The Legendary ‘Henry Rifle’

I have always been impressed with the Henry Rifle every since I was a kid watching western movies.
I remember a scene when the outlaw did an evil act, he jumped on his horse and rode off as fast as his horse could run, trying to get away from the cowboy hero. The hero would slowly go to his saddle holster to pull out this long barrel Henry Rifle. He then would slowly cranked down on the lever to load a 44 caliber rimfire bullet in the chamber which sounded like shaking a bucket of bolts. He then would gently place it over his saddle to steady his aim, calmly turn his head over his right shoulder and spit out a large amount of tobacco juice. With the outlaw slowly fading out of site (looking like he was a mile away) and thinking he had gotten away, the shot was fired. A few seconds you could see the outlaw bite the dust.

The Henry Rifle was invented in the late 1850’s by Benjamin Tyler Henry and was the most important firearm in its day with its repeating lever action, breach loading with a magazine feed that held 16 rounds and 1 in the chamber. It had a rate of fire of 28 rounds per minute. It made a name for itself on the American frontier of the 1860’s to the 1880’s. It became the most all time legendary firearm in American history. As the old saying goes,“load on Sunday and shoot all week long.”

It was a sought after rifle of Union solders during the Civil War. For a solder, owning one was a sense of pride. As for Confederate solders, most could not afford one. Although the Union army did not supply their troops with the ‘Henry’, the solders that could afford one purchased their own. Later in late 1863 to early 1864 the U.S. Government did purchase about 3,140 of this sought after rifle mostly for its cavalry units.
Today, it has been reported that the most recent sale of a first model Henry Rifle brought an astonishing $207,000.


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