Henry Repeating Arms & The "Quiet Frontier"

Old West meets new tech to see just how quiet a suppressed rimfire rifle can be.

by
posted on February 29, 2024
Henry Repeating Arms H001 Long Barrel 24" lever-action rifle shown on wood floor with Bushnell riflescope Silencer Central Banish 22 sound suppressor

For several years now, I've had the following item on my shooting sports bucket list: to assemble a rifle, suppressor and ammunition set that could be 'Hollywood Quiet' using readily available commercial products. I've heard folks talk about just how hushed the report of a .22 LR rifle can be. But I wanted to hear it for myself and do it with a bit of class. The results of this endeavor have been lovingly dubbed "The Quiet Frontier," and the performance was even better than I had hoped. Here's how it came together: 

Henry Repeating Arms has answered its centerfire lever-gun fans’ requests for suppressor compatible barrels with the X Model series of pistol and rifle-caliber carbines. Along with their polymer stocks and fiber-optic sights, these guns ship with factory threaded suppressor-ready barrels. Folks who favor rimfire suppressors may believe that Henry has left them in the lurch, but this is not the case.

The Frontier version of Henry's H001 series of .22 LRs lever-actions sports a threaded 24" long octagonal barrel.The Frontier version of Henry's H001 series of rimfire lever-actions sports a threaded 24"-long octagonal barrel.

The company does offer one suppressor-ready, lever-action .22 rifle, which is dubbed the Frontier Model Threaded Barrel. The barrel is an impressive 24" long with a polished octagonal profile that brings the rifle's unloaded weight up to 6 lbs., 4.9 ozs. The muzzle is threaded at 1/2x28 TPI, making it compatible with a wide variety of popular muzzle devices, including sound suppressors. The fixed tubular magazine has been shortened from the typical 15 rounds of .22 LR capacity to 10 rounds. This eliminates the magazine's usual loading port so that the brass liner needs to be completely removed for the loading and unloading of ammunition.

Henry H001 lever-action rimfire rifle right side alluminum alloy receiverThe aluminum alloy receiver features a 3/8" grooved optics mount and a standard-size lever loop.

The rest of this rifle's features are straight out of Henry's enjoyable H001 series playbook. The lightweight aluminum-alloy receiver features a 3/8" groove rail for optics, an exposed hammer with a 1/4-cock safety, a standard size lever loop and a matte black finish. The action was smooth right out of the box with a single-stage trigger that broke cleanly with a trigger pull of 2 lbs., 5 ozs.

The sighting system consists of a brass-beaded blade up front paired with a fully adjustable diamond insert semi-buckhorn sight at the rear. The smooth American walnut furniture includes a fore-end secured by an aluminum barrel band and a shoulder stock capped off with a textured polymer buttplate. It's worth noting here that this rifle will safely chamber and fire .22 Short and .22 Long in addition to .22 LR.

Henry H001 walnut buttstock lever-action closeupThe stocks are made from non-textured American walnut.

But why pick this particular lever gun as a suppressor host? First off, I enjoy working with Henry's H001 series .22-cal. rimfires. They are carefully crafted with smooth actions, reliable operations and handsome lines, which are as pleasing to hold as they are to look at. And with 24" of polished octagonal barrel, this one has a striking profile indeed.

Henry offers the #HLPA001 optics rail for those who prefer Picatinny-type scope mounts.Henry offers the #HLPA001 optics rail for those who prefer Picatinny-type scope mounts.

Aesthetics aside, this model has practical advantages as well. Bolt-action .22 rifles can be exceptionally quiet when compared to semi-automatics because the breech remains closed when the shot is fired. Lever-action rifles have this same advantage but with quicker cycling than bolt-actions can provide.

Henry H001 lever-action .22lr rifle shown with Bushnell 3-9X 40 mm DZ22 riflescopeTesting was conducted using an affordably priced Bushnell 3-9X 40 mm riflescope with the DZ22 Dropzone 22 reticle.

The octagonal barrel profile is heavier and more rigid than a round-profile barrel. This contributes to improved stability and accuracy. Stretching the barrel out to 24", instead of the more common 16" carbine or 18" to 20" rifle lengths, provides added time for the cartridge powder charges to burn themselves out before hitting the atmosphere. This in turn contributes to less flashy or noisy shooting characteristics.

Henry H001 lever-action barrel threaded 1/2x28 TPI for muzzle brakes, compensators and, in this case, sound suppressors.The barrel is threaded at 1/2x28 TPI for muzzle brakes, compensators and, in the case of this review, sound suppressors.

But what constitutes an optimal rimfire rifle barrel length depends a good deal on the enthusiast’s priorities. I knew, heading into this test, that there was a chance that a barrel this long could actually reduce, rather than increase, bullet velocities when using subsonic loads. If a given round reaches its optimal velocity when the bullet has passed through 10", 16" or 18" of rifled bore, then every inch of bore beyond that point resists the bullet's forward momentum, or increases bullet drag, which in turn causes the bullet to slow down.

Silencer Central's Banish 22’s titanium construction is strong enough for full-auto fire while weighing in at just 4.4-oz.Silencer Central's Banish 22’s titanium construction is strong enough for full-auto fire while weighing in at just 4.4 ozs. 

I had yet to work with a .22 LR barrel this long, so I was curious to see if this speed reduction might occur. However, my goal with this test was noise reduction not maximum performance. Sacrificing a bit more bullet velocity to achieve it was not a concern as long as the accuracy potential held.

