sporting rifle


My New Henry Big Boy in .357 mag/.38 Special

About a month and a half ago I used my tax refund to buy this beautiful new lever action rifle. The Henry Big Boy is a lever action produced by Henry Repeating Arms Co., one of their many lever action products. Mine is chambered in .357 magnum, many of their rifles are chambered in pistol caliber cartridges, hearkening back to the days of the Old West when Winchester lever actions were chambered in cowboy pistol cartridges such as .44-40 and .45 Colt. The Henry Big Boy comes in .357, .44 mag, and .45 colt. Since mine is .357, it can also feed and chamber .38 special as well.  I bought this possibly as a short range hunting rifle, something to use when I don’t feel like using my flintlock.  Plus, since it can fire .38 special, it is a very economical plinking gun.  .357 is a fairly powerful pistol cartridge, but from a rifle it sports some very impressive ballistics, and it’s certainly good enough to take medium sized game at short ranges.

The most notable feature of the Big Boy is its brass frame. They also offer the same model with an iron frame, a checkered stock, and rubber butt pad. I considered buying that one because it would probably be more practical as a rifle to lug through thick woods. However the lovely gleam of it’s brass frame, brass butt plate, and brass barrel bands was too much to resist.  It will probably get scratched, oh well, it was worth it. The rifle features a neat hexagon barrel, adding to its nostalgic old timey look and giving you the feeling that you are handling an old fashioned cowboy gun. It features a ten round fixed magazine, which is loaded through a loading port at the end of the barrel.  To load the magazine port must be twisted and magazine rod removed. Then you insert the cartridges one at a time, then re-insert the magazine rod.

When I first bought this rifle the magazine rod was very hard to twist and operate.  However the more and more I work it, the more its wearing in and its becoming progressively easier.

Often the Henry Golden Boy and Big Boy is mistaken as a replica of the American Civil War era Henry M1860 lever action rifle. However this is not true. Rather, the Big Boy is almost like a hybrid of a Henry rifle, a Winchester Model 1866, and a Marlin Model 336.  It has the loading port system and tube magazine of the Henry, the forearm and brass frame of a Winchester M1866, and a Marlin action.  Regardless you still get this feeling of handling and firing an antique cowboy lever gun, a must for my tastes. The sights are simple, featuring and adjustable ramp rear sight and a front post sight.

Another feature I must mention is a transfer bar, which means you can have the hammer uncocked and down on a round without risk of accidental discharge, which is probably the most important modern feature on a rifle with design elements dating to the 19th century.

With .357 the action is very smooth and operates without any problem.  I did some plinking with both .357 and .38 special.  I purchased some cheap bottom shelf ammo not thinking about the possibility of feeding issues. Problem is I bought this really cheap .38 special ammo that used lacquered steel casings, and ejection was certainly is issue. I later bought some better quality .38 special with brass casings and found they fed with far less issues, though the action isn’t as smooth as with .357 and you kind of have to work the lever harder and faster to ensure proper feeding and ejection. The recoil is very light, even firing .357 magnum. Recoil wise I would compare it to 7.62x39.  So it will definitely save your shoulder despite the brass buttplate.

At first I just did some simple close range plinking at steel swivel targets at 25 yards.  The rifle hits right on at that range and it certainly is a fun plinker.  Then I took it to the 100 yard range to see what I can do. I must admit I had a bit of a handicap shooting, I work night shift and it was a particularly bright day. So my eyes were very sensitive to light and my vision a bit blurry. I think I’m turning into a vampire. 

I was shooting from a bench rest with open sights, using Fiocchi .357 magnum ammo with 142 grain bullets.  I was firing three rounds groups.  First I tested it at 50 yards. At 50 yards the target and visible and well defined. Note that each increment on the grid is one inch.

The first group shot to the right and high aiming at the bull. I decided to play with the adjustable ramp sight, lowering it one increment.  The result was the 2nd group, which shot low.  Thus I reset the sight and adjusted but aiming low, and to the left, resulting in the third group. At 50 yards it shoots on average 1-2 inch groupings.

I then continued by shooting at 100 yards.  At 100 yards the front sight completely covers the bullseye and black portion of the target.

