Firearms

Review: Henry .22 Rifle

Henry .22 Lever-Action Rifle

I have heard many shooters mention that nostalgia plays a part in their love of the lever-action rifle.

That’s fine, but I was not thinking of the old west and cowboy shooting when I purchased my first lever-action rifle many years ago.

Lever-action .30-30 rifles were standard hunting rifles. Many rural officers and state police carried lever-action rifles in the trunk.

In many cases, they were better armed than modern officers of the next generation.

As one example, a great uncle carried a Winchester .30-30 and a Browning automatic shotgun in the trunk of his vehicle.

His holster gun was a six-inch barrel .38 with Remington high-speed loads.

I feel that he was well prepared for whatever might come up. Putting down large farm animals was part of the daily course of rural work in those days.

Henry .22 Lever-Action Rifle
The Henry rifle is one attractive firearm.

I have owned a number of lever-action .22 LR rifles. They were pricey, but nice. Today, an affordable and reliable lever-action .22 is a reality.

The Henry rifle is a great rifle, pretty to look at and accurate. For anything a .22 LR rifle is useful for, the Henry is a good choice, and it isn’t dependent on high-velocity ammunition, something I like a lot.

The Henry is reliable with .22 Shorts, Longs, Long Rifle and even shotshells. You can’t do that with an automatic rifle.

Henry Lever-Action Rifle Loading Gate
This is the Henry’s loading gate.

First Impressions

When you examine the Henry rifle, the fit and finish is impressive. The walnut stock isn’t presentation grade, but it is nicely finished. When you work the action, the overall impression is of smoothness.

A lever-action rifle is operated by pressing the lever forward, not down. Since the little .22 isn’t very long, the lever throw is very short and fast. A gate-loading rimfire rifle isn’t practical.

The Henry rifle is loaded by means of a tube under the barrel similar to most lever-action rifles, but the tube was loaded by unscrewing the loading tube and dropping cartridges in one round at a time.

The brass tube isn’t exactly delicate, but don’t let it get bent! Twist the locking knob and move the tube to the point cartridges are easily loaded. 15 .22 Long Rifle cartridges may be loaded.

If you can find them, you can load 21 .22 Short cartridges in the magazine, which is a lot of fun. Shorts are expensive and sometimes in limited supply, but are a useful loading.

Game such as squirrel is easily taken with the .22 Short. After the rifle is loaded, work the lever downward to feed a cartridge into the chamber. Press forward and then bring the lever back into place.

If you are not going to fire at the moment, carefully control the hammer and press the trigger to lower the hammer, all while keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

After the hammer is lowered, bring the hammer slightly to the rear. You will hear a slight click, this is the safety notch.

Henry Lever-Action Rifle Sights
The Henry rear sights allows for good accuracy at normal hunting range.

Function and Feel

The rifle balances well. The Henry .22 is just over 36-inches long and the barrel is 18.25-inches long. This generates more velocity than many .22 carbines.

This is a nicely balanced rifle for all-day use in hunting small game. It weighs but 5.25 pounds. The sights are fixed sights with the typical buckhorn rear sight and a shrouded front post.

These sights are fine for use out to 50 yards or so at larger targets. The human eye and iron sights are a limiting factor. Most all shots at small game are at modest range.

Just casual shooting, plinking and marksmanship training seldom occur at ranges longer than 25 yards with the .22 rifle.

There is the typical 3/8-inch groove atop the receiver for mounting a rimfire scope. While I own several scoped .22 rifles, the Henry is too neat, small and handy for an optical sight.

Henry Rifle with Scope
It isn’t difficult to mount an appropriate rimfire scope on the Henry rifle.

Accuracy and Performance

I have fired this rifle a good bit and find that its accuracy potential is outstanding. I broke out several of my favorite CCI loads for accuracy and velocity testing for this report.

I also tried the new Federal Match .22 LR ammunition and this was among the most accurate .22-caliber loads I have tested. Accuracy testing was very consistent.

Most loads will put five shots into one inch at 25 yards. Here are the velocity results:

Load Velocity
CCI Quiet Load 716 fps
CCI Mini Mag Segmented Load 1233 fps
CCI Suppressor 45-Grain Subsonic 930 fps
Federal Match Small Game Hollow Point 1150 fps

Conclusion: Henry .22 Rifle

The Henry H001 is a fine all-around rifle. I like the ability to store the flat and handy rifle practically anywhere — behind a truck seat, in a closet, or under the attic stairs.

