Gallery Gun Fun Henry’s Pump 22

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Octagon barrel for that old school feel.

Octagon barrel for that old-school feel.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/henry pump

Read more at Henry: https://www.henryrifles.com/rifles/pump-action-octagon-rifle/

Sometimes we all  need to slow down, take a deep breath and do something fun for a change.  Gun folk can get a little worked up over what, or who, makes the best carry pistol, or if we should chose an AK or an AR to bury in the woods from when the feculent effusion contacts the unidirectional air current origination device.  That is not even taking into account all of the worrying about the-powers-that-be in Washington and what they might be cooking up in regards to the 2nd Amendment.

We could all stand to have a little fun.  Fun at the range, that is.  I usually have fun at the range, no matter what I am working on.  Running an AK with a bump stock until the forearm catches fire isn’t exactly the worst way to waste an afternoon. But what if you want a low-key, relaxing way to kick back? I may have found the perfect rifle for this, the Henry Pump Action Octagon.

Step on up and show us you are a crack shot!

Step on up and show us you are a crack shot!

Step Right This Way

“Hey folks! Step right on up and see if you are up to the challenge. Hit the targets and win a prize! Everyone is a winner… except the losers!” I wish there were still real shooting galleries at state fairs and carnivals. There are still the ones that are video games or lasers, but they don’t use real guns.  It used to be a right of passage to try to win your gal a prize with your shooting skills at the fair, but those days are long gone.

I can recall seeing one when I was a kid.  I have no idea where it was, but I remember the soft pop of the .22 shorts, the plinks of the bullets on the metal targets, and the sounds of bells and buzzers when someone scored a hit.

I wish my daughter could experience the awesomeness of a true shooting gallery. Hell, I wish I could too (and not by reminiscing about some fleeting memory from when I was 6).  Now you could build your own, but that is a lot of work (but if you do, let me know). Or just get out and do some old-fashioned plinking. That is how I learned to shoot and I suspect that was the case for a lot of us. It is good to get back to your roots, back to where you once belonged. But we need a gun.

Faster Than Lightning

The Henry Pump Action Octagon Rifle is just the ticket for the shooting gallery theme. Though not all of them were pump actions, you may see these old guns referred to as carnival guns, parlor guns, saloon guns, gallery guns, or Flobert guns. Flobert was a 19th century French dude who invented a round that was (somewhat) safe to shoot inside. Rich people would set up indoor ranges in their homes. There were even indoor ranges at saloons. The round was hearing safe as it was little more than a percussion cap with a bullet on the top.

The Henry is reminiscent of the old Colt Lighting pump action rifle. The Colts were probably the most popular rifles used in the old shooting galleries. They were marketed and sold for this use when chambered in 22 short.  The Henry is not an exact copy of the Lightning, but it is functionally the same.  One  of the main difference is in the loading.  The Colts have a loading gate on the side of the receiver while the Henry loads through the top of the tube magazine.

Buckhorn sight and 22 S/L?LR.

Buckhorn sight and 22 S/L?LR.

Here are some specs on the Henry

  • Action Type    Pump
  • Caliber    .22 LR/.22 long/.22 Short
  • Capacity    15 rounds LR, 22 Short
  • Length   38.5″
  • Barrel Length     19.75″
  • Weight   6 lbs.
  • Stock   American Walnut
  • Sights  Adjustable rear Marvel, beaded front sight
  • Finish  Blued
  • M.S.R.P.        $550.00

Henry also offers this rifle in 22 Magnum with an MSRP of $590.  Of course the magnum round is a bit much for our shooting gallery theme, but if it shoots and functions as well as the review gun, it would be a great option for those in the market for a 22 Magnum rifle.

Out of the box, the Henry feels good.  It shoulders well and quickly. The semi-buckhorn rear sight is quick to acquire. The deep V allows you to find the front post in a hurry. The action was a bit stiff when I first worked it.  After about 100 rounds it had gotten a lot better and continued to do so during the 500 or so I put through the Henry.

Ouch! Watch out the bolt will bite if you get your thumb in the way.

Ouch! Watch out the bolt will bite if you get your thumb in the way.

