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What's the reason for the Henry lever rifle loading from the front of the tube?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by CavalierLeif, Sep 2, 2017.

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  1. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    I also thought we were discussing the original Henry rifle, not the current Henry rifles.

    The major reason why .22 rifles don't load through a loading gate in the receiver is two reasons.

    1. The cartridges are so small that it's very difficult to load them through a gate without fumbling them or damaging them. They're hard enough to hold onto when loading through a front loading tube or even a box magazine.

    2. The major reason is because you're dealing with a .22 RIM FIRE cartridge.
    The brass rim is thin and soft, get it pinched or hit while loading and they go off in your hand.
    Notice how most .22 owner's manuals warn about prying around a .22 rim fire while trying to clear a stoppage?
     
  2. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I don't think anyone was questioning why a 22 long rifle uses a tube loading system. The question is why does the current Henry big boy, 30/30, and 45-70 use that system.

    I can't come up with a reasonable answer for that except that 5% of people prefer it, 10% don't mind it, 10% live with it despite it's stupidity, and the rest buy something different.

    And I would much prefer the loading system on the original Henry rifle which is in no way similar to the current production Henry rifle. The original Henry had a spring loaded plunger that you pulled up and rotated off the end of the tube, there was no rod that you had to pull out.
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Marlin 1891 was a gate loading .22. I have not shot one, but the gate does not look like the Winchester/King's design. They soon dropped it in favor of the slip tube loading 1892.
    The Colt Lightning .22 was a rear loader but not a gate loader; the back end of the magazine rocked out to the side, exposing the end of the tube.

    One thing against the slip tube loading .22s, the "modern" guns with lifters and guides made out of stampings were subject to wear and misalignment that the "classic" rifles with milled parts outlasted.
     
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  4. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    I think at this point it "just the way we've always done it"... I know many people who want a Marlin but can't get them, and won't by a Henry. I know I wont touch a Henry, and guess why? That front tube just ruins it. I think its kinda a trade mark. Not legally, but its a recognizable feature, and really is easier to use, especially unloading and clearing jams, but I think most just don't like it.
     
  5. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    In my opinion, HRA is a company built on copying other guns, not designing them. When they started their business they did it by resurrecting a lever action .22 that Ithaca used to import from West Germany. When that turned into a success and they came out with their Big Boy, it immediately reminded me of a fat, highly simplified, Marlin 1894 with a front loading tube mag. Not too close to the Marlin to be obvious, but you could tell they had a Marlin in mind when they were roughing it out. Then, when they came out with their "Large Rifle" and lever action shotguns, that clinched it. Now it seemed like they really were unabashedly copying Marlin. The "Large Rifle" is very, very similar to a Marlin 336, with out the loading gate. Look at the bolt, extractor, the receiver, the location of screws in the receiver. All way too similar. The US AR-7 survival rifle is a copy of an earlier gun. The so-called "Original" Henry Rifle," of course is a copy. So, back to why did HRA use a front loading tube, I'm guessing they did it to keep it simple, cheap and not look too much like a Marlin..... Just my opinion mind you but look at it then decide for yourself...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
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  6. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Um.....I have not noticed too many starving HRA employees with "will work for food" signs by the highway.

    Whether the sort of folks that that like to complain on gun boards like HRA center fires or not, they seem to sell well.

    Some lever collectors may correct me if I am wrong, but I believe some early Marlins had a sliding cover over a feeding port that allowed single feeding and some guns maybe Kennedy or Evans I don't remember just had an open hole in the side of the receiver. Honestly I would like a sliding cover better than a King's gate,.....but no one makes them.

    Some of the European bolt action tube feeders like the 71/84 Mauser loaded through the action and so could be single loaded by leaving the bolt back to do so to "Top off".

    I am amazed that to my knowledge no one had had a center fire tube fed rifle feed from the bottom like say a 870 shotgun.

    While I like the idea of being able to shoot one then load one, I would bet the Henry could be fully loaded from empty faster and over say four full reloads be a lot faster then a King's gate equipped rifle.

