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Why not Henry?


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One of the main messages we try to pass on to new CAS shooters is Go to a match before you spend any money on guns and gear. Then you can buy whatever you want. you will be much better informed.

 

Imis

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I have long contended that there is a ranking of suitability for CAS* among rifles legal for the game.  Rather abbreviated the reasons behind order of the list is as follows:

 

1 - Uberti 1873 - has the most aftermarket parts and "speed" parts made for it.  Needs to be shortstroked, and tuned for cartridge OAL.  In its stock form, move it down to number 5 on the list.

1a - Uberti 1866 - see #1, and in it's case, move it to #5a in stock form.  It's only detraction is the lack of a trigger block safety to forestall an "out of battery discharge".  And for me personally, the gunmetal, (brass) receiver.

2 - Miroku 1873 - has a slightly shorter lever stroke from the factory than its Uberti counterpart, but has fewer aftermarket parts for it.  Sez "Winchester" on it... gain a couple of points for that.

3 - Winchester 1892 - An original.  Not the Rossi or Miroku copy.  Every one I've owned is simply butter smooth.  In original calibers I've never seen one jam.  YMMV.

4 - Marlin 1894 - IF, and it is an "if" with capital letters, it has been tuned to run properly!  Not a hard job, it's rather simple to take apart and put back together. 

5 - Rossi 1892 - In its various model designations.  they are tank solid, and STOUT!  Only one on this list built to handle cartridges like the 480 Ruger!  BUT... it needs to be tuned and tweaked to run new modern straight wall cartridges...  If it's stock, I wouldn't even THINK of using a stock one for CAS.

6 - Winchester 94 - Not a good choice, but certainly viable if you're not planning on trying to go fast... Action is unnecessarily ungainly.  An action built for long rifle cartridges doesn't do will with short, pistol length cartridges.

7 - Uberti/Henry 1860 - The Uberti version CAN use all the go-fast parts of the 1873, and can be quite formidable, but... the follower is a major source of hiccups for those unfamiliar with the operation. **

8 - Henry Big Boy - see comments earlier in this thread.  For CAS purposes the ability to unload is moot.  You're unloading at the targets.  (unless you have a problem), in which case, go for it!  FWIW, it ain't nearly as strong an action for hunting as some might think... the 1892 action is far better suited to handle more powerful rounds.  

9 - 10 - Other historical rifles... My AWA Lightning is smooth and quite a bit of fun.  But other Lightning reproductions have a poor to spotty reputation.  The Spencer is limited by capacity and the need to manually cock it.

 

From a shooter standpoint... I shoot slow, while I have modified nearly all my guns to be CAS friendly, I've left my rifles at their stock stroke... simply because that's what I'm familiar and comfortable with.  I don't have a "need" to go fast.  But... I have smoothed and fitted all the parts in my guns, use lightened springs in my various handguns and rifles, because:  it is far more enjoyable to work a smooth light action with a minimum of resistance than man-handle a stock one.  Think power steering vs manual on a 1-ton truck!  

 

If CAS is to be fun, it needs to be enjoyable, and like most folks, guns that don't FIGHT you every step of the way make the day far more enjoyable.

 

 

* CAS - cowboy action shooting

** The choice of the Uberti or Henry 1860 model is generally made by folks more interested in the "look" they present than the functionality of the firearm.  A fair portion of those competing in the "Frontiersman" category use an 1860 for it is more in tune with the cap & ball era than the cartridge era.  

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1 hour ago, Griff said:

I have long contended that there is a ranking of suitability for CAS* among rifles legal for the game.  Rather abbreviated the reasons behind order of the list is as follows:

 

1 - Uberti 1873 - has the most aftermarket parts and "speed" parts made for it.  Needs to be shortstroked, and tuned for cartridge OAL.  In its stock form, move it down to number 5 on the list.

 

2 - Miroku 1873 - has a slightly shorter lever stroke from the factory than its Uberti counterpart, but has fewer aftermarket parts for it.  Sez "Winchester" on it... gain a couple of points for that. 

I'm a new shooter in this sport, but have learned enough to know short stroking is not worth that much for a new shooter. But absolutely agree the Uberti benefits from tuning out of the box.

 

I consider the Miroku "half stroked" out of the box, it is about in the middle between the Uberti stock versus stroked. Out of the box, it needs only minor work compared to the Uberti. Out of the box, it is better than a stock Uberti. But to take a Miroku further, there are very few smiths supporting it. Also few parts are available but there is a good argument for it not needing much in the way of replacement parts. Lack of smiths though is a long-term consideration for this platform. I bought one anyway.

