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Henry Big Boy- Your Input


CurlyDrew42

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Just now, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

OP-have you live-fired a '73 or M/94 or a '92?

If NO--DON'T buy anydangthing, till you try..........

OLG

 

+1000

 

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I had a .45 cal Rossi that I tuned per Steve's Gunz DVD. Ended up with a very nice rifle for not much money. Having said that, I think the straight wall .45 cal (Colt) is a lousy rifle cartridge for our game (light bullets and charges) and will likely never own another. The only way I could control blow-by was with a 250 grain bullet. And that' something I wouldn't  recommend for pistols. What's good for the pistol often isn't good for the rifle, unless the rifle has been modified. :)

 

 I now have an Uberti Win '73 in .38/.357 and an Uberti 1860 Henry in .44-40. If you're looking for a larger caliber rifle, bottle neck .44-40 or .38-40 are the way to go IMHO. I'd rather load two different cartridges than put up with a .45 Colt in a rifle.

 

That's just me, YMMV.

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Okay, so which rifle is the best one for 38 special? I just purchased two 1873 Cattlemen .357 Mag. I plan on using 38 Special ammo. Lighter on my hands. I am 72 years young and just getting started. Sure wish I had heard about this sport 10 years ago when I retired and moved to NC.

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28 minutes ago, Cactus Jack Calder said:

Okay, so which rifle is the best one for 38 special? I just purchased two 1873 Cattlemen .357 Mag. I plan on using 38 Special ammo. Lighter on my hands. I am 72 years young and just getting started. Sure wish I had heard about this sport 10 years ago when I retired and moved to NC.

See OLG above.  Most are going to be 357 rifles but 1866 and Marlin Cowboy Comp are 38 special only rifles.

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2 hours ago, Warden Callaway said:

 

There are 47 Marlin 1894s in 45 Colt listed on Gunbroker right now.   There is one Remlin NIB carbine round barrel in 45 Colt listed for buy now for $478.88.   There has been a lot of bad news about the Remlin rifles.  You may luck out.  I think they have been running rebates on them.   You may check out the big sporting goods outfits to see if they are running a special on them with fall hunting season coming up.

If I wanted a .45 , for that money, I might try a Remlin. They may be better after they started production back up. Some of the ones right after Remington started making them were terrible.

 

Randy

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I picked up a Big Boy in .357 because a 73 I ordered wasn't going to be here on time. It shoots straight but isn't very fast. I'm just starting so that's okay. I am looking forward to picking up my new 73 next month though. Loading the BB can be a challenge. 

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43 minutes ago, Cactus Jack Calder said:

Okay, so which rifle is the best one for 38 special? I just purchased two 1873 Cattlemen .357 Mag. I plan on using 38 Special ammo. Lighter on my hands. I am 72 years young and just getting started. Sure wish I had heard about this sport 10 years ago when I retired and moved to NC.

Most rifles chambered for .357 will run .38 specials just fine.

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5 hours ago, Deadeye George said:

And, unless you are just set on 45Colt, then you might take a hard look at the 44-40 cartridge in the '73.  I have the Uberti short rifle, octagon barrel in 44-40 and it has to be the cleanest shooting rifle of them all!

Oh Yeaaa!!...44/40 rifle with a pair of 45s......What could be better;) Add about 25 lbs of real BP and a stack of Big Lubes:ph34r::D Good Luck:)

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Okay, so which rifle is the best one for 38 special?

 

STILL the '73 toggle gun (Uberti or Miroku / your choice).   Marlin 94 is a second place.   92 is a third place.  All others are ALSO ALMOST RAN.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I bought a used Rossi 92 in .45 Colt with a 24" octagon barrel for $500. I went on Nate Kiowa Jones' website "Steves Gunz " and bought the DVD, ejector spring, stainless mag follower and the stainless mag spring. I slicked it up myself and it ran like a top...for a while but I had a problem ejecting live rounds. OLG helped me out figuring out s fix- shimmed the right cartridge guide and NOW she runs fast and smooth. 