Despite increasing range to 100 yards it still shot high, in fact it shot much higher than at 50 yards. The first grouping I was aiming right for the bull, resulting again in a high group, with one shot completely off the target. I can only assume know that the .357 magnum’s ballistic arc from this rifle is much more considerable than I had previously imagined.  Thus I adjust the the ramp sight down one increment. Like at 50 yards it then shot too low (2nd group). So I reset the sight and decided to aim low, resulting in the third group. At 100 yards it shoots around 2-3 inch groupings on average.

In my final test, I went back to 50 yards. This time I was not using the bench rest, instead firing off hand.  Nor was I taking time with my shots.  Basically the scenario was that I am the sheriff of a western town and some outlaws are up to no good and I have to deal with them.  So I was shooting as quickly as possible while keeping rounds on target.  This was the result.

Now I must say this is no tack driver, nor is it a long range rifle, and I bought it with that expectation. Ballistics data using a 140 grain bullet show that it has a drop of -.2 inches at 100 yards and -5 inches at 150 yards.  So 100 yards is probably the edge of its optimum range. Mine seems to shoot high, but I still would not go beyond 100 yards.  That is fine to me since where I traditionally hunt it is thick woods and there is rarely any continuous ground more than 75 yards. With a scope you could probably get much better range and accuracy out of it. I imagine that if I was using much better quality ammunition with hotter loads, say +P or buffalo bore ammunition, the groupings would tighten considerably at 100 yards and the adjustable sites will be much more useful.  I shall try that some time in the future and post the results.

My final comments on the Henry Big Boy had to do with its quality. Originally I wanted to buy a Rossi Circuit Judge in .410/.45 long colt, most because of the allure of a revolving rifle.  However, I had seen many complaints about the quality of it and manufacturing flaws. Plus it carried the Taurus name (Rossi is owned by Taurus), a Brazilian company which has a reputation for iffy quality control.  So I decided to ditch the Circuit Judge. I also looked at the Ross M1892 lever action rifle, also in .357/38 and also made by Taurus.  It was $300 cheaper (the Henry cost $730), but when I saw it in person I was not impressed.  The metal work was OK, as was the metal finish, done satisfactorily but nothing thrilling.  However the wood and wood finish looked bad, as if it had been done by either child labor, a drunk, or someone who just didn’t really care about what they were doing.  It was really off putting.  The Henry looks like a rifle of unparalleled quality at first glance. It looks like someone made them with an eye for detail and with uncompromising quality in mind. I also own a Henry lever action in .22LR as well, although with a steel frame, and I can say the same for it.  When the sales person took it out of the box I immediately blurted “holy shit, that’s a beautiful rifIe.” I can’t stress the quality of workmanship that goes into Henry rifles, they are more than just firearms, they are works of art.  They are the only metallic cartridge firearms I own and I have no plans nor feel the need to buy any other modern firearms again. Instead I want to focus my collection on antique muzzleloaders or replicas of antique muzzleloaders.  So for me the quality of the Henry trumps all else, its a rifle you can own for a lifetime and can be passed down from generation to generation.


Standard Arms Model G

Patented c.1906 by Morris Smith, manufactured by Standard Arms c.1909-10′s - serial number 7534.
.25 Remington three-round internal box magazine, long stroke gas piston semi-automatic or manual pump action, engraved brass handle - originally lacquered black.

A fancy and unusual ealry semi-automatic sporting rifle, betrayed by the lack of strength of its internal parts which turned it into a jam monster. It’s okay buddy at least you look good when you do it.


Daewoo AR-100

Civilian model of the South Korean K2 rifle, the AR-100 is often considered a hybrid of the AK and AR platforms. They were imported as the AR-100′s in the original side-folding stock configuration but later models were turned into sporting rifle with thumbhole stocks. Note the low profile picatinny rail which is an aftermarket addition. The factory rifles did not have this feature but modern versions of the K2 might. (GRH)


 Now that Yuri!!! on ice has ended I’ve had some withdrawals… Can someone make a color guard anime? Just imagine the possibilities that this idea could bring.

1. First of all color guard is a team sport and it is usually constructed with a hefty amount of individuals (both male and female). The dedication and copartnership that a team must have would spice up countless scenarios of drama within the team and their rivals (do I smell love interests, diversity, and agnst?).

