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Iron-Frame Model 1860 Henry

First created in about 1860, this classic repeating design launched the lever action to stardom.

Iron-Frame Model 1860 Henry

Joseph’s reproduction .44-40 iron-frame Henry rifle (circa 1980) features better-than-average wood and has the words “One of One Thousand” engraved atop the receiver. (Shooting Times photo)

As the first truly successful repeating metallic-cartridge lever action, the Henry rifle introduced by New Haven Arms in 1860 was certainly one of the most influential in history. It had flaws and was short-lived because the subsequent Winchester Model 1866 (by the same company) corrected most of those flaws, but the Henry led the way.

Original Henry rifles were chambered for the .44 Rimfire cartridge. Short and mild, the cartridge was adequate for close-range fighting and hunting. It generated around 1,125 fps with a 200-grain bullet, similar to zesty .44-40 loads today, and featured a fairly pointy bullet, which was safe due to the rimfire case. A full 15 rounds fit into the...

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