 

The .45 runs dirty as the case doesn't expand enough in the chamber. No biggie...just a little cleaning is needed. I run 900 fps loads from my pistols. Even the warmer loads don't seal so the brass gets dirty.

 

I do believe I would have liked a 20" round barrel better for the lower weight..maybe I'll have to get me one.

 

Regarding Marlin 94's - another good gun. I have had s couple and could kick myself for selling them but...

 

The thing the Marlins and 92's have over 73's and 66's is they can take hotter loads should you want to hunt with them. 

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 :D Oh, and by the way, If you want to shoot a Henry Big Boy then shoot a Henry Big Boy and have fun! :D

 

There is nothing inherently wrong with them, from what I hear. They just MIGHT NOT get you into the Winner's Circle at your next Cowboy Race.:lol:

 

Some times "ya gotta slow down...ya get a more harmonious outcome." ;)

IMG_0296.JPG

 

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I had a Henry Big Boy for several years. Only used it for hunting and target shooting. A fine rifle but as others have said, it is not fast enough for CA Shooting. I traded it in for a Chiappa 1892 Rifle because I loved the look and it has a good reputation; and I wanted a rifle designed by John Browning. Still waiting for it. Hope it gets here soon.

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CurlyDrew42:

      There's an extensive review, albeit over a year old, that I posted, 

      and can be found here:  (click on the title "Pros and Cons of the Henry Big Boy rifles" below)

     I have and shoot the Henry Big Boy Silver in 357/38. Load the right ammo and for the beginner to intermediate shooter she does the job.

     If I ever get good enough with lots of practice that I out-run this beauty, I'll be looking to upgrade to a faster rifle and make the Henry my back-up emergency rifle and give it it's rightful place in my gun cart.

 

59d4d7e2e5fb4_HenryBigBoySilver357-RESIZED.jpg.f4527503606d79c0cfc7f2d9749b9287.jpg

 

      I got in Cowboy Action Shooting for the fun, experience and comradery it affords and although my initial research had me wanting a Winchester 73, slicked up, the cost was prohibited. The Henry fit the bill, and as many have already stated, OUT OF THE BOX, this exquisite firearm made in the  usa-american-flag-waving-animated-gif-15.gif.20da4f43f2844a6026ed497bbe9f0952.gif  is SMooooooooooTH. (Ask Widder about the Henry .22)

 

      Will it get me to the Winners' Circle?  NO, but there are other reasons for getting into CAS.

      There are also costs that come into play, and I did not want my lack of funds to delay getting me into this wonderful sport.

 

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What is it about the HBB that precludes running it fast?  Does it start misfeeding ammo, or not extract spent rounds,  or is the linkage such that it resists being worked fast?   I’m trying to get a sense here of just what it is that keeps the HBB from being a top competitor. 

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16 hours ago, CurlyDrew42 said:

I recall you guys telling me about the JM Marlin 94. let me check gunbroker for average $$

 

edit- Finding them in .44 mag is easy but i am not finding them in .45LC

 

Looking at Buds and at GunBroker, other good places to look?

Try a yellow boy 1866 comes in 38, 44-40 and 45LC

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16 hours ago, Shooting Bull said:

Let's get more specific here.  I started SASS with a Henry Big Boy in 45.  LOVED it!  Smooooooth as glass right out of the box and I'm one of those odd folks who think they look cool.  Also built right here in the USA by a company with fantastic customer service.  But that's where the positives end.  If you want to be truly competitive the Big Boy won't cut it.  It simply can't be made to run fast enough to win in SASS.

 

What's best?  Check out what the champions around the country are using.  '73s and Marlins rule the day. 

