Range Reports

Range Report: Henry Single Shot .308 Winchester

Henry Single Shot rifle action

From lever-action rifles to High Wall single shots, I enjoy hunting with vintage rifles. I don’t need many cartridges to take game, and I have long practiced the art of making every shot count. When you hunt with a single-shot rifle, you don’t have anything to spare.

On the other hand, I have not needed a second shot when hunting with a bolt gun or self-loader. However, I have occasionally taken a finishing shot after dropping an animal. I have ideas concerning defensive firearms that are rock solid grounded in logic. For hunting, in your personal conditions and range, whatever works for you is just fine.

Henry Single Shot rifle, left profile
The Henry Single Shot is a first-class option!

Break-Action Performance

I like the .308 (AR, bolt gun, and lever action), and I favor the light fast-handling single-shot Henry rifle. Nostalgia plays a role. The first game I took was taken with a single-shot .22. Breaking open an action and carefully loading cartridges one at a time is excellent training for young shooters.

The action is easy to break open and make safe when climbing, hiking, or climbing into a deer stand. I could go on. Many have a perfectly safe routines with other rifles. I simply like the single shot’s easy handling in most situations.

Some single-shot rifles available are pretty pricey. Ruger Number 1 rifles, the Winchester High Wall, and even some of the Ubertis are out of the reach of many hunters. Henry’s rifle is well made of good material — like all Henry rifles. The Henry Repeating Arms break-open single-shot rifle is currently listed at just under $475 at Cheaper Than Dirt! That is a fair price, even a bargain.

This isn’t a budget gun. It is a very nice rifle with good production values, resulting in a fair price. The Single Shot is a rifle intended for the shooter who understands the limiting factors of a single shot and who appreciates the plus and minus aspects of a hammer-fired single-shot rifle.

A lightweight rifle with a slim outline is a desirable rifle, as there is no bolt or magazine to snag. Simply manipulate the wing lever, and break the action open. Load a cartridge. Close the action.

Bob Campbell holding the Henry Single Shot rifle with the action open
The rifle is easily broken open and made safe.

To fire the rifle, cock the hammer and press the trigger to fire. If you intend to mount an optic, a hammer extension easily allows racking the slide.

The rifle is offered in two variants. My rifle (.308 Winchester) is the blue steel and walnut version. I repeat those words because I love the sound. It is the key harmonic of the gun universe — blue steel and walnut. The other is a brass frame.

I have handled the brass frame rifle in .45-70. My rifle is chambered in my favorite hunting caliber, .308 Winchester. The Single Shot is available in a wide variety of calibers. .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .30-30 WCF, .308 Winchester, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 350 Legend, .45-70, and 450 Bushmaster.

Henry Single Shot rifle (top), CZ Alpha (bottom)
A single-shot rifle is compact powerful and reliable. Compared to even the compact CZ Alpha, the single shot is a nice package.

The rifle’s fit and finish are excellent, with a nice metal polish and finish and superior wood fitting. The rifle’s build quality is exceptional. Notably, the opening lever is equally useful for left- or right-hand operation.

The hammer is a rebounding design, making the rifle safe for carry in the field with the chamber loaded. The rifle doesn’t cock on opening. Rather, the hammer is cocked manually. Overall, the Henry Single Shot is a credible rifle well worth its modest price.  

Range Testing the Henry Single Shot

I initially fired the rifle with iron sights, beginning with Federal American Eagle FMJ loads — an affordable and clean burning load. The supplied sights, including a brass bead front sight, are superior to the sights usually found on lever-action rifles. I would feel comfortable aiming for the sure kill zone of a deer-sized animal to perhaps 100 yards, at least in controlled conditions.

breech view of the Henry Single Shot rifle
It is easy to quickly affirm the rifle isn’t loaded.

The rifle doesn’t recoil much due to a good stock design and generous recoil pad. For further evaluation, I mounted a TruGlo Intercept optic. Henry offers a mount for optics. The Single Shot is pre-drilled.

As far as quality goes today, a scope costing $200 delivers better performance than an optic at twice the cost a generation ago — and higher-end optics are amazing. Sure, I like to play with high magnification expensive glass. But my rifles are not 1,000-yard guns, and the Intercept delivers a lot of value.

This is the third test rifle the scope has ridden. I really like finding a scope that fits my needs exactly, but which is affordable. That is the Intercept. I chose the 4–12x44mm version. This rifle and scope combination is useful well past the usual range of a typical 3–9×40 rifle scope.

The tube is a one-inch model. The scope is just short of 14 inches long. The average weight is 19 ounces. There are four models with a duplex or MOA reticle. My illuminated reticle scope is a joy to use.

Windage and elevation adjustments give the shooter ¼ MOA at 100 yards. I like the Intercept reticle’s fine center and well-defined stadia lines. The reticle doesn’t subtend the target — even with a small aiming point. This is important to me and even more important for varmint shooters.

Hammer extension on a scope mounted Henry Single Shot rifle
A handy hammer extension allows easing cocking.

