Henry Rifle (US Gov. - "H" markings)

The original Henry rifle was a sixteen shot .44 caliber rimfire breech-loading lever-action rifle, patented by Benjamin Tyler Henry in 1860 after three years of design work. The Henry was an improved version of the earlier Volition, and later Volcanic. The Henry used cartridges with a 216 grain bullet over 25 grains of black powder.

Only 150 to 200 rifles a month were initially produced. Nine hundred were manufactured between summer and October 1862. Production peaked at 290 per month by 1894, bringing the total to 8,000. By the time the run ended in 1866, approximately 14,000 units had been manufactured.

For a Civil War soldier, owning a Henry rifle was a point of pride.  Letters home would call them "Sixteen" or "Seventeen"-shooters.  Just 1,731 of the standard rifles were purchased by the government during the Civil War. The Commonwealth of Kentucky purchased a further 50. However 6,000 to 7,000 saw use by the Union on the field through private purchases by soldiers who could afford it. The relative fragility of Henrys compared to Spencers hampered their official acceptance. Many infantry soldiers purchased Henrys with their reenlistment bounties of 1864. Most of these units were associated with Sherman's Western troops.

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Henry Rifle (US Gov. - "H" markings)


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