By: Dr Jim and Mary Clary
Over the past ten years, firearms companies around the world have flooded the market with plastic and polymer-based guns. If that wasn't bad enough, they have expanded the ugly AR15 platform to just about every possible combination... all in the name of "modern sporting firearms". It is as though they have forgotten that firearms are supposed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. No matter what you do to it, the "black stick" will never be pleasing to the eye.
We understand some of the reasons for the trend (lower manufacturing costs & faster assembly lines) but we fail to understand why so many companies have just given up on producing firearms the "old fashioned way". It is as though they are in a "race to the bottom".
We will leave the answers to those questions for other writers/readers at a later date. In this article we want to discuss the new Single Shot Rifle produced by Henry Repeating Arms Co. A company founded and lead by Anthony Imperato which only produces high quality firearms at reasonable prices. Mr. Imperato refuses to join the "race to the bottom". If he can't make it in the United States, he won't make it. We might also add: If he can't make a quality firearm, he won't make it.
Henry arms have a reputation as being the most reliable and smooth operating lever actions on the market. That reputation is well earned and absolutely correct. However, not everyone wants a lever action rifle and with the bolt-action rifle market flooded with products, the logical niche for Henry to fill was with a single-shot firearm.
The single shot rifle niche has only one serious competitor, the Ruger Nr.1s, and they are now outsourced to a specialty shop. They are still superb rifles (we have two), but the price has steadily increased over the years to over $1,500. As such, the market and demand for a quality and reasonably priced single shot rifle was "wide open".
After considerable design planning and in-house testing, Henry Repeating Arms launched their single shot centerfire rifle line in September 2017. We were fortunate to get one of the first models in our requested .223 Remington caliber.
This rifle is absolutely one of the most beautiful rifles that we have seen in years. The satin matte finish on the frame is flawless. The wood to metal fit of the American walnut stock and fore end are the best we have ever seen. We are not sure how they do it, but by whatever means they are using.... keep it up. While we are on the subject of the stock: The laser cut checkering does exactly what checkering is supposed to do... provide a more positive grip for the shooter. That is such an improvement over the stamped faux checkering on so many firearms on the market today.
There are no plastic parts in this gun. This little break action rifle harkens back to the days when single shot rifles were made with great care and owning one was a source of pride. However, do not get the idea that this is just an "old" design that is being remanufactured in the 21st century. Henry updated and improved the original designs. They installed a rebounding hammer that cannot touch the firing pin unless the trigger’s deliberately pulled. The internal interlock system that doesn’t allow the barrel to open if the hammer’s cocked, or the barrel to close if the hammer’s cocked while it’s open. And, for us lefties, the break-open lever can be pivoted to the left or right to break the barrel open. From all of us left-handed people...."Thank You Mr. Imperato"
And, unlike a lot of break-open guns that have ejectors that throw the spent casing back, the Henry H015-223 rifle is equipped with a positive extractor which allows the shooter to easily remove the case without damage for reloading. If you are a reloader, that is a real plus, especially if you have ever used a .223 black rifle.
By this time, some of you are wondering, why would I want a single shot rifle? Think about it, how many times in your hunting adventures have you ever required more than one shot? Oh, we know... you want the other rounds as a backup.... but, if you never need them, why have them? Personally, Jim likes the challenge of using a single shot rifle, whether it be a muzzleloader or a centerfire. Having only one shot ensures that you take proper care in placing your shot and then only firing when you are assured of a clean kill.
The Henry H015-223 comes with an adjustable folding rear leaf sight and a brass front sight. The polished 22" barrel is drilled and tapped for a Weaver 48082 mount. We recommend buying the Grovtec hammer extension (GHM 283) from Henry if you plan on using a scope on the rifle. We mounted a Sightron SII 3-9 x 42 on our test rifle using Weaver High Quad Lock rings to ensure that the hammer cleared the scope.
All that remained for us to determine was how well the rifle shoots. As well made as the Henry H015-223 is, if it doesn't shoot tight groups, why buy it? We went to the range with some new Sig Sauer .223 ammo, both 40 grain predator tip rounds and 60 grain HT hunting rounds, as well as Jim's "standard" 55 grain Hornady V-Max loads. We fired multiple three and four shot groups off our Caldwell Tack Driver bag at 100 yards. We did not adjust the sights between the rounds, hence the drop expected with increasing weights. The following targets answer the question of accuracy.
This rifle produced consistent groups of under 3/4" (center-to-center), with our best being 1/2", using the new SIG SAUER 40 grain .223 predator loads. That is incredible accuracy from a "standard" factory rifle. And, before we forget, the trigger has no creep.... it has a consistent and positive release at 5.5 lbs.
The specifications of the H015 are:
Action: Single Shot
Caliber: .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO
Also Available in: .243 Winchester & .308 Winchester
Capacity: 1 Round
Barrel Length: 22"
Twist: 1 in 9
Overall Length: 37.5"
Weight: 7.18 pounds
Receiver: Blued Steel - matt finish
Rear Sight: Fully adjustable folding leaf
Front Sight: Brass Bead
Scope Ready: Drilled and Tapped for Weaver 48082 Base Mount
Stock: American Walnut w steel swivel studs
Butt Plate: Black, Solid Rubber Recoil Pad
Length of Pull: 14"
Trigger Weight: 5.5 lbs
Safety: Rebounding Hammer
The H015-223 is a quality rifle at a very reasonable price. This rifle is built to the same high standards as all of the other Henry centerfire rifles. It is NOT a budget model in any sense of the word. It is ideal for those who would like to introduce their children to shooting, but not forcing them to use some cheap entry level firearm. It is also ideal for those of us who want the challenge of hunting with only one round on board and those of us who prefer the uncomplicated durability of a single shot rifle.
Whether you are a bolt-gun or lever-gun shooter, you owe it to yourself to pick up one of these.... either as a backup or as your primary rifle. They are that good! Jim has plans to buy another one in .308 caliber for deer hunting.