 

     :wub:

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If you take a Henry Big Boy apart, you will find a lightly modified Marlin action, with fully enclosed round bolt.  The Guns run fine right out of the box, just not fast.  As to what, exactly causes them to jam when run fast, I don't know.  Before I retired, I didn't bother to figure out how to make them run.  They weren't/aren't popular, no one had developed after-market "speed" parts and there are simply too many better choices.

 

Your choice of 45 Colt in difference to reloading may bring you some grief.  As has been mentioned, out of the box 45 Colt cartridges won't expand to seal the chamber.  It seems the manufacturers has chosen the largest SAAMI dimensions for the chambers or larger.  The current crop of 45 Colt chambers are more like a Rail Road Tunnel.  In some cases the Blow-By is horrendous.  However, with a little effort/expense, the Blow-By can me mitigated or even eliminated completely.  The easiest solution is to run 44-40 cases thru 45 Colt reloading dies (carefully) then load with 45 Colt bullets.  The cases will blow out to 45 and will expand to seal the chamber.  Option number two is to anneal 45 Colt cases making them soft enough to expand.  Works a treat.  Running 45 Colt with heavy charges and heavy bullets is not a very good nor complete solution.

 

A '92, properly set up makes a fine CAS Rifle.  A Marlin, properly set up makes a fine CAS Rifle.  Toggle Link guns, properly set up make fine CAS Rifles.  Notice the recurring theme.  'PROPERLY SET UP."  If you want to chase the Brass Ring, NOTHING, NONE, NOT ANYTHING is competitive "out of the box."  EVERYTHING needs after-market springs.  If your just out to "Play Guns" you may well be quite happy with a Big Boy.  Otherwise, you going to wind up throwing money at any choice you make.

 

Your Call

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12 hours ago, Cactus Jack Calder said:

Okay, so which rifle is the best one for 38 special? I just purchased two 1873 Cattlemen .357 Mag. I plan on using 38 Special ammo. Lighter on my hands. I am 72 years young and just getting started. Sure wish I had heard about this sport 10 years ago when I retired and moved to NC.

A JM marked Marlin round bbl carbine in .357 would work well-IF you can find one.

Will feed .38's, just may have to load'em long is all.

My wife:wub: loves her .38 Marlin CBC.

OLG

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6 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

A JM marked Marlin round bbl carbine in .357 would work well-IF you can find one.

Will feed .38's, just may have to load'em long is all.

My wife:wub: loves her .38 Marlin CBC.

OLG

 

I have a JM marked 94, made circa 1953, and chambered in 357.   I’ve only tried a few different .38 loads through it, but so far it will stumble with WWB FMJ target loads and a load I worked up that has a 125 grain TC bullet and a COL of 1.450.   The one load it runs smoothly is a GBW cowboy load with a 158 grain LRNFP and, interestingly, a COL of 1.445. 

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14 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

If you take a Henry Big Boy apart, you will find a lightly modified Marlin action, with fully enclosed round bolt.  The Guns run fine right out of the box, just not fast.  As to what, exactly causes them to jam when run fast, I don't know.  Before I retired, I didn't bother to figure out how to make them run.  They weren't/aren't popular, no one had developed after-market "speed" parts and there are simply too many better choices.

 

Your choice of 45 Colt in difference to reloading may bring you some grief.  As has been mentioned, out of the box 45 Colt cartridges won't expand to seal the chamber.  It seems the manufacturers has chosen the largest SAAMI dimensions for the chambers or larger.  The current crop of 45 Colt chambers are more like a Rail Road Tunnel.  In some cases the Blow-By is horrendous.  However, with a little effort/expense, the Blow-By can me mitigated or even eliminated completely.  The easiest solution is to run 44-40 cases thru 45 Colt reloading dies (carefully) then load with 45 Colt bullets.  The cases will blow out to 45 and will expand to seal the chamber.  Option number two is to anneal 45 Colt cases making them soft enough to expand.  Works a treat.  Running 45 Colt with heavy charges and heavy bullets is not a very good nor complete solution.

