Rifles > Lever-Action

Henry Golden Boy .22 Mag. Lever-Action Rifle

This smooth cycling rimfire is an enjoyable modern take on the classic .22 lever gun, but with more power.

We live in a time when high-capacity, semi-auto rifles are garnering the lion's share of the long-gun industry spotlight. It's safe to say that in many cases black is the new brown because stocks made of modern polymers are supplanting the handsome hardwoods favored in the past. But amidst all of the Picatinny rails, 30-round magazines and collapsible six-position stocks, a small but prolific American manufacturer, Henry Repeating Arms Co., is keeping the tradition of the lever-action rifle alive. One of its popular award-winning models is the Golden Boy rimfire.

To be clear from the start, this manufacturer is not the original maker of Henry rifles, but a relatively new company with facilities in Bayonne, N.J., and Rice Lake, Wis. The rifles the company provides should be thought of as look-alikes, not replicas, of the original Henry lever-action design. The first of the original Henry rifles, developed by Benjamin Tyler Henry and patented in 1860, were top-ejecting .44 caliber rimfires with brass receivers that loaded at the breech. The Golden Boy is a side-ejecting lever gun chambered for modern small-caliber rimfire rounds (.22 Long Rifle, .22 Mag, .17 HMR) with an alloy receiver and a loading port located at the muzzle end of the tubular magazine. They look much like the original but are a modern take on the concept. However, the updates to the rifle certainly do not take away from its sleek profile and reliable operation.

The Golden Boy makes a great first impression. The fit and finish from one end to the other exhibit top-notch craftsmanship. Its classic lines and high-polish receiver give it the appearance of an Old West show piece instead of an up-to-date rimfire. The Model H004M .22 Mag. version features a 20.5-inch, blued-steel octagonal barrel. The 12-round magazine tube, hammer, trigger and lever loop are also constructed of blued steel.

The barrel band and the receiver cover are made of Brasslite, which is a durable, proprietary, brass-plated alloy treated with a clear coating to preserve its lustrous shine. The interior portion of the receiver, which supports the barrel, is an alloy casting fitted with a Brasslite base plate to match the receiver cover. The satin-finished stocks are shaped from American Walnut and the straight-grip shoulder stock is capped off with a solid brass buttplate.

The sighting system of the Golden Boy consists of a dovetailed brass-bead front sight and an adjustable white diamond Buckhorn rear sight. Loosening a mounting screw in the rear sight allows it to be drifted to the right or left for windage and a toothed elevator plate is moved forward or back for elevation changes. The external safety feature of this rifle is the hammer's half-cock position, which locks the trigger until the hammer is fully cocked by the shooter’s thumb or by cycling the lever.

Since 2011, Golden Boy rifles have been drilled and tapped at the factory to accept Henry's GB-CSM cantilever scope mount. Purchased as an accessory, the mount ships with easy to follow directions for removing the rifle's factory rear sight and attaching the GB-CSM to the top of barrel. It's a simple installation process that only takes a few minutes to accomplish for use with an optic. Additional upgrades for this rifle are available from Henry, including hammer extensions, over-size lever loops and personalized engraved receiver covers.

At the shooting range, the Golden Boy showed off its grit-free, smooth action, which made this lever gun a real pleasure to work. The rifle has an adult-sized profile with an unloaded weight of 6 pounds, 12 ounces and a 14-inch length of pull (LOP). The trigger is just over 1-inch long with a grooved surface and gentle curvature that leaves plenty of room for little and large fingers alike. It was smooth and clean, requiring 3 pounds, 10 ounces of trigger pull to fire with 0.2 inches of travel after the break.

The rifle demonstrated excellent handling and balance during informal standing shots fired at 25 yards with iron sights. The forward weight of the barrel stabilized the rifle nicely, making it easy to form tight groups on paper at this range. The rifle was fed a variety of .22 Mag. loads that include full-metal-jacket, hollow-point and polymer-tipped rounds. All of the ammunition cycled and fired flawlessly with no malfunctions of any kind. Shooters new to lever guns need to be aware that user-induced malfunctions can occur if the lever is not fully cycled (all the way open, all the way closed) when chambering a fresh round.

For formal accuracy testing from a benchrest, the rear iron sight was removed and a Henry cantilever scope base was installed. With the mount in place, an Alpen Optics Kodiak 3-9x40 scope was attached using Leupold QRW Low Rings (49853). The Kodiak provided a clear, bright view through the wide-angle, 40 mm objective and was quickly sighted in at 50 yards with just a few shots.

