Henry Big Boy – Gun Review

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Beautiful And Deadly Henry Big Boy And Deer Grenades

Henry Big Boy Rifle .44 Magnum Barrel
Beautiful And Deadly Henry Big Boy Rifle .44 Magnum
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)-  Beautiful and deadly, it sounds like the title to a 1930s era black & white B-grade private detective movie.

What I am talking about is a Henry Repeating Arms 44 mag lever action rifle.

I know “beautiful” is not a very manly word to use to describe a firearm, but the Henry Big Boy Rifle in.44 Magnum I had in my hands, is a mighty fine looking lever gun.

I have to let you know up front I am biased. The first new store-bought rifle, (not some hand me down or military surplus firearm) I ever purchased was a 44 mag rifle.

I believe every man needs to own and hang onto a 44 mag rifle. I have had 44 mag rifles in the lever action form, single shot, shotguns with 44 mag inserts and TC Contenders made into single shot rifles. I have matching handguns in 44 mag–one of those American western traditions.

However, until Mike Arts, at Shooter Sports Center in Racine WI (shootersonline.com) presented me with, and I opened the box, I had never had my hands on a really good looking 44 mag rifle.

Henry Big Boy Rifle
Henry Big Boy Rifle

Henry Big Boy Rifle

The light started reflecting off the Henry Big Boy brass receiver as I pulled back the paper the rifle was wrapped in. The wood to metal finish on this rifle is excellent. The Henry Big Boy has a gorgeous hunk of wood on it.

So many rifles today either have a plastic stock or what I call a “pressed banana wood” stock where they use a brown magic marker to make the alleged wood appear to have some character.

It is actually almost a little intimidating or sacrilegious to envision taking this manly, yet handsome firearm into the woods and perhaps get a scratch on it.

Henry Big Boy Rifle in.44 Magnum Barrel
Henry Big Boy Rifle in.44 Magnum Barrel

I have another lever action Brand-X rifle in 44 mag and it is almost two pounds lighter than the Henry. The octagon barrel on the Henry surely adds to the weight, but the weight makes the felt recoil just that much more manageable.

This is a fun gun to shoot. The action is extremely smooth and allows for very rapid cycling of the next round. The rifle has a tube fed magazine that is different than the other lever action rifles I have, which have a side loading gate on them. Once you have loaded your Henry a couple of times you realize it is in fact easier and quicker to reload the rifle through the tube. It holds ten rounds and one in the chamber, so you are never short of ammunition to take the second, third or fourth shot.

The brass receiver was puzzling to me. I thought brass was soft., so I wanted to know about the brass question and followed up with that question to Henry Arms.

Anthony Imperato, the President of Henry Repeating Arms told me “We use what we call HARDENED BRASS, which has the same tensile and yield strength as steel.”

Good enough for me.

Tim Sundles of Buffalo Bore Ammo (www.buffalobore.com) advised me his ammo would work very well in the Henry. Buffalo Bore has a 270 gr. JFN round (4C/20) that should meet all your needs in the lower 48 States. If you live in a state that restricts you to hunting with lead-less bullets then the 225 gr Barnes XPB round (4L/20 ) will fill that requirement for you.

Henry Big Boy Lever in Action Rifle
Henry Big Boy Lever in Action Rifle

The one that caught my attention was the Buffalo Bore 240 gr soft cast (4F/20) 44 mag +P round, affectionately named the Deer Grenade. It was designed for the deer hunter in mind. In fact if you happen to have a Henry Big Boy lever gun in 45 Long Colt then there is also a 45 Colt + P Deer Grenade round (3K/20).

For those of you who hunt in states that allow you to use rifles, chambered in pistol based cartridges, in shotgun only areas (Indiana comes to mind), Henry Repeating Arms/HRA has a battery of long guns for you. HRA chambers the Big Boy in 44 mag, 45 Long Colt and 357 mag. They all weight the same.

I would suggest having a Big Boy in 357 mag shooting 38 Special could become an addictive plinker replacement for a 22 LR rifle.

In today’s ammo buying world, you can find 38 special ammo easier then 22 LR.

When I first pulled the Henry out of the box the Colonel said “OH-shiny.” Yes I would say there is a little “bling” with the sparkling brass receive, butt plate and barrel ban, but the real “bling” is the excellent quality of this repeating rifle.

