Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L

Special Interests - Groups & Societies => 1860 Henry => Topic started by: Driftwood Johnson on April 12, 2006, 12:58:50 PM

Title: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 12, 2006, 12:58:50 PM
Howdy

For years now, I kept saying, why would anybody want a Henry? You've got to be more careful when you load it, you have to hold it just right when you shoot it, the originals weren't very powerful, they're heavy, and they don't take down as easy as a '73. I've been happily shooting my '73 for years now, and as a matter of fact I just got it all slicked up and it is better than ever to shoot. So why in the world would I want a Henry?

I dunno, I must have watched Dances With Wolves too many times. This winter something snapped in the old noggin and I started thinking it might be cool to have one. I started looking around for one in 44-40. They were all running around $1000. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I saw a couple of weeks ago that Dixie has a steel framed one in 44-40 on sale for $795. I've been chewing on that fact for 2 weeks now. I know it's a great price, plus I kind of like the idea of the steel frame instead of the usual brass frame. I'll still have to figure out what I have to sell to pay for it, but my dealer just called and told me Dixie is shipping it tomorrow.

Hey Seth - did you ever work out your loads? I'm betting this one is gonna come through with a .429 groove diameter, rather than the .427 my '73 has. I may have to load up special rounds for it.

Has anyone seen one of these close up? The photo on the Dixie website looks like the frame has a faux Color Case finish. I don't know how consistant that would be with the original iron frames. I would prefer it were just blue.

Anyway, I'm all a tizzy and excited now. Can't wait 'till it gets here.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Will Ketchum on April 12, 2006, 01:22:00 PM
Driftwood, I know just what you mean about not thinking you needed a Henry.   I was actually looking for a 66 when I found mine.  I looked at it and passed but as I walked further away it kept calling to me.  When the guy knocked off another $50.00 I bought it.  Mine is the brass framed.  I have seen several iron framed and I always thought that they were really case hardened.  Just like the 73s.  I might be wrong but they all looked good to me.


Will Ketchum
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 12, 2006, 02:46:05 PM
Will

Are you referring to original iron framed Henrys and '73s that you've seen with case hardening, or replicas? I'm trying to do some research right now to find out what the finish was on the originals.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Forty Rod on April 12, 2006, 03:05:43 PM
There were only about 275 originals made with iron frames and I can't find evidence of any of them being color case hardened.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 12, 2006, 03:56:17 PM
Thanks

Can you tell me what the finish was on the original iron frames? Blue? Bright? Anything else? I'm also trying to determine if it is even possible to case harden iron. I know the frames of the earliest SAAs were iron, not steel, and I assume they were case hardened. Does anyone know what type of iron we are talking about here for the Henrys? I am assuming malleable iron.

Thanks
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Will Ketchum on April 12, 2006, 05:15:33 PM
Driftwood, I should have made myself clear.   They were replicas.

I don't know if the originals were case hardedned but you can case harden iron.


Will Ketchum
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Fox Creek Kid on April 12, 2006, 08:43:26 PM
The orgiinals (aaprox. 400) were NOT case colored but rather blued steel with a brass carrier. There is convincing historical speculation that the New Haven Arms Co. "farmed" out the contract to Colt & the iron framed guns were made by Colt.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 13, 2006, 08:32:16 AM
So far in R L Wilson's book 'Winchester An American Legend', I have only found one photo of an iron framed Henry, and it was blue.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Cyrille on April 13, 2006, 10:50:48 AM
Mr. Johnson:
 I have just read your recent post(s) on purching a 'Henry,' I assume it is of foreign make as you have stated in previous post(s) that you abhor the existant H.R.A.C. because of their use of questionable methods of obtaining permission from S.A.S.S. to allow their newly manufactured rifles to be used in S.A.S.S. matches and of their untruths and half-truths to the buying public.
  That is perfectly alright I have no arguement with you on that and do not wish to 'beat a dead horse.' I was, however wondering what you think of the "Henry" rifle itself. Particularly the .44 magnum caliber and the . 45 Colt caliber I have recently purchased a "Henry" Big Boy in .45 Colt caliber and would like your opinion of that rifle in particular.
   I have no quarrel with your statments on the Company itself I would just like to hear your opinion on the product(s) they offer.
                                                                   
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 13, 2006, 02:25:07 PM
Cyrille

I've sent you a Private Message

Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Ottawa Creek Bill on April 13, 2006, 08:51:40 PM
Good Move!!
I've had one in 44/40, and now I own one in 45 long colt that I am going to rechamber this summer to .44 Colt. It will match my pistols 1860 Richards Conversion(s), and I will shoot 45 cal heeled bullets out of all of them. It will be real close to the original Henry caliber other than being center fire. If they still made the .44 Henry Flat round I would chamber it in that caliber.

