TFB Review: Henry Lever Action Axe .410 – Cutting Down Non-NFA Competition

by Sam.S

While a wide variety of manufacturers these days are flooding the market with the same old non-NFA pump-action “firearms” for a fairly inexpensive cost and some even offering semi-autos for a bigger price point, Henry Repeating Arms shows us loud and proud that it is not afraid to stay with the current trends and still give us the extreme pleasure of working a lever and smiling as the repetition that won the world for so long rings out, chopping through the air. Today I am giving my review of the Henry Lever Action Axe .410. Lets cut right to it!

SPECIFICATIONS: Henry Lever Action Axe .410

As I said in the introduction, Henry Repeating Arms have really brought the pure joy and fun of shooting that they introduced with all their mares leg models years ago. This fresh take gives us a much more versatile non-NFA firearm to enjoy. The complete specifications for this .410 can be read below as presented by Henry Repeating Arms:

  • Caliber: .410 Bore
  • Capacity: 5 Rounds
  • Loading: Gate Loading or Removable Tube
  • Barrel: 15.14 Inch Round Blued Steel Smooth Bore w/ Full Invector Style Choke
  • Chamber: 2 1/2 Inch Chamber
  • Action Type: Lever Action
  • Overall Length: 26.4 Inches
  • Weight While Empty: 5.75 lbs
  • Sights: Front Brass Bead w/ No Rear Sight
  • Scopeability: Drilled & Tapped for Weaver 63B Mount
  • Safety: Transfer Bar
  • Stock Material: American Walnut
  • Embellishments/Extras: Swivel Studs. Screw-in Full Invector Choke. Choke Wrench.

The MSRP for the Henry Lever Action Axe .410 currently stands at $970. This lovely lever-action comes with the usual assortment of items that Henry Repeating Arms provides. User manual, Full Invector style choke, choke wrench, a soft material sleeve to cover the receiver, and a lifetime warranty.

Henry Repeating Arms has a super convenient side of their website in which they sell Parts & Accessories for the Axe amongst other firearm accessories and swag. Notable accessories include scabbards and a long list of chokes. The list of chokes offered are as listed:

  • Cylinder
  • Skeet
  • Modified
  • Extra Full
  • Turkey
  • Breach Buster

Henry Repeating Arms presents the whole Axe situation unapologetically and I love it. They really are telling the truth when they talk about the fun plinking aspect of this gun along with its length of versatility. From their webpage below:

Not all firearms need to fit neatly into categories like hunting, home protection, or good ol’ backyard plinking. We feel that simply being fun to pull out of the scabbard and shoot again and again should be a category all its own. For those that join us in considering this an important category, the Lever Action Axe .410 delivers in spades.

It’s fun, for sure, but it also has more practicality than meets the eye. The Axe has the same 5-round capacity of 2 ½” shells as its larger Lever Action .410 Shotgun counterparts, but the addition of a loading gate means that you can keep that capacity topped off at all times without needing to remove a tube magazine. Another practical advantage is its size. With a barrel length of just under 16” and an overall length of just over 26” the Axe can be stored in far more places than your average long gun. The barrel is finished off with a brass bead front sight and invector style threads that are fitted with a removable full choke right out of the box. The “axe handle” pistol grip gives the firearm its name and is engraved on the bottom with the iconic Henry Cowboy logo for that unmistakable touch of Henry class.

FIRST LOOK: Henry Lever Action Axe .410

When I had heard the announcement of the Axe I honestly didn’t know if I was interested. I am a huge fan of Henry Repeating Arms and own many of their firearms but I did not get the point of this little guy beyond the idea of a “fun gun”. I am excited to be able to explain how I greatly underestimated this beautiful chunk of American walnut and blued steel.

That being said this gun is absolutely gorgeous. Photographs do not do it all the justice it deserves. Right out of the box it is simple yet beautifully finished. The American walnut looks like it grew around the lovely blued finish as tight as it could without impairing the function or feel of the firearm.

How does it feel? Really nice actually! Such a pleasant surprise to be honest. The weight threw me off at first but it fits the gun. Any lighter and I would feel uneasy about the first shot I would take with it. I realize it is only .410 but I would still be skeptical of the “fun” aspect of it if it was super light. Long before I got to hold this gun in my hands I dreaded the feeling of that giant looking cut-down grip. I am excited to tell you it fills my hand perfectly. The obtuse nature of the Axe handle is totally unnoticeable when you begin to work with the gun and is an integral part of it being classified as a non-NFA firearm.