 

You also mentioned the Rossi 1892... And comparing the stock Uberti to it in terms of position on your list. On this (based on a sample size = 1 at the NRA Atlanta show), you are being far too generous for the Rossi. The Rossi needs tuning just to shoot it at all IMO, the one I handled at the show sucked! The stock Uberti is shootable, but not fast without work.

 

And separate from any speed goals, running a tuned gun just feels great.

 

And you put out a great list!

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Marshall,

 

Just tell your friend to look for a '66 Uberti.  All the allure of the brass framed Henry, with the go-fast innards of the '73.  I set my sights on a '66 in .44/40 right from the start, and I got lucky and found one for a great price.  Thanks to Judge Em All Duncan.

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The rifle I like using the most is my 1866 carbine in 38-40.  Much more than my 1873 carbines or my 1873 short rifle, all in 38-40.  But I don't shine it as I like the patina. :ph34r:

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It's your money and you can spend it the way you want. My opinion? You got your answer in the first reply from Garrison Joe. Nothing further needed to be said. 

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5 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

I'm a new shooter in this sport, but have learned enough to know short stroking is not worth that much for a new shooter. But absolutely agree the Uberti benefits from tuning out of the box.

 

I consider the Miroku "half stroked" out of the box, it is about in the middle between the Uberti stock versus stroked. Out of the box, it needs only minor work compared to the Uberti. Out of the box, it is better than a stock Uberti. But to take a Miroku further, there are very few smiths supporting it. Also few parts are available but there is a good argument for it not needing much in the way of replacement parts. Lack of smiths though is a long-term consideration for this platform. I bought one anyway.

 

You also mentioned the Rossi 1892... And comparing the stock Uberti to it in terms of position on your list. On this (based on a sample size = 1 at the NRA Atlanta show), you are being far too generous for the Rossi. The Rossi needs tuning just to shoot it at all IMO, the one I handled at the show sucked! The stock Uberti is shootable, but not fast without work.

 

And separate from any speed goals, running a tuned gun just feels great.

 

And you put out a great list!

I have not heard mention of a Winchester original or Moruki 92 or that of o Browning 92?  I have the afore mentioned JW in .44/40 but “adjusted” to shoot .44 special, and a Winchester 92 rifle and Browning 92 carbine, both in .44mag that I shoot .44 special in. These are much smoother than Rossi’s, and I used them before I got a Uberti 73 in .44 special, only to replace it with the newer Winchester model along with 1866, both in .44-40. I highly recommend the Winchester and Browning 92’s. 

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15 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

You also mentioned the Rossi 1892... And comparing the stock Uberti to it in terms of position on your list. On this (based on a sample size = 1 at the NRA Atlanta show), you are being far too generous for the Rossi. The Rossi needs tuning just to shoot it at all IMO

I just traded for a brand new Rossi 92 in .357 Magnum.  I handled three at the store and took the one that felt smoothest.  there was a big difference in feel between the smoothest and the grittiest.  The only thing that doesn't feel smooth on mine is that something seems to want to hang up when I'm dropping it into half cock.  the springs are too strong and I'll probably replace those before too long, but will likely shoot it stock for a bit before I do.  

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5 hours ago, El CupAJoe said:

The only thing that doesn't feel smooth on mine is that something seems to want to hang up when I'm dropping it into half cock.  the springs are too strong and I'll probably replace those before too long, but will likely shoot it stock for a bit before I do.  

 

Shooting Cowboy Action why would you ever use the half cock on your rifle???

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14 minutes ago, Cowtown Scout, SASS #53540 L said:

The only thing that doesn't feel smooth on mine is that something seems to want to hang up when I'm dropping it into half cock.

 

Probably either the half-cock notch has a burr on it, or the fit between sear/trigger is too tight.  It is also quite possible to damage the half cock notch or the sear/trigger tip by pulling the trigger hard enough when at half cock.  This requires replacing or rebuilding the interface between the two.

 

With the Rossi samples you tried out, you have already found that fitting work on the trigger and hammer at the factory is far from high quality.   (Like many firearms any more - unfortunately)

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cowtown Scout, SASS #53540 L said:

 

Shooting Cowboy Action why would you ever use the half cock on your rifle???

 

See my previous post, This gun is pulling double duty as a hunting rifle.  I'm estimating I'll only be attending 2 matches or so a year for the next couple years, my kids are pretty little and we're still plugging away at clearing debt.