Mr. Imperato’s rifle and Mr. Sundles ammo will put meat on the table and keep evil back from the door. Both will do this with superior workmanship and style. Again, I truly believe every man needs to own a 44 mag rifle, and I believe the Henry Big Boy will fill this void in every man or woman’s life.

Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum Rifle
Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum Rifle

Both the rifle and the ammunition are made in America. In fact Henry is making rifles right here in Wisconsin. Sometimes you just cannot and should not outsource quality to third world production.

Visit HenryRifles.com for more info and images of the Henry Big Boy Rifle in.44 Magnum.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.: Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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I have six Henry’s a 22 22 golden boy 22 mag a big boy 357 mag and a 3030 I bought a single shot 308 but did not get to shot it the lever to break it open is plastic and broke before I got it to the pond so think I will stick to the lever guns love them


Will The Henry Shoot and handle the Underwood and Buffalo bore high pressure rounds 300 grains and higher? I am planing on shooting those rounds please answer. thanks.


You will have no problems with Underwood or Buffalo Bore. The handloads I load are extremely hot, much hotter than either of the above, and I have had no trouble. I actually ran out of case capacity, when loading the 300gr Hornady XTP in Starline brass, and the only signs of pressure was a slightly flattened primer. I checked the empty cases with calipers and there were no abnormalities.


i want a 44 mag rifle that can shoot the hot Underwood and Buffalo bore loads over300 gr. Can a Henry do it for me? I have noticed that no one has answered that question concerning heavier hotter loads thru a Henry.

Joseph T Melton

Ok guy what do you use to clean the brass on your big boys


Can a 44mag 300 grain bullet fire in a Henry BIG BOY 44mag lever action Rifle


I have a 357 Henry Rifle, at 50 yd I can put 5 out of 5 in the size quarter and at 100 yd in good light I will put 3 out of 5 in same. This is the best gun I have with open sights, smooth action and shots the same ever time. I also have this in 22 but the 357 shot best for me.

Mark DeHaven

I have one of the first generation Big Boys in .44Mag with a Leupold Ultimate Slam 3-9×40 scope on it. The yardage marks on the reticle work well with that caliber. I handload extremely hot rounds for it using Starline brass, Hodgen H110 powder, Winchester Large Pistol Magnum primers, and Hornady 300gr XTP Bullets. It loves the combination with 3 shot groups of less than a inch at 100yds and around 2.5″ at 200yds. That load chronographs at 1850fps at 15yds and if you zero on at 125 yards, only drops about 16″ at 200yds. It is a deer, hog,… Read more »

Mike Scott

When are you going to start making the big boy in 460 smith or 454 casual. I have the 44 mag and it is a fine built weapon


Thinking about a Henry rifle. Don’t know if I should go 357 mag or 44 mag any thoughts?


I went with the .44 because I thought it gave me better options if pressed into a hunting role, but even reloading my own ammo, the .357/.38 is just so much cheaper to shoot. Especially if you plan to shoot it often at the range, which will likely happen since these guns are so much fun to shoot. I’d say if you can afford the ammo, go with the .44, otherwise the .357/.38 is probably the better option.

Edwin Johnson

I have the 44 mag big boy and it is a pleasure to shoot 240 grain bullets 150 yards out and hit the target. Which happens to be a Styrofoam float from an old crabtrap. I do use a 3x9x40 scope. This is a very accurate and fun shooting rifle no matter what your shooting at. Can’t go wrong with the 44. Recoil is minimum with the octagonal barrel. I reload my own bullets so it’s cheap to plunk. 44 mag is also easy to reload.

Hilton McConnell

I ordered a Henry single shot rifle in steel, 44 mag, still waiting for it. Has any one gut one yet and how dose it shoot.
I am looking forward to getting it and hoping every day I will get a call saying it came in. Love single shot rifles but the weight is just too long.
Hope they will make it in 444 marlin so I can use the same bullet just a lot more powder , 44 for practice and small game and 444 for mouse.

vincent boyle

I just purchased the BIG BOY 44 in steel for my son as a gift for graduation from HS and acceptance to College. Any suggestions as to the best ammo to use, manufacturer wise ? Thanx…. GOD Bless, Be Safe………..Vincent


My .44 carbine seems to like almost all factory ammo between 180-240grs. Still not sure how accurate the 305gr bullets are. My range only goes up to 25 yards and at that distance, they seem to be fine. The only thing this gun absolutely hates are .44 Special loads, especially Hornady FTX. Shots are all over the place even at close range.