There is somthing about holding a Henry in your hands that gives you a feeling you can't get from any other rifle. Here is a photo of some Henrys I took at the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody Wyoming in 1989, I think? It shows the evolution of the Henry into the 1866 rifle starting with a Iron Framed Henry in pretty good shape, with a lot of the original finish left on the receiver. The second photo is just an enlarged version of the first. Hope you all like them..

Bill
(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y261/BillProctor123/henrysFile0245.jpg)
(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y261/BillProctor123/henrys2File0245.jpg)
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Will Ketchum on April 13, 2006, 10:09:52 PM
Bill, do you have any information on the 4th from the top rifle?  I believe it is the rifle that I have been looking for.  I know I saw either a picture or the actual rifle, which was a Henry with a forearm which was fastened to the area between the magazine and the barrel much like a model 87 shotgun.

I have thought I would like to do this to my Henry if I could document it.  Mostly just for something a bit different.

Will Ketchum
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Major 2 on April 13, 2006, 11:05:32 PM
Bill

Have you ever though of doing a King Transitional model with the magazine floor strip ?

I own a 45 Military model now and once had a 44/40 Carbine in the early eighties .
Thats all you could get back then after the over 10 round Magazine BATF imbargo.

I'd jump on a $795 Henry ( Iron Frame ) just to have another version. (if I had the funds burnin a hole in my pocket)

"There is somthing about holding a Henry in your hands that gives you a feeling you can't get from any other rifle"
I agree ... My Spencers are like that too.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Wolfgang on April 14, 2006, 04:10:24 AM
Driftwood,   The sale on Iron Frame Henrys has been pulling at me also.   Take a look at the latest issue of  "True West" magazine. In the section on recent auction sales, they show a beautiful Henry that was sold.  Don't have the mag. handy as I write. Think it went for around  $200,000.  It is perfect. Blued receiver on it. I've had thoughts about if I were really, really, FILTHY RICH of buying one and one of those boxes of unopened original cartridges that sell for dear prices and just opening the box, loading it up and  SHOOTING IT !   :)  Think I'll have to pass up the Dixie sale though.   :( :-\ :(   Keep us posted on it, . . . Wolfgang Mountain Man  :)
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Fox Creek Kid on April 14, 2006, 10:12:15 AM
Will, that rifle is Winchester's Improvement .44 carbine made from Dec. 1865 thru early 1866 for Maximilian I of Mexico. There's a picture of it in the Houze book, p. 38.  ;)
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Ottawa Creek Bill on April 14, 2006, 11:53:03 AM
Will,
The only information I have would be on the card in the display case with the rifle. Unfortunately, this was taken waaayyyee before I bought my Canon 20D, 8.2 mega pixel digital camera. I've tried to blow the image up several times to see if I could read the information off the card, but it is too blurry. One thing I remember about this group of rifles is that each one belonged to famous westerners. I don't remember who they are.

Bill
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Ottawa Creek Bill on April 14, 2006, 11:58:53 AM
Major 231,
No, not really but I think it would be a really neat Henry to have. Last year in the Cowboy Chroncile a fella who coverted his Henry into the King version did a article that decribed the procedure how to do it. I do have a machine shop, but just too busy to do it.
Will,
I will make you a blow up of that photograph and send it to you. I may try to digitize it to see if I can sharpen the print on the dispay card so we can read it first.