The fit and finish is well applied and executed. The receiver is made from an alloy with steel parts on the inside.  There is no external safety on this Henry. There is a half cock notch on the hammer to keep it from resting on the firing pin if you needed to carry the rifle with a round in the chamber.

The action also locks, much like an Remington 870 shotgun.  There is a release lever that will unlock it so you can eject a live round if need be.  However, when you shift your grip to reach the lever with your trigger finger–look out.  I was bitten a couple of times by the bolt coming back on my thumb.  See the picture. I don’t recommend bleeding on your rifle.

Speaking of the action, this is what makes this rifle what it is. We do not see a whole lot of pump action rifles anymore. When I think of pumps, I usually envision the long stroke on a shotgun. That is far from the case here.  The action on this Henry only travels a bit over 1 1/4 inches. Once the action loosened up a bit and with some practice I was able to keep the sights on target while cycling the gun. Of course the lack of recoil from .22 Shorts also helped. While it isn’t as effortless as the Evil Roy .22 lever-action Henry we ran a couple of months ago, it isn’t hard to master.

The Fun Part

25 Yards from the shoulder. 5 in the center where shot for a group the others were going as fast as I could.

25 Yards from the shoulder. 5 in the center where shot for a group the others were going as fast as I could.

So how does she shoot? Like a Shooting Gallery Champ! Or probably better, as I think some of those guns were less-than-accurate to prevent crack-shots from taking home all of the prizes.

Once the action loosened a bit I was able to work the action fast and still hit the target from 25 yards. I am not talking sub MOA shooting, but that is not what this is about. However, 2 inch groups from 25 yards off the shoulder is not impossible with this Henry. I am sure they could be a lot tighter off of a bench.  The ejection is strong and throws the empty cases 6 or so feet to the right and slightly behind the shooter.

I ran a lot of different .22 ammo through the Henry Pump.  There are some other .22 rifles on the market that claim they will shoot and feed .22 Shorts and Longs but will, in reality, only reliably function with .22 Long Rifle.  The Henry ate .22 Short, Short CB, Long and Long Rifle cartridges without issue.

I was curious if accuracy would be diminished on the .22 Short.  On a firearm chambered for .22 LR, there is a decent amount of space in the chamber for the Short to have to travel before it goes into the barrel where the bullet engages the rifling. I did not notice any difference in accuracy from any of the rounds. This was not a scientific test, though, to see if that is the case.  There could very well be a bit of difference between them, and I sure there would be at distances over 25 yards. But remember, we are having fun! This little Henry is a lot of fun and might just be my new favorite plinking 22. And it is one hell of a sharp-shooting gun.

From 15 yards with 22 Shorts.

From 15 yards with 22 Shorts.

.22 CB.

.22 CB.

Final Thoughts

I like this gun.  A lot. It is fun and a pleasure to shoot even if it did cut my thumb up. I shoot a lot. Between writing reviews and shooting for my own training and hunting, I sometimes forget how fun it can be. Remember your first .22 and the joy of blasting tin cans? I sure do, and thanks to Henry I felt like a kid again.  Speaking of kids, if you have one on your Christmas list this year one of these Henry .22 pumps would be a great way to introduce them to this great sport of ours.

The Henry Octagon Pump 22

The Henry Octagon Pump .22.

From left to right: 22 Long Rifle, Long, Short and CB Short.

From left to right: 22 Long Rifle, Long, Short and CB Short. The CB rounds are hearing safe.

Satin finished walnut stock.

Satin finished walnut stock.

Henry!

Henry!

If you reach for the action lock, you may shift your thumb into the path of the bolt. Watch out!

If you reach for the action lock, you may shift your thumb into the path of the bolt. Watch out!

My trigger finger is on the release lever. In order to reach it I had to shift my grip which placed my thumb in the way of the bolt.

The result isn’t pretty, as I found out.

Nice brass bead on the front sight.

Nice brass bead on the front sight.

Henry Rifles go well with pipes and fat guys in boater hats.

Henry Rifles go well with pipes and fat guys in boater hats.

The simple cuts on the pump stock provide a good grip.