While the scope is affordable, the illuminated reticle offers 11 brightness settings. The adjustment rings are large and easily manipulated. Even gloved-hand use is a breeze. After the scope was mounted and the rifle as sighted in at 25, 50, and finally 100 yards.

An affordable and accurate loading is Federal’s ‘Non-Typical’ 150-grain loading. I zeroed this 150-grain JSP for a 1.5-inch-high impact at 100 yards. This gave me a bit of range past 100 yards without hold over. This load stayed within two inches for a 3-shot group (about the limit of the Single Shot Rifle).

I also fired a few of my handloads using the 168-grain Hornady bullet. Firing accuracy and extraction were good. I think the Henry’s well-polished chamber is responsible in part for the easy extraction of each bottlenecked cartridge.

Remington Premier Long Range and Federal Non-Typical .308 Win. ammunition
The rifle proved accurate enough for hunting to 200 yards with quality ammunition.

I fired a couple of groups with Hornady American Hunter loads with good results. The final loads tested were a contrast. Remington loads a long-range cartridge using the 172-grain Speer bullet at 2,635 fps. This is a heavy loading for big game at longer range.

Recoil wasn’t punishing but it was special. Accuracy was the best of the test by a slight margin with a 1.6-inch group for three shots. The final load tested was Hornady’s Custom Lite using a 125-grain SST. By loading a lighter bullet to 150-grain velocity, recoil was noticeably less yet the load demonstrates good potential for deer-sized game. Recoil was less than expected.

Specifications

  • Henry Repeating Arms Single Shot Rifle H015-308
  • Break-action, single-shot rifle
  • .308 Winchester, accepts 7.62x51mm NATO
  • 22-inch round barrel
  • Twist rate 1:10
  • Steel receiver
  • Rebounding hammer
  • Drilled and tapped for weaver 82 mount
  • Fully adjustable folding leaf rear sight
  • Brass bead front sight
  • American Walnut stock
  • Rubber recoil pad
  • Sling swivel studs
  • Blued finish
  • Length of pull – 14 inches
  • Overall length – 37.5 inches
  • Weight – 6.94 pounds
  • Made in the USA

Conclusion

A break-open single-shot rifle with this loading would make a fine load for youngsters or the recoil shy. I find the Henry Single Shot rifle a good option for hunters and anyone appreciating the challenges of the hunt. This is a fine rifle for the beginner and experienced shooter alike.

Did you start with a single-shot rifle or shotgun? Do you still shoot a single-shot such as a Ruger Number 1 or Henry Single Shot rifle? Share your answers in the Comment section.

  • Hornady CustomLite Reduced Recoil ammunition box
  • Hammer extension on a scope mounted Henry Single Shot rifle
  • American Walnut rifle stock
  • Bob campbell shooting the Henry Single Shot rifle
  • TruGlo Intercept riflescope
  • checkering on the forend of a Henry Single Shot rifle
  • Henry Single Shot rifle, left profile
  • Henry Single Shot rifle action
  • Remington Premier Long Range and Federal Non-Typical .308 Win. ammunition
  • Bob Campbell holding the Henry Single Shot rifle with the action open
  • breech view of the Henry Single Shot rifle
  • Picatinny rail mount with a rifle scope mounted
  • Bob campbell shooting the Henry Single Shot rifle with a TruGlo Intercept riflescope
  • Henry Single Shot rifle (top), CZ Alpha (bottom)
  • Henry Single Shot rifle, right profile

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. Having 5 different calibre for Deer season. It seems that my Rossi single shot rifle .in 243 is the go to choice. It has and old gibson scope. 4×25
    $175 new @7 years ago.
    It’s a winner at 150 yards. Thanks for reading. JS

  2. I started with an old (1930’s) bolt action Remington.22. It had a tube feed, but the loader mechanism was broken and would only function as a single shot. We lived in the woods in Western Washington so plunking (safely) was a ritual. I asked my Dad about getting the repeater mechanism fixed and he said, “Since you have to buy your own ammo, it’ll teach you to conserve.” He was right, and I still have the rifle, he finally had it fixed about 40 years ago, I’m 70 now and think of him every time I look at the gun.

  3. My 1st gun was a Sears and Roebuck single-shot, bolt action .22. It was the perfect rifle for my dad to teach me on. I got it for Christmas when I was 9, but didn’t get to fire it until I was 10 as dad, a combat veteran and non- com. infantry course instructor was a stickler that I prove I knew the weapon, it’s handling, it’s care and cleaning before anything else. The rifle was great and dad was the best. Miss them both.

  4. Been shooting single shot since dad allowed me to go hunting. He made sure we didn’t get to go till we could hide the bull he set up for us. He also made sure we knew the safety rules with handling any weapons, period.
    Have Two (2) NEF single shots in .233 for varmints and 30-30 for deer hunting..

  5. yes, I started with a single shot 22, then was given a 1929 Ranger 22 semi-auto rifle (Still have it), next back to single shot Savage 22 / 410 over / under (still have that one too); I took many a squirrel- rabbits with these guns.

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