Henry Frontier Model Long Barrel Lever Action with Bowers Group Silencers

Henry Frontier 22 Magnum
Henry Frontier 22 Magnum

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Henry Arms may very well be the undisputed king of lever-action rifles. Just when you think everything has already been done to that platform, they surprise you with something else they had up their sleeves. This time the surprise was the Henry Frontier Model Threaded Barrel in 22 Magnum. A threaded octagon barrel half-magazine carbine had been on our wishlist since we bought our first rimfire suppressor.

Why suppress a lever-action?

One of the quietest platforms for suppressed rifle shooting is the lever-action rifle. It is on par with the bolt action or single shot because the system is completely closed throughout the firing sequence. This makes it far quieter than a semiautomatic rifle because there is no gas system to cycle the bolt and as a byproduct; there is zero backpressure.

Unfortunately, most lever-action rifle barrels do not come threaded from the factory, and a call to a gunsmith who performs this service is in order. In some cases, this also means shortening the magazine tube to give access to the threads.

This problem is compounded when you want to run a rimfire cartridge because those models lack a loading gate and need to load through the front of the tube, which means you have to remove the silencer every time you want to reload the rifle.

Henry Frontier 22 Magnum
Henry Frontier 22 Magnum with Bowers USS 22 Suppressor

Henry Arms released two rimfire Frontier models with 24″ barrels that address both problems we chose the 22 Magnum this time over the 22 S/L/LR version.

Obviously, these rifles ship from the factory with threaded muzzles. The thread pattern is the standard 1/2×28″ threads for rimfire cans that are 0.4″ in length. Secondly, they are built with a shorter magazine tube that allows enough clearance for reloading without removing the suppressor.

22 Magnum

In case you are not familiar, the 22 Magnum cartridge uses bullets of a similar weight to the 22 long rifle but it is considerably faster and shoots flatter and farther with a lot more energy. A 40-grain 22 Magnum at 100 yards has 50% more kinetic energy than a 40-grain 22 LR does at the muzzle. It has an effective range of nearly 150 yards and can effectively kill small game such as rabbits, hares, groundhogs, prairie dogs, foxes, raccoons, and possums. Some shooters have taken coyotes with it.

Ammo .22 Winchester Magnum Hornady Critical Defense, 45 Grain FTX Bullet 50 Round Box
Ammo .22 Winchester Magnum Hornady Critical Defense, 45 Grain FTX Bullet 50 Round Box

The Rifle

We asked for a model in 22 WMR. This is a cartridge that we have been shooting for years, mostly out of revolvers from the diminutive North American Arms pocket revolvers to a Ruger Single Six with a 9.5″ barrel. Guns like that are a lot of fun, but to really tap into the power of the 22 Magnum, you need to run it through a rifle.

Henry Repeating Arms Frontier Threaded Barrel Rifle Magazine Tube
Henry Repeating Arms Frontier Threaded Barrel Rifle Magazine Tube

Unlike most of the Henry rifles we have seen with their shiny brass receivers, the Frontier Model is a bit more subdued with a matte black receiver. Should you want to take one of these hunting for varmints, you could easily paint or Cerakote this receiver to match your terrain.

Cycling is smooth, like just about every Henry rifle we have used in the past. Traditionalists will like the lack of a cross-bolt safety or tang mounted safety. Safety on the Henry Frontier Rifle is by partially cocking the hammer. The way it should be with a lever-action rifle.

Henry Frontier 22 Magnum
Henry Frontier 22 Magnum

The octagon barrel is amazing. This retro style has a lot more going on than in just the looks department. On a caliber like 22 Magnum, it allows the barrel to cool quicker. Initially, we were slightly put off by the longish 24″ barrel, but then we remembered what was probably the real reason why. The Henry Frontier feeds through a magazine tube running the length of the barrel. In order to be able to load the rifle without removing the suppressor, it has to be made shorter than the barrel and this reduces the capacity to 8 rounds from what would normally be 12. Going with a 16″ barrel would cost us 2 or even 3 more rounds. We figured 8 was enough and we could deal with the extra length and weight.

We had two types of 22 Magnum ammunition on hand: Hornady Critical Defense 45 grain FTX (which we typically run through our NAA revolvers) and Hornady V-Max 30 grain JHP (which we typically put through our Ruger Single Six with a 9″ barrel).

The suppressor (or silencer, if you prefer).

We are lucky to have several rimfire suppressors on hand at any given time. Even luckier is the fact that most rimfire silencers can handle the larger and louder 22 Magnum. With a 24″ lever-action rifle weighing in at 7 pounds we were not as concerned with the weight of the can as we were with the length. Using a 6″ or longer suppressor will make your barrel 30″ long and while that’s not bad when shooting squirrels from a rest, most of our shooting would be unsupported, as would most of our readers who want to use this rifle for small game hunting.

Going with the smallest length possible, we chose the Bowers Bitty.

It’s short length and narrow diameter make it look more like a flash suppressor than a sound suppressor.

The Bowers Bitty is about an inch in diameter and measures 2.8″ in overall length. It weighs 2.6 ounces and to my knowledge, it’s the smallest suppressor of its type in production today. This little silencer is rated for 17 HMR, 17 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum), 22 Short, 22 long-rifle, 22 Magnum, 22 Hornet, FN 5.7×28 and for full auto in 22 lr.

Construction consists of a titanium body and spacer, stainless steel Omega baffles, with aluminum end caps. The threads in the mount are aluminum as well.

We wrote an in-depth review of the Bitty back in 2018 on various 22 lr hosts. This time it would tackle the 22 Magnum.

