Review: Henry Frontier Lever Action Octagon Barrel .22 Rifle

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I’ve always enjoyed lever action rifles and most of you readers know that. From my childhood to the present they have been a favorite companion in the woods and on the range. In short, they are just fun and surprisingly accurate.

This Henry is the Frontier model. With it’s 20 inch octagon barrel it’s a good looking rifle. Yes I like octagon barrels! The finish on the steel parts is well done with a deep blue/black color. The matte finish of the American walnut stock is also uniform and well done.

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The lever loop is the standard variety but a large lever loop is available as a separate purchase for $50 from the Henry store. I’ve enjoyed the look and feel of the large lever loop since my first Winchester 92 which had an aftermarket loop. I ordered the large lever loop with the rifle and changed it out before going to the range.

Installing the large loop is straightforward and fairly easy to do. One screw is removed to take the buttstock off. After the buttstock is removed the receiver cover is lifted off after removing the four screws which secure to the frame. A couple of small parts are removed allowing the user to pull the original lever loop out from the bottom of the receiver. The large lever loop is then worked into the slot for it. Both of the small parts that secure it are installed leaving you to only put the cover back in place and replacing the four screws back in the receiver cover and attaching the buttstock.

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One thing I’ve been doing for years is the old lever action twirl or spin. Using the large loop makes it pretty easy.

    Don’t do this with a loaded rifle ever please!

Henry Lever Loop Replacement For Factory Small Loop

Henry Lever Loop Replacement For Factory Small Loop

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After installing the large lever loop I made sure to lube the rifle and worked the action a bit. I took it to the range for a couple of hours and shot a couple of hundred rounds of various weights and brands of ammo. The Henry feed everything I put into it without a glitch. The action is smooth as butter and feels solid with no lateral play.

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The Marble Buckhorn sights are adjustable both for windage and elevation. The front sight has a brass bead which really does help to attain a quick sight picture. I know some who don’t care for this type of sight and of course, that’s fine you use what works best for you. I’ve always found the buckhorn sights to be more than acceptable for the practical range of the rifle.

Heavy barrel for greater accuracy

Heavy barrel for greater accuracy

I made a good number of trips to the range with the Henry and never experienced a malfunction. Total number of rounds fired was 500 and a bit over that amount. I did some precision work as well from 50 yards seated with a backpack as a rest. The CCI Maxi-Mag gave the best group which was right at one and 3/8th inch. The largest group was right at 1 3/4 inches using the Remington 500 round bulk ammo pack.

Specifications
Henry Lever Octagon .22 LR/.22 Short
Model Number H001T
Action Type Lever Action Repeater
Caliber .22 S/L/LR
Capacity 21 rounds .22 Short, 16 rounds .22 LR
Length 38.5″
Barrel Length 20″
Weight 6.25 lbs.
Stock American Walnut
Sights Marbles fully adjustable Semi-Buckhorn rear, with reversible white diamond insert and brass beaded front sight
Finish Blued barrel and lever
M.S.R.P. $450.00

The Henry Frontier is a nice little rifle that would serve well as a first rifle for your kids as well as a good truck gun (as long as you put it in a case to protect that finish). It’s also a nice one to use as a family range gun. In fact I was just getting to the range one Saturday afternoon and a man and his wife along with their young daughter were out shooting using a Henry Classic .22 rifle.

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Gold inlay lettering

Gold inlay lettering


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Henry Website



Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • .45

    Of course you like octagonal barrels, octagonal barrels are awesome.

  • Pandaz3

    I already have the pump version with the octagon barrel…mines better!

    • DW

      Guess what? Browning agrees.

  • marathag

    IMO, it’s not a decent octagonal barrel without sharp edges, like Marlin had been doing

  • ozzallos .

    Am I the only one that thought “yay, *another* Henry .22” when I saw the article?

  • Bill

    “A couple of small parts are removed…”
    That’s the kiss of death right there.

