Henry Octagon Frontier


Some things were just meant to be enjoyed for purely for the experience they bring. Like smoking a fine cigar versus an electric cigarette. One you savor; the other gets you your fix. Don’t get me wrong, automation has its place. Back when I lived on the outskirts of Beantown and wanted a cannoli from Mike’s, I’d get on the T rather than brave the hellish nightmare that is Boston traffic. On the other hand, do you know anyone who hope into their TVR Speed and cruises to the range to shoot their HiPoint? The HiPoint, like a Honda Civic, has it’s place. When you need something that is reliable, easy-to-operate, and utilitarian — you pick something that meets the need. The Henry Octagon Frontier, like a Harley Knucklehead isn’t simply a means to an end. It’s an experience in itself — thankfully without the TVR price tag . . .

You might be thinking,”OK, but I love my AR clone in .22LR. What does the Henry offer that my M&P 15-22 doesn’t?” In a zombie-squirrel apocalypse situation…not much. The Henry isn’t a high speed, low drag aluminum sciuridae slayer. Nor does it try to be.

What the Frontier is, though, is a nostalgic lever-gun that allows the shooter to control nearly every aspect of the shooting process. If your idea of a good time is trying to beat Miculek’s revolver fire rate, the Henry probably isn’t the long gun for you. However, if you like to take your time and really enjoy the shooting experience, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable fix.


The Henry can hold 16 rounds of 22LR and 22 rounds of the short stuff. So despite not being a down-powered “assault weapon”, she still holds a nice compliment of ammo. While the lack of a side loading gate might annoy some, at least that tube mag has some deep reserves.

If you’ve never tried firing a lever-action rifle under pressure, you’re in for a real treat. And a rude awakening. Eviscerating your tree-dwelling (or non-ferrous metal) targets is more than just a sights, breathe, trigger, rinse, repeat experience. The real challenge is developing the rhythm of smoothly operating the lever with the gun shouldered while shifting your sights to the next unsuspecting Campbell’s can.

If you’re a lever noob, it may take you some time to get into the groove of finding the perfect throw distance when trying to rapidly launch lead. However, since you can’t just pull the trigger again and again, that tried and true lever action tends to teach you to make each shot count.


If you’ve had the pleasure of shooting Henry’s Goldenboy, the Frontier is the same song and dance internally with a different finish and the addition of that heavy octagon barrel.  The Henry’s internal simplicity gives the action a grit-free feel without the need to have a smith smooth out the action. The rifle exudes a feeling of quality that’s disproportionate to its cost.

I took the Henry and several flavors of ammo out to my local range. I set up targets at 15 yards, here are the results.

Aguila SSS Sniper 60gr: 


Aguila Super Extra Subsonic 38gr:


Eley 40gr:


Remington YellowJacket:


RWS Target Rifle:


Clearly the old gal has expensive tastes. Aguila SSS 60gr fared just a hair better than RWS’s Target Rifle offering. I guess you can skip the 500-round Thunderbolt packs at Wally-World. If you can even find them, that is. Not to say the lever-action lady won’t function 100% with them, ’cause she will. Just don’t expect to keep ’em all in the black much past 15 yards.

Taking down the Octagon Frontier for cleaning is fairly simple, but requires a few special tools that a novice shooter might not have on hand, namely hollow-ground or gunsmith screwdrivers. It’s possible to use a regular flat head screwdriver, but be careful — they can easily mar the finish of the firearm. An easy workaround for this is to wrap painters tape around a regular flat head screwdriver. This is the method depicted in the photos below.

To disassemble the rifle, first remove the magazine tube and open the action to ensure that it is unloaded.

Once you have confirmed the gun is safe, remove the tang screw and slide the butt-stock rearward. Remove all 4 screws on the receiver, slide the receiver place rearward, and lift the bolt vertically.

This is as far as you  should disassemble the gun for regular cleaning. For a semi-annual deep cleaning a bench block and a set of punches is needed to remove the pins that hold the hammer, lever, and bolt-carrier in place. I recommend watching Henry’s disassembly video if you are going to take her down that far.

taken down courtesy James Grant

The Henry is one of those guns that makes a grin sneak across your lips when you least expect it. You’ll get wrapped up in keeping that brass bead in focus, waiting for it to mark some unsuspecting tin can or spent shotgun casing, nailing the target before working the lever and repeating it all over again. Then something strange will happen — you’ll realize you’re having fun. A ton of it. Good clean fun that you can share with your kids, but without feeling like you’re shooting a kid’s gun.

