Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Henry Evil Roy
Read more at Henry: https://www.henryrifles.com/rifles/henry-frontier-carbine-evil-roy-edition/
You ever pull the trigger on a gun that just can’t miss? It has a way of making any day better. It is an even better experience when you aren’t expecting it. I’m a rimfire fanatic, but I lean toward the modern autos–Henry’s lever action evokes a nostalgia that I don’t typically cotton to. But I can review a nostalgic gun with the best of them, so I wasn’t going to turn down the experience.
But like I was saying…. then I pulled the trigger. This little gun can flat-out-shoot. If rimfire rounds ever come back into full scale production, these Frontier Carbines are going to fly off of the shelves.
But let’s take a minute and talk about this edition. Not only is it a rimfire copy of a bigger, more traditional rifle, it also bears the moniker of one of the world’s most notorious cowboy action shooters. This is the Evil Roy Frontier Carbine.
What makes it the Evil Roy? Well, someone carved his name into the stock. That’s a big clue. Evil Roy is a household name, if your household includes some cowboy action shooters. If you want to learn more about him or the school he runs, click here.
But the gun also has a few other features that set it apart from the rest of the Frontier Carbine line-up. The most notable would be the great big lever. When I’d seen these in the past, my assumption was that the large ring was meant to accommodate a gloved hand. Ranchers, for example, might have use for a carbine on a blistering winter day and need the larger openings so they didn’t have to freeze their fingers off.
But there’s another reason for the large lever opening. As you rock the lever forward, your hand flexes. Your fingers aren’t flat, but move through an arc, and bent rim of the lever catches the bent fingers, which allows for a lighting fast action. And if you ride the lever forward with your trigger finger, and then slam the action closed (with your trigger finger closing with your other three fingers) the gun will go bang. Spirit finger, make a fist, spririt fingers, make a fist. Bang bang bang.
I’m a novice at this technique. I’ve tried to do it with larger lever actions, and I end up looking as inexperienced as I feel. It is ugly. But after running a few tubes of .22 through this one, I gave it a shot. The split times were unbelievable. I emptied the thing in a surprisingly smooth and steady run.
The result was so reliable that I was able to shift my focus from the action to the target (where it belongs). There’s a target image below that will show the results. It is the one on the right.
The trick for me was to move through the motions with a smooth fluidity and not an emphasis on speed. When I tried to shoot faster, I would bring my trigger finger back to the trigger too soon. If you get that digit between the trigger and the lever, you will get pinched. The gun may still go bang, but it won’t feel good.
The trigger pull, which came in under three pounds, is one component of this motion that makes it successful. Instead of running the lever with all four fingers, then bringing the trigger finger back to find the trigger, I began opening and closing the lever with all fingers. It was as if my trigger finger was clasping the stock, and not working the trigger independently. When the lever closed, the gun fired. As long as I had a good hold with my support hand, the movement hardly interrupted my sight picture.
If you do take the time to aim, you’ll be even more pleased. The trigger reset is minimal (though you’re not likely to notice either way), and it breaks perfectly. After messing around with the gun for an hour or so, I put it in a rest at the bench. From 50 yards, the accuracy was so predictable that it got almost mundane. I usually try for one or two representative 5-shot groups to prove a gun’s ability. With the Henry, I kept shooting until I had a single hole–and that was with some ancient Federal rounds I’d found at a garage sale. Seriously. This gun will spoil you. All guns should shoot like this.
Speaking of sight picture. The front bead is very easy to see. The brass on the black stands out well. The rear sight is a modern version of the old buck-horn style. It has a white diamond between the horns. Both are adjustable. The top of the receiver is also grooved for attachment of a scope. But this gun shoots so well in this set up that I wouldn’t bother with glass. There’s simply no need. Maybe those who want to really reach out with their plinking or varmint hunting would benefit from some basic magnification.
Fit and finish
Here’s another element of the Evil Roy that makes unique. The full octagonal barrel adds weight that stabilizes an already easy-to-handle round. The stock is a medium sized stock. While there wasn’t enough length of pull for me to feel like the gun was an ideal match for my super-sized frame, I could still run the gun. This set-up would be ideal for a teenager, or someone with a smaller frame.
But don’t mistake it for a kid’s gun. The fit and finish is superb for a rimfire in this price range. The wood is actual wood. What looks like brushed stainless is an alloy. The bluing on the barrel is hardly delicate, but it will require maintenance. Again–not the gun I’d give to a young kid as a first gun, but an excellent gun on which to teach advanced skills and gun care.
I can’t help but marvel at this rifle. Henry has taken on the rimfire market and done so with some serious contenders. In addition to the Evil Roy version of the Frontier Carbine, there are other options: the non-Evil Roy Frontier Carbine (which has a black receiver) and at least five others. And that’s just in the lever actions.
This is a boon for those of us who like options. And it opens up options for kids and teenagers, too. Henry is taking youth shooting sports seriously. The Frontier Carbine fills that niche perfectly. New shooters deserve the absolute best tools available. Good tools allow them to learn skills without having to compensate for sub-par performance from the tool itself.
But often the guns on which kids learn are so small that they grow out of them quickly. The Frontier may be heavy for a six year old, but he (or she) won’t ever outgrow it.
The Evil Roy version sells somewhere between $400 and $500, depending on the source. That puts it above the price of the dominant players in the rimfire game, but that’s really comparing apples to oranges. This is a classic. When Ralphie outgrows his Red Ryder, this is the gun he needs. And like the chaps and the hats, the Frontier Carbine will likely be a gateway drug.