This past Fall, what was once a lifetime obsession and desire was finally fulfilled. On the day before leaving for deer camp I took ownership of a lever action .30-30 Cowboy Rifle…not just any lever action .30-30 Cowboy Rifle mind you, but an honest to goodness American made Henry! What a beautiful rifle!
My love affair with lever guns began when I was seven years old in a Ben Franklin store in northern Michigan. That summer I had been guarding the homestead with my trusty rubber bullet firing chrome plated plastic six shooter slinging “lead” at foam cups and desperados alike! The first few days after arriving at my grandma’s farm were tough, but once “they” realized this new sheriff wasn’t leaving things quieted down as the bad guys moved out of pistol range to the hills and tree line on the edges of our farm.
So here we are walking around town and we decide to go into Ben Franklins…that’s when I saw her, perched on a shelf just below the cowboy hats was Betsy! I looked at my mom with glee and joy in my eyes, she looked at me with a kind smile and said “ask your father!” I made my case to my dad…. “Oh Dad! This is what I need to keep the rustlers from stealing our cattle and those pesky coyotes at bay!”
“but we don’t have cattle…” my dad said!
“I know, but…” and I tried again to convey how dire the situation was. With a bit more convincing, she was mine! The brown plastic stock molded to look like wood and metal, gold metalic paint on the band around the barrel and tube magazine, the beautiful sleek lever! What a “gun” it was. We had so many adventures rescuing stagecoaches and catching bandits! But like everything Ol’e Betsy gave in to the ravages of time and before I knew it, I had to let her go…
Betsy may have gone but the passion for those rifles remained and I always hoped that some day I would own one. A stout marlin, a handy winchester but never did I ever imagine the day would come that I would own a Henry! The gun that started it all!
Chambered in .30-30 winchester Henrietta or Hank for short, is a an all around general purpose hunting rifle. The tube magazine holds five rounds and loads through a cutout just below the muzzle and holds five rounds. The action is unbelievably smooth. I have tried other rifles and worked the actions only to feel snags, hang-ups and catches in the lever arc. The Henry has none of these issues which directly reflects on the quality of the build. The trigger pull is crisp, releasing the external hammer striking the firing pin and sending the round downrange. Boom! The buckhorn rear sight and front brass pin are easy to use and quick to come on target.
The checkering is beautiful and deep enough to provide adequate purchase on the exquisite wood used for the stock and fore grip. The grain of the wood and the finish is stunning. I’ve never seen a firearm like this before, it truly takes my breath away and you can tell by the fit and finish this is a quality firearm made from quality materials. Henrietta could easily be a safe queen but in my mind that would be disrespectful to the hard work and love that went into the crafting of this beautiful rifle
This gun was on target right out of the box! I was hitting an 8″ ringer at 50yds seated and standing every shot! Not only was she a standout on the firing line but in the staging area too as everyone who walked by “Ooh’d” and “Ahh’d” upon seeing her! Even my dad wanted shoot it!
With the deer trip in the bag I was looking for any excuse to take Hank out and stretch her legs. Along came Christmas and with it a scope and mounting rings from my Kids and my Dad! I got the scope mounted and zeroed and decided it was time for a coyote hunt!
I called my buddy Mike and off we went in search of Yotes! Of course, I had somehow managed to pick one the coldest Sundays of the year to sit in an open field calling wild dogs! The bright sun, hanging in a deep blue sky, lit up the ice crystals in the air making it look as though diamonds were floating about. As the wind bit our faces and frost formed on our lens caps I set up my caller and Mr.Wiggles (rabbit shaped decoy on a motorized base). Mike and I settled into our spots and began the wait.
What a fantastic way to spend a morning!
Scanning the tree line we did see some movement in our scopes and we heard a few yips in reply to the calls but that was it. Must have been too cold even for them! To no surprise Hank functioned without a hitch. Unbothered by the 8°f cold, she still racked and loaded rounds just as smoothly as if she were warm! Having had the cold settle into our feet and hands we decided it was time to go get some food and head home. I gathered up my caller, fetched Mr. Wiggles and called it a day!
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