Henry USA: Honoring History Through Innovation

— Kat StevensCADRE Dispatch

Henry Repeating Arms — also sometimes called Henry USA — is a respected gun maker most often associated with the ever-popular lever gun. And though the company stirs up the nostalgia that goes along with lever guns, you may not be aware that the company itself is relatively new. Indeed, the company was founded less than 30 years ago, honoring a firearms inventor who lived centuries ago.

We’re going to walk you through the history of Henry Repeating Arms, with a look at the man the company is named after, and some of their most popular platforms.

henry rifle
Original 1860 Henry Rifles. (Photo credit: Texas Range Museum)

the Henry Rifle

The Henry Rifle was designed in 1860 by Benjamin Tyler Henry and quickly gained popularity due to its quality and overall design. It also offered fantastic capacity, especially for the time in which it was invented.

It was a lever-action rifle with a tubular magazine, chambered in .44 caliber, and had a 16-shot capacity. Those things alone made it desirable thanks to its repeatability and reliable function. It saw a great deal of use in the latter half of the 19th century, including during the Civil War.

According to firearms historians, it took around three years for Benjamin Tyler Henry to finalize the design for what would become the Henry Rifle. The first run of the rifle was limited to just a couple hundred, but production soon picked up its pace. When that original Henry Rifle run ended, approximately 14,000 guns had been made.

Interestingly, although the Henry Rifle was used during the Civil War, it was more common for soldiers to buy the gun for themselves. The military didn’t buy many to issue to the soldiers but the gun was enough of a game changer in combat, the men saved their meager wages to procure one for themselves.

While you’re not going to find an original Henry Rifle at a remotely affordable price, you can buy a reproduction from Henry Repeating Arms.

Who founded Henry Repeating Arms?

The modern Henry Repeating Arms has no lineage in connection to Benjamin Tyler Henry or that centuries-old rifle. Rather, the company was founded to honor his memory and his rifle by Louis Imperato and his son, Anthony Imperato, in 1996. The elder Imperato managed to secure the Henry trademark when the company was founded, so although Henry Repeating Arms isn’t technically bound to the original Henry Rifle, there is a connection of sorts.

anthony imperato of henry repeating arms
Anthony Imperato, pictured, founded the company with his father in 1996. (Photo credit: Henry Repeating Arms)

Henry Repeating Arms started with the corporate motto “Made in America and Priced Right.” Their goal was to honor the Henry name while producing rifles, shotguns, and even lever-action pistols that gun owners could rely on.

Today, Henry offers more than 200 models in a vast array of calibers and styles. Their guns are used for everything from hunting to cowboy action shooting. Their current company motto is “Made in America, or Not Made at All.”

Where is Henry Repeating Arms located?

The gun maker started out in Brooklyn, New York, in 1996. Today, Henry operates three manufacturing facilities. The company’s headquarters are located in Rice Lake, Wisconsin with manufacturing facilities in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and Bayonne, New Jersey. The three locations provide a total of more than 350,000 square feet of space. All Henry firearms are made in the USA.

Is Henry Repeating Arms Involved in Charity?

It’s worth mentioning Henry’s charitable involvements because they’re quite extensive. The name of the charitable arm of the company is Guns for Great Causes. While the main focus of the charity is on pediatric cancer, they have also raised funds for and donated to military veterans, first responders, and families who’ve lost loved ones in the line of duty.

One example of the work Guns for Great Causes does took place in 2023 when Henry donated 50 firearms to be sold to raise funds for 8-year-old Kaia Lauro. Kaia was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in 2019. The 50 firearms were engraved, hand-painted, and put up for sale. All proceeds went to the family.

henry team kaia rifle
The Team Kaia rifle. (Photo credit: Henry Repeating Arms)

Guns for Great Causes donates 100 percent of all sales. This isn’t a charitable arm that only donates a portion of the funds raised — they give it all. According to Henry, Guns for Great Causes has donated more than $3.5 million since its inception. That number has likely increased since the last time the gun maker updated their charitable site.

the Henry Golden Boy

Perhaps the most well-known gun made by Henry is the Golden Boy, a lever-action rifle with a shiny Brasslite receiver and buttplate.

henry golden boy
The Henry Golden Boy is a popular rimfire line of rifles. (Photo credit: Henry Repeating Arms)

The Henry Golden Boy is offered in various chamberings including 22 LR, 17 HMR, and 22 Magnum. It’s made with a standard loop and large loop so you can have your choice of lever style.

The 22 Magnum chambered Henry Golden Boy Large Loop features a 20.5-inch octagon-blued steel barrel with a 1 in 16 twist rate. It has an overall length of 39 inches and an empty weight of 6.75 pounds. The rifle is drilled and tapped, making it easy to add a scope.

Exact specifications depend on the specific model within the line of guns, but all of them have the same American Walnut stock and brass receiver. The Henry Golden Boy is a great rimfire rifle option for fans of lever actions who want a gun that’s both a solid performer and aesthetically appealing.

Does Henry make shotguns?

Yes, Henry does manufacture a family of shotguns. This includes youth models chambered in 410 Bore and 20 gauge as well as full-size shotguns in 410 Bore, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge. The shotguns are made as single-shots and also lever-action. Henry even makes a Garden Gun Smoothbore for use with 22 LR shotshells.

Henry Repeating Arms revolvers

The Henry Big Boy line includes two revolvers chambered in 357 Magnum. One model features a 4-inch barrel and birdshead grip while the other also has a 4-inch barrel but has a gunfighter grip.

henry big boy revolver
The Henry Big Boy revolver with a gunfighter grip. (Photo credit: Henry Repeating Arms)

The Big Boy revolvers are designed for collectors and target shooting. Because they’re chambered in 357 Magnum, it’s also possible to use 38 Special if a softer-recoiling option is preferred. The guns have a six-shot capacity and come standard with a classic blade front sight.

Should you get a Henry Repeating Arms gun?

Whether you’re looking for a firearm for hunting, plinking, or as a historical replica, Henry has a full line of options to fulfill your needs. Calibers range from rimfires to magnums and the guns are made to suit a wide variety of purposes.

If you do get a gun from Henry, Safariland has soft-sided rifle cases like the 4552 Dual Rifle Bag that can help protect your rifle during transport. Henry’s dedication to quality, made in America firearms shows in the design and fitment of their guns.

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