Per the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosive’s Gun Control Act of 1968, the H018AH-410 Lever Action Axe .410 is classified as a non-Class 3/NFA “firearm.” Please consult local/state laws that may prohibit the sale of this gun in your state despite its federal classification.

RANGE TIME: Henry Lever Action Axe .410

The first time I headed out to the range I brought a mixed bag of loose leaf 6 shot and 8 shot .410 shells I had laying around. I started by loading through the loading gate and it worked flawlessly. Very first shot I braced the flat rear of the Axe handle grip against the front face of my hip expecting a tad bit more of a push and you know what? I would argue that it was just that, a small push. That gentle push filled me with enough excitement to bring the Axe up, holding the forearm with my left hand and repeated through the remaining four shells. First impressions of shooting this gun? Pure joy.

I do want to mention the reloading aspect of this gun. Unlike many other lever actions out there, this one comes paired with not just a loading gate but also with a removable tube magazine, much like an old 22 I had when I was little. I am usually indifferent in the loading gate vs tube magazine debate but honestly, the removable tube fits this gun a lot more! When you shoot this gun you cant help dump the whole magazine because it is so much fun. So reloading an empty magazine is faster and easier via the removable tube. If you are a person who can restrain themselves from unloading all five shells, feel free to top off the magazine with the loading gate.

So how did it feel? I will admit I am a sucker for lever actions but there have been a few (especially modern ones) that feel ultra mechanical. Like you are operating a machine. Yes, this is a machine. That feeling of clanking and stuttering as you open and close the action is nonexistent in any Henry Repeating Arms firearm I have ever dealt with. I am very glad to say the same for the Axe. This machine functioned reliably and smoothly without fail.

On a few separate trips to the range, I used a wide variety of ammunition. I used everything I could find available to me. 8 shot, 6 shot, 4 shot, and 000 buckshot. I wanted to see if the patterns drastically changed or if recoil would be discernable between all the shot sizes. Patterns are patterns and all seemed just fine and well for what this gun is with the choke supplied. Recoil for each was the same! I did not feel much difference at all in recoil. The only difference? The sound. I could tell the shot size by the amount of boom thudding at my hearing protection. The manual specifically says that slugs are not recommended so I abstained in that regard, although I suspect with the proper slug and choke combo it would work fine.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Henry Lever Action Axe .410

So after browsing pictures and watching videos about the Axe, it had my curiosity. When I finally got to handle it, it gained my attention. Final thoughts after the gauntlet of inspections and range time? I give this gun a 10/10. It is absolutely perfect at being what it is and the fit and finish pack it all up in a beautiful bundle. It works super well and has the same amount of potential versatility as it does for fun at the range. You could use it trick shooting clay pigeons, walking on the trail searching for grouse, or even pop a red dot on it and use it for home defense.

The price point is high but I do not entirely disagree with it given the quality and warranty that is handed to you. You are not only given a 100% satisfaction guarantee but you also get a gun that will live up to its name the second you take your first shot. The looks of the American walnut, the quality and durability of the steel, and the fit that binds them together is what makes this gun a work of utilitarian art. I think it is entirely worth the price you pay when you get the reliability, ease of use, and overall joy that comes with this gun.

In closing, I want to say thank you to Henry Repeating Arms for allowing TFB and myself the opportunity to try out their lever-action Axe in .410! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that the Henry Lever Action Axe .410 is something worth spending your money on? Would you run to the range with this lovable lever-action? Would you hunt with it given the catalog of chokes? Would this be you go to or back up home defense gun? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


Writer | TheFirearmBlogWriter | AllOutdoor.comInstagram | sfsgunsmithOld soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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2 of 16 comments
  • MG MG on Apr 21, 2020

    Would be nice to have some pictures of someone holding it or shooting it.

  • Ozzallos . Ozzallos . on Apr 24, 2020

    I love you Henry. Whoever made the executive decision to step outside the box over the last two years needs a raise. it all seemed to start with sidegates, then threaded lever actions, then this. I don't care how inefficient it is, I love Henry just for doing it. Please keep doing it. All of it.