Henry 22 Magnum Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle
Henry 22 Magnum Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle
The Henry® .22 Magnum Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle reaches farther with considerably more power than a conventional .22 LR rifle, making it well suited for hunting larger species of small game and predators such as jack rabbits, racoon, and fox. The receiver of the Henry .22 Magnum (.22 WMR) has a solid top with side ejection and a 3/8″ groove for mounting a scope. There is no loading port on the side of the receiver as ammunition is loaded directly into the tubular magazine from the top. Henry utilizes an internal transfer bar safety that prevents hammer contact with the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. The rifle cannot fire from being dropped onto the hammer, nor will it accidently fire if the shooter’s thumb slips from the hammer while cocking. (There is no manual cross-bolt safety or traditional half-cock notch for a safety.) The trigger pull is crisp and clean, allowing for fine accuracy. A fully adjustable rear sight and a hooded front sight allow precise shot placement. The Henry .22 Magnum Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle is an attractive firearm, with a checkered, American walnut stock and fore-end. The barrel and receiver are matte blue. The lines of the Henry rifle are traditionally American, as well as its design and function. Made in USA.
- Chambered in .22 WMR
- Side ejection
- Adjustable open sights
- Grooved for scope mounts
- Internal transfer bar safety
- No manual cross-bolt safety
- Matte blue barrel and receiver
- Checkered American walnut stock
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
After spending some quality time with Henry’s Frontier Model long Barrel”, a fine .22-caliber lever action rifle that helped me regain a bit of my wishful childhood, I was left wanting little more from a lever action rimfire target and small game shooter. Then I opened the Small Game Carbine. . .
The . 22 Magnum Henry Repeating Arms Small Game Carbine (above, bottom) is quite literally the cooler, tougher brother of the sleek-sister Frontier Model Long Barrel 24″ (above, top), and for good reason.
The two rimfire rifles were cut from the same Frontier Model cloth, but with a shorter barrel, larger lever loop, Skinner sight, and more powerful caliber (though it’s also available in .22 LR), the Small Game Carbine is a serious step-up for small game hunters. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
At first glance, the most obvious change is the length of the 16.25-inch blued steel octagon barrel. What the shorter barrel gives up in the way of sight radius it rightfully earns back with quicker swing and more compact profile. The reduced length is also the primary cause of its 5.75-pound weight, a 1.75-pound reduction from the 24″ LR Frontier model.
Like its sibling, the Small Game Carbine sports a nice flat crown and 45-degree chamfer that is somewhat consistent across models.
Upon further inspection of the barrel, shooters will notice what is arguably the most exciting upgraded feature of the Henry Small Game Carbine rifle – a bump up to .22 Magnum (aka .22 WMR).
The large lever loop is most likely the second most noticeable feature, and the only “embellishment / extra” listed for the Small Game Carbine. In fact, only two “embellishment / extra” features are available throughout the entire Frontier Model line of rifles. “Suppressor-ready” being the other feature; found on the Frontier Model long Barrel Threaded Barrel 24” rifle.
Designed to accommodate gloved hands and make shooting bigger-bored rifles more comfortable, the large loop isn’t exactly necessary for this caliber. However, it’s a welcome addition for those planning to draw this carbine from a sheath – or anyone that prefers a little extra finger room.
Mechanically, the lever takes charge of a high-quality black-finished aluminum receiver that plays host to a “Slickest Gun in the West” action. And with a silky-smooth feel and distinct, resonating feedback, the Small Game Carbine’s action lives up to its name.
Now, this isn’t the most precisely-made rifle in the country, and on paper it’s a lower–end model, but I was impressed with how well Henry buttoned-up the Small Game Carbine rifle’s receiver. The folks making these rifles clearly take pride in their work. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
Atop the rear of the receiver sits a solid steel Skinner sight. Equipping the Small Game Carbine with this style of rear sight is ideal for small game hunting because it allows the hunter more visibility around the bead. And given critters’ propensity for perpetual, stop-and-go movements, a Skinner sight can aid with quick adjustments and follow-up shots.
Fully adjustable, the sight pivots off of the forward top screw for windage adjustment. A small set screw on the side of the sight releases the peep which, when rotated, allows for changes in elevation.