Bill
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Wolfgang on April 15, 2006, 03:38:39 AM
Driftwood, . . . my mistake. It was the Walker Colt that was expensive.  The iron frame Henry was cheap. Only  $ 92,000 .   At that price, . . why not get two.  Consecutive serial numbers natchurally.  ;)  I WANT one of them iron frame Henrys !  But, . . . there's so much other neat stuff I WANT !  Good shootin', . . . .  (  The Walker Colt went for  # 375,000 ) . . .  :)
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Driftwood Johnson on April 15, 2006, 10:51:26 AM
Howdy Boys

Ottawa Creek Bill, thanks for the great photo.

I am pretty sure my new Henry is going to show up with the Uberti 'color case' finish on the frame, at least that's what the one over at Cimarron looks like. I'll shoot it for a while, but I may decide to strip off the 'color case' and blue the frame. Time will tell.

The fellow who was featured in the Chronicle with the article on converting a Henry to a transition model is Happy Trails. Hap is a good pard, and I have seen the gun in question. All of Hap's work is exquisite. His 'transition' model is not the same as the one in the photo here, he does not add a fore stock. You can see his conversion under his 'conversions' bullet.

http://www.thesmithshop.com/index.html (http://www.thesmithshop.com/index.html)
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Wolfgang on April 15, 2006, 09:22:16 PM
Driftwood,  Thanks for the link to "Happy Trails" site.  I hadn't visited it before.  Great work.  I loved the article in the "Cronicle" about the  Henry Transitional.  Good shootin', . . .  :)  Get ahold of the issue of "True West" if ya can.  It's worth it just for the pictures of the iron frame Henry and a gold engraved one that was from Mexico. Also a beautiful Walker.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Major 2 on April 16, 2006, 06:41:09 AM
I'd like to read that article in the "Chronicle".  Has anybody saved it to make a copy ?
 I must have missed it or it was one of several copies that arrived only with a page or two or mostly mangled.
The Pony express is particular hard on news-printed style periodicals in these parts  >:(
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Happy Trails on April 16, 2006, 09:20:23 AM
Howdy Major231,
Here is a copy of the article by my good pard One Ear Pete. 



Convert your Henry to a Transitional Model in 66 easy steps
By One-Ear Pete, SASS #34800
1860
In the beginning, there was the Volcanic rifle. Tyler Henry redesigned that lever action
rifle to take a .44 rimfire cartridge and Oliver Winchester saw it and declared it good ...
but not perfect.
In 1865 Nelson King was hired as the foreman of the Henry Repeating Rifle Company.
Winchester assigned him the task of solving the problems associated with the original
Henry design ... the awkward loading method and an open magazine that was easily
fouled with dirt. To solve these problems King designed the side loading gate, made
a separate barrel and magazine assembly and added a wooden forestock. Thus the
Winchester Model 1866 “Yellow Boy” was born. During that time the company was
renamed the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
But that’s not the whole story.
To work out the design problems, King went out to the factory floor, grabbed some
receivers and barrels from the production line and made some Transitional Henrys. It
appears that at least 5 were made and, from photos of these rifles, one can see the various
design solutions develop from one rifle to the next. Needless to say, they are rare.
In 2003 Merz Antique Firearms listed one for sale at $42,500. So, if you’re a person
who is really interested in old and interesting firearms and would like an example of a
Henry in transition and don’t want to pay $50,000, what do you do? Well, if you are
Happy Trails, SASS #4461, you make your own.
Happy Trails is a retired mechanical engineer with an encyclopedic knowledge of
firearms, an insatiable curiosity about the old guns and how they are put together and
access to a machine shop. For example, during the winter of 2003/2004 he acquired 3
Evan’s Repeating Rifles and with more than a little brain work, elbow grease and some
trial and error, he got them up and running for the 2004 season. This entailed not only
getting the rifles to function but also developing and making cartridges that would feed
in the unique Evan’s magazine. Shell cases were fire formed to size and trimmed, the
bases made convex on a lathe and bullet heads turned down to seat them in the case.
Hap, as he is known, is as interested in style points as well as shooting fast and at a
match, one always needs to check out what little treasures he has pulled from his safes.
So, how’d Hap do it?
Well, how did King do it? What problems did King encounter and how did he overcome
them? For Happy Trails, those are the questions and the challenges that intrigue
him. Examples of the Transitional Model available for view online show rifles in various
stages of development. So, even for King, it was trial and error until he got what
he wanted.
The reverse engineering was probably easier than coming up with the original designs
but even working from an existing ‘66 offered challenges to overcome. Hap found a
nice used Uberti Henry in 44-40 and, using his ‘66 as a guide, worked out the location
and dimensions of the loading gate, built the necessary jigs, and milled out the side
plate using equipment similar to what would have been available to King at the time.
Next was construction of the loading gate cover in spring steel. The original loading
gates were flat without a concave grove to facilitate loading so it was simple enough to
design and cut out the correct size and then send it out for heat treating. To rework the
carrier and frame, Hap used the carrier from his '66 to determined the proper angles
and dimensions to cut the pass-through slot for the cartridges being loaded. A jig was
made to hold the piece and it was a simple process to mill out the carrier and frame.
After some hand finishing, de-burring and smoothing the various pieces it was time to
assemble the receiver. Easier said than done as Henry side plates are constructed with
dovetailed joints and, with the loading gate in place, one can’t slide the plate into position.
Adding the gate after installing the side plate was the solution.
Altering the follower seemed simple but with the follower handle removed the follower
would continue on into the receiver. A new follower with a stop had to be designed
and then it was time to figure out how to close in the magazine. That solution was to
bevel the underside of the magazine slot so that a thin piece of bar stock with mating
dovetailed grooves could be slid into position. Bluing of the magazine cover was the
final and easiest step. From start to finish this project took about 20 hours to complete.
Unless Happy Trails comes across one of the original Transitional Henrys, he will
never know if his design solutions were the same as King’s but Hap’s Transitional
Henry shoots like a dream and racks up more of them style points when he is out playing
cowboy.
That’s his story and I’m stickin’ to it.
For more information on transforming a Henry, contact Happy Trails at
TheSmithShop@cox.net
References: The History of Winchester Firearms by Dean K. Boorman (NYC, NY, The
Lyons Press), www.leverguns.com, www.merzantique.com, www.rarewinchesters.com,
and a thread on the SASS Wire about Hollywood Henrys.

