We often forget that, as time goes by, new generations are entering the firearm market. Unless they come across Grandpa’s old magazines, they may not realize that there was a time when rifles were made of blued steel and walnut. No doubt about it, we are in the era of black rifles, synthetic stocks and plastic handguns. Another drawback to this modern age is our lack of time to enjoy traditions of the past. Most men will remember their first firearm experience as getting a chance to shoot a .22 rifle under Dad’s or Grandpa’s tutelage. If you proved to be responsible, the next step was an outing of small-game hunting. These are the moments that create traditions and memories to last a lifetime. They are also the moments overlooked in our modern lifestyles.
Fortunately, not all companies have forgotten our heritage and are still producing rifles that look as good as they shoot. Henry Repeating Arms of Bayonne, New Jersey, leads the way. They’re keeping our firearm traditions alive with their modern renditions of the Henry lever-action rifle. The mainstay of Henry Repeating Arms’ lineup would have to be their Golden Boy, and even after a decade of production, this rifle deserves a second look.
The Golden Boy was named Rifle of the Year in 2001, and was the first rimfire rifle to win this honor. Available in .22 LR, .22 Magnum and .17 HMR, the rifle has the classic looks of the Henry rifle mated with modern production techniques. The steel receiver is finished in Henry’s “Brasslite,” while the barrel band and buttplate are actual brass, which gives an appearance reminiscent of the original Henry rifles of the 1800s. These parts create a nice contrast to the barrel, magazine tube, lever, hammer and trigger, which are finished in a deep, polished blue. The octagonal barrel has a length of 20 inches and the total length of the rifle is 38.5 inches. The stock and forearm are American walnut, and the whole package only weighs 6.75 pounds. As would only be proper for any rifle that would evoke the traditions of the American past, the Golden Boy is 100 percent American made.
Henry Repeating Arms was kind enough to supply a rifle for evaluation chambered in the traditional .22 Long Rifle. In this chambering, the under-barrel magazine tube has a capacity of 16 rounds. During the American Civil War, the original Henry rifles earned the phrase, “Load it on Sunday and shoot all week.” The modern Henry carries on this feature, and could truly be labeled as a high-capacity firearm.