Skinner peep sights offer a range of interchangeable apertures to suit each shooter’s needs. The Small Game Carbine came with a “Standard” model screw-in aperture (0.096″)(above, left). Removing the aperture insert returns it to a wide-open “Ghost Ring” (0.200″).
A top view of the two Frontier Model rifles (above) shows the difference in rear sighting systems. The Small Game Carbine (above, bottom) has a drilled and tapped receiver, while the Long Barrel 24″ (above, top) has a dovetail cut in the barrel and accompanying set screw. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
If your preference is glass, the 3/8″ dovetail grooves paralleling the top of the receiver play impeccable host to a mounting bracket such as the BKL Technologies BKL-261 scope mount, which was used in conjunction with a Vortex Diamondback 2-7 x23 Diamondback scope for accuracy testing.
True to the Frontier Model line of rifles, the Henry lever gun features a 1/4-cock safety. It can be enabled with either a round chambered or an empty chamber by simply pulling the hammer back about 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch until it clicks. When engaged (above, right) the trigger will be unable to release the hammer.
The Small Game Carbine’s trigger appears to be the same as the Long Barrel 24-inch rifle; classic grooved curved-blade trigger sits fourteen inches from the end of the stock. It’s both comfortable and controllable. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
However, the trigger’s sequence is an improvement over that of the Long Barrel 24-inch I reviewed. The Small Game Carbine’s trigger has zero take-up, just about 1/16-inch of smooth creep, and an abrupt and crisp break at 3.2-pounds.
The Carbine’s American walnut furniture is once again above its pay grade. Very well-finished and extremely smooth to the touch, the guys at Henry put together a nice matching set of dark pieces for this rifle which display a pleasing grain.
As previously experienced, the buttstock and end plate were seemingly finished as one piece and are seamless to the touch. The end plate’s polymer composition detracts from the overall quality feel of the rifle, being as it is the only plastic part to be found.
On one unfortunate instance the rifle, up in a vertical wall rack, tipped over and contacted another rifle about a foot away. It was seemingly a light contact, but proved to be enough to put a nice ding (above) in the forestock — one that surprised me, given how well the rest of stock has held up during testing.
At the range I set up for standard accuracy testing and some good-old-fashioned plinking. I found the Caldwell Stinger to be the perfect rest for the rifle, allowing consistent, unobstructed cycling of rounds without breaking my sight picture.
Munitions consisted primarily of Armscor 40-grain jacketed hollow point, CCI 40-grain MAXI-MAG HP jacketed hollow point, CCI 40-grain MAXI-MAG total metal jacket, and Hornady 30-grain V-MAX ballistic tip rounds.
Once the spring-loaded magazine tube has been removed, simply line up the shape of the cartridge to the shape of the port and drop them in. If the round you’re attempting to load isn’t the same shape as the port, don’t load it!
Given I was practically attempting to dodge rain drops, the Henry Small Game Carbine fared well on paper. At 50 yards CCI’s 40-grain MAXI-MAG HP managed 0.78″ groups while Armscor’s 40-grain JHP measured in at just under an inch, 0.99″.
I was rooting for the Hornady V-MAX but, unfortunately, even with consistently-great 3-shot groups, I just couldn’t put tougher a respectable 5-shot group with it.
Shooting a gun on the bench is what it is; there’s a purpose. But a lever gun is mean to run free, swinging from target to target with report on arrival. And I’ll tell you, the Small Game Carbine is just as fun to shoot as most MSRs. It’s extremely maneuverable, reliable, very accurate, and has a manageable recoil that will put a smile on any shooter’s face.
The Henry Repeating Arms Small Game Carbine in .22 WMR is a fantastic lever action gun. The $125 price increase over its 24″ Long Barrel relative doesn’t quite feel right to me, but the shorter barrel, larger lever loop, Skinner rear peep sight, and .22 WMR caliber sure do feel great. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
Additionally, with a very smooth action, reliably accurate octagon barrel, and American walnut furniture, this Frontier Days lever action rifle is a classic gun to consider for your collection, cabin, or caballero accoutrement.
Henry 22 MAGNUM LOVER ACTION(.22 WMR)
- Calibers: .22 WMR
- Barrel Type: Octagon Blued Steel
- Barrel Length: 16.25″
- Rate of Twist: 1:16
- Overall Length: 33.75″
- Length of Pull: 14″
- Weight: 5.75 lbs.
