The potential of a Henry Big Boy as a HD rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Jason_W, Mar 22, 2015.

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  1. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    I'm finally working again (woo hoo!!) and after I do a little financial damage control I'm going to begin rebuilding my gun collection starting with a levergun in .44 mag.

    I'm really liking this http://www.henryrifles.com/rifles/henry-big-boy-steel/ And I've never heard anyone say anything bad about the quality of a Henry while Marlin 1894s, though improving, still get mixed reviews if you can even find them.

    The catch is that the rifle will have to double as an HD gun until I can save up for another firearm. While 11 rounds of .44 mag would likely be more than enough to deal with any threat I face (something statistically unlikely to happen at all) in the event I did need to reload in a dangerous situation, the Henry's lack of a loading gate would make things slow to say the least.

    Like most firearms enthusiasts, I'm probably overthinking this.
     
  2. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

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    I think you're on to something. The Big Boy Steel looks mighty tasty. Henry is also making the Big Boy in a 16.5" Carbine:

    http://www.henryrifles.com/rifles/henry-big-boy-carbine/[​IMG]

    I think the Carbine looks awesome. But it weighs 3/4 of pound MORE than the 20" Big Boy Steel. And holds less ammo (7+1). But for home defense, the Carbine would be a lot handier navigating doorways, etc.

    Actually, a gun shop owner told me he can't keep any of the 5+1 round Henry Mares Legs in stock because people LOVE them for home defense. I guess if you compare the Mares Leg to a 6-shot handgun in .357 or 44 magnum, it might offer some advantages. For one thing, the Mares Leg , total length 25", weighs almost SIX pounds! That would help absorb the recoil much better than a 3-lb revolver. That could make the Big Boy suitable for a wife or teen to use. And the potential for much better than handgun accuracy is there, especially with the longer barrelled Big Boys.

    I say Big Boy for home defense is a fantastic idea. And if someday you buy a shotgun for home defense, you've still got an awesomely slick, handy and beautiful lever rifle.

    The Henry quality out of the box is generally top notch, and if you EVER have a problem, Henry will make it right. Best warranty and best customer service in the business.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  3. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    Another option for you to look at would be a Rossi 92 in 44 mag. The gun isn't as nice as a Big Boy, but it's incredibly short and handy and costs a couple hundred bucks less.
     
  4. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    The Henry's biggest disadvantage for HD would be that slow reloading.

    Any Mare's Leg would be a very inefficient choice for HD.
    Denis
     
  5. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    If you NEED more than 11 rounds I think you've got bigger issues than how fast the gun can be reloaded......

    Besides even a side gate is going to be slow or even impossible to reload in an actual situation with that bucket load of adrenaline making you shake like a leaf. And when you're in your jammies, gaunch or even buck nekkid where are you carrying any extra ammo anyway?
     
  6. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

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    I think the carbine length is the best one for home defense. I have a Rossi Trapper 16" in .357 that weighs right at 5 pounds and is very easy to handle in tight spaces.

    I love my Rossi, but the Henrys are a significant step up in quality and materials and the smoothness of the actions. I never considered the Big Boy previously because of the weight at close to 9-lbs. The Big Boy Steel is considerably lighter and looks to be a lot more practical than the brass framed rifles. I wouldn't worry about reloading. .44 magnum out of a rifle barrel is gonna end the argument pretty quick.
     
  7. 200Apples
    • Contributing Member

    200Apples Mojave Lever Crew

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    .
    Of five leverguns, two alternate in and out of the house... a 16" Rossi 92 in .357 and a 20" Browning 92 in .44 mag. The 20" B92 is still shorter than an 870s wearing an 18.5" barrel.

    I prefer the larger caliber, but I also prefer the 16" carbine... so I'd think a Rossi 92 in .44 mag would be a great choice as a HD weapon. In fact, I think I'll just add that one to the want list! lol.

    The present batch of Rossis I've found for sale are reliable guns. I've purchased two (one as a gift for my son's 25th birthday)


    If you haven't seen this, I hope you enjoy Sheriff Jim Wilson's easy, laid-back style.

    Sheriff's Tip: Lever Guns for Personal Protection

    It's a 2-minute clip. ^ ^ ^
     
  8. justin22885

    justin22885 member

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    reloading a lever action is no more slow than loading a shotgun, and you dont hear anyone complaining about their 12 gauges being too slow to reload to be worth home defense

    anyway, i like 44 mag, thats why 44 mag/special is my consolidated caliber of choice for revolvers and lever actions, so you wont find me buying a revolver or lever action in any other caliber if it can be avoided.. unless of course i want something BIG like 45-70

    a 16" 44 mag lever action makes great home defense, great for hunting, great for just about any occasion inside 200 yards
     
  9. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I'm sure you're right for out of the box comparisons. But if a Rossi is well broken in or given a slicking up job by one of the cowboy action smiths you'd be surprised at how smooth it can be made.

