By Dan Kidder
If you have ever held a Henry Rifle, you have been impressed with the quality American craftsmanship, attention to detail, and stunning beauty married to supremely practical usability. Even though I love to shoot my Henry Big Boy in .357 Magnum, it is just too pretty to carry it around and worry about moisture damage, scratches on the soft polished brass receiver, and gouges in the gorgeously stained American walnut wood. As a result, this super smooth and excellent shooting rifle spends the majority of its life hanging in my living room as more of an art piece than a useable rifle.
Henry has recognized that for some, their rifles are too beautiful for everyday use, so they have introduced their All-Weather rifles to fill the gap. Featuring the same smooth American-made artisanship as their brass receiver rifles, the All-Weather rifles provide gorgeous black stained hardwood furniture mated to stainless steel coated with a matte hard chrome coating, molecularly bonded to the underlying metal.
The hard chrome provides a stronger than stainless durable protective coating that resists corrosion, scratching, and rust. It is a matte silver color to avoid visibility to game and just looks cool. All of the metal surfaces in the gun, with the exception of the sights and springs, are coated with this protective and slick material to increase the smoothness of the action and extend the protective attributes to the internals.
The dark black-stained hardwood furniture is also coated with an industrial grade material to increase resistance to scratching and gouging. So even though this rifle is built as a work tool, it will hold up to increased abuse and maintain its appearance longer, even with rough use.
These rifles can be tossed behind the seat of the truck, shoved in a saddle scabbard, or laid in the bottom of a canoe, and you won’t worry about scratches or rusting if you don’t get it dried off right away. The fit and finish of these guns is superb, as is expected from Henry, and the action is as smooth as softened butter. If you have ever wanted the reliability and performance of a Henry Rifle, but were worried about marring the finish, this is the workhorse for you.
I tested the All-Weather in the .45-70 Government All-Weather Action and in the .357 Magnum Big Boy All-Weather and was very impressed in their performance.
The .45-70 comes with a pistol grip stock wrist that makes the hard-hitting beast easier to control. A perforated spongy stock pad tames some of the heavy recoil of this cannon, and it is actually a lot of fun to shoot, provided you have a decent shoulder and cheek weld to the stock. While the big buffalo cartridge still packs a wallop, the lines of the rifle and the weight of the system provides ample inertia, making the recoil manageable. The .45-70 has room for four cartridges in the tubular magazine mounted under the barrel. Henry also makes the All-Weather Lever Action in .30-30 with a five round magazine and a straight wrist.
The .357 Big Boy All-Weather is the exact clone of my Big Boy Classic in shape and function. They have the same stock shape and length, and the All-Weather, at just 7 pounds, is just over a pound lighter than the Classic with the same 10-round capacity. The most noticeable visual difference, aside from the colors, is the round barrel on the All-Weather compared to the iconic octagonal barrel on the Classic. In Addition to .357 Mag/.38 Special, the Big Boy All-Weather is also available in .44 Mag/Special and .45 Colt, so it can be paired with your favorite revolver.
All of the All-Weather rifles feature the Henry V-notch rear sight with a diamond shaped insert and the bright and easy to see brass bead front sight. This aiming system is very instinctive to use and gives you a very quick sight picture. Paired with the natural point of aim of the Henry Rifles, these are some of the quickest iron sights to shoot on the market. Both the classic and the All-Weather have an elevation adjustment wedge on the rear sights for quick modification in the field. They are also drilled and tapped on the receiver for mounting a scope.
Whether you are hoping to capture the nostalgia of your ancestors on a North American bison, or just want to be prepared for a sudden encounter with a massive Kodiak bear in the wet and wooly environs of Alaska, the All-Weather Lever Action in .45-70 will withstand the elements and deliver the power you need for some of America’s largest game. For a song dog encounter or to put a rabbit in the pot when the opportunity presents itself, the Big Boy All-Weather will be the gun you want to tote with you on horseback or in your side by side OHV, and you won’t worry about it getting a little character from wear and tear. Both of these rifles have one thing in common and that is shared by all Henry rifles. They are made in America of American materials, with American craftsmanship, and they will never let you down.