Firing five, five-shot groups, the Golden Boy yielded the best single 50-yard group of 0.87 inches using Hornady 25-grain polymer-tipped NTX rounds. This load kept every group under an inch with a five-group average of 0.91 inches. Federal Champion 40-grain full-metal-jackets averaged 1.03 inches, followed by Winchester Super X 28-grain tin hollow points at 1.11 inches.

If you have not had the opportunity to experience the pleasure of running a well-made lever-action carbine, then you are missing out on a real treat. Henry Repeating Arms is a company that brings out the best in this class of rimfires with quality craftsmanship, reasonable prices and the popular company policy of keeping its rifles 100 percent made in America. The Golden Boy provides a combination of smooth operation, excellent handling and spot-on accuracy, with the handsome appearance of a classic carbine.

It's uncommon to find a firearm manufacturer that is as universally well-liked, with rifles that are so highly prized by their owners, as Henry. But after shooting this, and several other Henry rifles, it’s easy to see how they garner so much customer loyalty. If I had to rank my time spent shooting the Golden Boy in .22 Mag., I would have to say it was one of my favorite range tests of the year.

Manufacturer: Henry Repeating Arms; Henryrepeating.com
Model: Golden Boy (H004M)
Action: Lever Action
Caliber: .22 Mag. (.22 WMR)
Barrel: Blued Steel
Receiver: High-Polish Brasslite Alloy
Stocks: Satin-Finished American Walnut with Brass Butt Plate
Sights: Brass Bead Front, Adjustable Buckhorn Rear
Barrel Length: 20.5”
Overall Length: 39”
Weight: 6.75 lbs.
Capacity: 12+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Owner’s Manual, Lock
Suggested Retail Price: $595

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9 Responses to Henry Golden Boy .22 Mag. Lever-Action Rifle

Wilbert jones wrote:
July 24, 2014

Man am so excited, I want the big boy the 44mag and the lil one. I can't make up my mine. Anyway The Henry rifle is a blessing second to none.

sam wrote:
June 26, 2014

Awesome rifle the golden boy my favorite

AJD wrote:
June 03, 2014

I just purchased a Henry model H001 .22LR. Could not be more satisfied with my purchase. Yes it was not exactly cheap, but in my mind you get what you pay for and the Henry is a quality firearm that was well worth the price paid. Solidly built with smooth action, it is a piece I will be passing down to my grandkids.

Darrell Lathrop wrote:
March 30, 2014

Wow, impressed just doesn't say enough about this Henry. It's the best secret in plain sight. I always thought the were just pretty rifles you hung on the wall, it would be a shame to hang these guns. The beauty is just and added bonus, these are tack driven, smooth functioning rifles that jump up to be your favorite, when you shoot this rifle you can also see your smile in the reflection on the receiver . Kinda cool !

Elliott wrote:
March 06, 2014

I proudly own 4 Henry's. Big Boy in .45LC, Mare's Leg in .45LC, .45-70, and .22LR Lever. I have a blast using these. Every time I'm at the range someone will come over and strike up a conversation. I let them give it try and they are amazed at how smooth the action is and how well they shoot. I know of 3 people that have gone on the purchase their own Henry. I'm currently waiting on receiving my 5th Henry...the new Silver Boy in .22LR.

Jeff wrote:
March 06, 2014

This is the way lever-action rifles should be built. My Golden Boy in .22 WMR is among the top three of my favorite rifles. Precise, accurate, and smooth. And it's beautiful.

H Stan Boring PHC USN Ret wrote:
March 05, 2014

The article stated the original Henry .44 rimfire loaded at the breech. This did not happen until the Winchester model 66 'Golden Boy'. The Henry loaded from the muzzle end of the magazine tube, which was open on the bottom, accommodating a spring loaded follower, which caused a change in grip as cartridges were expended. Dirt found its way into the rifle via this open tube. Still, the original Henry was a game changer where it was used in the War Between the States. Most were privately purchased by the soldiers using them, unlike the Spencer, which was acquired by the Union Army.

Gary wrote:
March 01, 2014

I recently purchased a Henry 17 hmr golden boy and I can't even begin to explain the quality and workmanship of this rifle and what a pleasure to shoot .. The lever action cycles as smooth as can be.. Lost of fun to come. !!

Brian Breckler wrote:
February 28, 2014

Have had an h001tm .22mag octagon barrel for many years, added skinner peep sights. It it a magnificent rifle to shoot. The henrys are incredibly smooth lever actions. Added the .22 mag pump action to the collection in 2013, tooknearly 2 years to hunt iy down. The pump action has a break in period, but continues to improve with each use. I am a huge fan of the current henrys and Mr. Impetato's leadership in the company. Get one you will not be disappointed!