Henry Lever Action Rifle 1860's

Henry Lever Action Rifle 1860's

Type Lever Action
Place of origin USA
Service history
Used by Flag of the United States United States (Union), Flag of Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Wars American Civil War, Indian Wars
Production history
Designer Benjamin Tyler Henry
Designed 1850s
Manufacturer New Haven Arms Company
Unit cost $14,000 as of 2004[update]
Produced 1850s to 1866
Number built 14,000 approx.
Specifications
Caliber .44 caliber rimfire
Action Lever Action, breech-loading
Rate of fire 28 rounds per min.
Feed system 16 round tube magazine

The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action, breech-loading, tubular magazine rifle.

History
[edit] Original Manufacturing

The original Henry repeating rifle was an American .44 caliber rimfire, lever-action, breech-loading rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry in the late 1850s. The Henry rifle was an improved version of the earlier Volcanic Repeating rifle. The Henry rifle used copper (later brass) rimfire cartridges containing 25 grains (1.6 g) of gunpowder to a 216 grain (14 g) bullet. 900 Henry rifles were manufactured between summer and October 1862; by 1864, production had peaked at 290 per month. By the time production ended in 1866, approximately 14,000 units had been manufactured.

An original 1862 Henry rifle may bring $14,000 (one sold in November 2006 for $60,000) in the collectors' market.
Civil War 1860 Henry Rifle

For a Civil War soldier, owning a Henry rifle was a point of pride. Although it was never officially adopted for service by the Army, many Union soldiers purchased Henry rifles with their own funds. The brass framed rifles could fire at a rate of 28 rounds per minute when used correctly, so soldiers who saved their pay to buy one often believed that the rifle would help them survive. They were frequently used by scouts, skirmishers, flank guards, and raiding parties, rather than in regular infantry formations. To the amazed muzzleloader-armed Confederates who had to face this deadly "sixteen shooter," it was "that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!" Very few captured Henry rifles were used on a limited basis by Confederate troops. Since those few Confederate troops who came into possession of one of these rifles had little way to resupply the special ammunition used by this gun, its widespread use by Confederate forces was very impractical. The rifle was however, known to have been used at least in part by some 15 different Confederate units. These units included cavalry units in Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia, as well as the personal bodyguards of Confederate President Jefferson Davis[1].

Manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company, the Henry rifle would soon evolve into the famous Winchester Model 1866 lever-action rifle. With the introduction of the new Model 1866, the New Haven Arms Company would be renamed the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
Henry rifle, Receiver
Henry rifle, loading-lever, toggle-joint
Loading sleeve open, 3 Henry Flat cartridges, compare with .44WCF round
Modern replica Henry rifle
[edit] Mechanical Workings

The Henry rifle used a .44 caliber cartridge with 26 or 28 grains (1.8 g) of black powder.[2] This gave it significantly less muzzle velocity and stopping power than comparable repeaters of the same era, such as the Spencer repeating rifle. The lever action, on the downstroke, ejected the spent cartridge from the chamber and cocked the hammer. A spring in the magazine forced the next round into the chamber and locking the lever back into position sealed the rifle back up into firing position. As it was designed, the rifle was not a very safe weapon. A Henry rifle, when not in use, would either have the hammer cocked or resting on the rim of the cartridge. In the first case, the rifle has no safety and is in firing position. In the second, an impact on the back of the exposed hammer could cause a chambered round to fire.
[edit] Current production

In 1973, Louis Imperato bought the firearms company of Iver Johnson and began making commercial versions of the M1 carbine. In 1993, Imperato started a factory in his native Brooklyn to manufacture .22 caliber rifles under the newly recreated name[3] of the Henry Repeating Arms Co. which are currently manufactured in Brooklyn, New York. (The current company, not to be confused with the original Henry rifles[3], does not produce the Civil War period firearm that this article defines. It produces lever action rifles that are more akin to later Marlin types.)

A. Uberti Firearms produces an almost exact copy Henry Model 1860, although it is not available in .44 Henry Rimfire. Instead, they are chambered for centerfire calibers such as .44-40 Winchester and .45 Long Colt. These replicas are distributed through Navy Arms Company[4]. The guns are popular among Civil War Reenactors, as well as competition shooters in the N-SSA[5]
[edit] Henry Carbine

The Henry Carbine is a fictional gun, probably based on the Henry repeating rifle. It was thought out by Karl May, who wrote in his novels about Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi about the gun named Henry Carbine (in original Henrystutzen). By these novels it was constructed by Mr. Henry, a gunsmith from Saint Louis, and later given to his friend who become famous as Old Shatterhand. In the world of Karl May's novels, this pump gun, or repeating rifle, was capable of firing 25 times without reloading and was renowned throughout the Wild West and in Arabian countries.
[edit] Media Appearances

* Carried by Clint Eastwood's character the Man with No Name in the final scene of the movie For a Few Dollars More and again in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in the latter, it was actually a Winchester '66 with the forestock removed to make it look like a more "historically accurate" Henry.
* In many other Western movies and TV shows, you will often see other model Winchesters, usually Model 92's, but occasionally '73's and '94's, with the forestock removed and refered to as "Henry" rifles. These guns are usually referred to by firearms enthusiasts as "Hollywood Henrys." Such a rifle can be seen used by Gregory Peck in the film The Stalking Moon. In some closeups during the film, the Winchester loading gate can clearly be seen, which was not present in a Henry rifle.
* Carried by Dan Blocker portraying "Hoss Cartwright" in 1959-60 season episodes of the NBC television series "Bonanza".
* Used by Kevin Costner's character in Dances with Wolves.

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