The rifle isn’t sensitive to ammunition velocity or bullet weight. It doesn’t depend on a bullet traveling at a certain velocity because it is manually operated.

The rifle offers a good mix of accuracy, reliability and more than a little pride of ownership.

Have you shot the Henry .22 Rifle yet? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (17)

  1. I own 2 Henry’s, great rifles. Grandsons love them. I wish they would offer rear peep sights from factory. Installed peeps on both from Skinner sights and youngest grandson was hitting tennis balls @ 75yds. Peeps improved the accuracy of this rifle greatly. Better for my old eyes.

  2. I have the classic .22 Henry lever action rifle. LOVE this little rifle and keep it in my truck all the time. Extremely accurate, light, and deadly.

  3. I have purchased 4 Henry’s so far. 3 lever action and 1 pump. Action is smooth on all of them. They are making lots of 22 ammo from 500fps to 1825fps. Such a versatile bullet for 1 gun to have. Very easy to learn to shoot from the hip also. Just like the rifleman.

  4. I bought each of my four grand kids (3 sons and 1 daughter) a Henry 22. It has been a pleasure teaching them shooting and firearm safety. They love the little Henry’s and I know they will hold these as keepsakes or pass them on to future generations. I feel by far this is one of the best gifts I could have given them. I can only hope that they will be able to keep them in the future..these are worrisome times for the 2nd amendment.

  5. I purchased a used-as-new Henry H001 that would not shoot to the bullseye. Unfortunately the sights were stuck in place and wouldn’t allow proper adjustment.
    Henry gladly helped me return it for inspection and repair. They replaced front and rear sights and returned it to me in a NEW box with matching serial number and label – No Charge! Now it still looks new, shoots very well, and testifies to Henry’s satisfaction guarantee!

  6. I bought a Henry Model #001 .22 cal. lever gun several years ago, and I absolutely love it. It is an EXCELLENT value at a modest price, and very accurate at under 75 yards. Soon I’ll be buying the Henry rendition of the Colt “Lightning” .22 cal. pump-action rifle with the octagonal barrel. I love those Henrys. Great little guns!

  7. My wife has one and loves it.
    One think I like about it is best demonstrated.
    Have someone stand on the other side of a door and cycle the lever action. Ask them what they heard? Unless they know you only have a lever action rifle, they will say you were cycling a 12 gauge pump action.

  8. Henry just needs to make them with a steel receiver. The rest of the rifle, especially the ones with the octagon barrels, are very nice.

  9. I own the a Trump 2020 engraved version with the large loop and shorter barrel. It is dead accurate, fun to shoot, looks and feels of quality. Awesome gun would highly recommend.

  10. I received my Henry rifle as a father day gift 6 years ago. I been shooting and plinking a lot. Love it it’s my go to gun.

  11. I own the H001 and am very satisfied with it. It handles any .22 ammo except for Vipers. the truncated cone of the Vipers jams on the breech face causing bullet deformation. All other ammo feeds flawlessly. The action is very smooth. I personally feel that the Henry prices are a bit on the high side across the board though. However I also feel that the quality is very good, so I guess you get what you pay for. Fit and finish on mine is above average to very good. accuracy is also quite good. Over all, very happy with my Henry. My wife loves it also.

  12. I’ve had lever action rifles since the ’80s. Still have a 336/30.30 cal in my gun safe. Many deer have fallen to this rifle! Currently, there is the Henry 001 right next to the 336. This rifle amazes me each and every time I shoot it! At 25 yards the CCI “shorts” are a fantastic fun round. At 50 yards it is a bit harder to make less than 1″ groups, but at times I get reall close! More than likely, if I was shoot with scope from a bench, it might happen! With the Federal Target rounds, this Henry shames all others! It feels sooo…comfy in my hands and at the shoulder. Oh and BTW, at 50 yards, my neighbor who shoots his Ruger 10/22, at times with me at the range, can’t believe what he see’s when we make target groups on paper.

  13. I agree, the Henry is a great little .22 rifle! I presently own a Classic Lever Action .22 Carbine with the large loop lever. I really like this little carbine! It’s light in weight, fast handling and will eat anything you feed it!

  14. I purchased as Henry Golden Boy in .22 for my son as an exit gift when he left the Navy S.E.A.L Teams. This Henry has the ability to be engraved on both sides of the Brass Plate. I had the S.E.A.L. image engraved on one side with appropriate dates and a personal comment on the other. It is almost too nice to shoot. Almost!

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