When Henry Repeating Arms releases a new gun, the shooting world should pay attention. The Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine Shotgun makes a great addition to the already stacked lineup of capable and visually-appealing firearms. Check out what I found while examining and shooting it.
Henry sent a .410 Lever Action Shotgun in the "Rare Carbine" configuration. This shotgun was shipped to my good friend Steve over at Silverado Arms Gun Shop, to which I must add special thanks for making the transfer so quick and easy.
The Henry .410 Rare Carbine (model #H018-410R) sports a 20" cylinder bore barrel. There are fully adjustable semi-buckhorn style rifle sights present on this model. It is also drilled and tapped for a Weaver 63B Scope Mount.
The other model available (but not reviewed here) has a 24" barrel shotgun (model #H018-410) with a removable invector-style full choke tube and a bead sight.
The quote from Henry's website "When less is more, the .410 bore can be the answer" certainly fit the description of this impressive shotgun. This robust 7.3-pound gun has an all wood stock and blued steel barrel and receiver. In fact, the five-shot .410 bore shotgun has a very close resemblance to the rest of Henry's lever action rifle line in the big .45/70 cartridge.
The shotgun is chambered for 2.5" shells, and my test shotgun actually held six of the shotshells in the magazine. With one shell in the chamber, this bad boy can carry a full load of seven shells.
Even though the action is not long enough to function 3" magnum shells, it's not a huge problem. Though you may not realize it, there's a variety of 2.5" .410 shotshells, buckshot, and slug options readily available online.
Upon closely examining this Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine, I found the nice, dark, well-checkered American walnut stock and forearm really pleasing to the eye. The sling swivel studs allow for easy carry when your hands are otherwise full. The fit of the wood and steel is very well done, and the soft rubber recoil pad would absorb what little recoil the .410 bore is known for.
The buckhorn sights are easily adjusted for elevation, and the rear sight can be drifted for windage. The shooter can also choose their rear sight aperture of their choice by loosening the screw on the rear sight and turning the insert to different positions.
This tube-fed .410 shotgun also lacks the annoying crossbolt safety that is sadly prevalent on many competitor's lever action rifles and other models. There is no need for a half cock location for the hammer, because of the transfer bar safety inside the striking face of the hammer itself. This feature was very intriguing, and likely a lesson to be learned by other lever action gunmakers.
We've covered how the new Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine looks, but the question is, can it shoot that well too? The answer is a resounding yes.
Originally when I saw that this model had a cylinder barrel, I predicted the patterns would be wide and likely rather scattered. Much to my surprise, the groups are very impressive with all loads tested. At 20 yards these patterns are certainly game-getters.
Ammunition tested were the Fiocchi 410VIP8 1/2 ounce in #8 shot, Winchester Super Speed 1/2 ounce #6, Federal .410 Handgun Personal Defense Buckshot (4 Pellets of 000 Buckshot), Winchester Super X 1/5 Ounce Hollow Point Rifled Slug, Remington Express 1/5 Ounce Rifled Slug, Remington Express 1/2 Ounce #6 and the Winchester PDX1 410 Defender load.
This tin was pelted by #8 shot, and there were was plenty that penetrated the lid and was found inside the can itself at 20 yards.
The Federal .410 Handgun Personal Defense Buckshot (4 Pellets of 000 Buckshot) was the absolute most lethal shell I fired with this gun. At 20 yards, the groups with all large buckshot pellets would cover roughly the size of a man's hand. That is an extremely tight load with serious punch. For self defense or predator control (like coyotes), this shell would beat all others tested.
Early on in the testing I found that the Fiocchi shotshell loads and the Winchester Slugs had some extraction issues. I wanted to make sure it wasn't user error, so the good folks at Henry took a look at the shotgun. Some repairs were made, including a replaced barrel, adjusted lock up, replaced trigger guard, and a smoothed out action. I am highly impressed with that service, and now the smoothed action is up to John Wayne standards. It's a testament to Henry's devout customer service.
So off to the range I went with the improved Henry Lever Action Shotgun. Winchester 1/5 Ounce Slugs printed this 1.5" group below at 30 yards from a Caldwell Lead Sled 3 Gun Rest. Remember this is from a smooth bore shotgun with no rifling utilizing a foster style slug.
After a slight sight adjustment made on the fully adjustable rear sight, this little weapon proved to be a great quick-shooting, short-to-medium range (even up to deer) sized game-getter. The above picture is of that four-shot group. One hole is actually two impacts. That would be venison in the freezer.
Switching back to standard shotshells, I ran into some failure to eject issues. I sent a quick email to Henry, and a week later a new ejector arrived in my mailbox. This ejector had a slightly different shape and after a quick easy installation now the Henry Shotgun runs like a champ, kicking those spent shells out hard and a good distance away.
Again, I don't think this should be viewed as a demotion on the gun or manufacturer's part. Firearms and the multitudes of ammo used in them can produce finicky outcomes, and the fact that Henry so quickly and conveniently made things right should be more of a sign towards a good product. After all, it's a brand new gun, and hopefully these sorts of things help Henry learn and adjust as they should.
To wrap up, let's not beat around the bush. While my reviewed shotgun had a couple hang ups, the friendly folks at Henry made sure all was made right with fully warrantied repairs, the same kind any Henry gun owner would receive.
Who would benefit most from the new Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine? If you are a Henry Rifle collector, then this is an obvious must own. If you need a great looking little .410 bore shotgun that will turn heads, this shotgun is also a winner.
If you need a smaller bore shotgun for pest management or close range hunting, you certainly will not go wrong with this lever gun. Home defense is well covered with this easy to handle weapon as well.
On vermin, namely European Starlings, like the ones I took out on a friend's farm, the Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine loaded with #8 shot was absolutely devastating. Those invasive pests stood little chance. Try as they might, those pest birds just could not escape that fast shooting little lever action shotgun.
Also, the farm's neighbors were not bothered by the quieter report of the .410 bore shotshell. Less was certainly more while shooting on that friend's farm.
If you haven't got a chance to check out the all new Henry .410 Lever Action Rare Carbine, or any of the other great Henry Firearms, you are missing out. Built with American pride right here in the U.S., quality and consistency is what Henry Repeating Arms is all about.
We look forward to many more exciting firearm models to be released soon in the future from Henry Repeating Arms Company, but for now, the 410 Lever Action Rare Carbine shines through as much as any other.