I am new to lever action rimfire rifles, having grown up with auto-loading .22 rifles like the Mossberg 702 and the Ruger 10/22. However, I was eager to review my Henry Golden Boy Silver the moment I picked it up at my local dealer, both as a firearm and from a perspective of someone completely new to the platform.
There are quite a few lever-action .22 caliber rifles out there, but the Henry Golden Boy has become prolific with fun. Its latest variation, the Silver, is at its heart the same rifle.
With an MSRP of $600, the Golden Boy Silver is on the higher end when it comes to price, but there is nothing cheap about the rifle.
The 20-inch octagonal barrel is well blued and fitted with traditional iron sights—a Marbles semi-buckhorn rear sight and a brass beaded front post. The alloy receiver is smooth and nickel plated, contrasting with the blued steel bolt, hammer, and lever. The crescent butt plate and barrel band are also nickel plated and compliment the American walnut stock very well. The Silver is available in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, and .17 HMR.
The Golden Boy Silver is definitely not a youth-oriented rifle, given its generous 13 ¾-inch length of pull and hefty 6 ¾-pound weight.
Immediately, I was taken aback about how the rifle loaded; one round at a time via a tube under the barrel that is loaded from a port in the front. Though not as fast as quickly swapping a magazine, it was faster to get into action than I thought, The Golden Boy Silver .22 LR version of the Silver holds 16 rounds of .22 LR or 23 rounds of .22 Short.
Shooting the Golden Boy Silver was pleasant, despite the humid, central Texas heat. Certainly, it has been somewhat of a test to the rust-resistance of the old-school nickel plating used on the rifle. As for actual shooting, the sights are more than capable for small game at 25 yards. Stretching things offhand at 50 yards, I was able to get a maximum accuracy of three inches with the various Long Rifle cartridges I had with me.
|CCI||.22 Short 29-grain HP||992 fps||3.0 in.|
|CCI||.22 LR Velocitor 40-grain HP||1338 fps||1.3 in.|
|Federal||.22 LR HV Match 40-grain LRN||1209 fps||1.9 in.|
|Federal||.22 LR Target 40-grain LRN||1012-fps||1.3 in.|
* 25-yard Groups
At 100 yards, however, the thick front post—while easy to see—started to cover more of my target, a half-sized steel torso silhouette. Off the bench, I managed to achieve six-inch groupings at 100 yards on another outing. Plenty of accuracy for varmint and small game hunting.
The famously smooth Henry lever action had a short and smooth throw and the gun could be worked and fired with haste. After some 300 rounds downrange, the only failures I had were due to overloading the magazine with more rounds than intended, which caused the last round on the carrier to nose into the action. More careful loading eliminated the feed problem. As for handling, the rifle balanced well when carried but it felt a little slippery when shouldering because of the slick butt plate, but once shouldered it stayed there.
At the end of the day, I am fairly convinced the lever action still holds its own against modern semi-automatic .22 rifles. With a healthy capacity and its ability to power past grime—thanks to the fact that it is manually operated—it gets the nod. It digested ammunition of various types from the anemic, but quiet, .22 Short to hypervelocity CCI Velocitor rounds that could put a hurt on varmints. The Golden Boy Silver does all that while also managing to quite literally shine.
Have you shot the Henry Golden Boy Silver? Do you prefer lever actions or semi-automatic .22s? Share you answers in the comment section.
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