On 3/10/2021 at 1:42 PM, El CupAJoe said:

I just got a lever gun.  for my needs, I wanted something split 80% for hunting and 20% for gaming

 

1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Probably either the half-cock notch has a burr on it, or the fit between sear/trigger is too tight.  It is also quite possible to damage the half cock notch or the sear/trigger tip by pulling the trigger hard enough when at half cock.  This requires replacing or rebuilding the interface between the two.

I'll be tearing it down to check/deburr sometime soon.

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8 hours ago, El CupAJoe said:

I just traded for a brand new Rossi 92 in .357 Magnum.  I handled three at the store and took the one that felt smoothest.  there was a big difference in feel between the smoothest and the grittiest.  The only thing that doesn't feel smooth on mine is that something seems to want to hang up when I'm dropping it into half cock.  the springs are too strong and I'll probably replace those before too long, but will likely shoot it stock for a bit before I do.  

 

When you say "dropping it into half cock", do you mean from full directly to half or lowering the hammer all the way down then coming back to half? 

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3 hours ago, Cowtown Scout, SASS #53540 L said:

 

Shooting Cowboy Action why would you ever use the half cock on your rifle???

Don't see why I would in a competition, but the manual of arms for my Miroku 73 says to store it that way.

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4 hours ago, PaleWolf Brunelle, #2495L said:

 

When you say "dropping it into half cock", do you mean from full directly to half or lowering the hammer all the way down then coming back to half? 

Only lowering the hammer from full down to half.  It doesn't hang up if I let it all the way down where it is touching the firing pin.  

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I’m just glad to hear that gun shows are still a thing.

 

Add my vote regarding the miroku 92 being a great lever gun.

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3 hours ago, WOLFY said:

I’m just glad to hear that gun shows are still a thing.

 

Add my vote regarding the miroku 92 being a great lever gun.

Well, we did not find any henrys or 73 rifles at all! I did buy a nib USFA. It is a 12 shot 22lr. Kinda hard to find. 

92AAB195-5CFA-46D2-B8ED-926029BE2C9B.jpeg

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Howdy

 

Why not buy a Big Boy?

 

Ugly! There are those who think the original brass framed Big Boy looked just like a brass framed 1866 Winchester. They have not taken a close look at a brass framed 1866 Winchester.

 

Heavy. Much too heavy for our sport.

 

No after market parts.

 

Did I mention Ugly?

 

Then there is the fact that Henry Repeating Arms has never admitted they have nothing to do with the original 1860 Henry rifle patented by Benjamin Tyler Henry while he was working for Oliver Winchester at the New Haven Arms Company. To this day Henry Repeating Arms still has a page on their website with photos and text implying the history of the Henry Rifle as their own, despite the fact that they appropriated the name because it was well known and was in public domain.

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2 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Howdy

 

Why not buy a Big Boy?

 

Ugly! There are those who think the original brass framed Big Boy looked just like a brass framed 1866 Winchester. They have not taken a close look at a brass framed 1866 Winchester.

 

Heavy. Much too heavy for our sport.

 

No after market parts.

 

Did I mention Ugly?

 

Then there is the fact that Henry Repeating Arms has never admitted they have nothing to do with the original 1860 Henry rifle patented by Benjamin Tyler Henry while he was working for Oliver Winchester at the New Haven Arms Company. To this day Henry Repeating Arms still has a page on their website with photos and text implying the history of the Henry Rifle as their own, despite the fact that they appropriated the name because it was well known and was in public domain.

Well then I guess you think the same way about licensed Winchesters made by Moriku?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I don’t like the looks of a Marlin, but when I started in the late 90’s, Marlins in .38 special were the rifles only serious Cowboy action shooters used!  Stop being a gun snob!  No one is forcing you to use one and if you would really look down your nose at someone who came to your monthly shoot with a Big Boy, the I am wondering what you think the “spirit of the game” is?  I would be happy to have a new shooter and welcome him/her to the match!  But that’s just me having fun shooting and not caring what my score is!  

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2 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Howdy

 

Why not buy a Big Boy?

 

Ugly! There are those who think the original brass framed Big Boy looked just like a brass framed 1866 Winchester. They have not taken a close look at a brass framed 1866 Winchester.

 

Heavy. Much too heavy for our sport.

 

No after market parts.

 

Did I mention Ugly?

 

Then there is the fact that Henry Repeating Arms has never admitted they have nothing to do with the original 1860 Henry rifle patented by Benjamin Tyler Henry while he was working for Oliver Winchester at the New Haven Arms Company. To this day Henry Repeating Arms still has a page on their website with photos and text implying the history of the Henry Rifle as their own, despite the fact that they appropriated the name because it was well known and was in public domain.

