Vintage Style and Elegance
Other features I find nice about this rifle are its case colored receiver — a bit of old fashioned elegance — and octagonal barrel. Like the rimfire carbine, it retains that classic old west style. Functionally it’s quite modern, the safety consisting of a two piece firing pin that is not connected until the trigger is fully back and about to be pulled. This moves the first firing pin up to connect to the second. This approach means accidentally hitting the hammer spur with a loaded chamber does not set off the round. No ugly transverse bolt through the action, no tang safety, yet perfectly safe. Trigger pull on my rifle is a consistent 4 1/4 pounds with a bit of creep, but no rough spots and a crisp break.
The Side Gate wears a classic buckhorn rear sight with an insert that can be flipped to show a u or v notch with or without a white diamond on the face. A brass bead adorns the front blade. This differs from the Skinner peep sight on the 22 Carbine. My eyes work best with the peep, so I’ll be ordering one from Skinner for the 30-30. This is important for maintaining that “feel,” function, and consistency I’m advocating for this two rifle system.
Precise machine checkering gives the straight grip and belly fore-end a classy look and anti-slip grip. The rifle’s 8 1/2-pound mass tames recoil nicely, noticeably better than typical 7 1/2-pound lever-actions I’m shot.
Early Accuracy Potential
I’m not in position to brag about the accuracy of either of these rifles because I haven’t shot them enough yet. Preliminary groups were about 1.25 inches for the 22 at 25 yards, 1.5 inches for the 30-30 at 100 yards. I’m guessing my poor eyesight accounts for about half of this, so might someday mount scopes to see what these Henry’s can really do. My hunch is the 30-30 might shoot MOA. If the 22 can keep bullets inside an inch at 25 yards, I’m good for the rabbits and squirrels I’m likely to hunt. It’s not often I get shots at them beyond 25 yards.
By the way, the safety on the 22 Carbine is a classic quarter cock of the hammer. This in no way changes my “instinctive” (learned) handling of either rifle. I’m switching from one to the other without a hitch, even though the lighter mass of the 22 requires more concentration during its 4# trigger pull. Running those levers? Well, that’s the fast, easy, and fun part. Takes me back to the 1960s and those first two whitetails I dropped, both bucks, both the first two deer at which I’d ever fired. And both were running flat out! I mean hyper drive! But back in those days we trained on running jackrabbits and shot running game, flying game routinely. Helps that they were inside of 100 yards, too. Whether or not I can still do this… Perhaps we shall see.
Meantime, however, I’m going to carry and train with that 22 a lot, work the 30-30 as much as ammo supplies allow, and get myself prepared for a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear where the lever-action ruled. And hunting was a hunt.
Today’s Best Lever-Action Two-Gun Hunting/Training System is… Henry — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com