The simple cuts on the pump stock provide a good grip.

The slide is cut to allow it to travel back over the receiver.

The slide is cut to allow it to travel back over the receiver.

22 seems to be getting easier to find now. Picked these up and a couple of bricks on the way to the range.

.22 seems to be getting easier to find now. Picked these up and a couple of bricks on the way to the range.

Rear sights.

Rear sights.

The loading tube.

The loading tube.

The function of the action is flawless.

The function of the action is flawless.

Look how much steel there is here on the octagon barrel. This isn't a light-weight kid's rifle, but it is ideal for that young shooter who needs a new challenge.

Look how much steel there is here on the octagon barrel. This isn’t a light-weight kid’s rifle, but it is ideal for that young shooter who needs a new challenge.

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • valor trooper May 10, 2017, 5:55 pm

    The Henry 22 pump action rifle is a reminder of the “days of old” at the shooting galleries! This is one sharp, well manufactured, pump 22 rifle that is “top shelf” from octagon barrel to the walnut stock – a rifle that shoots as well as it looks! It may cost a bit more than some 22s but what a great firearm that you can shoot, enjoy and pass on to your family! Accuracy is very good with iron sights at 50 yards and the rifle handles 22 rl rounds of various manufacturer with ease. This rifle has met every one of my expectations. Made in America by caring and committed American 2nd Amendment supporters. Hal Fritz, Medal of Honor

  • Jay Zacks November 25, 2015, 3:11 pm

    You forgot to mention the Winchester 62A, which was the first gallery gun I ever fired 63 years ago at Ocean Park on Santa Monica Pier in California. When I reached 18 years old I bought one for myself, for the magnificent sum of $35.00. It was the best deal I have ever found!

  • Joe November 24, 2015, 6:38 pm
  • Joe November 24, 2015, 6:32 pm

    Not too far from where I live there is an old school shooting gallery and shooting range. Its a place in Donald Oregon called Rich’s Gun shop. Great atmosphere Rich and his son run the place. Look it up if you ever are in Oregon. They also teach concealed carry classes for Oregon and Arizona.

  • JOHN November 24, 2015, 3:49 pm

    My wife got an old gallery gun from her father almost 40 years ago. Still shoots great, shorts or longs, and is a great way of spending $20.00 on a full afternoon of fun.

  • DaveP326 November 23, 2015, 9:33 pm

    I have a Henry .22lr lever action and it is great! Very accurate at 50 yds and acceptable at 100 yes with practice. I’d love to get this pump action. Maybe one day Henry will make it in .357 mag/ .38Spl. , or even .45LC. THAT would be a hoot! Pumps are much faster than bolt guns or lever actions.

  • Tim November 23, 2015, 7:02 pm

    My uncle gave me a Remington Model 12. Remington told me it was built in 1920. Still shoots squirrels. I had to get a firing pin so I looked on EBay. It wasn’t ejecting cleanly. Thast fixed the issue right uip.

  • BDub November 23, 2015, 3:35 pm

    I would love to see Henry make one of these in 357.

  • Paul Brooker November 23, 2015, 3:01 pm

    I wish they had made it simple to mount a scope. Old eyes can’t focus on the rear sight, with readers I can but then I can’t see the front site.

    • Joel Back November 23, 2015, 10:31 pm

      Not sure what you mean. It has standardized scope rails built into the top. I run a funny vintage dot on one of my Henry lever actions.

  • Orrin M. Knutson November 23, 2015, 2:05 pm

    Oh The Memories,

    At my old age I recall shooting galleries at all county fairs and traveling carnivals, and loved them. When I was 12, I got a summer job, that paid $0.75 an hour as the loader and rifle cleaner for the barker running the 10 rifle gallery on the old New Port Beach California Boardwalk, along the swim beach side of the marina harbor.

    All his rifles were Winchester, Model 1997’s pumps ,22 (Shot Only) with 20″ octagon barrels. There was a loop welded near the muzzle, attached to a snap and chain to prevent them from being turned away from down range. Those guns were rode hard, but rarely mechanically failed, although the actions would get sticky after hundreds of rounds … time for me to pull the gun, take it in back and clean it.