- Receiver Finish: Black
- Rear Sight: Skinner Peep Sight
- Front Sight: Brass Bead
- Optics Mounts: 3/8″ Grooved Receiver
- Stock Material: American Walnut
- Buttplate/Pad: Plastic
- Safety: 1/4 Cock
- Embellishments/Extras: Large Lever Loop
Ratings (out of five stars):
Quality: * * * * *
From the American walnut stock and foregrip, Skinner rear peep sight, and large lever loop, to the “Slickest in the West” action, Henry Repeating Arms is committed to delivering a high-quality product.
Reliability: * * * * *
Henry’s Small Game Carbine cycled, fired, and ejected all 40-gran and 30-grain .22 WMR loads we tested from a variety of manufacturers.
Accuracy: * * * * *
This .22-caliber carbine’s 16.25″ blued-steel octagon barrel has no trouble touching rounds on paper. I wouldn’t hesitate to take the Small Game Carbine out on a small game hunt.
Overall: * * * * *
I don’t consider .22 WMR to be a “plinking” or target practice load. It’s a small game hunting load. Henry Repeating Arms’ lever action Small Game Carbine does the caliber justice with a host of top-notch features and a nice octagon barrel that can surely take any game within its Skinner peep sight.
Henry Rifle in 22 Magnum – Range Review
By THOMAS MIX FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
The 22 Winchester Magnum cartridge is one of my personal favorites. In short barrelled handguns, it punches above its weight for defensive use with a healthy combination of penetrating power and low-recoil. I have more 22 Magnum revolvers than I care to admit, but at the end of the day the Magnum is still a rifle cartridge. I haven’t had a ton of trigger time with 22 magnum rifles but it became an itch I had to scratch. The most common 22 Magnum rifles available today are bolt-action rifles produced by the likes of Savage, Marlin, ect. There are a few semi-autos out there and several lever-action models produced by Henry Repeating Arms. The traditionalist in me ultimately settled on the Henry Frontier 22 Magnum.
HENRY FRONTIER RIFLE
The Henry Frontier is a slightly fancier rifle compared to their base model (the H001). It uses a heavy twenty-inch blued octagonal barrel and steel Marble’s sights. The rear sight is a semi-buckhorn style with an adjustable ladder, while the front sight is a dovetailed brass-beaded post.
Otherwise, the Frontier has the same general operations and features of the basic rifle. It uses a twelve-shot tubular magazine housed under the barrel and it comes stocked in plain, oiled walnut.
The buttplate is checkered and made of hard plastic, the only other plastic piece is the front barrel band.
The receiver itself isn’t steel like the rest of the rifle’s working furniture, but an enamel finished zinc-alloy. It is topped with a grooved 3/8 inch dovetailed mount for a rimfire scope.
In terms of safety features, the Henry can be carried with the hammer in its half-cock notch and the hammer cocked when you are ready to fire that first round.
Out of the box, the Henry Frontier feels like a traditional lever-action take on a bench rifle. The rifle weighs in at only six and a half pounds, but a lot of that weight is in the octagonal barrel. This design has two primary benefits: making the rifle muzzle-heavy to improve steady off-hand shooting and to dissipate heat for tighter groups. It seems natural to pair this with the 22 Magnum cartridge, as varmint hunting isn’t always a one-shot or one-pest deal. Varmints tend to come in multiples. The Henry feels like a solid rifle and the lever action is butter smooth and fast to work. The trigger pull is very crisp, with no mushiness at all. On my scale, it breaks at about 2.5 lbs. The case seems to be made for a good shooting rifle. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
The only knock out of the box I could give the Frontier is the inclusion of a plastic barrel band. The band is not a stress-bearing part, but it looks off and a stamped steel piece would make the package look more complete. The zinc-alloy receiver is fine to hold 22 caliber pressures and it is a hold-over from the cheaper base model rifle, but I will take it given the price paid and the inclusion of better sights and the octagonal barrel.
The Frontier uses the same brass removable magazine tube that other rimfire Henries utilize. To load the rifle, twist the knurled follower at the muzzle and pull the tube from the magazine itself. With the loading port exposed, drop in your ammunition, one round at a time until the magazine is full. In the case of this 22 Magnum Frontier, the tube actually holds thirteen rounds. The loading process is slower and more cumbersome than switching out box magazines on a modern rifle, but I will take the few extra rounds the tube can hold.