The Henry Octagon Frontier offers shooters a chance to unleash their inner John Wayne without breaking the bank or suspending disbelief. It’s a rimfire blaster whose fit, finish, and heft may make you check for a squib when it goes off, since you’ll be expecting the bark of a .45 long Colt rather than the spit of a .22. Truly, the Henry is a solid performer that puts offerings from Rossi to shame and should make Browning’s accountants very nervous.


Caliber: .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle
Capacity: 21 rounds .22 Short, 16 rounds .22 LR
Length: 38.5”
Barrel Length: 20”
Weight: 6.25 lbs
Stock: Walnut
MSRP: $430

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * *
The Henry is better than minute-of-can accurate (especially with the right ammo). With the addition of a scope, it’s an ideal squirrel slayer.

Reliability * * * * ½
The Henry is about 98% reliable when taking human error into account. Meaning that if you rack the lever ultra slow or fast (meaning as slow/fast as you possibly can) sometimes the round will jam itself between the elevator and the top of the chamber. Use a finger to point the round in the right direction to put the gun back in the fight.

Style * * * * *
With its beautiful, shiny blued finish and handsome American walnut furniture, the Henry is something to behold. My only issue is that I wish the finish were a bit more durable.

Ergonomics * * * * ½
The Henry balances very well and points even better. I took off half a star for the forward loading magazine tube and the small lever loop. Although a big-loop upgrade is available on Henry’s site for an additional $50 which makes operating the lever more comfortable and much easier with gloved hands.

Customize This * * *
I don’t think Troy or CMMG makes rails for the Henry (yet?). Peep sights and leather loop guards are available for the Henry. They even offer engraved side plates for the lever-gun if you’re so inclined.

Overall * * * * *
I’m not advocating that everyone go out and sell their AR and buy a lever-gun from Henry (although I’m sure Henry would appreciate it). But if you’re looking to buy an accurate, reliable, handsome, American-made rifle for the same price as a Brazilian manufactured competitor without the spotty QA track-record, you’ll want to bookmark Henry’s site.

23 thoughts on “Henry Octagon Frontier

  1. My Marlin Golden 39 will put 50 rounds in a 1″ bull at 50 yards and cost about 1/3 of what the Henry costs, plus it’s a takedown.
    Not knocking the Henry, it is a nice rifle. Maybe the one you used isn’t representative of the best they have made.

    Phil in TX

  2. “Hello. My Name is Kevin. I am a Henry-Holic!”

    When I decided to buy my first Henry Rifle, I sent an email to the President of Henry Arms, Anthony Imperato. He has a reputation for responding to customer emails, personally, which is well deserved.

    I asked Anthony, if HE could own only one Henry Rifle, which one would HE own? He responded “I would buy the Lever Action Octagonal Frontier (Model H001T).” That was my FIRST Henry Rifle.

    Today, I own a number of Henry’s, in varied calibers and models, including the new single shot rifles and shotguns. Each one, to me, is a piece of art, as well as a magnificent fire arm.

    As the writer said, I grin every time I pick up one of my Henrys.

    Kevin M. Lynch
    North Carolina

    1. had a lot of rifles in my day and still have a few, but I bought my Grand daughter a Golden boy .22, when I lifted that rifle it was their, I couldn’t believe the site line, but from 2012 when I bought this for her I told her when she was ready we will shoot it, well she is 12 this year and we haven’t shot it at this time, (I also waited,) she will be the first. this is the year. and you are right, Anthony does personally write back.

  3. Another Henry lover here. I have only 3 of them, but each is amazing for the price. I got my Henry, .22 w/Octagon barrel before they called it the Frontier model. I then called and spoke to Anthony Imperato … yes, as someone also stated, he is very customer oriented. I asked him why no Big Boy .357’s and he told me they were on the drawing board. Little did i know what was to become, but almost a year later Mr Imperato called me and told me they were gearing up to make the .357 Big Boy’s and if i wanted one, to let him know. I did as he asked and ordered mine, calling him to tell him i placed the order. He responded to my message telling me he thanked me and would hand pick the rifle with the best looking Walnut stock and fore-end he saw … and true to his word, when i picked up the rifle and saw the beautiful wood with the brass … I smiled all the way home. And, of course, it has an Octagonal barrel and shoots incredibly well, with the smoothest lever action of any rifle i have shot.

