RE­NAIS­SANCE RI­FLE

THE HENRY BIG BOY ALL-WEATHER OF­FERS UP TRUE VER­SA­TIL­ITY LIKE NO OTHER RI­FLE.

Gun World - - Contents - By Gar­rett Lu­cas

When most peo­ple think ver­sa­til­ity, they think AR. But the Henry Big Boy All-Weather cham­bered in .44 Mag/SPL of­fers true ver­sa­til­ity like no other ri­fle.

Ionce knew a man who wore many hats. He was an en­tre­pre­neur, run­ning a nice pay-to-fish lake be­hind his house. He had all the tackle you needed, and cold drinks were al­ways stocked in the cooler. Cokes were a nickel, and he al­ways had Kit Kats on hand.

He ran a restau­rant, was a scrap metal wheeler-dealer, owned a con­struc­tion com­pany for more than 40 years and be­came a Freewill Bap­tist preacher.

He was my grand­fa­ther. His name was Ira, and he never met a stranger. He called him­self a “jack-of-all-trades and mas­ter of none.” Oth­ers might have called him a Re­nais­sance man.

The lessons in­stilled in me by my grand­fa­ther in­cluded:

Never start work un­til you know what you’re get­ting paid. Al­ways be ready to adapt. Be the best at what you do. Be­ing ver­sa­tile is the spice of life.

As a prep­per, I em­ploy those lessons al­most ev­ery day, and they give me a unique per­spec­tive on how to ap­proach acquisitions, whether for the field or for stock­ing up at home.

That was prob­a­bly the rea­son I took a lik­ing to the new Henry Re­peat­ing Arms’ All-Weather Big Boy that was re­cently in­tro­duced to the mar­ket.

When I ac­quire sur­vival gear, one of the most im­por­tant as­pects I con­sider is whether or not the tool or item serves more than one pur­pose. This of­ten saves money by pre­clud­ing the need to pur­chase some­thing else, and it cuts down on the space re­quired to store mul­ti­ple items when just one will do.

Firearms also have to pass this lit­mus test, although it’s been awhile since I’ve found one that checks as many boxes as the new Henry Big Boy All-Weather. Henry makes some of the finest lever-ac­tion ri­fles on the mar­ket; yet, the Big Boy All-Weather falls into its “work­ing gun” cat­e­gory. It’s built to be a rough and tough tool that holds up to the el­e­ments but still re­tains that bit of class that per­vades the lin­eage of Henry ri­fles to this day.

THE ALL-WEATHER BIG BOY

Af­ter build­ing its All-Weather se­ries of full-power ri­fles, in­clud­ing one in 45/70 and one in .30/.30, Henry thought there was a mar­ket for such a model in the pis­tol-cal­iber realm of ri­fles. Henry was right: The Big Boy All-Weather, like its brethren, is fin­ished with a hard-chrome plat­ing that Henry claims moves its lever-ac­tion ri­fles into “next-gen” sta­tus.

ONE THING THAT SUR­PRISED ME WAS HOW SOFT THE RI­FLE WAS WHILE SHOOT­ING THE .44 MAG­NUM

LOADS.

It’s tough to con­sider a lever ac­tion as a next-gen firearm, but there’s no ques­tion­ing the build qual­ity of Henry’s lat­est of­fer­ing. In ad­di­tion to the fin­ish on the metal parts, Henry also im­bues the wood with a tough, mois­ture-re­sis­tant in­dus­trial fin­ish. With th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions, the All-Weather se­ries of ri­fles can stand up to in­clement weather and take a lit­tle ne­glect if set in a cor­ner or thrown into the back of a truck cab.

Un­like the Big Boys that sport the brass and al­loy sil­ver re­ceivers, the All-Weather model’s re­ceiver is made of steel. It has a 20-inch bar­rel, yet it only tips the scale at 7 pounds.

This is a wel­come at­tribute. The Big Boy Sil­ver I re­viewed in the past weighed 8.68 pounds. While it is a great ri­fle, the oc­tag­o­nal bar­rel helps make it heav­ier than it needs to be. The All-Weather Big Boy has a round bar­rel and is much eas­ier to tote around.

Ad­di­tional at­tributes sim­i­lar to other Big Boy mod­els in­clude a 10-round mag­a­zine tube, a brass bead front sight and a semi-

buck­horn rear sight with di­a­mond in­sert. It also uti­lizes a rub­ber re­coil pad with a 14-inch length of pull, and it’s drilled and tapped to ac­cept a scope—for those who dare to com­mit the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­lege. (More on that later.)

The over­all length of the Big Boy All-Weather is 37.5 inches. It comes with swivel studs for a sling and in­cor­po­rates Henry’s trans­fer bar safety. All in all, th­ese are pretty sim­i­lar specs to other Big Boys, ex­cept for the All-Weather changes that were made.

The Big Boy All-Weather is avail­able in sev­eral cal­ibers, in­clud­ing .357 Mag­num/.38 Spe­cial, .45 Colt and .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial. The sam­ple I re­ceived was the .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial va­ri­ety; and, as it turns out, it’s the ideal cal­iber for the All-Weather plat­form—at least in my opin­ion.

VER­SA­TILE IS AS VER­SA­TILE DOES

One of the things that in­stantly drew me to the .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial ver­sion of the Big Boy All-Weather is its in­cred­i­ble ver­sa­til­ity. For those who are look­ing for a one-size-fits-all so­lu­tion in a ri­fle, this ver­sion might be the an­swer.