    The only downside for doing such work on a HD gun is that the lighter mainspring makes the trigger almost too light for good control in adrenaline fueled situations. As in when you DON'T want to take the shot for whatever reason.

    But for a hunting or range gun it can be made ultra smooth with a delightfully light trigger for not much money or effort.
     
  10. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Reloading may or may not be an issue for you.
    If not, fine.
    I'm just saying the Henry's TUBE LOADING METHOD is its biggest disadvantage for HD use, and some of us like to be able to reload for certain scenarios.

    Not all HD encounters are resolved indoors by three rounds fired. :)
    Denis
     
  11. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    That's kind of what I'm thinking. Besides, it would just be a stop gap HD gun until I got funds together for a designated HD gun.

    If I were really practical, I'd buy the HD specific gun first and get the levergun at a later time. But I've missed having a lever action around.
     
  12. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    It kind of goes back to the advice my Grandfather gave me on my little Winchester... If you fire all the shells in the magazine and still need more you either started shooting too soon or shouldn't have been shooting at all.

    I suppose the reloading would depend on your luck and your tactics. If you are trying to keep heads down until help comes you would need more than 11 rounds. If you are keeping your head and waiting for the right target you may need less.
     
  13. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Big cartridges (shotgun) and big loading area on a shotgun, compared to little cartridges (handgun) and little loading gate on a lever action could make all the difference in the world in a high stress adrenalin saturated situation when your small motor skills are stressed.
     
  14. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    was a time in this country that a lever gun protected about every home. Sure nothing wrong with using one today
     
  15. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    There was also a time when swords protected castles.
    Does that mean a sword is just as good a choice today as it was then? :)

    Buy & use whatever you want, but this recurring "There was a time when...." justification is not valid.

    There was also a time when people defended themselves with rocks & clubs.
    Doesn't make those the best selections for 2015. :)

    Denis
     
  16. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    As above, if you need more than 11 shots or so, your troubles are just beginning.

    I would go with something with a detachable magazine rather than a tube or gate fed weapon.

    I needed to make an AK NYS compliant here in New York. I Dremeled off the bayonet holder, figuring if I need one on a comparatively short AK, I am truly ...... anyway.

    Correction- 7 rounds.

    For the price listed, you could sure as heck put vanity aside along with any John Wayne scenarios, and purchase an AR or AK.
     
  17. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    Not sure I'd want to own a gun called "the big boy."
     
  18. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    it would work I guess, especially with a 44 special, and a lever gun is just loads of fun to shoot. Miles of smiles.

    But on the whole HD front, I've yet to see the house or room that I felt a rifle was really the best thing to use in. I mean, I'd pick one for sure if I had circled the wagons and the indians were circling on horseback, but at 20 feet, nope nope nope.
     
  19. Panfisher

    Panfisher Member

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    While it might not be the most up to date choice, I would hate to be a bad guy facing the business end of a .44 lever gun. It will do its part if you do yours. Practice loading without looking so that it is a natural thing.
     
  20. TheVision

    TheVision Member

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    The Henry lacks a loading gate. It isn't anything like loading a shotgun; you load the tube from the muzzle end.
     
  21. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Keep in mind that I am *sigh* in California now. Detachable magazines are limited to 10 rounds and rifles like the AR and AK must have a bullet button to be legal. A .44 mag lever gun holds 10 rounds, so do all legal ARs and AKs. A loading gate on the front of a tube mag would be a slow, awkward reload under stress, but finding the right spot on a bullet button with shaking hands would also likely be awkward. It might be close to a wash in this state.
     
  22. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    sounds like you need 2 or 3 guns like the dragoons of the civil war. Back in the good old days when reloading was for sissies.
     
  23. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Heh. When the levergun runs dry, pull the revolver. If that runs dry, pull another revolver.
     
  24. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    I wouldn't pick it first, but I wouldn't throw it aside in place of some sharp rocks, either.

    Put a light on it, and also see if you can load from the port like a shotgun... If you can, put a cartridge holder somewhere on it.
     
  25. justin22885

    justin22885 member

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    aah, i see, thought these were like the 1866 henry.. guess not, in that case, forget the big boy, get an R92 instead
     
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