  4. Have had a Henry .22mag frontier for. Over 10 years and simply find it a personal favorite. Added skinner peep sights to it a decade ago, making accuracy far easier than buckhorn sights. Last year the firing pin broke, and was disassembled and ready to replace the pin when Henry insisted I return it so they could repair it at the factory(they did change the bolt manufacture several years back and wanted to upgrade to a newer bolt, so they ended up replacing the bolt, breech cover, stock, and forearm to match all the pieces, no questions asked, no expense other than shipping it to them. It is a magnificent firearms, and the reason I have purchased 6 of their firearms. I have also had reason to contact Anthony Imperato in the past, and I will continue to say that this gentlemen should be the template for all company CEO’s. If you have considered a Henry lever gun purchase, don’t hesitate to buy. Great firearm, great employees, great management, period!

  5. I also have the Henry octagon Frontier in .22 Mag.; fantastic, reliable AND accurate rifle. Paid not much more than the mentioned price of the .22 LR though. Henry produces a great product at a MORE than fair price AND IT’S an American company putting Americans to work. All pluses in my book. The only thing I wonder is WHY in the “Specs” category the article didn’t mention the .22 Magnum and just highlighted the lighter .22’s? This one will be an heirloom to be handed down through the years also…

  6. Why does the Aguila Super Extra Subsonic 38gr. target and the RWS Target Rifle Target ( last one pictured ) appears to be the same target.

  7. Nice looking gun and I am sure it is fun to shoot. However most all the Henry’s are just too expensive… I also don’t have one of the $3,000 Italian scatter guns for similar reasons. I have many nice looking and fun to shoot guns from other makers that sell for a fraction of the price.

  8. I have the H0001 in a carbine and LOVE it. I was able to find it on sale for $269 and scooped it up ASAP.

  9. I see a few people whining about the price, they aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. You can’t buy a sig for the price of a high point and you don’t get the quality either. Henry makes a good gun, if you want a better price check the used rack or hit the pawn shops, I have picked up a lot of good deals over the years

  10. That rifle should have much better accuracy than that, personally I would send it back if those were the best group so I could get at 15 yards.

  11. Where can you get Aquila SSS ammo?Cabelas in Cheektowaga,NY once had some but that store is 90 miles away and with Cuomos UNSafe Act I can’t mail order ammo.I wish I could get heavier springs for the Henry[formerly Charter Arms] AR-7 [the Aquila SSS 60gr really slams the bolt],or that Henry would make the AR-7 in 45 ACP+P with 1911 mags.
    We also need adult length buttstocks i.e.14.5″l.o.p.
    Peep sights are emminently effective.I use the Williams WGRS[since I’m a southpaw].

  12. I’m assuming the problem is in the ammo or the shooter. I’ve got an old mauser looking piece of junk that will put 10 stingers in the bullseye that you can cover with a nickel. I’ve got a couple of Henrys so I know the quality is there.

  13. I aim to own a Henry. I have owned a number of Marlin 39 and 39A’s. None of those have ever to take the “X” right off of the target straight out of the box. The only modifications I have ever made to the Marlins was to install a receiver sight package on them. I learned to use those shooting Remington 40X target rifles in .222 Remington. I truly look forward to a Henry, or two, or three. I do agree with one of the comments: Something could and should be done to get a better initial grouping out of your Henry.

  14. I have a couple lever action rifles My go to .22 is a Browning BL22 which is a hoot to shoot! I have never had a problem with any load as long as i did my part.
    My other lever is a Marlin 1895 in 45/70 this is my hunting and woodsloafing gun. Where I live there are a lot of toothy things that would look at me as a tasty treat this rifle helps me even the odds.
    Sorry Henry, The side eject won the day. They are pretty, but the brass receiever on the Golden Boy I think would reflect too much for a hunting rifle

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