 

A '92, properly set up makes a fine CAS Rifle.  A Marlin, properly set up makes a fine CAS Rifle.  Toggle Link guns, properly set up make fine CAS Rifles.  Notice the recurring theme.  'PROPERLY SET UP."  If you want to chase the Brass Ring, NOTHING, NONE, NOT ANYTHING is competitive "out of the box."  EVERYTHING needs after-market springs.  If your just out to "Play Guns" you may well be quite happy with a Big Boy.  Otherwise, you going to wind up throwing money at any choice you make.

 

Your Call

Good post CC :)

 

One thing I have found in regards to blow by is case thickness plays a big part. Winchester .45 brass is thinner than others but the rim doesn't seem to be as pronounced. I do get less blow-by with that brass. Federal and Starline seem to be a bit thicker. Maybe I will do some measuring to satisfy my own curiosity.

 

Colorado mentioned "Running 45 Colt with heavy charges and heavy bullets is not a very good nor complete solution."

This is true. For my own part I don't load my ammo to stop blow-by. I load it to hit targets hard...regardless of the target.

Heavier loads DO SLOW DOWN your shooting with handguns do to the recoil.

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17 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

A JM marked Marlin round bbl carbine in .357 would work well-IF you can find one.

Will feed .38's, just may have to load'em long is all.

My wife:wub: loves her .38 Marlin CBC.

OLG

I had a Marlin .38 Cowboy Competition but I sold it. If you can get your hands on one of these for a decent price GRAB IT!

Wonderful little rifle / carbine.

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9 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

I had a Marlin .38 Cowboy Competition but I sold it. If you can get your hands on one of these for a decent price GRAB IT!

Wonderful little rifle / carbine.

YES-It is.

The round bbl version is a good bit lighter.

My wife:wub: does like the oct bbl of the CBC, as she likes the rifle's balance point being forward towards the muzzle.

OLG

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Try several rifles if you can.

Personally, I really like the Henry Repeating Arms Co. and their products.

But I'm not really that impressed with the Big Boy for SASS main match.

The Golden Boy is excellent for .22 rifle side matches or Buckeroos.

 

IMHO,

Mustang

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I have handled but not fired a 73 and a Marlin (newer model).  I am sure that at some point I will own firearms that are not .45 but this choice was motivated by several factors.  The fellow that is going to teach me to hand load uses .45 and I went with .45 for my 1875 Remingtons (which I got to take to the range last Saturday) .  I am not worried about being the fastest gun in the west right now, I'd like to make sure I can safely hit the targets first :)

 

What does concern me the is reliability of the weapon and how easy or not it is to maintain.  Not gonna lie, I like the looks of the big boy, the brass fittings, the extra large hand loop (i wear a size 14 and some change ring) but those things can be emulated with other rifles, so not really a big deal.

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The Marlin 94 is very easy to maintain and keep running.

Remove 1 screw, the lever and bolt can be removed and then the ejector just lifts out. This makes cleaning the bore from the breech, and swabbing the magazine tube a piece of cake.

OLG

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1 minute ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

The Marlin 94 is very easy to maintain and keep running.

 

That is something I noticed.  I have been watching a fellow on YouTube, FortuneCookie45LC, and he demonstrates the basic break down and cleaning of the Marlin. 

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1 minute ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Plus, the right side ejection is not distracting to me like the straight up ejection of the 92 and 73 is.

 

Ha! Yeah I figured so many people like wide brimmed hats for the added benefit of catching brass ;)

 

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14 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

I had a .45 cal Rossi that I tuned per Steve's Gunz DVD. Ended up with a very nice rifle for not much money. Having said that, I think the straight wall .45 cal (Colt) is a lousy rifle cartridge for our game (light bullets and charges) and will likely never own another. The only way I could control blow-by was with a 250 grain bullet. And that' something I wouldn't  recommend for pistols. What's good for the pistol often isn't good for the rifle, unless the rifle has been modified. :)

 

 I now have an Uberti Win '73 in .38/.357 and an Uberti 1860 Henry in .44-40. If you're looking for a larger caliber rifle, bottle neck .44-40 or .38-40 are the way to go IMHO. I'd rather load two different cartridges than put up with a .45 Colt in a rifle.

