Friday, December 18, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 44 - Oh Henry...

...what a fine little survival rifle you have made. It fires both standard and high velocity .22LR, has a semi-automatic action, uses an 8 round box magazine and comes with two of them, is compact and lightweight, takes down easily (pretty much by just unscrewing a screw in the pistol grip and unscrewing a collar where the barrel and receiver meet - no tools required), stores within itself (all components, other than the stock, store within the stock), and it supposedly floats (or so I have heard). The bolt handle is pretty small and is collapsible as it needs to be in order to accomplish the self storing feat of this rifle. The safety lever is located on the right side rear of the receiver and is meant to be operated by the thumb of the right hand. The magazine release is inside the front of the trigger guard. The Overall it is about 35 inches long when assembled but when taken down it is closer to 17 inches long. Its weight is an astonishing 2.5 pounds because a lot of the rifle is plastic - including a barrel shroud - the barrel itself is a fairly thin steel tube covered by plastic which in turn is covered by Teflon; that low weight combined with its takedown and self storing capabilities makes it a great addition to a grab and go pack. It comes in three finishes or color variations of black, silver and camo I am of course writing about the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle, read more about it here:

If you read the info on it at the Henry Repeating Arms site (link above) you may note that it says this rifle breaks down into three parts. That just ain't so. The actual breakdown is into 6 parts. They would be the barrel, the receiver assembly, two (2) magazines, the stock and the butt cap. Even if you leave one magazine in the magazine well, which is necessary if storing both magazines in the stock, and consider the buttstock and butt cap as a single part, that would leave the barrel, receiver assembly, stock and spare magazine - or 4 parts. Yes, I can be pretty persnickety at times.

I have owned one of these diminutive rifles for several years now; mine is the black version. It is the only firearm of which the purchase was due to my wife! Some years back she got me a gift certificate at a local gun shop. The gun shop owner was a crook, super high prices, but I was able to pick one of these up from him at about only $25 over what it would have cost elsewhere (and the gift certificate was not returnable nor did they make change on it except for credit left over) so I bought one of these. Of course I ruined a good thing by telling my wife about the guy being a crook - she figured I was faulting her for getting the gift certificate there and has never gotten me another for a gun - not anywhere! Oh well....

As for mine, I have had a blast with it. It fires pretty reliably, can hit the broad side of a barn (and smaller targets) at out to about 20 or 25 yards and is just a fun plinker. As for betting my life on it as a survival gun, I don't know about that - maybe and maybe not. If it was the only gun available, well then, fine - it would make a good survival rifle. If there were other, more accurate, rifles available then I might have to go with one of them. These guns are not bad shooters but the trigger pull leaves a lot to be desired. Their sights also leave a lot to be desired, at least do the sights that came on mine. The front sight is adjustable for windage and just a push on it with my thumb causes it to move. That is not good because it means the front sight is easily pushed out of proper alignment. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and is a peep sight sort of design but it too leaves something to be desired. Despite those glitches I can do fairly well with it out to about 15-20 yards, maybe even 25 yards. I figure I could probably hit a animal the size of a gray squirrel at 15 to 2o yards fairly reliably and a larger rabbit at out to 25 yards.

While this gun will feed and reliably function using a wide variety of .22LR ammunition, because of the sights and because I think it less inherently accurate than some other 22 rifles I have shot and or own, I suggest finding the ammo that works best in it not only for reliability of function but for accuracy. As you may or may not be aware, even an expensive 22 target rifle will vary in how well you hit the target because of different ammo you use in it and different types and brands of .22LR ammo can vary considerably in how accurate it is out of any given gun. In this gun that effect seems to be multiplied to some degree. Again, I am not saying it is terribly inaccurate, it is simply not as accurate as I would wish it to be, or as I am sure it could be if a few things about it were changed, for a rifle on which my life might depend in a survival situation. I seemingly am not the only one who thinks about this rifle the same way along these lines. See what Gun Test magazine had to say about it here:

Like the guys at Gun Test Magazine though, I give it a 'buy it' recommendation. If you are looking for a fun, lightweight, compact for storage, rifle in 22 caliber - this could be the one.

All the best,
Glenn B