USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Colonel and I were watching a Netflix miniseries this past week called “Godless”. The series came out in 2017. It is a western-themed series that takes place in 1884 in a mining town in New Mexico. The moviemaking people did not get all the handguns and shotguns period correct, but from what I could tell they got all the rifles correct. There were no 1894 Winchesters incorrectly used in a series taking place in 1884.
“Godless” revolves around a catastrophic mining accident that kills almost all the men in the town. For two years there is only the surviving women and a few old men trying to live in the town.
In “Godless” the two leading female actors engage a band of evil men who had already destroyed and killed everything in their path to include other entire towns. The primary female character used an 1860 original Henry rifle and the second woman uses an 1876 Winchester rifle to engage the killers who come to the mining town to destroy all who stand in their way.
The Winchester model 1866, 1873, and 1876 are all derivatives or scions if you will, of the original 1860 Henry rifle.
The most notable difference that first appeared on the Winchester 1866 from the Henry rifle, was the side loading gate. With the side loading gate, you could load and shoot the rifle and then reload without taking the firearm out of action.
The issue with the 1860 Henry rifle is you had to step away from the action, of hunting or defending yourself with that rifle in order to reload. You had to take your eye off the target and concentrate on reloading the rifle. This could be a problem if a dangerous four-legged or two-legged animal was bearing down on you with intent to inflict damage to your body.
The difference and the potential mortal inconvenience in using the two different lever-action rifles were most succinctly demonstrated to the viewers of “Godless” in one of the final gunfight scenes of the series. Both women with their rifles are firing at their enemies from the roof of a building and doing quite well with their killing abilities and then their rifles ran dry of ammunition. This of course happened just as the bad guys were blasting their way to the roof to try and kill the heroines.
You witness the woman with the 1860 Henry have to take her rifle out of the fight to reload but the woman with the Winchester 1876 was able to reload and keep firing because of the side loading gate.
An inferior Turkish Army once held off a much larger Russian army for over six months because the Turks had Winchester Model 1866 rifles. When that Model 66 first came out with the new side loading gate no one had heard of Winchester, so the rifle was sold as the improved Henry rifle. Not a bad marketing idea since it really was just a Henry Model 1860 rifle fitted with the new side loading gate.
Speed of loading, shooting, destroying one’s enemy, moving to cover while all the time reloading on the fly worked for the Turkish army and saved their nation from defeat at the hands of the Russians at the battle of the Plevna Delay. The side-loading gate allowed for this nation-saving action. In “Godless” the side loading gate allowed the heroines of the story to reload and destroy their enemy and thereby, survive to save the town and many of the inhabitants.
Henry Rifles has introduced the side loading gate to their rifles and established a historical timeline precedent for their pre-2019 Henrys. Better known as the “pre-19s” which are the older model Henry lever-action rifles that do not have a side loading gate and the post-2019 rifles that do have the side loading gate. There are some model exceptions. The outstanding enhancement to the Henry lever action line of rifles started with the brass frame Henry Model “24” chambered in 30-30.
The modern Henry lever action defensive and offensive-rifle was born with the introduction of the Model “24” with a side loading gate and this mechanical improvement changed the course of current-day Henry lever action history.
Protect and Provide is a concept that Henry Rifles has introduced to the Henry family. In hard times you have to have the tools to defend your family from evil and if times get really hard you may have to provide for that family with the help of your rifle.
Any centerfire Henry rifle can stop a “Walker” who is trying to destroy your family. That same Henry can put meat on the table to feed your family in times of crisis. The issue is, you cannot engage evil for very long with a rifle you have to take out of the fight to reload.
If you think you are going into urban combat confronting hordes of screaming malcontents then perhaps you should spend your money on magazine-fed Black Rifles and high-capacity handguns. As an Army trained Infantry officer and retired Air Force cop I would agree with the need for Black Rifle ownership. The problem is depending on where you live you may not be able to own the above firearms.
There are a lot of Americans who do not even own firearms. There are also a lot of gun owners who only have that single “deer” rifle they get out once a year to go hunting with. They are hunters but not really “gun” people. Should evil come to their door, they would use that stand-alone firearm, the only tool they have to Protect and potentially to Provide for their loved ones.
If your one rifle is going to be a lever-action firearm, my suggestion is a “post 19” Henry rifle with a side loading gate. Like our Hollywood heroines you can shoot, scoot, hide, reload and emerge to shoot again all on the move with a “post 19” Henry Model “24” in 30-30 or one of the new Henry “X” Model side loading gate rifles in 357mag, 44mag, 45 Long Colt, 410 shotgun, and 45/70.
The Henry Bad Axe 410 is one of the newest Henry side loading gate firearms and the best selling one they have. Close quarters defense is the mission of this lever gun.
The mission is to Protect and Provide for your family in a crisis but you have to stay alive to continue to administer that protection and providing.
I always say “Evil Hates Organization” and a Henry rifle in one hand and a well thought out plan in the other hand gets you started on that organization. If you have to work hard in a crisis to survive then your planning will force evil to work that much harder. Do not make it easy for evil.
As a single-family unit, you cannot hold off the forces of evil and hunger forever. In reality, you can only delay it until you can acquire help.
“A Henry Delay means you get to walk away–alive.”
If you imagine yourself as some type of well-armed, highly trained street fighter and plan to take on all violent comers, then you really should consider acquiring as many AR-15 clone Black Rifles, high capacity magazines, and as much ammo as you can carry–you will need it.
The average American family is not “looking” for violent trouble and for sure most are not prepared for it if it came unexpectedly. You use the tools at hand in a time of crisis. If you happen to be that single rifle owner who truly buys a firearm to hunt with I strongly suggest it be one that you can shoot and reload on the run even if it does not have a detachable magazine capability.
I would however suggest never stopping with owning just one firearm in your family. Anyone in your family no matter their age, sex, size, or political leanings, if they have a basic understanding of the use of a firearm should have access to one in time of crisis.
The new Henry “post 19” rifles are a paradigm shift and with all the uncertainty in the world today, these new models have come onto the market just in time for the American family.
Buy a long gun and do it now. If not a Henry, buy something that can help you survive.
By the time this column gets published the election will be over. I hope for your sake and the sake of your family you are ready.
Evil hates organization so get organized and be ready.
You must be ready to Protect and Provide and if you fail in this area then someone else has to take up your rifle in defense of your family and confront evil head-on.
Be Henry Prepared and never pass up the chance to buy fresh ammo.
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 safety and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]