    Those rifles were very accurate … that is if a “suckers” figured out the sights were intentionally off and did some Kentucky windage!!! That way few BIG prizes had to be given out!!!

    Those were grand old times and I was allowed to shoot all I wanted when paying customers weren’t lined up.

    That is where I learned to instinct shoot with both eyes open without using sights. I got so good at it, when a customer (usually a grown man whose ego got bruised) who thought they were a crack shot, pitched a bitch that the barrel was bent or the sights were off the boss would have me go around and shoot the same rifle cracking off a string of moving iron ducks like “Annie Oakley” pop, pop, pop, pop! Almost always the guy would be embarrassed, being shown up by a child and they’d drop another quarter and try their 10 shot luck again!!!

    The ammo used at the gallery was Winchester and Remington .22 Short, “Gallery Loads,” specially made for gallery use. Sadly, I don’t think they make it anymore. The slugs were very light weight and turned to powder when the round hit the metal moving ducks, rotating pipes, pop-ups and other targets.

    When I left his service, the old guy gave me one of his many octagon barrel, 1897’s for a job well done. In years to come I trained my children gun safety and basic marksmanship in the barn with ammo that was called “CB CAPS” … shorter casing than a standard .22 Short round, but ideal for indoor shooting and pest control.

    Thanks for the flashback,
    OMK

  • K. King November 23, 2015, 1:29 pm

    The Henry 22 may be OK for a gallery gun, but why reinvent the wheel. There is already a tried and true good one out there for less money. It is the Remington model “12 Gallery Special”. The only thing that is a problem with any gallery gun in today’s world is that the 22 Shorts are hard to find, but are still available and fun to shoot. There are several other Remington vintage guns that will do the same job for less money and they are available in a lot of different sale site options for less money. ie. Remington models: 12, 24, 121, 241 + newer models. I think all Henry rifles are over priced, even if they could match the same quality of the others.

  • r jaxon November 23, 2015, 1:18 pm

    My only critique is that from the pictures the octagon barrel looks like the corners are rounded. A mistake that some ‘restorers’ make when restoring the old guns. It’s not correct and it doesn’t look good. Henry needs to correct that before I’d buy one.

  • Edward Glenn November 23, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Excellent review. Brings back a lot of good childhood memories. I won a carny teddy bear or two back then. I may hafta have one of these…

  • Me November 23, 2015, 11:56 am

    Speaking of feculent effusion….$550.00 for a pump .22 LR? You can buy a Savage MK 2, which you can actually hit stuff with for about half that. A Marlin MDL. 60 (which way more “fun”) for less than that…

    • Scotty November 23, 2015, 11:37 pm

      A new Ruger 10-22 can be had for $250 or less….

  • Randy November 23, 2015, 10:57 am

    I have an Remington model 24 that came from the estate of a man that actually had a travelling shooting gallery here in west Texas. Research found that it was manufactured in December 1930. I have been shooting it for years and love it. Although not a pump action , it is still a true gallery gun! ( I had my pick of six when I acquired mine. At the price I should have bought them all )

  • Greg Meyer November 23, 2015, 9:39 am

    You say the receiver is made of an alloy, with steel parts inside. You didn’t say what kind of alloy; a steel, which everyone knows, is an alloy, an aluminum alloy, or some other non ferruos alloy, zink, titanium, or what. As everyone knows, or should, virtually every metal part of every gun made since Dave Crocket’s days, and maybe even then, is made of one alloy or another. To say something is made of alloy is to say it is made of metal, iron, gold, aluminum, silver, etc, “alloyed” with other substances to make it suitable for a particular purpose.

  • Jampard November 23, 2015, 9:33 am

    With a little more research Sam, you might have found out that the old Winchester Model 1890 take down was also very popular at the shooting galleries. Too bad that this new Henry pump is not a take down model for easier cleaning.

