U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Some of my all-time favorite guns to shoot are lever-action rifles like the Henry Frontier. Something about the entirely analog, user-controlled mechanics of them just makes the entire experience just that, an experience. Yes, there are more modern, more efficient firearms that outperform these guns, but few can capture the magic of pinging a distant tin can with an old-school brass bead sight. In fact, when I’m not shooting something with a bigger thump, the first gun I reach for is my personal Henry Frontier.
That gun in particular has seen thousands of rounds fired through it without a single hiccup and was my go-to squirrel/can slayer for nearly a decade. I only stopped using it so much when I purchased an Innovative Arms rimfire suppressor. At which point, my old SIG 522 equipped with a red dot and a factory-threaded barrel took over the Henry’s duties as pest-controller and fun plinker. But that all changed a few months ago when Henry Rifles released their Frontier Threaded Barrel.
Henry Frontier Threaded Barrel
As the name suggests, the Henry Frontier Threaded Barrel is a version of the original Henry Frontier with a threaded barrel – but the changes to the gun don’t stop at the muzzle. But first, we’ll go over the core features of the design, and then address all the new changes.
The Henry Frontier Threaded, like the standard Frontier, is a lever-action, magazine tube-fed rifle chambered in 22lr. Despite this, the Henry can fire and feed 22 short, 22 long, and 22 long rifle ammunition. Like nearly all Henry Rifles, the Frontier Threaded uses a removable magazine tube that loads from the front. In this instance, the tube has been shortened to accommodate a sound suppressor (or any other muzzle device) as a full-length tube would be blocked by said can.
Because of this, instead of holding 16 rounds of 22 long rifle ammo, the Frontier Threaded only holds 10 rounds. Though this capacity goes up if a shooter uses the shorter 22 short rounds.
Another difference from the standard Frontier rifle is the additional four inches of barrel bringing the total to 24 inches. This long barrel has three practical effects on the gun. Increased sight radius for a more precise sight picture, increased accuracy since the rounds are stabilized for longer, and oddly enough, decreased velocity for most rounds.
The last effect might seem negative, but since this gun is designed to be suppressed, it actually makes the Henry Frontier extraordinarily quiet. So much so, that the hammer falling is louder than the shot itself with standard velocity rounds and a suppressor.
Heavy Octagonal Barrel
Speaking of the barrel, the Frontier Threaded features the same heavy profile octagonal barrel as other Frontier rifles, with the muzzle threaded to standard 1/2×28. This means the Henry can utilize any .223/5.56mm muzzle device, though flash-hiders and compensators are basically pointless since the gun has next to zero felt recoil or muzzle flash.
The barrel itself features a 1:16 twist rate and includes buckhorn-style iron sights. The rear of which is adjustable for elevation, while the dovetailed front post can be drifted for windage. The barrel and receiver both feature what Henry calls a black finish, but appears to be an all-weather durable semi-gloss paint. So if a shooter intends to utilize a powerful carbon solvent, they should avoid using it on the external components of the Henry as they may damage the finish.
Back to the barrel, it’s made of steel while the receiver is constructed from Zamak 5, a Zinc alloy similar to those used on older rimfire guns. The difference is that Zamak 5 features a higher concentration of copper to strengthen the material making it better suited to precision machining as well as resisting elongation.
And while zinc-alloys have gotten a bad reputation in the past, often referred to as, “pot metal” in my experience these Henrys are still very durable. So much so, that my standard Frontier rifle has lasted 7 years and thousands of rounds with no visible signs of damage other than idiot marks where the gun was dropped.
One thing worth mentioning is that the Henry Frontier Threaded has basically two options when it comes to mounting an optic. A shooter can either have the receiver drilled and tapped for rings or 3/8in Weaver mounts can be used. This is very old-fashioned but goes a long way in retaining the classic styling of the gun. Plus, most shooters never install an optic of any variety on these guns, so it’s not a huge deal.
But if you choose to do so, keep in mind that mounts will be somewhat limited. The bright side is that rings can be found easily both at local brick and mortar sporting goods stores, or online. In either instance, the rings themselves are very affordable. But the largest I could find on short notice only accommodated 1in diameter scope tubes.
One interesting and unique feature about the Henry Frontier Threaded that stems from the original Henry rifles, is the method of loading the gun. Where many lever-action rifles feature a side-gate that allows a shooter to top off the magazine tube much in the same way as a shotgun, the Henry loads from the front. By which, I mean the shooter removes the magazine tube assembly by turning it 30 degrees, then places the rounds inside the tube housing before replacing the assembly.
It sounds cumbersome, but in practice is actually faster than loading through a gate, but there are some drawbacks. For starters, it’s impossible to perform a tactical reload and top off the magazine when it’s partially empty. Second, the shooter must place their hands in close proximity to the muzzle to load the gun. Not a deal-breaker, but something to consider. This method of loading is also responsible for the truncated magazine capacity, as the tube needs some extra space to clear an attached sound suppressor.
The most succinct way I can sum up how the Henry Frontier Threaded did, is to simply state that it completely surpassed my expectations. In terms of accuracy, the gun produced sub-MOA groups at 50 yards with match-grade ammunition – a truly incredible feat! Reliability was just as excellent, the Henry Frontier Threaded never encountered a single malfunction even when I alternated 22 short and long rifle rounds in the magazine tube.
Despite being a somewhat unconventional suppressor host, the Henry Frontier Threaded excels in that role. Between its excellent accuracy, total reliability, and how well it suppresses, the Henry Frontier isn’t just a great suppressor host, it’s also a top-notch rifle. One that’s perfect for hunting small game, fun plinking, and implying honing a shooter’s skills without burning through
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the
increasingly expensive centerfire ammo.