Henry Octagon Frontier Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle
Henry Octagon Frontier Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle
The Henry® Octagon Frontier Lever-Action Rimfire Rifle is designed after the guns that won the West in the late 1800s, which were so effective and ahead of their time that they remain in use today. The octagon barrel adds weight for steady shooting, and helps dissipate heat much like modern day bull barrel target rifles. The barrel and machined steel receiver are deep blued for an outstanding finish that also resists corrosion. The straight-grip walnut stock and fore-end conform to 1800s styling, and provides a superior hold. A metal barrel band secures the barrel and the high-capacity tubular magazine to the walnut fore-end. The authentic Marbles fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight has a reversible white diamond insert, and the dovetailed front sight has a brass bead. The receiver is grooved for 3/8″ scope rings. The Henry Octagon Frontier Lever-Action is an incredibly accurate rimfire rifle that handles well and shoots fast.
- Designed after the guns of the late 1800s
- Deeply blued octagon barrel and receiver
- High-capacity tubular magazine
- Walnut stock and fore-end
- Machined steel receiver
- Semi-buckhorn rear sight
- Brass bead front sight
- 3/8″ grooved receiver
Review: Henry Octagon Frontier
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
Some things were just meant to be enjoyed for purely for the experience they bring. Like smoking a fine cigar versus an electric cigarette. One you savor; the other gets you your fix. Don’t get me wrong, automation has its place. Back when I lived on the outskirts of Beantown and wanted a cannoli from Mike’s, I’d get on the T rather than brave the hellish nightmare that is Boston traffic. On the other hand, do you know anyone who hope into their TVR Speed and cruises to the range to shoot their HiPoint? The HiPoint, like a Honda Civic, has it’s place. When you need something that is reliable, easy-to-operate, and utilitarian — you pick something that meets the need. The Henry Octagon Frontier, like a Harley Knucklehead isn’t simply a means to an end. It’s an experience in itself — thankfully without the TVR price tag . . .
You might be thinking,”OK, but I love my AR clone in .22LR. What does the Henry offer that my M&P 15-22 doesn’t?” In a zombie-squirrel apocalypse situation…not much. The Henry isn’t a high speed, low drag aluminum sciuridae slayer. Nor does it try to be.
What the Frontier is, though, is a nostalgic lever-gun that allows the shooter to control nearly every aspect of the shooting process. If your idea of a good time is trying to beat Miculek’s revolver fire rate, the Henry probably isn’t the long gun for you. However, if you like to take your time and really enjoy the shooting experience, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable fix. Henry Octagon Frontier Rifle
The Henry can hold 16 rounds of 22LR and 22 rounds of the short stuff. So despite not being a down-powered “assault weapon”, she still holds a nice compliment of ammo. While the lack of a side loading gate might annoy some, at least that tube mag has some deep reserves.
If you’ve never tried firing a lever-action rifle under pressure, you’re in for a real treat. And a rude awakening. Eviscerating your tree-dwelling (or non-ferrous metal) targets is more than just a sights, breathe, trigger, rinse, repeat experience. The real challenge is developing the rhythm of smoothly operating the lever with the gun shouldered while shifting your sights to the next unsuspecting Campbell’s can.
If you’re a lever noob, it may take you some time to get into the groove of finding the perfect throw distance when trying to rapidly launch lead. However, since you can’t just pull the trigger again and again, that tried and true lever action tends to teach you to make each shot count.
If you’ve had the pleasure of shooting Henry’s Goldenboy, the Frontier is the same song and dance internally with a different finish and the addition of that heavy octagon barrel. The Henry’s internal simplicity gives the action a grit-free feel without the need to have a smith smooth out the action. The rifle exudes a feeling of quality that’s disproportionate to its cost.
Clearly the old gal has expensive tastes. Aguila SSS 60gr fared just a hair better than RWS’s Target Rifle offering. I guess you can skip the 500-round Thunderbolt packs at Wally-World. If you can even find them, that is. Not to say the lever-action lady won’t function 100% with them, ’cause she will. Just don’t expect to keep ’em all in the black much past 15 yards. Henry Octagon Frontier Rifle
Taking down the Octagon Frontier for cleaning is fairly simple, but requires a few special tools that a novice shooter might not have on hand, namely hollow-ground or gunsmith screwdrivers. It’s possible to use a regular flat head screwdriver, but be careful — they can easily mar the finish of the firearm. An easy workaround for this is to wrap painters tape around a regular flat head screwdriver. This is the method depicted in the photos below.
This is as far as you should disassemble the gun for regular cleaning. For a semi-annual deep cleaning a bench block and a set of punches is needed to remove the pins that hold the hammer, lever, and bolt-carrier in place.
The Henry is one of those guns that makes a grin sneak across your lips when you least expect it. You’ll get wrapped up in keeping that brass bead in focus, waiting for it to mark some unsuspecting tin can or spent shotgun casing, nailing the target before working the lever and repeating it all over again. Then something strange will happen — you’ll realize you’re having fun. A ton of it. Good clean fun that you can share with your kids, but without feeling like you’re shooting a kid’s gun. Henry Octagon Frontier Rifle
The Henry Octagon Frontier offers shooters a chance to unleash their inner John Wayne without breaking the bank or suspending disbelief. It’s a rimfire blaster whose fit, finish, and heft may make you check for a squib when it goes off, since you’ll be expecting the bark of a .45 long Colt rather than the spit of a .22. Truly, the Henry is a solid performer that puts offerings from Rossi to shame and should make Browning’s accountants very nervous.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * ½
The Henry is about 98% reliable when taking human error into account. Meaning that if you rack the lever ultra slow or fast (meaning as slow/fast as you possibly can) sometimes the round will jam itself between the elevator and the top of the chamber. Use a finger to point the round in the right direction to put the gun back in the fight.
