Firearm Review: Henry Repeating Arms .45-70 Lever Action

Henry Repeating Arms doesn't take gun making lightly. Their newest .45-70 Lever Action proves it.

When it comes to historic rifles, few are able to stand above the lever action chambered in .45-70 Government. It's a big game cartridge that never lost its popularity, even as guns of the late 19th century faded away.

Henry brought back the .45-70 Lever Action to their production line in 2012, but more recently began offering a model with a brass receiver and butt plate, giving it a golden shine that's unmistakeable. An American walnut straight-grip stock and octagonal barrel complete the classic look, and the four-round tubular magazine and smooth action give the gun authenticity and character.

When it comes to shooting, the gun keeps shining. In an initial round of testing, we fired HSM Cowboy Action rounds, as well as some 430 grain Bear Loads (because we just had to feel how that brass butt plate kicked into our shoulder).

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The Cowboy cartridges loaded, cycled, and fired about as smooth as a lever action can get. The only issue (of the whole test session, frankly) involved the cycling of the Bear Loads, which admittedly had a larger, more blunt tip than the other rounds. The action couldn't quite close as the round barely got stuck before entering the chamber. It was by no means a serious problem, but if quickness and operation of a firearm means life or death, there may be a better load to look for. Again, the smaller rounds loaded and cycled with ease.

And the recoil? It wasn't nearly as bad as anticipated, and that's from someone who has little experience shooting a .45-70. It was just the right amount to feel it, with only minor complaints of a sore shoulder the next day.

The 22-inch octagonal barrel has a 1:20" rate of twist and the rifle come with a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight and brass beaded front sight. The .45-70 is 40.4 inches in its entirety, and weighs in at 8.1 pounds.

Bottom line, is the Henry Repeating Arms .45-70 brass plated octagonal barrel rifle worth the $950 MSRP? In a word, absolutely.

I also want to thank Lone Star Gun Range in Lockhart, Texas for letting us use the instructor's range for the day and get some incredible footage of the Henry in action. Their customer service is always top-notch and their range is one of the more well-kept gun ranges around.