One, yes there are aftermarket parts,  see my post above somewhere.   The guts are a Marlin 94, so you can drop PaloVerde spring kit in it. Can’t short stroke it.
Second it ain’t heavier than the 1873 octagonal barrel.   They weigh about the same... 

Last as far as beauty, I fall into the If it goes “BANG!” I like it! category...  

just remember it’s not a racing gun.   It more of a Chevy than a Ferrari.. 

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On 3/13/2021 at 7:11 PM, Nimble Fingers SASS# 25439 said:

Well then I guess you think the same way about licensed Winchesters made by Moriku?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I don’t like the looks of a Marlin, but when I started in the late 90’s, Marlins in .38 special were the rifles only serious Cowboy action shooters used!  Stop being a gun snob!  No one is forcing you to use one and if you would really look down your nose at someone who came to your monthly shoot with a Big Boy, the I am wondering what you think the “spirit of the game” is?  I would be happy to have a new shooter and welcome him/her to the match!  But that’s just me having fun shooting and not caring what my score is!  

There's a great deal of difference between a product manufactured under a license from the owner, and a claim to a heritage that is non-existent.  Olin Corp owns the name "Winchester".  I have two Brownings made by Miroku... both copies of Winchester firearms.  One is an 1886 and the other an 1885.  They are very close copies of the original.   The same graceful lines, the same appearance.  the Henry Big Boy looks like a railroad freight car in a world of Ferrari's.

 

And regardless of the whether a new shooter shows up with an original New Haven Arms Henry, or a HRA Big Boy, they'll be just as welcome...   But, the ire at HRA has more to do with their advertising than the arm itself.  Their sweet little .22, originally designed by Erma-Werke as the model EG71, produced from the '50 thru the '70s!   They advertised the Big Boy as a legal cowboy action rifle, solely based on the fact that their rifle had a lever, exposed hammer, tubular magazine and was chambered in a "pistol" cartridge.  Ignoring the fact that it neither designed prior to, nor a copy of one that was produced before 1899.  Personally, I feel a touch of sympathy for those that drank the HRA 'kool-aid'... 

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On 3/13/2021 at 7:24 PM, Not Dead Ed said:

Second it ain’t heavier than the 1873 octagonal barrel.   They weigh about the same... 

Methinks not:  
Uberti  Sporting Rifle .45 Colt

24.25″ bbl:

 

Magazine Capacity: 13+1

Overall Length: 43.25″

Barrel: Octagonal

Number of Grooves: 6

Twist: 1:16, RH

Weight: 8.2 lbs.

     

 

 
Henry Big Boy Caliber .45 Colt 20" bbl:
Capacity 10 Rounds
Barrel Type - Octagon Blued Steel  Rate of Twist - 1:16
Overall Length - 38.5"  Weight - 8.68 lbs.
In most folks world, that's .48 lbs. for 4-¼" LESS barrel.  That equates to "heavier".   
 
 
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2 hours ago, Griff said:
Methinks not:  
Uberti  Sporting Rifle .45 Colt

24.25″ bbl:

 

Magazine Capacity: 13+1

Overall Length: 43.25″

Barrel: Octagonal

Number of Grooves: 6

Twist: 1:16, RH

Weight: 8.2 lbs.

     

 

 
Henry Big Boy Caliber .45 Colt 20" bbl:
Capacity 10 Rounds
Barrel Type - Octagon Blued Steel  Rate of Twist - 1:16
Overall Length - 38.5"  Weight - 8.68 lbs.
In most folks world, that's .48 lbs. for 4-¼" LESS barrel.  That equates to "heavier".   
 
 

I agree, depends on model.   My Octagon Big Boy and Octagon Uberti weigh just about the same.   My Rossi feels like it’s about 1/3 lighter...  

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11 minutes ago, Not Dead Ed said:

I agree, depends on model.   My Octagon Big Boy and Octagon Uberti weigh just about the same.   My Rossi feels like it’s about 1/3 lighter...  

I still think not.  If the Big Boy 20" octagon weighs in at 8.62 lbs., and the 24-¼" Uberti '73 weighs in at 8.2 lbs... which is the manufacturer's spec on each, the Uberti only gets lighter as the barrels get shorter.  My 1986 production Uberti 1873 Sporting rifle in 45 Colt weighs less than 8 lbs.

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2 hours ago, Griff said:

I still think not.  If the Big Boy 20" octagon weighs in at 8.62 lbs., and the 24-¼" Uberti '73 weighs in at 8.2 lbs... which is the manufacturer's spec on each, the Uberti only gets lighter as the barrels get shorter.  My 1986 production Uberti 1873 Sporting rifle in 45 Colt weighs less than 8 lbs.