Ergonomics * * * * ½
The Henry balances very well and points even better. I took off half a star for the forward loading magazine tube and the small lever loop. Although a big-loop upgrade is available on Henry’s site for an additional $50 which makes operating the lever more comfortable and much easier with gloved hands.
Customize This * * *
I don’t think Troy or CMMG makes rails for the Henry (yet?). Peep sights and leather loop guards are available for the Henry. They even offer engraved side plates for the lever-gun if you’re so inclined.
Overall * * * * *
I’m not advocating that everyone go out and sell their AR and buy a lever-gun from Henry (although I’m sure Henry would appreciate it). But if you’re looking to buy an accurate, reliable, handsome, American-made rifle for the same price as a Brazilian manufactured competitor without the spotty QA track-record, you’ll want to bookmark Henry’s site.
By ALEX LUFFO FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night groggily watching infomercials, you’ve no doubt seen Henry’s “Made in America or not at all” commercial. I’ve probably seen it around 200 times by now, which speaks more to my insomnia than the ad’s prevalence. The tasseled jacket, 10-gallon hat, deer-skin gloves — they bombard you with nostalgic imagery of the Old West. Say what you will, but Henry’s ads work.
While the Henry Frontier Octagon isn’t a replica of any particular lever rifle, it manages to evoke feelings as if you were watching a good Western. Henry Octagon Frontier Rifle
One aspect that distinguishes the Henry from the competition, is its 20 inch, blued heavy octagonal barrel. Not only does this help to give the advantages of a bull barrel, it also gives the rifle its identity and a way to stand out among the crowd. The wooden furniture is made from a nice piece of American walnut with a satin finish. Not too flashy, but not too plain either. Capacity is 24 rounds of .22 short, and 16 rounds of .22 LR. The receiver cover is an aluminum alloy with a baked on black finish. It’s plain, but it does its job while looking nice and saves on both weight and cost.
Unlike many bull barreled rifles, the Octagon Frontier is topped with iron sights. Specifically a Marbles semi-buckhorn rear sight, and a brass bead front sight. For a little extra class, there is a white diamond insert in the buckhorn rear sight. While it looks great, and is historically correct for old fashioned rifles, they can be a bit tough for those without perfect vision. If you don’t have perfect eyesight, or prefer to use optics regardless, the top of the receiver cover is grooved for mounting optics. Hi Viz also sells a fiber optic front sight, while Williams and Skinner Sights produce aperture sights for the rifle.
Three things will stand out against most of the magazine fed .22 LR rifles these days: one of them is great, the other isn’t, and one should appeal to traditionalists.
The great is the rifle’s action. Like ice sliding across a greased up piece of glass. It’s incredibly smooth and easy to work, feeling nicer than vintage Marlin 39’s.
The not–so–great is the tube loader. For .22-caliber rifles, tube loading is cumbersome and slow. If you’re wondering why there isn’t a loading gate it’s because Marlin discovered in the late 1800’s that a loading gate on a .22 rifle would often rip the bullets out of the casings. However, the original 1860 Henry Rifle was a tube loader, so I suppose they are following in those footsteps. Henry Octagon Frontier Rifle
The aspect to be lauded by traditionalists is the lack of a manual button or sliding tang safety. Somehow the owners of Henry convinced their lawyers that the only safety a lever rifle needs is a person with common sense, an empty chamber and a half-cock notch. It’s a welcome change from most modern guns that include a myriad of features — often considered unnecessary — in the name of safety.
On the range, the Octagon Frontier might turn a few heads thanks to its styling when compared to most other .22 caliber rifles. It truly gives off the appearance of a classic, vintage piece compared to most small bore rifles today, but looks don’t mean anything if the rifle can’t shoot.
The Frontier Octagon shoots great, if you can master the sights. As I mentioned earlier, the traditional buckhorn sights are a little tough to use. It will take a bit of concentration to line up the notch, diamond, and the front sight to put your rounds on target. With Federal Auto-Match I was able to achieve 1-inch groups at 25 yards. Not bad considering how fine the sights are. Rock Island Armory plated hollow points didn’t perform quite as well, grouping 1.5 inches at 25 yards. Not bad considering the sights being used. The trigger, although a little heavy, has a fairly crisp break, much better than most lever rifle triggers I have tried.
Firing off one round after another, ringing steel over and over again is the raison d’etre of this rifle in my opinion. There is something so fun just working that action and it gives a greater enjoyment than a semi-auto or bolt action.
As Guns.com mentioned in the Henry Big Boy Rifle review, you’ll shoot way too much ammo because you’ll have way too much fun to care. The Octagon Frontier is no different. You’ll quickly forget how many rounds you’re sending down range as you lose yourself in the moment ringing steel or destroying tin cans over and over again.
For veteran shooters, this rifle is a great alternative to the often expensive vintage rimfire lever rifles made by Winchester and Marlin.
For those who love Westerns, this rifle transports you to the dusty trails and cattle towns of your favorite movie or tv show. You’ll feel like you’re standing alongside men like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Tom Mix, Gene Autry and Chuck Connors. Yes this rifle is just that fun. Lucas McCain would be proud.