First off, the all-weather as­pect stands out on its own mer­its. Be­ing able to carry and use the ri­fle in rain, sleet and snow with­out hav­ing to worry about the fin­ish or the on­set of cor­ro­sion is a def­i­nite plus. It also makes this ri­fle a per­fect can­di­date for a truck gun around the farm or ranch or even in the sub­urbs. Augmenting the ver­sa­til­ity ex­po­nen­tially is the .44-cal­iber cham­ber­ing in the Big Boy All-Weather. This cal­iber al­lows the user to ex­ploit a wide va­ri­ety of loads for any­thing from small- to medium-game hunt­ing on up to pro­tec­tion from large preda­tors such as moun­tain li­ons or black bears. With the right load, it could do a num­ber on a griz­zly, as well (but your “mileage may vary” in that re­gard).

In con­trast to the .357 Mag­num and the .45 Colt mod­els, the .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial model makes more sense—es­pe­cially for those who don’t reload. Soft-shoot­ing cow­boy loads or sim­i­lar rounds can be used for small game, while a hard-cast 305-grain load from a com­pany such as Buf­falo Bore can as­sist in tak­ing large and/or dan­ger­ous game.

Granted, both the .45 Colt and .357/.38 Spe­cial mod­els also have a de­cent range of load­ings, but the top end of .357 Mag­num isn’t quite as de­ci­sive as .44 Mag­num. Ad­di­tion­ally, the .45 Colt will usu­ally re­quire the skills of a reloader to en­joy the full range that is avail­able to the .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial cal­iber—not to men­tion that .44 Mag­num is more read­ily avail­able than .45 Colt when buy­ing off the shelf nowa­days.

One of­ten-over­looked as­pect of the lever gun is its ef­fec­tive­ness as a self-de­fense ri­fle. For peo­ple in states that ban “black guns,” a Big Boy lever-ac­tion ri­fle will put 10 rounds of highly ef­fec­tive hol­low points at your dis­posal in a much more “po­lit­i­cally cor­rect” pack­age.

Com­pared with a hand­gun, launch­ing a .44 Mag­num round out of a 20-inch bar­rel gives it a nice ve­loc­ity bump, mak­ing it a great self-de­fense round. Even the softer-shoot­ing .44

Spe­cial will get a nice ve­loc­ity in­crease if you’re wor­ried about over­pen­e­tra­tion with a mag­num load.

To top this off, with a lit­tle prac­tice, very fast fol­low-up shots can be ob­tained with a lever-ac­tion ac­tion ri­fle if more suit­able de­fen­sive ri­fles are not avail­able in your ju­ris­dic­tion.

Even fac­tor­ing in pop­u­lar, mod­ern sport­ing ri­fles, the Big Boy All-Weather holds up quite nicely in the ver­sa­til­ity depart­ment. Imag­ine try­ing to take small game with a 5.56 or a .308. For that mat­ter, try to en­vi­sion de­fend­ing against a black bear with a 5.56. That’s not the first cal­iber I’d turn to for that kind of work.

Sure, it can be done with larger cal­ibers such as the .308 or 6.5mm Creedmoor, but then, you are get­ting into larg­er­framed ri­fles that weigh a good deal more than the 7-pound

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

CAL­IBER: .44 Mag­num/Spe­cial (also avail­able in .357 Mag­num and .45 Colt)

BAR­REL: 20 inches

OVER­ALL LENGTH: 37.5 inches WEIGHT: 7 pounds STOCK/GRIPS: Amer­i­can wal­nut with mois­ture-re­sis­tant fin­ish

SIGHTS: Semi-buck­horn; front brass bead AC­TION: Lever

FIN­ISH: Hard chrome plat­ing

CA­PAC­ITY: 10 rounds

MSRP: $999.95

CON­TACT IN­FOR­MA­TION

HENRY RE­PEAT­ING ARMS (201) 858-4400 www.Hen­ryUSA.com

The beau­ti­ful crosshatch­ing that adorns the front strap em­pha­sizes the grip’s oval shape, mak­ing it a very com­fort­able high­ca­pac­ity pis­tol to shoot. (Photo: Steve Woods) Keep­ing the ri­fle mounted against the shoul­der while work­ing the ac­tion al­lows the user to ac­quire much faster fol­low-up shots for self-de­fense.

The Henry Big Boy All-Weather han­dles and shoots well, even off-hand. This five-shot group was fired off-hand at 50 yards in fewer than 6 sec­onds while the au­thor used SIG Sauer’s Elite V-Crown load.

Henry sells a Pi­catinny rail for the Big Boy se­ries of ri­fles. This al­lows for mount­ing dif­fer­ent types of op­tics, such as this Lu­cid M7 red dot.

The Big Boy All-Weather comes with a wal­nut forend and a semibuck­horn sight, as well as a sling swivel stud.

A fea­ture of the Henry Big Boy in .44 Mag­num in­cludes a brass bead

front sight and a 10-round mag­a­zine tube.

The stock comes with a rub­ber re­coil pad and, like the forend, it has an in­dus­trial coat­ing to pro­vide mois­tur­ere­sis­tance.

Thanks to the rub­ber re­coil pad, even heav­ier loads of­fer up lit­tle felt re­coil for the user.

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