  • noob

    I’m curious, why were the original rifles made with octagon barrels? Was it easier to do with the manufacturing techniques available, or was it that the steel was weaker and so needed something like fluting for strength and light weight?

    • iksnilol

      Easier to make in regards to hammering and/or forging.

      • Swarf

        I’m not an expert, but according to the documentary film we’re discussing, the barrel was a piece of flat heated and formed around a mandrel, then hammer welded at the seam. After that, it was roughed into an octagonal shape and then finished with files for purely aesthetic reasons.

        • iksnilol

          Aah, I don’t know much, might be that. At least I heard that was the reason back in ye ole days. Sometimes it was the cheaper option with the octagonal barrel, sometimes the more expenisve option.

    • Martin M

      There used to be an older video produced by Colonial Williamsburg that covered the entirety of the building of a flintlock rifle by the blacksmith. It’s long, detailed, and amazing. I’ll post a link if I find it online.

      • Swarf

        I’ve seen that video, and if I recall correctly, it disabused me of the notion that octagonal barrels were easier. Quite the opposite in fact.

        They were done by hammer and then files from the round barrels because they looked cool.

        An extremely labor intensive process.

        • Swarf

          I found it, but it’s waiting for approval because this site has some deeply weird filters for language and links, and I don’t know the workarounds.

          • marathag

            use .Com to slip past most filters

        • Martin M

          On the contrary, I think octagonal was easier in the time. After forging, the barrel would be lumpy and uneven. Filing flat surfaces would be much simpler and more uniform. Then there is the matter of fitting a stock.

          • Swarf

            See my reply to iksnilol above.

      • noob

        Thanks!

  • datimes

    I met a retired couple at the range this summer and they allowed me to shoot their entry level .22 Henry lever gun. I was quite impressed with the effortless smooth operation. I usually shoot a 1930’s era Winchester pump but the Henry made a believer out of me. Sweet little gun.

  • PersonCommenting

    Anyone else wish Henry made side loaders? Also, forgive me, this may be a dumb question. Are front loading lever actions historically accurate? Did any company back in the day actually produce these or is it the current Henry iteration’s design?

    • Swarf

      Damn near everyone wishes that.

      Especially now that Marlin has crapped the bed.

      • PersonCommenting

        Glad I am not alone although a Henry side loader would be pretty expensive. Youd think a tube feed would be cheap but I guess Henry uses a lot of quality materials. I will say they need to drop their late night commercials. Those seem like a waste of money.

      • iksnilol

        To be fair, it’s not Marlin, it’s freedom group that did this.

    • retfed

      The original 1860 Henry, the .44-28 rimfire, was a front loader. They didn’t come up with side loading till the 1866 Winchester.
      I was at a collectors’ show once and they had a low-numbered iron-frame Henry and another one that was from the 1st District of Columbia Volunteers. It’s the only time I ever touched a $100,000 rifle. I was afraid to pick it up.

      • iksnilol

        Then when you got to feel the heft in your hands, you instinctively flip cocked it?

        • retfed

          Sadly, I didn’t. It would have been fun to do it, but I didn’t have a hundred grand on me at the time.

    • DW

      They should on centerfire rifles. Rimfire leverguns IIRC cannot get sideloaders

      • iksnilol

        Why not?

        You need to stuff those little cartridges in a tiny hole no matter the loading method. At least make it more practical.

        • Slick Willie

          Because rimfire bullets are barely held into their case compared to contribute cartridges. Forcing open a spring loaded ammo port in a receiver can deform or dislodge a .22 heeled bullet. Reportedly, Marlin did make a receiver loading lever gun back in the day which was replaced soon after with the front loader we all see on any tube magazine .22 rimfire rifle.

          • Slick Willie

            Center fire not contribute. Stupid auto spell.

          • iksnilol

            Whaaat.

            If anything I’d argue that they’re better held on due to the heel.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Cool, I still have my first rifle a chipmunk .22 bolt action I got for xmas when I was ten. My dad had my initial engraved on the bolt.

  • Pete – TFB Writer

    That’s a beautiful rifle.