  • missourisam November 23, 2015, 9:15 am

    While I do not own a Henry, I can attest to the pure enjoyment of a .22 short pump rifle. I grew up with an 1890 Winchester chambered in .22 short. At that time the local hardware store sold shorts for two boxes of fifty rounds for the exorbitant price of 25 cents. All my mad money went for ammo, and I was shooting at least two hundred rounds a week. There was a huge coal strip mine near where we lived, and when they rebuilt the swivel on the big strip shovel there were one and one half inch ball bearing discarded. Every kid had a stash of them that they had no idea what to do with. Not me. I found that with a safe backstop they made great targets. I reached the point where I could keep one of them in constant motion for the fifteen rounds the little Winchester held. Many a squirrel and rabbit bit the dust to the crack of that little rifle, and still do. The finish is worn to a brown patina, the checkering is worn almost smooth on the hammer spur, but ti is still accurate and the action is tight. My children, and now my grandchildren have learned to shoot with it. If the Henry is as good as they seem from what I have handled their lever actions, this would be a great investment in the future of your children’s shooting legacy. It is for sure cheaper than you can buy a good 1890 Winchester now.

  • Joe P November 23, 2015, 9:00 am

    I recently had almost the exact same experience as the author. I was contemplating at lever action for the same kind of youthful fun when a friend suggested a pump. The same friend offered up his own henry lever and pump for me to try. Going in I had much more familiarity with levers, having only shot pump shotguns previously. It took a few minutes to gET the forearm stroke down without pulling off target then it was pure little kid excitement. Pew pew pew. Agree alms totally with the authors assessment of the gun and the fun. My only point of difference being my disfavor of the rear sight. A buddy had a remington field master that had a more modern style rear sight that was simply more familiar to me. All told Henry’s offering is an excellent value, and a great way to keep the timeless traditions of informal target contests and creative plinking alive in America. Kudos Henry for providing us the continued means, and to Sam for helping to remind us you don’t need a radical AR and 1000 rounds to have a good time. Just free a stick of 22 shorts from the stash, toss a few golf balls in the yard and challenge your shooting pals to some rifle golf, then let the grin take over, you won’t regret it.

  • Ross November 23, 2015, 8:52 am

    I’ve got an old Remington gallery gun that my great-grandfather used to put down livestock for butchering, and it still shoots very well and is a lot of fun to boot! BTW, “Henry Rifles go well with pipes and fat guys in boater hats” nearly made me spit coffee across my computer screen this morning!

    • Paul Shanahan November 23, 2015, 10:00 am

      This guy said exactly what I wanted to say, You look great….

  • ottodog November 23, 2015, 8:51 am

    Hello: nice article, you need to clean out that machine oil before you shoot a new Henry, I have a lever .22 that eats every kind of bullet and has an action that is like butter , the best on the market in my opinion.
    That pump could also be a great squirrel gun I bet also.

  • Bill November 23, 2015, 8:41 am

    I have one of these, and agree it is the cat’s meow. Pretty much the ideal tin can gun ;-). One little grump, tho. The overall fit and finish on the rifle is first class, both wood and metal, EXCEPT for the alloy receiver cover. The blue finish on it is very rough, not at all in keeping with the bluing on the rest of the metal (steel) parts. Detracts from the obvious visual quality of the rifle.

  • Billy the Old Man November 23, 2015, 7:21 am

    Nice article, thanks!

  • Frank November 23, 2015, 7:06 am

    Hmm… didn’t some of the gallery guns use BB or CB caps? Wikipedia says some CBs were (are?) made in standard .22 short and long cases. You should search for some of those and try them with the Henry!

    • Frank B November 23, 2015, 9:15 am

      Most of the gallery guns were loaded with frangible .22 shorts, either compressed lead dust or iron filings. The were marketed with names such as KANT-SPLASH and SPATTERLESS. The were low velocity loads ~20 grains.

    • Dave H November 23, 2015, 9:23 am

      He has a picture of a group fired with CBs, as well as a photo of CB short compared to other sizes. Looked like they did well enough.

  • Chris Baker November 23, 2015, 6:42 am

    I think I’ll stick to my lever action, tube fed, Berreta 22. So far it eats whatever I put in it without a hiccup. It’s a short action also and I’ve NEVER injured myself working it.

  • thomas meisenheimer November 23, 2015, 5:12 am

    thanks

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