The traditional sights on the Frontier are well-put together and easy to adjust for elevation on the fly.
The traditional sights on the Frontier are well-put together and easy to adjust for elevation on the fly. If you are shooting fast and close, its easy for the front post to fall into that buckhorn rear sight. But beyond 50-75 yards, the front post started to cover up small targets. If you are a close in, the iron sights are fine but the 22 Magnum cartridge truly demands an optic to realize some of the round’s full potential. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
The 3/8 inch scope rail machined into the receiver gives you options. It would be easy to install a 3/8 inch to Weaver adapter and mount a conventional centerfire optic, but that would raise the height of the scope on the rifle. So I stuck with the 3/8 inch mount and installed a BSA Sweet 22 3-9 rimfire scope and started shooting for groups.
I ran a few different types of ammunition through my chronograph and set out a few fifty-yard targets to sight in my scope. I was shooting from the bench supported by a bag. Not the most stable position in the world, but realistic for hunting and the standard I go by. I sighted the rifle in using my ammo of choice, the CCI Maxi Mag 40 grain FMJ load. Then I went on to other types of ammunition, fired in five-shot groups.
Brand Group Size Velocity
- CCI Maxi Mag 40 grain FMJ 1.2 in 1890 fps
- CCI Maxi Mag 30 grain HP+V 1.15 in 2297 fps
- Hornady V-Max 30 grain 2.8 in 2218 fps
- Federal Powershok 50 grain HP 1.2 in 1598 fps
- Winchester Super-X 40 grain HP 1.25 in 1952 fps
*velocity given as feet per second, five-shot average.
At fifty yards, the accuracy is pretty good given what I have to work with though I was disappointed by the Hornady V-Max varmint loads. The 40 and 50 grain loads hit to the point of aim, but the lighter loads hit three-inches above the aiming point.
With the scope zeroed, I spent my next few range trips working the Henry out to two hundred yards. At those distances, mistakes are amplified but the Henry itself is hard to criticize. The CCI HP+V that did so well at fifty yards printed poorly out at 100 yards. I had better luck with the heavier loads, with my 40 grain and 50-grain loads running between 2.5 and 3 inches all day. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
These groups don’t represent the mechanical accuracy of the Henry Frontier, practical accuracy was pretty good once the ammo had been toyed with. For fun, I set out a four inch steel gong at 150 yards, along with a dozen clay pigeons from the 150-yard mark out to 200. These represented small varmints in size and I was able to make quick work of them by aiming a few inches above the targets from my fifty-yard zero.
Rifles with tubular magazines have the potential to develop accuracy issues. The tube hanging below the barrel weighs most when the tube is fully loaded and lighter with every subsequent shot, potentially affecting the barrel and how the rounds print on target. To test this issue of barrel harmonics, all groups fired were a combination of firing with a loaded tube and single shots by loading one round directly into the chamber without using the tube. There was no accuracy difference I could note.
I took a chance picking the Henry Frontier as a first 22 Magnum rifle. After a few weeks and five hundred rounds downrange, I came away with little to regret except my ammo bills. Henry 22 Magnum Rifle
If you want a fun plinking gun, get the Frontier in 22 LR.
But pricewise, 22 Magnum ammo isn’t too bad and chambering it in this platform gives you options if you like to unleash your inner cowboy while picking out varmints that are too big or too out of reach to comfortably take with the ol’ 22.
That is essentially how I see the Frontier. It has style and a bit of extra punch for you to work with.
You can buy a less expensive 22 Magnum rifle. You can definitely turn in better groups from a bipod or a fortress of sandbags. But for me and the way I shoot, the Frontier isn’t all style with no substance. it shoots straight. That fashionable octagonal barrel paid dividends when it came to shooting consistent groups back to back and it certainly didn’t hurt when I was steadying the rifle for a shot. The trigger is more than competitive and I like having more rounds and an overall faster, lefty-friendly action. In terms of reliability, all the ammunition I brought along fired and cycled with authority.
All in all, if you are in the market for a rimfire varmint rifle, don’t be too swift to discount what Henry is putting out.