All things being equal, a 20” octagon barreled Big Boy, and a 20” Octagon barreled Uberti. The weight difference seems to be about a Big Mac Sandwich.    I have one of each, weighed them both, and both tip my poor abused scale at just over 8 lbs and change with the extra Big Mac going to the Big Boy.  This isn’t spec sheet, just a scale weight.   
Now the sporting version with the round barrel will be lighter, I agree.  

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Marshall Matt Dillon

Right now finding a pistol caliber rifle or carbine from any maker is going to be tough. Just know that before you go to the gun show. 
 

Everybody these days seems to think that everyone that shoots CAS wants to go fast and be competitive. Definitely not true for me. Probably not true for a lot of folks. 
 

Show of hands boys and girls...How many of you commenting about Henry’s have actually shot one? Shot one at a match? Actually seen someone shoot one at a match?..,

 

Marshall Matt Dillon, tell your friend one thing from me. If he does get a Henry every time he goes up to shoot he will hear comments or get lectured on how that gun is terrible for SASS. 

I know. I shot a Winchester 94 Trails End for over 4 years when I started out. Yep. It was terrible. The gun was awful...not made for SASS...terrible gun to use for nearly 5 years....I still have it. I take it to matches occasionally so people will talk to me....and tell me how awful it is for our game...and how I won’t be fast and competitive. Hahahahahaha...I ain’t never been fast, why start now. :lol:

 

If a Henry is all he can find, or afford or it’s just what he wants, well good for him and I hope he has fun with it. 

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If they made ‘em in .44 spl / russian, i’d run a Henry

47D3C00D-B7FB-4303-989E-ACAE0787B983.jpeg

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1 hour ago, WOLFY said:

If they made ‘em in .44 spl / russian, i’d run a Henry

47D3C00D-B7FB-4303-989E-ACAE0787B983.jpeg

The only company that did make an 1860 Henry in .44 special is Uberti I believe. Someone even suggested going to VTI to see if they had any barrels left. They had them listed but none in stock. 
You might get Henry Rifles to do a custom rifle for you, the would only need to work the barrel. 

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You can get a replacement carrier block that will work with 44 Russian.  I have one in my 66 that I shoot blanks out of made from 44 Mag. brass.  It is also very easy to convert the existing carrier block in an 1860  Henry to shoot the shorter 44 Russian cartridge.  If you send me a PM I will explain how it is done.

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I’ve a couple Ubertis one 66 in .44 spl and a 73 that runs .44 russian.  Yeah, I’m not gonna ask “Henry R A” for anything.  

 

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14 minutes ago, Nickel City Dude said:

You can get a replacement carrier block that will work with 44 Russian.  I have one in my 66 that I shoot blanks out of made from 44 Mag. brass.  It is also very easy to convert the existing carrier block in an 1860  Henry to shoot the shorter 44 Russian cartridge.  If you send me a PM I will explain how it is done.

I believe that in the case of the Henry, you will then be firing a Russian cartridge in a 44-40 chamber.  Not a proper fit, but I know some folks do it with no problems.

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2 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

I believe that in the case of the Henry, you will then be firing a Russian cartridge in a 44-40 chamber.  Not a proper fit, but I know some folks do it with no problems.

 

Someone said the modern .44-40 rifle bore is good to go, my issue would be finding a gunsmith who could sleeve the chamber.

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3 hours ago, WOLFY said:

If they made ‘em in .44 spl / russian, i’d run a Henry

47D3C00D-B7FB-4303-989E-ACAE0787B983.jpeg

 

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21 hours ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:Show of hands boys and girls...How many of you commenting about Henry’s have actually shot one? Shot one at a match? Actually seen someone shoot one at a match?..,


I for one have never shot a Big Boy in a match.  I have also never gone cut-rate bungee jumping and I don’t drive a Yugo.  Somehow, I don’t feel like I have to do those things to know that they are bad ideas.  I have seen a Big Boy shot in a match.  It didn’t make me want to own one.  But, to each his own. 

 

On another topic, shooting a .44 Russian in a 44-40 chamber is not a great idea.  I have a 44-40 66 that someone shot a .44 spl in.  It burst the case and locked up the gun.  I bought it in that condition for $100 because it was feared damaged. It turned out that it was ok, but it was not a good thing.  The .44 Russian would do the same thing, probably splitting the case and venting gas in the shooters face.  I would love a 66 or Henry in .44 Russian or .44 cf, but I would never use anything other than the correct ammo in a gun.  

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