    Now I know that some folks worry about being around the muzzle end of a rifle like the HRA Henrys and I understand it.I got to think a guy loading a Henry is likely to only be a danger to himself though. On more than one occasion I have been muzzle swept by someone struggling with a Factory Original Equipment sprung King Loader.

    If you don't want a HRA Henry, don't buy one. Don't get your knickers twisted over other folk's choices either.

    BTW I understand Impasaro Sr. had a hand in actually designing the original Erma .22 Lever action and owned the biggest chunk of Ithica when it was imported as an Ithica. So how is that copying?

    I guess there are a lot of companies that make a living copying a gun or parts of a gun originally made by a tiny shop in Cosa Mesa called Armalite. Lets be sure to slam them, too.

    -kBob
     
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  7. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    In the quoted post you responded to, I dont think he was talking about the old original 1860 Henry made by the New Haven Arms Company, but the new company and their modern wares.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    They are out there. The Bullard lever action was a bottom loader, but they are uncommon and all I have seen is pictures. The Remington PUMP rifles with fluted tubes to offset spitzer bullets from primers were, too.
     
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Bingo!

    I always assumed that it was a cost-cutting measure. One of many their guns are riddled with. In practice, I don't think it's sacrilege but it sure makes that magazine tube a lot larger in diameter than it needs to be. I just got a lovely Winchester 1894 .38-55 and Henry could take a lot of design cues from it. Long, lean, very svelte barrel and magazine tube, along with the streamlined action makes its 24" significantly lighter and more elegant than anything Henry has ever produced.
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Problem is, the current svelte Model 94s are coming in from Japan at high prices. A nice American 94 like yours is not cheap, either.

    SASS went through some controversy over the present Henry. I don't know how it shook out and whether they are allowed in CAS or not.
    ETA: I looked it up. The Big Boy is allowed in CAS except for Classic Cowboy category. Classic Cowboy requires an 1873 or earlier design.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  11. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Judging from the price of centerfire Henry rifles like the Big Boy, I would say the .22 style magazine is not a "cost savings" feature, but is a "extra profit" feature to the company.
     
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  12. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    Well, for some to suggest others keep their knickers out of a bind, someone else's surely is... For all of the rambling on about bolt action mausers, sweeping muzzles and whether HRA employees will go hungry, you still didn't really address the issue of whether HRA copies Marlin and everything else or not. HRA has had deceptive advertising that claimed an actual connection with Tyler Henry and the original Henry rifle for years until recently they were called out enough on it that they backed off a bit. Heck Impasaro Jr. gets annoyed at dealer shows if you call his copy of Tyler Henry's actual Henry rifle a copy or a clone and insists on it being called "The Original Henry". What gall... So, HRA's credibility being what it is, the claim that Impasaro's Father "had a hand" in designing the Ithica/Henry H001 .22 I find a bit dubious. If it were true he surely would have pointed it out in his advertising over the years.

    Oh BTW, when companies try and deceive buyers into thinking that they are getting is the real thing or are taking credit for something that they didn't do I will point it out. Since you mentioned Armalite, well that is just another old company name revived by Mark Westrom, in 1996. The real Armalite went out of business in the early 80's. Inland, the company cloning M1 carbines, well that is just a name too. The real Inland was a division of General Motors.
     
  13. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Bushy,

    The reason I mentioned Cosa Mesa is that is where the original Armalite, that got bought up by Hiller Aircraft and then sold the rights to make the AR15 to Colt, was at. They started by taking K98 actions and building very light hunting rifles before they got into space age design stuff. I like their shotguns though they were so very, very light for 12 gauge guns they sort of frightened me as well.

    My AR-180 is a Sterling so I guess it is "just a copy" of a Armalite AR-180, or maybe just a copy of a Howa AR-180.

    Heavens forfend if anyone should own one of the Japanese copies of classic Winchester designs!

    When did Erma start making their lever actions? Not like the 1800's, more like 1965 or so IIRC. I loved their little M-1 Carbine looking gun BTW.

    Erma no longer exists.

