Henry Big Boy Steel .357 Magnum Rifle – Video Review

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- One of the small pleasures that I enjoy when going to the range or the in-law's place in the boonies is taking some time to unwind with a lever action. Often I take my Henry Frontier .22lr lever-gun or the Henry .357 Mag / .38 Special lever-gun with me to end the shooting day on a pleasurable note. Something about the uncomplicated experience that puts my mind at ease and relaxes me after a long day at the range trying to make every shot count.

Note: The slight rust speckles on the rifle are entirely my fault. While at the in-laws I left the rifle in a soft case under my locked Diamondback tonneau cover not thinking about how humid it was. Had the rifle been oiled or kept in a place that was not 95% humidity, it would have been fine. 

The light speckling of rust was totally my fault for leaving it under my Diamondback cover in extremely humid weather.

Features & First Impressions

When I pulled the Henry Big Boy Steel out of the box, I was taken by surprise at how much nicer it was than I expected. It isn't like I expected the rifle to be crappy, I just didn't expect the fit and finish to be as nice as it is on their rather basic Big Boy model.

I chose the Big Boy Steel over the prettier models because I intended to use this as a woods gun when at the in-law's place in south-central Arkansas. Why? Because of the lack of reflection and maintaining the black receiver should be easier.

The receiver on my Big Boy Steel is nicely finished.

Something else that I was rather surprised about is the overall quality of the wood and checkering. I kind of expected the wood to be a bit loose or look a bit on the cheap side but was pleasantly surprised to find the wood was tight and has some nice grain pattern to it.

The checkering on the forend is top notch.

The rear stock on the rifle was nice and tight just like the forend with an even nicer grain pattern to it. Henry didn't skimp on the checkering either, it should be pretty grippy when my hands are sweaty or wet.

The wood on my Big Boy is nothing short of stellar for a rifle under a grand.

The rear sight on the Henry Big Boy Steel is a semi-buckhorn style sight with a diamond insert to make lining up the sights fast and easy.

The rear semi-buckhorn sight has a diamond insert in it.

The front sight has some nice seriations on the face of the sight to keep glare down. The gold bead is really easy to acquire when shouldering the rifle and should be nice for those times that I need to take a snapshot.

The front sight has a gold bead for easy acquisition.

The Henry Big Boy Steel uses a tube magazine that is loaded by turning the knurled knob at the end and removing the plunger tube enough to expose the loading port in the bottom of the magazine tube.

The Henry Big Boy Steel uses a knurled knob to remove the magazine tube insert.

Range Time

As I mentioned earlier in the article, one of my favorite things to do when relaxing after a long range say is plinking with a lever gun. I often plop down at the 100-yard bench and take pot shots at a steel plate to clear my head before the drive home.

I found that the rifle is more than adequately accurate on a man size target at 100 yards and I don't feel like I would have a hard time connecting at distances more in line with those I would encounter in the thick Arkansas woods.

Winding down after a long-range day with a lever gun is just flat out fun.

Recoil is light and pleasant even with hot .357 mag ammo loaded in the 10-shot tube. Shooting .38 special is even more pleasant than the .357 mag and has become a favorite of my wife when we are out at her folk's place.

Time In The Woods

Am I insane for relying on a .357 Mag in the woods? I don't think so. My friends over at The Truth About Guns wrote a wonderful post comparing a .357 Mag levergun to a .30-30 that makes a strong case for the higher capacity, lower recoil, and almost equally effective pistol round. I won't spoil the article for you, but rest assured that the .357 mag pack one hell of a punch out of a 20″ barrel.

The Henry Big Boy Steel weighs in at a pretty svelt 7 pounds making it rather easy to tote around the woods to either plink at whatever random crap I might come across while enjoying the outdoors or to kill small to medium game. I normally pair it with an Uncle Mike sling that has a large rubber shoulder pad to keep the sling in place that I have had for years. I have to admit, after carting this rifle around the woods for a while, I am not sure I would be happy with anything else.

The .357 Mag Henry Big Boy is a great lightweight companion in the woods when visiting the in-laws for plinking or dispatching some pigs.

Conclusion

This rifle is one that I will never get rid of. It is handy, utilitarian, fun to shoot, accurate, and good looking all for a street price that seems to hover in the same range as an alright AR. The MSRP for the Big Boy Steel is $893, but don't let that dissuade you, remember how I mentioned that the street price is more in line with a middle of the road AR?

I honestly feel this is a rifle that has an heirloom quality and you could proudly hand over to your kid when they are old enough to appreciate it. While I might be a bit rough on my Big Boy Steel, I have every bit of faith that it is going to outlast me by a long margin.

You can find more information about the Henry Big Boy Steel lineup on the Henry Repeating Arms website or the product page for the Big Boy Steel.


About Patrick R.Patrick Roberts

Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.

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willy dRooster CogburnScotty GunnJ. R. BernardDon McDougall Recent comment authors
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willy d
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willy d

RC. did you get up on the wrong side of the bed or are you just that miserable all of the time? If you think so highly of one gun spend your money on it, I enjoy my Henry, I enjoy other guns and shoot them, some are better than others, but it is a hobby, as each of us has, some good some bad, but learn to take somebody that has never owned or shot a gun out to a range and teach them how to safely handle and shoot a gun for the first time, you will surprise… Read more »

Rooster Cogburn
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Rooster Cogburn

The muzzle is not crowned and there will be damage to some’s bore at muzzle. The rear sight elevator is cheap and could cause problems, eventually.It is just folded sheet metal. The early lever actions, Winchester as an example had a hood which protected sight in brush and from hanging in saddle scabbards as well a better sight picture in bright light. A good idea still. The hammer is not pleasing and suggestive of a cheap casting. Wood looks good. I hope the barrel is screwed in so the front sight is square . Son’s Henry 22 Octagon barrel is… Read more »

J. R. Bernard
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J. R. Bernard

I Gave My Godchild A Yellow One For Xmas!!! Haven’t See Hide Or Hair Of Him Or His Family Sence. His Dad Said, Where’s MineMine, Godfather??? You Know I Like Hunt Too!!!.

Scotty Gunn
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Scotty Gunn

The Tornader done moved their trailer across the highway. Did you look yonder for them?

Don McDougall
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Don McDougall

So come on – at 100 meters how big was the group?

willy d
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willy d

Picky, Picky about a Butt Plate, I have the exact same gun and have had it for over 2 years, works great and I got it for the same reason it is a field gun, and very accurate, only one problem with it when I got it and by calling the factory problem solved, using 150 grain 357 rounds were fine but when trying to feed 125 grain 38spl’s not to good, factory recommended matching a 150 grain 38spl round for my problem, since doing that problem solved, great gun and fun to shoot and Henry was very knowledgeable about… Read more »

MadMax
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MadMax

Why such a big ole shotgun butt pad otherwise its still butt ugly and needless for a light recoiling 357/38!