vincent boyle

Thank You. I have not even seen 305grs. 240grs have fired well for me via hand gun and my other carbine – Ruger 96 – Love that rifle. Such a pleasure to fire – dead on accurate right out of the box !. However, I wanted my son – who also loves to hunt with it, To have something of his own. Your reply is greatly appreciated. GOD Bless, Be safe………………Vincent

Morgan Orlins

I have a .38/.357 Henry steel Big Boy, and it’s a PLEASURE to shoot! At 50 yds it’s groups are practically inside a silver dollar. At 100 yds. the groups are 5-7 inches. I imagine if I cluttered it up with a basic 5x scope I could do a LOT better with it at 100 yds. especially with my old eyes? But the gun is SO pretty, why would I do such a thing?




Their 22 rifles are crap. Brass covered receiver, terrible fit and finish, “blueing” looks like it was painted on, just cheap everywhere. I wanted one until I handled a few. I spent the extra money on a 9422.


Really? Both of mine are awesome and tack drivers. Call customer services they’ll be happy to make it right.


Has anyone tried the HSM 305gr WFN “Bear Load” with their .44 carbines? I have a surpply of these and I do prefer the heavier bullets for hunting. I’m told th slower twist with these rifles might be a problem. Thanks.

Anthony Doorey

Hi, What the max range of 44 magnum have purchased one for Target shooting in UK ?

Leo Smith

I just purchased the 44 Big Boy .out of the box I hit paper at 100 yds. It’s recoil is less than my shotguns. It is the beginning of a beutiful relationship.

Mick Landon

First I would like to say that Henry stands behind their products. They were quick to fix my problem with my 17cal.
I purchased a Big Boy 44 mag and mounted a Leupold 3x9x40 scope on it and at 100 yds I have a group of 3 within a 50 cent piece. The gun not only is accurate but it is well built and is absolutely beautiful. Most of all it is fun to shoot. Thanks Henry,
A customer for life

Mick Landon

Charles L Raymond

Hello: Mr. Imperato. I ordered your catalog and decal back in June this year and have not received one yet. I have since bought a silver boy .22, a brass 30 30 h009b and now your .44 mag brass rifle. These rifles are so beautiful and shoot so well,that it is an addiction to want own them all! I just ordered the brass Skinner peep sight that goes in the dovetail for the 30 30. I also bought a Marlin 1895 22″ 45 70 first. I wish I had waited and went with your brass 45 70 rifle! Thanks for… Read more »


just bought my first Henry 44 Magnum big boy and the guy is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately right after bringing it home and cleaning this beautiful gun the end of the barrel has the bluing scratched off down to the metal so I called Henry rifles and the CEO Tom emailed me and said he was sorry I had the problem with the weapon and they are right now getting ready for me to ship the web and back and says something a lot about a company when the CEO is dropping you emails. But like the gentleman said yes I… Read more »

Rafael Perez Bachs

What about the 45 Long Colt for the Henry Big Boy rifle? A lot said about the 357 and 44 mags, but very little about the 45 LC.


My husband bought 44mag. I Shot it and loved it. I have a 38 special pistol. I’m Getting a 357 mag. Can’t wait. Awesome rifle. Everyone should own one. Support American made products. They are quality made.


My first 44 mag rifle. Henry does it right. First shot hit a 12 oz can at 50 yds. Second shot same result. Awesome!!! Enough said……


My bride bought me the .44 Big Boy for my 44th Birthday (sorry guys she’s taken!) and I, too, struggled with it being too beautiful to take into the woods. I’m over it and can’t wait to harvest my first MI whitetail with it. Truly the finest rifle I’ve ever owned…and we’ve added a .22 MAG Henry for my son:)


I recently bought a Henry Big Boy in .38/.357 I absolutely love this rifle, shoots flat right out of the box, I would recommend one to everyone out there. I went .38/.357 just because I already have several firearms that use these rounds and nothing in .44 (yet)


The Henry rifle is one fine looking gun, this is one that not only has the looks but is also accurate so all the way around an excellent rifle to have.


The new Henry Single shot rifle in 44 magnum is a 1 in 20 twist if you want to be able to stabilize 300 gr + lead boolits. i get why the 1 nin 38 twist is used. It seems to make more sense To get longer range, flatter shooting out of a 265 gr boolit than Muzzle loader trajectory. The 44 mag is great within its range, but to think it needs a bigger heavier boolit is to ignore the fact you need a 444 Marlin or a 45-70 to get that kind of performance at 150 yards.i have… Read more »