Some pictures that accompanied the article.

http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/01.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/02.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/03.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/04.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/05.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/06.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/07.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/08.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/09.JPG
http://members.cox.net/happytrails4461/Henry%20Trans/10.JPG


Hap
www.thesmithshop.com
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Sod Buster on April 22, 2006, 01:06:56 PM
After kicking around the idea of buying a Henry for the past five years, and the price continually going skyward, I finally ordered one in 44-40 Civilian model from Cimarron. Actually I ordered it from Joel Rezac aka Ultona, and he is getting it from Cimarron.

I sure was wanting the military version with the sling swivels and trapdoor buttplate, but none were to be found. I've done enough gunsmithing and custom building flintlock rifles during my buckskinning days, I guess I can add those features myself. It's just going to cost a lot more having to order the individual parts from VTI.

Joss,
I just bought a Henry from Joel via one of the auction sites.  I purchased the Cimarron 44-40 Civilian model.  I just picked it up today from my local FFL.  It has the sling swivels and the trapdoor buttplate.  Now I am wondering....did somebody somewhere screw up or is Cimarron including these features now for no extra cost.  They have both version on their web site and the "Civil War Model" is clearly shown with the sling swivels on the left side of the bore and stock.
This was not what I supposedly bought.
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: Sod Buster on April 22, 2006, 02:54:59 PM
Joss,
Nope, not gonna trade....got a better deal.  ;D

I just checked the box and it has the same part number that Texas Jacks lists for the Civilian part number - CA239.  Hopefully you will get the same thing as I did....which is what you want anyway.  ;D  Keep us informed and I will keep my fingers crossed for ya!
Title: Re: Just Ordered a Henry
Post by: litl rooster on April 22, 2006, 03:27:06 PM
Joss,
Nope, not gonna trade....got a better deal.  ;D

I just checked the box and it has the same part number that Texas Jacks lists for the Civilian part number - CA239.  Hopefully you will get the same thing as I did....which is what you want anyway.  ;D  Keep us informed and I will keep my fingers crossed for ya!



Trade ya buttplates, even throw in a box of Smokies ;D   Where's the pic's