By Major Van Harl
Van gives us his first impressions of the all new Henry Repeating Arms Long Ranger Rifle .
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- It was over a year ago while visiting the Henry Wisconsin firearms manufacturing plant in Rice Lake, Wisconsin I saw my first Henry Long Ranger, 308 Win, lever action rifle. Now mind you it was not a completed rifle. I was handed a barreled action and a butt stock. My very first question was could you cut the barrel shorter, thread the end and can you use a high capacity magazine?
It was not even a completed rifle and like so many others who have a Henry product in their hands and a Henry senior manager in their presence I had to start making suggestions. The folks at Henry Wisconsin were polite and I understood they are never short of people making suggestions about their rifles.
Everyone has an opinion on how to change something, Henry has the vision to create and what Henry creates is beautiful (manly) quality made firearms.
Enter the Henry Repeating Arms Long Ranger Rifle
Henry Repeating Arms has two manufacturing operations, one in New Jersey and the other one in Wisconsin, the Badger state. While some of the Henry firearms are manufactured at both plants, the new Henry Repeating Arms Long Ranger Rifle is Wisconsin born and raised.
The Long Ranger is a lever action rifle but it has a box magazine that allows the use of modern, center fire rifle cartridges. The first cartridges that the Long Ranger will be chambered in are, 308 Win , 243 Win and 223 Rem. There will be more calibers added in the future I was advised.
Please understand the value and advantage to owning a rifle in 308 Win. Virtually every military/country outside of the old communist world has a 308 Win/7.62 NATO firearm in their inventory. It is an excellent all around cartridge and the ammo is everywhere.
In my old age I hunt very little, so I don't feel the need to lug a heavy rifle with me everywhere, but I do lug a rifle with me everywhere I go (“walkers” they are everywhere). So, I want my rifles short and light. The new Henry Long Ranger is seven pounds. It is light, has a great balance and the lever action is really slick and smooth.
To answer the question about a high capacity magazines for the “Ranger,” there are none and the position of the lever moving forward when you cycle the rifle would preclude a magazine extending below the action. As to the threaded shortened barrel, why yes of course they can. There just needs to be a consumer driven market demand. You scout rifle people take a close look at this rifle.
I am thinking a 16 1/2 inch threaded barrel with Skinner peep sights, a couple of extra magazines in the pocket for quick reloading and a name like the Henry Long Ranger “Badger Scout” rifle. There I go with that suggestion thing again.
If you think because the “Ranger” is a lever gun that you will have to compromise your accuracy for this light fast-shooting rifle, that would be incorrect. The “Ranger” is well thought-out and it has to be able to hold its own ground in the accuracy world of the bolt action. If you want to compete with the bolt action rifle manufactures, you cannot do that just on good looks and the cowboy image of a lever action rifle.
The “Ranger” has a gear driven action. The first thing I spotted when I picked up that action over a year ago was the 6 lugs on the end of the bolt face. As I looked at the chamber of the barrel I saw where and how these lugs locked into that chamber. I looked at that the senior Henry management engineer and he was smiling. Yes, this was a major part of the overall design of the “Ranger” to make the new Wisconsin-built Henry not only able to compete with bolt guns, but surpass them in accuracy.
The first Henry Long Ranger rifles where shipped with no iron sights (H014). A base is included to mount a scope on the action. The reason for the name Long Ranger, is this Henry rifle is designed to reach out and touch the target. If you have plans to build yourself a new bolt action hunting platform and mount a multi powered scope on that rifle, take a first look at the “Ranger.”
Now if you want the traditional lever action “out west“, easy to hand carry up a mountain, fast to get on target, and still reach out those extra 100s of yards that your 30-30 or 45/70 lever gun cannot do, get the “Ranger” (H014S) with the iron sights. It is also drilled and tapped for a scope so in our senior years you can improve your long range odds of success.
For those of you who are students of WWII history you know the story of the Doolittle Raid, where American land-based bombers flew off a Navy aircraft carrier. When asked by the press where the plans came from and not wanting to let that classified information out, President Roosevelt told the world the planes came from a secret base called Shangri-La. Nobody ever found that base or the alleged secret supply of planes.
Shangri-La, my friends, is where Anthony Imperato the President of Henry Repeating Arms allegedly keeps the wood that he uses to produce the stocks for Henry rifles. I think there is a special “stash” of wood set aside for the Henry Long Rangers. Every “Ranger” I have seen has gorgeous wood on it. No plastic stocks on these fine lever guns.
Dependability and strength with class is how I would sum up the new Henry Repeating Arms, Long Ranger.
Remember, the corner of Henry Ave and Quality Ave is a real place found in the State of Wisconsin, (God's Country) and that state is where you find the first home of the Henry Long Ranger lever action rifle. The second home for the “Ranger” should be your address.
Henry Rifles is an innovator and a stand out leader in the American firearms industry. Their quality attests to that. As I learned in my old Army Infantry days, Rangers lead the way.
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]