Make: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: 1860 Henry
Serial Number: 7273
Year of Manufacture: 1864 (http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=18781.0)
Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire
Action Type: Lever Action with Slotted Full-Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “HENRY’S PATENT OCT. 16, 1860 / MANUFACT’D BY THE NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CT.” and at the receiver with “7273”. The rear of the lower tang is marked “H”. This is the inspection mark of Benjamin Tyler Henry. The front of the lower tang is scratched with what appears to be “John Morrow”. The left side of the lower tang, the slot in the buttstock underneath the upper tang and the inside surface of the buttplate at the toe are marked “7273”. This is the extent of the markings expected to be found on this range of Henry’s and this gun is all matching.
Barrel Length: The barrel is about 24” in length. The barrel is round with an octagon sleeve that includes the magazine. Most would simply say this is a 24″ Octagonal. Again, all original and all correct.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German Silver blade held in a slot at the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight. When the ladder is folded down, there is a “V” notch sight presented. When the ladder is folded up, the sight presented is a semi-buckhorn on the top of the slider with a small “V” notch in the center. The left rear face of the ladder is marked “3-8”. The front sight has been severly bent from a drop. Both sights are original to the rifle.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a one piece walnut with a lacquered finish, straight grip and a crescent shaped brass buttplate. The buttplate has a spring loaded hinged door in the center for access to cleaning equipment stored in the butt. There is a sling swivel inlet into the left side of the buttstock and a sling ring is screwed to the barrel about midway down its length. The stock has a small “Henry Bump” below the sling swivel, and there is a compression mark from the swivel underneath the swivel. These important features are very RARELY encountered and are further testiment to the originality of the rifle. There are two short hairline cracks starting at the front edge of the wrist on the right side and moving towards the butt. There is also a chipped area at the front of the comb on the right side with three short cracks emanating out of it, one down, one to the rear and the other forward where it stops at the right rear edge of the upper tang. There is another short crack emanating out of the left rear edge of the upper tang, along with a few tiny chips. The front edge of the comb shows a fairly large bruise. There are about six short cracks around the toe with several tiny chips of wood missing. These were obviously incurred at the same time as the drop that bent the front sight. The rest of the buttstock is dark with oil staining and shows numerous light handling marks with a few tiny dings and scratches. The LOP measures 13 ½” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows a mustard colored patina with moderate wear at the heel, light wear at the toe, and several handling marks, small ding in the lower right edge and a large ding at the toe. The buttplate is in about Good to Very Good condition. The stock is in about Poor overall condition and is a bit shrunk, BUT – original! As a collector of Henry’s, I would rather have a dark and discolored, cracked original stock than a heavily refinished or replaced one. We really like this gun, evenm the cracked and damaged stock…
Type of Finish: Blue, Brass & Case Color
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is shiny in the lands and dull in the grooves, tending to dark at the muzzle. The rifling is sharp. There is moderate erosion in the grooves near the muzzle. This is one of the better bores I have seen on a Henry.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 5% of its metal finish. Though seemingly small, 5% is spectacular for a Henry. We have seen a lot of Henry’s and only a handfull had even traces of original finish like this. The receiver has developed a mustard colored patina and the barrel, hammer, and lever have developed a dark plum colored patina. There are traces of bluing remaining under the patina along the sides of the barrel. In addition to its thick patina, there are several scabs of erosion scattered over the barrel. The front of the barrel also shows a few handling marks under the patina. The sides of the receiver show several tiny marks with a few drag lines and tiny dings. The bottom of the left sideplate shows two spots with several tiny dings each. The checkering on the hammer shows heavy wear but the barrel edges are sharp. The hammer screw is sharp but most of the others are disfigured. The markings are clear except for the name scratched into the underside of the receiver, which is very faint. This rifle rates in about Very Good – Fine condition for a Henry.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, but we were unable to get the barrel extension to pivot for loading of the magazine. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a four piece cleaning rod. The pieces assemble into a rod 27 ½” long with a brass button tip at one end and a slotted paddle at the other. The rod is finished “In The White” and shows spots of plum colored solid erosion scattered over its length. The rod is in about Good to Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: The Henry rifle was designed in 1860 and held 16 brass cartridges in its magazine. Sources aren’t clear about when it actually began production, but by 1866 it ceased production with about 14,000 having been manufactured. At that time, New Haven Arms became Winchester Repeating Arms Company and the Henry evolved into the M1866 Winchester. The Henry was purchased privately by Union soldiers during the Civil War and quickly became known as the “rifle that you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long”. We can’t imagine what it must have been like for the Confederate troops to have faced these rapid firing rifles armed with only their muzzleloaders, but because the Henry wasn’t purchased in large numbers by the Union, there were only a few Civil War battles where the Henry played a decisive role, one of which was the Battle of Franklin. Unfortunately for Custer and his Springfield Trapdoor armed troops, a few Henry rifles also fell into the possession of the Sioux and Cheyenne troops at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. This rifle was made in 1864 and still has its original finish on the barrel and buttstock. It has the important “Henry Bump” on the left side of the buttstock below the sling swivel (no one is really sure why this bump is there on the rifles, but it sure does make it easy to tell which ones have been sanded and refinished.). The frame, barrel, stock, and buttplate all have matching serial numbers, the edges on the barrel are sharp and the markings are clear. This rifle was inspected by Benjamin Henry and bears his inspection mark (an “H”) on the lower tang. The rifle is in about Very Good condition. The barrel shows a heavy plum colored patina while the receiver has a mustard colored patina.We can see traces of bluing under the finish along the sides of the barrel – which is special. The bore is shiny in the lands and dull in the grooves, which are dark at the muzzle. The rifling is sharp and there is moderate erosion in the grooves near the muzzle. The action functions correctly, but we can’t get the barrel extension to pivot, this is likely due t some very old dried oil or possible even some rust that a good soaking will loosen. This is an all-correct Henry rifle that really ought to please the collectors out there. This is about as nice a Henry as we have seen in a long time, and to get one with an original finish and matching numbers is really an unexpected surprise. It even comes with a very nice vintage four piece cleaning rod stored in the butt. Good Luck with your bidding on this one.