 

That's just me, YMMV.

Why do you say that? 250 grain big lube bullet is all I shoot out of my pistols.

 

30 minutes ago, CurlyDrew42 said:

I have handled but not fired a 73 and a Marlin (newer model).  I am sure that at some point I will own firearms that are not .45 but this choice was motivated by several factors.  The fellow that is going to teach me to hand load uses .45 and I went with .45 for my 1875 Remingtons (which I got to take to the range last Saturday) .  I am not worried about being the fastest gun in the west right now, I'd like to make sure I can safely hit the targets first :)

 

What does concern me the is reliability of the weapon and how easy or not it is to maintain.  Not gonna lie, I like the looks of the big boy, the brass fittings, the extra large hand loop (i wear a size 14 and some change ring) but those things can be emulated with other rifles, so not really a big deal.

Almost everyone on here will say "try before you buy." And while that is a downright good philosophy, most people that say that have also forgotten what's all in their safe's. It is sound to at least handle guns and work the actions, but beyond that, what you will be shooting 10, 5, or maybe even 1 year from now could be very different. What's more important is to get into the game and start having fun. You most likely won't be thinking along the super competitive lines for awhile anyway. Whatever you end up with as your main match rifle, might end up being something else later one. I have a good friend that used to use a marlin 94 in 45 a lot. It's a great rifle, but now he uses a super short stroked 73 in 357 because he has made that jump to the next level of competitiveness. That 94, however, is now his long range pistol caliber rifle, which he uses quite effectively to win those side matches as well.

 

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I've been shooting CAS with a Henry 357 for three years now without a single jam or problem but then I don't shot too fast. I bought it against advice on this forum because,  1. it's a beauty, 2, I shoot left handed and 3, it's made in the USA. But then I didn't join SASS to win matches, just to meet like minded folks and walk around dressed like Lee Van Cleef carrying a sexy lever action rifle with two Ruger six guns with imitation ivory grips strapped to my sides! Why does everyone need to be in such a hurry anyway? Life is too short!

Wells Faro, aka Molasses! as in slow as

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I have used a 357 Big Boy in competition before.  It was alright but as I learned and began to pick up some speed it just could not quite keep up.

 

Now before you go get too deep, might want to think about what category floats your boat.  For me, I ended up gravitating toward B Western and a toggle link rifle is not acceptable there.  Yes, 357 can run 38s but sometimes you have to watch the OAL.  What I did since my favourite pistols are top breaks in 38 special is comb the ads for a Marlin 94 Cowboy Comp in 38 special.  It has never failed me yet (fingers crossed). 

 

I picked up a Marlin (or Remlin) in 45 Colt for WB.  It is the limited edition one (yes I am a sucker for engraving and such).  It has never failed me for WB either.  Maybe got lucky, maybe Remington finally got things going (that is what I heard) but so far so good.  Not quite as smooth as the Cowboy Comp, but considering I know it is absolutely box stock gun and with a whole lot less rounds through.  Still to me not bad. 

 

I have used a Henry Repeating Arms Original Henry before deciding on B Western and while it is a heavy gun, it was smooth and very well built.  I am sorry I sold it, should have kept it for long range pistol caliber. 

 

Also you might be one of those people that likes something really different.  I am a sucker for lightning rifles having gone through virtually every maker there was before ending up with a recently made Pedersoli which I actually got through a match with no problems.  However, even that rifle being a 357, I have found will only run reliably using 357 brass.  Of for that matter one of those real stalwarts that I take my hat off to, Spencer users (of course those are nothing less then 44-40).

 

Yes I know budget constrains, but as I learned, better to have gotten it right the first time then make the mistake and have to start with something new.

 

 

 

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