A Henry Delay

By Major Van Harl

Henry Big Boy Silver rifle and a Mares Leg pistol in 357 mag
A Henry Big Boy Silver rifle and a Mares Leg pistol in 357 mag, (with a Grassburr Leatherworks holster, grassburr.com) will delay evil.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- In today’s world of modern “black rifles” which have magazines that hold 30 rounds of military grade ammunition, we do not think of the venerable old lever action firearm as a front line battle-rifle.

The truth is, if you step back in history to the US Civil War, you will find that the 1860 Henry lever action rifle, chambered in 44 Henry rimfire, was the first truly modern (and most desired by the troops) repeating rifle used on the battlefield.

The biggest drawback to the Henry rifle in the Civil War was they could not make them fast enough to meet the demands of that war.

In 1866, the Henry rifle production was controlled by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and some changes were made to the original Henry. Make no mistake–it was still a Henry rifle. In fact, in the early days of marketing the Winchester Model 66 lever action rifle, it was marketed as the Henry improved rifle. The Model 66 was manufactured to continue chambering the Henry 44 rimfire cartridge.

At first, nobody knew who Winchester was, but everyone knew what a Henry rifle could do for a shooter in a crisis.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire contracted to have Model 66 lever action rifles built for their army. In the months of July through December of 1877, the Turks held off the massive Russian and Romanian armies at the town of Plevna, Bulgaria. The Turks were outmanned, undersupplied, and had poor leadership, but they had American-made 44 caliber repeating rifles using the improved 1860 Henry action and lots and lots of 44 Henry rimfire ammunition. This was the same combination that the US 7th Illinois Infantry Union forces employed to stop the Confederates every time.

The Turks did not defeat the Russians at Plevna. What they did was delay the Russians at Plevna for almost six months. According to British historian J.P. Taylor, the Plevna Delay was one of the few military engagements which changed the course of history.

The Plevna Delay introduced the American repeating rifle to the European makers of future wars, and they wanted desperately to have these (then) modern repeating battle-rifles for their armies.

There should be no plans on charging headlong into a current 2016 battlefield with a Henry lever action rifle. It is not about the quality or the capability of the different calibers in which Henry produces their rifles. Have you ever heard the phrase “never take a knife to a gun fight?” I would suggest that taking a Henry lever action rifle up against a trained squad of terrorists who are armed with the latest Russian make AK style battle-rifle could get you hurt.

If you are an American soldier or policeman responding to evil, you are not carrying a lever action rifle. You have “our side’s” current self loading battle-rifle in your hands.

But what if, you are the average Wisconsin hunter who has headed out each November for years to take a white tail deer with your Henry lever action rifle, and you don’t own or feel the need to have a “black rifle?” Perhaps you live in one of the states in our Union that have restricted or even banned the AR-15 style “black rifle.”

And then the second question: what if you have evil show up on your front porch and it wants to harm your family?

You either run, hide or fight–which will you be prepared to do?

As a civilian you need to remember you do not have to stop the evil if you can avoid it. Cops and military are trained to stop evil, but you may someday be required to delay evil. If you hide, but cannot be guaranteed your survival from evil, you may still have to run or fight, or run and fight at the same time.

Assuming there are Henry lever action rifles present in your home, might I suggest you grab your Henry Big Boy rifle chambered in one of the four pistol cartridges they are manufactured in, and in doing so find yourself with eleven rounds of evil delaying power. If you have extra Henry rifles and family members to assist, then spread the Henrys around and increase your odds of thinning the herd of “walkers” who may be trying to eat you out of house and home literally.

You need to create a Henry Delay and slow the tide of godless crime that comes to destroy your family.

I do not believe dialing 911 will always save you, but as you dispatch rounds down range to delay the evil, someone needs to call the good guys and invite them to help clean up the mess.

Buffalo Bore HEAVY 357 MAG OUTDOORSMAN Pistol and Handgun Ammo
Buffalo Bore HEAVY 357 MAG OUTDOORSMAN Pistol and Handgun Ammo

But the Henry rifles do not have a loading gate like a lot of the lever action rifles. If you truly cannot re-group for a few seconds behind cover to reload, then turn your Henry rifle in to the slickest and fastest shooting single shot on the market. I can load and shoot single rounds of ammo and reload and re-shoot again faster with a Henry lever action rifle than I can with a break open single shot shotgun.

The point is you are not out of the fight until evil wins and you no longer have the ability to resist. Throw in a handgun chambered in the same caliber as your Henry rifle and you have a force multiplier to enhance your Henry Delay.

Everyone knows the good guys in the cowboy movies all use their lever action rifles to stop evil and save the schoolmarm from harm. The un-suspecting non-gun owning public does not seem to get as upset if you have a “cowboy gun” instead of a “black rifle.” Think ‘hide in plain sight.

Henry makes their Big Boy Steel and Brass lever action rifles in four calibers: 357 mag, 41 mag, 44 mag and 45 Long Colt. Any one of these will stop evil. The 357 Magnum Ammunition will be the least expensive to shoot and, along with the powerful 44 mag, the easiest to find replacement ammo for in a crisis. Buffalo Bore Ammunition (buffalobore.com) makes good and warm ammo in all four of these cartridges that will stop almost anything in the lower-48 (within reason).

Always remember those handgun ballistics you read about will be increased 400-500 FPS when you shoot the above ammo out of a Henry rifle. More energy means more “walkers” don’t get in.

A Henry Delay could mean the difference between life and death and for my family, I choose life, I mean their life.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

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]

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Firepower only means more rounds down range. It doesn’t mean you hit anything. If you do a side by side, “rounds on target” test, the lever gun isn’t “much” slower than a semi-auto. I’m speaking accuracy. Missed bullets don’t stop shi*, HITS do.
I would depend on a quality lever gun to defend my life and that of my family. In fact, I do. In .357 mag and .44 mag, and 45-70………My opinion.

michael Nettrour

Have a 30/30 lever action. Deadly accurate at 150 yds with no scope. The author is correct, you can make them very sorry and wonder what they were thinking.


My Wichester ’94 30-30 was my only deer hunting rifle for many years. Then I got into .308’s and retired the Winchester.


Mr. Imperato…444 Marlin…Pretty please?

Frederick John LaVergne


Love my Henry 45-70. A mean thump to your shoulder but an even bigger thump to the receiver!

Doug 7490

Love my Henry 357.


Not only a fun read but also “many a truth told in jest”. I’ll beat this drum one more time, if only they’d make a model with a side loading gate…..


Roughly calculating the increased muzzle velocity of a handgun round out of a rifle, figure 50-60 fps per inch out to 16 inches. You can then use that number to calculate muzzle energy.