    BTW Charter Arms also made the AR7 for a while (most folks try to avoid Charter made AR7s). HRA has made some improvements to the design.

    I always looked at HRAs claims as an artifact of being from "The City". Ya gotta have the patter down to make the money!

    -kBob
     
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  14. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I hear ya Bob

    And I like them, they are good guns. I guess it's just with them everybody usually understand what the deal is with them and what they are getting.

    I gotta admit Bob the whole Henry thing has just always annoyed me. It pushes my buttons... Yeah, I know Erma does't exist and charter arms made the AR7 but when Henry does it annoys me more. I guess I should just be glad some these rifle are still available in one form or another to buy.

    Have a good holiday Bob...
     
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  15. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    Mr. Imperato of Henry is a very nice man. I do not like most of the Henry rifles (except the iron 1866 if and when it is available in .45 Colt) - too much bling for me. I think he offers lots of options and excellent customer service for those (I assume lots of Henry followers) who favor that rifle design. In the end of opinions, some will like tube loading and some the gate, I am a gate guy but only because of personal preference - I would guess that both designs have their good and bad points.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    My new 1894 is from the late 1970's, not exactly the pinnacle of Winchester perfection but certainly a few steps above a modern Henry. Still, affordable examples exist everywhere used guns are sold. IMHO, Henry took the route of least resistance and produces very unrefined leverguns that are the least expensive to produce. They're copying Marlin so I assume it would be just as easy to copy Winchester. Hell, Uberti is doing it.


    Except it's not a "Japanese copy". It's a real, actual Winchester.
     
  17. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    The tube doesn't really bother me. For me the two main issues are that I'm not a big fan of the looks (subjective) and I've heard the Big Boys can have problems running fast.
     
  18. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "... the large loop..." Is Hollywood. Isn't exactly practical. Looks great of you're Marion Morrison on top of a stage coach though. As mentioned, Henry's pre-date any Winchester by several years. The current makers want to sell 'em to the CAS types.
    "..."Meteor Balls"..." Caseless ammo in the 19th Century. Seems to me that was tried with Minnie balls too.
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Look closely at an 1860. The barrel and magazine are all one piece except for the swiveling front end that traps the spring and follower for loading. That isn't cheap. The HRA is about $2000, the Uberti nearly $1500. 1866 Uberti is not quite $1200 list price, so there is $300 for the barrel/magazine machining.
     
  20. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Re the Henry Repeating Arms Company:
    All peripheral inconsequentials aside, the guns are quality & you get good value & performance out of 'em.
    That should be the main thing to focus on.

    You like what they do, buy one.
    You don't like what they do, don't buy one.

    I don't avoid buying a Chebby today because they copied Henry Ford's idea of a car with a steering wheel on it instead of a tiller.

    And on the front vs side loading, I'll have to be as vague as possible in MAYBE appearing to HINT in a very obscure way that there COULD be a REMOTE chance of SOMETHING that MIGHT be changing in the opposite of the distant past. :)

    But- don't quote me on that, I'll deny it.
    Denis
     
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  21. Saleen322

    Saleen322 Member

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    The Henry is well made and a quality rifle. The loading system is very reliable and the quality is very good. The tube loading is rugged and you will never see a Henry with a loading gate failure. If a part is not needed, don't put it on. As was said if you like what Henry does and you want a well made, attractive, quality rifle the Henry fits the bill. Something is working as Henry is making so many rifles that some of its new releases were 5-6 months behind schedule because they could not stop production to change the line. Henry instead bought more machinery to increase production to meet demand and get the new rifles into production. YMMV
     
  22. Deog

    Deog Member

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    Large loop is for wearing gloves in colder weather.
     
  23. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    I prefer the tube. Faster unloading, no shaved brass or fingers. I'm not much of a traditionalist. I would like a box magazine fed lever gun that takes cheap surplus M-16 or M-14 mags.
     
  24. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Elkins.

    Given how badly bitten Remington got on the m-16 mag pump patrol rifles, don't hold your breath.

    -kBob
     
  25. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    Nothing safer then sticking your hand at the muzzle end of a gun.
     
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