Guns & Ammo
Henry Lever Action .45-70 Government [Rifle Review]
Henry Repeating Arms is one of those rare companies willing to go above and beyond for their customers. No matter what your problem is, they’re usually willing to do whatever it takes to fix it so that you’re a happy customer. I’ve even spoken to people who screwed something up, like a scratch in their brand new butt-stock, and Henry took care of it. If you’ve never bought a Henry rifle, in all seriousness, maybe you should look into it.
We've put the Henry lever action .45-70 rifle to the test and this is what we've found. You will want to own this rifle that's born to hunt!
In this article:
- A Little About Henry Repeating Arms
- A Henry .45-70 Review
- A Rifle Not for the Faint-Hearted
- Henry Lever Action .45-70 | The Sights
- Henry 45-70 Problems
- Henry Lever Action Rifle | Safety
- No Padding!
- Henry Lever Action .45-70 Ammo I Used
Henry Lever Action .45-70 | Henry Repeating Arms
A Little About Henry Repeating Arms
Henry Repeating Arms is one of those rare companies willing to go above and beyond for their customers. No matter what your problem is, they're usually willing to do whatever it takes to fix it so that you're a happy customer.
I've even spoken to people who screwed something up themselves, like a scratch on their brand new butt-stock, and Henry took care of it. If you've never bought Henry rifles, in all seriousness, maybe you should look into it.
Just one of the reasons why their rifles are so awesome is because they're “made in America or not made at all.” The quality and craftsmanship are all-American.
That quality shone through when I brought the rifle they sent me to the range on multiple occasions.
A Henry .45-70 Review
Henry Repeating Arms contacted me to write up a review about their latest lever-action chambered in .45-70 Government. Of course, I said yes, and after getting pounded in the shoulder for as many rounds as I have, I can say that it is an absolute cannon, and such a blast to shoot.
A Rifle Not for the Faint-Hearted
As a word of caution, a .45-70 anything isn't a gun you'd want to hand to a novice shooter. This is the kind of cartridge that can cause bad memories for someone going from shooting something like a .22lr to this hard hitter capable of taking any of the large game North America has to offer.
And, in fact, I've even heard of this hunting cartridge referred to as being worthy of an elephant.
Again, if you've never fired a cartridge this big, work up to it. If not, and you haven't mastered basic shooting mechanics, you could get knocked on your butt.
I've seen it happen before to a dude in his mid-twenties who had only fired a couple other guns in his life. I had to catch him before he fell.
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Henry Lever Action .45-70 | The Sights
This Henry's action is smooth without any hang-ups when the lever is operated. Speaking of the lever itself, the larger than normal loop was a great addition because I was able to comfortably get all of my fingers inside of it without having to leave my pinky finger out to dry.
This 8.1 pound rifle is pleasant on the eyes with the highly polished brass receiver and accents, which are set off nicely from the American Walnut wood finish, black lever and trigger, and octagonal barrel.
The barrel itself is 22 inches long and helped me punch paper holes at both 50 and 100 yards while targeting in on a few 9-inch paper plates. The rear buckhorn sight and front bead are good for target acquisition and adjust for elevation.
I can say that I was surprised at just how accurate this rifle is.
To help increase accuracy a bit, you have the option of using an optic on the brass receiver, which is drilled and tapped for an optic mount. That will no doubt help you hit those really far away targets.
If you're like me, though, you'll choose to just use the steel sights.
Henry 45-70 Problems
You'll either love or hate the tubular four-round magazine. I have no issues with it but know of other people who aren't fans claiming that it takes too long to reload.
Either way, if you get to the last round and need one more, you can chamber a round directly by inserting it and closing the action. At that point, you're ready to fire just as long as the hammer is back.
In the video below, I show you how to load it, but please note that you don't need to remove the brass piece (I call it a plunger) all the way. Some people choose to pull it out ¾ of the way, to just clear the loading port.
Henry Lever Action Rifle | Safety
There are no safety features to speak of but it doesn't really need any because it is a safe rifle, to begin with. When there is a round chambered and the hammer is back, it'll go bang when the trigger is tugged on.
When the hammer is already home, it can't be fired until the hammer is pulled back. Just as long as you're aware of this and treat all guns as if they were loaded with your finger straight and off the trigger, you'll be fine.
The Brass .45-70 with the octagonal barrel I was sent had a polished brass receiver. However, there is an option for you to get an engraved one for a few hundred bucks more, which is then black-filled to help it pop out.
I can tell you that from what I've seen, it looks great.
The brass accents look great, but the butt-plate is not padded in the least bit. So, there's really nothing to help absorb the recoil from this 40.4-inch rifle.
Speaking of recoil, the amount you'll feel depends a lot upon your chosen ammo. For this test, I was using 405-grain PPU, and 325 grain Hornady Lever Evolution.
The lighter of the two produced more bump in my shoulder pocket.
Henry Lever Action .45-70 Ammo I Used
This rifle is pretty and would make a great showpiece. However, what's really great about it is it can also be taken off the wall and brought into the woods to take down just about any beast the world has to offer.
It's made in the US of A and works just the way it should. The MSRP on this stunning rifle is $950 and serves as a dual purpose wall-hanger/hunting rifle capable of killing anything.
Watch this video from our Youtube channel and see the Henry Lever Action .45-70 in action, indeed:
Sound Off Gun Carriers! I want to know if you own any Henry Rifles.
If you do, which kind, and what are they chambered in? With a long history to back it up, the Henry lever action rifle is a superb firearm, indeed.
You can never go wrong with this piece if you're an avid shooter or a rifle collector. More so if you are to take it out this hunting season!
What do you think of the Henry lever action .45-70 rifle? Let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are on this!
Up Next: Gun Review | Adams Arms SF 308 Patrol Battle Rifle
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 22, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
July 26, 2016 at 11:08 AM
Very impressive. I’ve fired the 45-70 in a Springfield and I can attest that it will rock you worse than my normal .308 bolt action with hand loads. I got to fire (and hand loaded some ammo for it to keep it shooting) an original Winchester 94 built in 1918 and never fired until it was brought to me for checking in the 1970’s. It was in 38-55 (I used smokeless loads) and that was fun to shoot. I also have a Rossi (I know , made in Brazil, but still very good quality!) Lever Action in .357 magnum (Companion for brush hunting to my Dan Wesson revolver) that has taken many a deer and even feral hogs. I prefer a lever action to even semi-auto for brush hunting and medium ranges, although the 45-70 is capable of long range shooting. (Once compared to long range basketball shots. According to my chart, 6″ high at 100 yards = 22.6″ low at 300 yards with a LIGHT 300 gr JHP bullet!!)