up shot if needed. If you have to use a longer round i find that only loading 6 rounds instead of 10 keeps the spring looser and seems to help some.
i also have a henry .22 lever action. same as a golden boy but not as fancy. it has no jamming issues and i can fire any .22, long, long rifle or short with no problems at all just as a lever gun should be. I choose ammo for my "little" henry based on what I am shooting because it is so dependable.

September 10, 2011, 09:41 PM
You will just have to buy a Ruger pistol to shoot up the rest of your Blazer ammo. It is nice to have a rifle and pistol in the same caliber....chris3

September 11, 2011, 11:50 AM
5 yrs later, it's resurected! :what: Zombies do least in the online forum world. :rolleyes:

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