2. Second of all the animation that it would take to create the fluidity of both the dancers and the flags/rifles/sabers (or even the marching band) would illustrate a magnificent outcome that would have jaw-dropping results.

3. And third of all the music that would be composed for the series would be kickass.


The Commission Rifle Part IV — The Karabiner 88 and Gewehr 91

In case you missed Part I, Part II, Part III

After the Germans had fixed the flaws of the Gewehr 88 to their satisfaction, it was now time to create carbine variants for cavalry and artillery troops.  Thus in 1890 Germany introduced the Karabiner 88, a carbine variant of the Gewehr 88 made specifically for mounted troops.  The Kar 88 was made to be more shorter, lighter, and more compact than the Gew 88, with a barrel length of a little more than 17 inches, an overall length of 38 inches, and a weight of 6.5 pounds. The Kar 88 was more than just a shortened version of the Gew 88, but instead utilized some interesting features which made it specifically suited for use on horseback.  Cavalry troopers tended to carry their carbines in a sheath behind the back or in a saddle holster.  The Kar 88 was designed to have a streamlined profile with features which prevented snagging when being removed from a holster.  The barrel jacket was tapered, being thicker at the chamber and narrowing towards the muzzle.  The front sight featured a half shroud to protect it, again from snagging.  Instead of a tradition knob type bolt handle, the Kar 88 used a spoon handle type bolt which was typically common on German and Austrian sporting rifles.  As an aside I must admit that I really love spoon handle bolts. Again this feature was intended to prevent snagging, however it’s downside was there was very little clearance in between the bolt and the side of the rifle, making it more difficult to work the bolt.

The Kar 88 became a handy dandy carbine favored not only by cavalry, but also military police and other rear echelon units.  Artillery soldiers also needed a carbine.  While artillery typically operate out of the way of frontline combat, they still needed a light, compact rifle to defend themselves against surprise attacks, especially from flanking cavalry.  The German Army really didn’t want to develop and issue a third model of the Gewehr 88, nor did industry really want to produce it.  So, Germany just issued artillery troops the Kar 88 with one major difference.  Artillery soldiers usually don’t carry their rifles with them when they are operating their big guns.  Despite being carbines they still get in the way of efficient artillery operations.  Instead artillery troops tend to stack their rifles nearby.

Thus, artillery troops were issued the Gewehr 91, which was simply the Kar 88 with a stacking rod.

Both the Kar 88 and Gewehr 91 would serve with the German Army well into World War I.  It was loved by all who were issued, so much so that when the Gewehr 88 was phased out as a reserve rifle during World War I, both carbines continued to be issued in large numbers despite the introduction of carbines based on the newer Gewehr 98.


Dreyse sporting gun

Manufactured by Franz von Dreyse in Sömmerda, Germany c.1870. Serial number 9728.
11,5mm paper cartridge, needlefire break/Dreyse action rifle.

The son of famous German inventer Nikolaus von Dreyse, inventor of the Dreyse needle gun and possibly the bolt action altogether, Franz made up to his father’s legacy by building the classiest firearms of the late 19th century.

Attention:  If you’ll send things to Venezuela, these are the materials that will be confiscated.

- Gas masks. 
- bulletproof vests.
- Police baton.
- personal protection kit.
- Guns or rifles (For sports, paint, etc)
- Any kind of Ammunition.
- Any kind of Slings.
- Protection sprays (Pepper spray)
- first aid kits.
- eye drops.
- Surgical gowns.
- Steel balls.
- Antacid.
- Gauses.
- Marbles.
- Any kind of helmets.
- Electronic guns for personal security (Electroshocks).
- Any kind of knifes.
- shirtfront
- Security glasses.
- Masks.
- Industrial gloves.
- Camouflage articles.
- Baseball/golf balls.
- Bats.
- Protection masks.
- protection for the elbows and knees. 

These are considered like war material in Venezuela.
Yesterday, May 24th, a  shipload arrived to Venezuela with medicines and medical material, it was confiscated for being “war material” and “terrorist”, just for the protests.

Video. Spanish only.