Silencer Central Bannish-22 suppressor silencer attached to Henry lever-action rifle octagonal barrel wood floor backgroundThis suppressor is compact, light in weight and it proved to be quite effective with this gun and ammunition combinations.

When I had an opportunity to work with the Henry Magnum Express model previously, I appreciated the convenience of its factory installed 11-slot Picatinny optics rail. This rail is actually an accessory that is available through the henryoutfitters.com website, #HLPA001 for $27.50. It slides over the 3/8" groove along the top of H001-type receivers to be secured by a set of six screws.

It's quick and easy to install, but it should be noted that the screws will mark the finish where they contact the receiver. This is something to keep in mind if you plan to remove the rail at a later date. A Bushnell Rimfire 3-9X 40 mm Rifle Scope with a DZ22 Dropzone 22 reticle paired with a Weaver One-Piece SPR (48377) scope mount was used throughout the course of testing. 

Henry H001 lever-action rimfire rifle onshoting bench indoor range cradle wood stock bushnell riflescopeThe Henry Frontier’s extra-long octagonal barrel and smooth action contributed to the quiet and accurate shooting experience the author was hoping for.

I briefly toyed with the idea of a using one of Silencer Central's larger, multi-caliber suppressors for this test. But after shooting the svelte and effective Banish 22 with the Trailblazer Lifecard, I was sold on its light weight and slim profile. At 5.4" long with a 1.05" diameter, its total titanium construction keeps the weight down to just 4.4 ozs.

It's rated for full-auto fire with rounds including .22 LR, .22 WMR, 5.7x28 mm, .22 Hornet and .17 HMR, making it a flexible investment for a variety of small-caliber handguns and long guns. Silencer Central supports its customers through the ATF paperwork and suppressor purchasing process so that their products can be delivered directly to your front door.

subsonic .22 LR ammunition boxes cci federal aguilaSubsonic .22 LR ammunition is fairly common and available from a variety of manufacturers.

At the shooting range, formal five, five-shot group accuracy testing was conducted with three subsonic .22 LR loads at a distance of 50 yards without the suppressor installed. CCI’s Clean-22 40-grain, lead round nose bullet has a blue polymer coating of which reduces fouling. With a listed velocity of 1,070 f.p.s., this is essentially a target shooting load.

Federal's American Eagle Suppressor load launches a 45-grain copper-plated round nose at a slower listed velocity of 970 f.p.s. One of the more exotic loads available is the Aguila Sniper Subsonic round launching a 60-grain lead round nose bullet at a listed velocity of 950 f.p.s. A .22 Short cartridge case is used to accommodate the longer bullet. Here are the results:

Accuracy table graphic ballistic testing results velocity ammunition gun

As you can see from the table, all of the loads tested generated lower than listed bullet velocities, with the longer Aguila bullet losing the most. This supports the idea that beyond a certain length, longer barrels can actually slow some bullets down rather than speed them up. In spite of this notable velocity drop, the Aguila cartridge still knocked out the smallest single group of the test at 0.53".

Aguila Sniper Subsonic ammunition box shown on target with cluster of 5 holesAguila's 60-grain Sniper Subsonic load printed the tightest single five-shot group of the test, which was 0.53" at 50 yards.

Now it was time to twist on the Banish 22 suppressor to see how much it would mitigate the rifle’s report and affect group sizes. And banish the noise it did! When I had the range to myself for a few minutes with no other guns going off, it was clear that the sound of the hammer falling and the ping of the bullet hitting the steel bullet stop 100 yards away were both louder than the rifle's gentle report! As for suppressor-installed group sizes, they stayed within the same size range as those produced without the Banish 22 in place. The CCI load punched out a 1.25" group, the Federal 1.64" and the Aguila 0.91".

Sound suppressors continue to gain in popularity with American shooting sports enthusiasts despite the Federal regulations which complicate the purchasing process. The more I shoot with them, the more I enjoy it. The Henry Frontier really is quiet with the Silencer Central Banish 22 installed, impressively so with the right subsonic ammunition. The accuracy potential certainly didn't hurt either. Add in the light trigger pull and the near zero level of felt recoil, and it becomes a downright addictive combination!

Henry H001 lever-action rifle barrel stamp with gold lettering wood background

Henry Frontier Model Threaded Barrel 24" Specifications
Manufacturer: Henry Repeating Arms
Model: Frontier Model Threaded Barrel 24" (H001TLB)
Action Type: lever-action, repeating, rimfire rifle
Chambering: .22 Long Rifle
Barrel: 24" carbon alloy steel, octagonal profile, polished blued finish, 1/2x28 TPI muzzle
Receiver: aluminum alloy, flat-black finish
Magazine: fixed, 10-round tubular; removable brass liner
Sights: fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear, brass bead post front
Trigger: single-stage; 2-lb., 5-oz., pull
Overall Length: 42.5"
Drop @ Comb: 1.5:
Drop @ Heel: 2"
Accessories: owner's manual, knurled thread protector, lock
MSRP: $609


Suppressor: Silencer Central Banish 22 $500 (Plus $200 Tax Stamp)
Scope: Bushnell Rimfire Riflescope 3-9X 40 mm with DZ22 Dropzone 22 Reticle (RR3940BS4) $100
Scope Mount: Weaver SPR Optics Mount (48377) $70

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