The New Henry X Model: A Heavy-Hitter With Tactical Versatility
The new Henry X Model can be many things to many people.
It’s a fast-handling lever-action carbine for hunting thick cover. And it’s a rugged and reliable truck gun that’s always there when you need it.
Need a long gun for home defense or predator control around the homestead? This is it. Want a gun you can tuck in your duffle for survival applications? Not a bad choice.
Henry X Model Provides Great Versatility
The Henry X Model can be such a versatile gun for several reasons. First, it starts with its rugged, reliable action. Second, it’s available in several useful chamberings.
If you like ammo compatibility with your handgun, you could choose one of the models in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum or .45 Colt. Want something for pest control? There’s a model that shoots .410 shotgun shells.
My choice this time around was their heavy-hitter in .45-70 Government.
What started its existence as our U.S. military cartridge in 1873, is these days tasked as a short-to-medium range big game getter. Loaded with heavy, flat-tipped hardcast bullets, it can take down anything that walks.
Henry X Model Is Easy To Accessorize
What separates with gun from earlier Henry lever-actions is the stock. It’s black synthetic and easy to accessorize with whatever gadgets you think you need to get the job done.
The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope rail. At the bottom of the fore-end is a Picatinny accessory rail. At the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the fore-end are Magpul M-Lok slots.
So, now you can take what many youngsters view as an antiquated firearm and update it with tactical goodies such as lights and lasers. Mount a conventional scope on it or how about a red dot sight?
The stock also features good rubber recoil pad on the buttstock. That’s welcome when shooting any of the hotter .45-70 loads available. There are sling attachment points too.
Now Easier To Top Off The Magazine
Some Henry lever-actions, including the X Models, now feature a loading gate on the side of the receiver. That allows you to quickly top off the magazine, an important ability if you’re in a bad situation.
You can still load and unload the gun by pulling out the magazine tube from the muzzle end. That’s a lot more convenient, by the way, than racking each round through the action as you must do to unload most other lever-actions.
The magazine on the .45-70 holds four rounds. The magazine on the .410 holds six and the magazines on the pistol-caliber models hold seven.
Threaded Barrel, Adjustable Sights And More
The Henry X Model in .45-70 features a 19.8-inch barrel. Same with the .410 model.
The pistol caliber models come with a shorter 17.4-inch barrel.
All, except for the .410 have a 5/8 x 28 threaded muzzle should you want to add a suppressor or muzzle brake.
The cartridge-firing X Models come with fully adjustable, high visibility fiber optic sights.
The rear is red, the front is a contrasting green. The .410 model features only a front fiber optic sight. That’s more appropriate for a shotgun.
The lever on the Henry X Model is large enough to use while wearing gloves.
But it’s not so large that your hand will lose contact with it should you need to cycle the action quickly for follow-up shots.
Safe To Carry With The Passive Transfer Bar
These Henry X Model rifles feature a transfer bar on the hammer. The transfer bar is pushed up into firing position only when the trigger is held to the rear. Otherwise it’s lowered and the hammer cannot contact the firing pin. So, the gun can be carried safely with the hammer down. There’s no need for a half-cock notch or a manual safety.
The Henry, like other lever guns, also has a passive safety that ensures the gun cannot be fired unless the action is fully closed.
Skinner Sights Scope, Rail With Peep Sight
I normally run my lever-action rifles with iron sights. I also like options. With the Henry X Model in .45-70, I opted to mount a 1-6 power scope from Skinner Sights. This is perhaps ideal glass for such a rifle.
At the low end, you have sufficient field of view for fast shots up close. At the high end, you have sufficient magnification to reach out accurately to the practical limits of the cartridge.
The scope features a 30 mm tube. The reticle includes bullet drop compensating lines. The scope includes an illuminated red dot too with multiple brightness settings. The scope is a good value at $249.
I must note that the scope base Henry offers for its Big Boy rifles won’t fit this .45-70. You can use a Weaver 63B scope rail. Or, you can opt for something more versatile.
Skinner Sights offers a seven-inch rail that includes an adjustable peep sight. Use the peep sight as a backup or remove your optical sight (quick-detach rings help) and use the peep as your primary sight. You might want to do that in foul weather. The small aperture provides for precise aiming. Or you can unscrew the aperture and use the wider ghost ring for faster acquisition.
Good Selection Of Ammo Is Available
I used a selection of bullet weights when testing this gun. I fired Hornady LEVERevolution with 325-grain flex-tip bullet; Hornady 410-grain Sub-X Subsonic (a good choice if you opted to mount a suppressor); Winchester 300-grain Ballistic Silvertip with polymer tip; Winchester 375-grain Dual Bond hollowpoint; and the Garrett Cartridges 420-grain Hardcast Hammerhead.
The deep-penetrating hardcast .45-70 loads from Garrett Cartridges – with bullets up to 540 grains — would be my choice if I was wandering through areas inhabited by animals that might want to eat me.
Great Handling Rifle And Accurate Too
Unless you’re a long hunter just coming in from a four-month outing, you’ve probably heard that there’s this virus thing going around. As a result, the range where I normally shoot has been closed.
So, at the location where I did my accuracy testing, I was limited to 50 yards. That was not a true test of the Henry’s accuracy potential. Three-shot, one-inch groups were the norm, with many groups much smaller. Having tested Henry rifles in the past, however, I have no doubt this rifle will hit where I aim when I do take it out to 100 yards eventually.
I measured the trigger pull at about 3.5 pounds. The action was smooth and I’m sure with use it will become very slick. Off-hand shooting with the fiber optic sights was fast and fun. Recoil was reasonable. It’s not a .22, but neither did I develop a flinch from shooting it.
Lots To Like With The Henry X Model
The Henry X Model is a useful, versatile gun. For hunting big game (especially in states that require straight-walled cartridges) or protection against dangerous predators, the .45-70 is the obvious choice. If defense might be its role, one of the pistol-caliber models would be better. And I think the .410 would make a good rabbit gun.
Whichever model you choose, you can accessorize it to your heart’s content.
Key Features: Henry X Model
Model: Henry X Model (H010X)
Action Type: Lever action
Caliber: .45-70 (also available in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum or .45 Colt with 17.4-inch barrel and smoothbore .410)
Capacity: 4 (in tubular magazine)
Barrel Length: 19.8 inches
Rate of Twist: 1:20
Overall Length: 38.6 inches
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Receiver Finish: Blued steel
Rear Sight: Fully adjustable fiber optic (red)
Front Sight: Fiber optic (green)
Scope Mount: Receiver drilled and tapped; Weaver 63B scope base required
Stock Material: Black synthetic with solid rubber recoil pad
Length of pull: 14 inches
Safety: Transfer bar
Other: Swivel studs, large loop lever, 2 M-Lok slots, Picatinny rail, 5/8 x 24 threaded barrel
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.