It wasn’t exactly the level of “pellet-gun quiet” as it was on the 22lr. It sounded like a 22 CB cap out of a rifle for comparison purposes.

Bonus can: Bowers USS 22

While we decided that the Bitty would work perfectly for our purposes, we felt it would be a disservice to our readers to not include a look at a longer can for those of you who want to shoot it from a rest or even a bipod. So, we screwed on a Bowers USS (User Serviceable Suppressor).

As a general note. This silencer uses the ATAS insert system for use on different thread patterns. Both our Walther PPK/S and Beretta Model 70 have factory threads at ½ X 20” and we bought thread adapters to bring them up to ½ X 28” which is the rimfire silencer standard thread pattern. With ATAS you can use the original 1/2 x 20 without adding a bulky adapter.

ATAS-Inserts
Bowers ATAS-Inserts

The Bowers USS 22 is a rimfire silencer that was engineered to eliminate first-round pop by using stainless steel baffles. It features eight Omega-style ported baffles and a spacer for the blast chamber. At 6.4″ long and rated for full auto; we find it perfect for silencing a rimfire rifle or pistol. Like the Bity it is rated for everything rim fire including 22 Short, 22 Long, 22 Long Rifle, 22 Magnum, 17 HMR and even centerfire rounds like 22 TCM, 22 Hornet, and FN 5.7 X 28mm.

At 7″ in length and 6.4 ounces in weight, it is almost 3 times the length and weight of the Bowers Bitty. Although it is definitely worth it because the decrease in sound was definitely noticeable when moving from the Bitty to the USS 22.

Accuracy

What really surprised me was how accurate the Hornady Critical Defense was and our typical group with irons at 25 yards was 1.29″. Years of running it through short-barrelled revolvers probably kept me from appreciating the potential in this round.

The Hornady V-Max 30 grain was no slouch either and left me with 1 to 1.4″ groups and I am now looking into placing some glass on this rifle to see if I can do better.

Final thoughts

If you want a lever-action rimfire to suppress, the Henry Frontier Model Threaded Barrel 24″ is what you should be looking at. The 22 lr version will be quieter suppressed and can handle 22 lr, 22 long and 22 short. It will give you 12 rounds of 22 lr or 16 rounds of 22 short at your fingertips. It should be great for target shooting, plinking and capable on small game typically taken with a 22 lr. We did not try that model, but based on what we have seen over the years from Henry, it is a safe bet.

However, if you are looking for something a little higher up the food chain that can take larger small game at almost twice the range, then the Magnum version is the one you want. It has the look of a classic lever design with a threaded barrel and handles well.

The thing that surprised me the most was that even though the Frontier Model is a rimfire, it has the sturdiness and quality of a centerfire rifle. I never once felt like I was handling a rifle designed for a kid.

The only thing that threw me for a loop two or three times was instinctively looking for a loading gate when there was none to be found. That is one of the drawbacks of a lever gun in a rimfire caliber, you have to use the tube to load by the muzzle or you will either deform the ammunition or pop the bullet out of its case if there was a loading gate involved.

Between the Frontier and the Henry X Models, I cannot imagine a lever rifle without a threaded barrel anymore.

Henry Frontier Model Threaded Barrel 24″ Specs

  • Model Number: H001TMSPR
  • Action Type: Lever Action
  • Caliber: 22 WMR
  • Capacity: 8 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 24″
  • Barrel Type: Octagon Blued Steel
  • Rate of Twist: 1 in 16″
  • Overall Length: 42.5″
  • Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Receiver Finish: Black
  • Rear Sight: Fully Adjustable Semi-Buckhorn w/ Diamond Insert
  • Front Sight: Brass Bead
  • Scope mount: 3/8″ Grooved Receiver
  • Stock Material: American Walnut
  • Buttplate/Pad: Plastic
  • Length of Pull: 14″
  • Safety: 1/4 Cock
  • Bbl Threads: 1/2×28″, .4″ long
  • MSRP: $638

Website: https://www.henryusa.com/

Bowers Group Bitty .22 Silencer Specs:

  • Weight:   2.6 oz
  • Length:   2.8”
  • Diameter:  1.0″
  • Caliber Rating: 17 HMR | 17 WSM | 22 Hornet | 22 LR | 22 MAG | 22 TCM | 5.7×28 FN
  • Color: Black
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Build Material: Aluminum | Stainless Steel | Titanium
  • Mount Style: Direct Thread
  • Thread Pitch: 1/2×28
  • User Serviceable: Yes
  • Full-Auto Rated: Yes, on 22 LR
  • MSRP: $325
  • Website: https://bowersgroup.com/

Bowers Group USS 22 Specs:

  • Weight:   7 oz
  • Length:   6.4”
  • Diameter:  1.0″
  • Caliber Rating: 17 HMR | 17 WSM | 22 Hornet | 22 LR | 22 MAG | 22 TCM | 5.7×28 FN
  • Color: Black
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Build Material: Aluminum | Stainless Steel | Titanium
  • Mount Style: Direct Thread
  • Thread Pitch: 1/2×28
  • User Serviceable: Yes
  • Full-Auto Rated: Yes, on 22 LR
  • MSRP: $495
  • Website: https://bowersgroup.com/

About Mike SearsonMike Searson

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for several magazines, websites, and newsletters, including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

  • Home page: www.mikesearson.com
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Idadho
Idadho(@idadho)
1 year ago

Did I miss the part where you reported the sound difference between each ammo brand suppressed and unsupressed?