America has one quintessential rifle type unique to themselves, the lever action rifle and it all started with the Henry 1860 Rifle. The lever action rifle will always be identified with the old west and today there are both historic reproductions and modern versions available to the UK shooter.

The earliest American lever action was the 1860 Henry, now available from Henry Krank in its original 44-40 calibre, manufactured by Uberti. For something different there are also versions in .45 Colt, steel frames and handier 18.5-inch barrels all available on our website. Full range of Uberti 1860 Henry Rifles available here.

The firearm that evolved in the Henry rifle started out as a lever action handgun the Volcanic repeating pistol of 1855.

Volcanic repeating pistol of 1855

The 1860 Henry transformed the fortunes of a New Haven, Connecticut shirt maker named Oliver Winchester into one of the worlds oldest and respected firearms manufacturers.

Oliver Winchester

Oliver was a significant investor in the company before acquiring the assets of Volcanic Arms in 1857 when the company became insolvent. Under the new company name of New Haven Arms Company, he continued to sell the volcanic pistols but also tasked his plant superintendent Benjamin Tyler Henry to look at changing the design into a viable, metallic cartridge repeating firearm.

In October 1860, Americas love affair with lever action rifles started when Benjamin filed the patent for a lever action rifle, firing a rimfire 216 lead bullet propelled by a black powder charge of 26-grains. The 1860 had a comparatively short production run totalling 14,000 rifles produced. Production ceased in 1866.

Should you have very deep pockets and manage to source an original, you could expect to pay anything up to £80,000 in todays market. But if you desire to own a piece of American Firearm history then the modern Uberti 1860 Henry reproductions would more than fill the bill.

The rifles are available in both 44/40 and .45 Colt. Calibres that are both readily available has factory rounds or components for the hand loader. Two versions are available, the classic brass framed model and the much rarer iron framed model but in Uberti's case this is manufactured with modern steel.

Supplied with a 24.5 inch richly blued octagonal barrel topped with fixed front sight and flip up rear ladder sight with a v shaped notch for shorter distances.

Two noticeable features on the 1860 Henry are its lack of forend and its magazine arrangement. Modern lever action rifles have a separate tubular magazine mounted under the barrel, however on the Henry the magazine and barrel are machined from a single block of steel. This makes loading a different proposition than using a Kings side loading gate.

The underside of the Henry is slotted, this allows a spring powered magazine follower to protrude below the magazine. Pull the follower back compressing the spring, when fully compressed you can swing the top of the magazine to the left, allowing access to the magazine. Rounds are dropped in base first whilst holding the rifle at an angle to slow the descent of the round.

Once the 13 rounds in the case of the 44-40 are loaded swing the top of the magazine back and gently lower the follower. This means that when shooting the rifle and working the action to load a new round the follower advances down the magazine tube which may necessitate a change of grip has you come to the last few rounds.

Overall, the Henry has a different feel and operation than the typical lever action rifle but this just adds to the mystique of shooting a truly historic rifle.

Uberti 1860 Henry

Uberti 1860 Henry

Calibre: 44-40

Barrell: 24.5 inches

Weight: Unloaded 9 pounds

Stock: Walnut

Sights: Front blade and ladder rear

Magazine Capacity: 13+1

Full range of Uberti 1860 henry Rifles available to view here.

Full range of Uberti Rifles available here.