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Henry Long Ranger

Old 02-05-2020, 10:36 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Henry Long Ranger

I just bought a Henry Long Ranger in 6.5 CM. Very nice looking gun and obviously a quality firearm. I have not fired the gun yet or even loaded it. I'm sure some will question why I am starting a review of a gun I haven't even fired. Good question. Here is my issue with this gun:

I think everyone will agree that as responsible gun owners we need to keep safety as a top priority.

With that in mind, the only thing I'm not too crazy about is the way the hammer has to be let down when you do not intend to fire the gun right away. Keep in mind that you also have to open the action to chamber a shell even if you don't intend to fire it right away and opening the action also cocks the hammer which is normal operation for any lever action. Getting a shell into the chamber before seeing any game is also a pretty common occurrence when hunting. Waiting to chamber a shell until after game is in sight would be a sure fire way to spook every animal you see that might be within hearing range, especially deer.

It just seems way too easy to have the hammer slip out from under your thumb when trying to let it down slowly without firing. I know you are supposed to pull the trigger just enough to release the hammer and then let off the trigger while letting the hammer down which will prevent it from firing. Easier said than done and not very confidence inspiring.

Henry does offer a hammer spur which is really intended to be used when there is not sufficient clearance between the hammer and a scope but it apparently only comes with the model without open sights. The model with open sights, which is the one I ordered, doesn't ship with the hammer spur so I had the gun shop order one. Adding a hammer spur should create a larger surface area and theoretically reduce the likelihood that your thumb will slip off the hammer when attempting to de-cock the firearm. We shall see...

All Henry center-fire rifles use an in-hammer sliding transfer bar as a safety, instead of a manual safety button or slider bar. What that means is that the trigger has to be pulled before the gun can fire. That might sound like a no-sh!t statement but what is also meant by that is that it cannot accidentally fire if you drop the gun even when the hammer is cocked. No matter what, you have to pull the trigger to make it go bang. Now, that doesn't preclude the unlikely scenario that the trigger could be caught by a stick or something when the hammer is fully cocked causing the gun to fire anyway.

It is a matter of timing as to whether or not you manage to release your pressure on the trigger before the hammer contacts the firing pin. Not so sure how that is supposed to happen if the hammer slips during that process. I own and have shot other guns with exposed hammers and they are all very easy to let down. Some of that has to do with the amount of trigger pressure required to release the hammer and the amount of spring pressure on the hammer. However, all of those guns also have a separate safety so even if the hammer did slip they still would not fire as long as the safety is not in the "fire" position.

All I know is that when practicing letting the hammer down slowly I have had way too many instances of the hammer slipping out from under my thumb. As a matter of fact, the first time I tried it at the gun shop, it slipped, which really caught my attention. What I seem to be experiencing is that it is difficult to predict by feel when the hammer will release during a trigger pull. And when that happens it is easier to be taken by surprise and let the hammer accidentally slip from your grip. Add a heavy hunting glove into the mix and I have to believe it would be even worse. Again, not very confidence inspiring.

Having said that, with more practice I think I have found the "sweet spot" where the trigger pull releases the hammer. I have also modified the way I grip the hammer. By wrapping the thumb around the hammer it is much less likely that it will slip. As I previously stated, this is not absolutely necessary with other exposed hammer guns I have used.

I should also mention that I have mounted a Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x40 scope using a Picatinney rail mount and Weaver Classic high Quad Lock rings. Fortunately, this combination allows adequate clearance to wrap my thumb around the hammer. That might not be possible with a different scope mounting combination in which case a hammer spur would be even more necessary.

I admit that this might not be a real issue since none of the reviews I have read or watched on youtube mentioned having any accidental firings. However, almost all of those reviews were done at a shooting range where every time a load was chambered the gun was going to be fired which means that in almost no case did the shooter have to actually lower the hammer with a shell in the chamber. Again, not a typical hunting scenario. Now, I don't operate a for-profit youtube channel or website so I have no idea how negative reviews or comments might affect their profitability or their ability to obtain test samples. Just say'n...

I sent a message to Henry expressing my concerns. Here is their response. Notice that they did not address the possibility of the hammer slipping from your grip when attempting to de-cock the firearm. IMO just a typical corporate CYA response. God forbid someone actually has an accident because of this design and someone is injured or worse.

Thank you for owning a Henry rifle.

The Transfer Bar Safety is in operation at all times, until the hammer is fully cocked and the trigger is pulled, at which time the rifle would fire normally. If the hammer is dislodged, or accidently dropped during cocking, and the trigger is not being pulled, the rifle will not fire. The rifle can be safely carried fully loaded with the hammer in the fired-down (forward) resting position.

To be clear, when you are de-cocking the hammer, you only want to pull the trigger briefly and release, just to unlock the cocking mechanism. Do not hold the trigger back while releasing the hammer.


So, my question to other owners of Henry center-fire rifles: Has anyone actually experienced an accidental misfire because of this design?
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:12 PM
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Really, you buy Henry a lever action hammer rifle and after the fact want to whine that you don't like the way it operates? Did you even research Henry firearms before purchase? I would say if you have a problem it is your fault since it is very easy to learn everything you need to know about a firearm simply by goggling it prior to purchase. I suggest you advertise the rifle for sale so someone who knows firearms can buy it and enjoy it. It is apparent you now little about lever action firearms since Winchester and Marlin lever action rifles operate in the same manner, and have since the 1800s. Since you know nothing about the rifle you should not have purchased it and the fact that now you want to blame the manufacturer for your ignorance says more about you than the rifle. I have to wonder if you ever owned a firearm before , or if you are a troll on a hunting website.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:51 PM
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I personally do not like lever guns or single action revolvers that have a separate safety. The hammer is the safety to me. But having said that it sounds like from what you are saying that you are trying to catch the hammer after the trigger pull releases it. Pull and hold the hammer back past the cocked position and then (while holding the hammer back) pull the trigger and release the hammer and start letting the hammer ease forward and let go of the trigger.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:24 PM
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Exactly what grinder said. People have been lowering hammers safely for a very long time. As always, be mindful of where your muzzle is pointed-that's always. Not just when lowering a hammer.

-Jake
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:30 PM
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Sorry Blacksnake, no love here for a review with no noise made and only complaints about a standard function common to dozens of firearms models. Iíd assume itís safe to guess youíre new to firearms, and thatís ok - heightened awareness and an abundance of caution is rarely a bad thing around firearms. But decocking a firearm is safer than driving over 30mph...
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:34 PM
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Souinds like this is your first rifle. Or at least your first lever rifle. Not a very good action to start out with only because of the safety aspect. I would bet that your Henry Long Ranger has a transfer block system. If you're not aware of this what it does is the transfer bar does not allow the hammer to strike the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully rearward. For hunting you carry the rifle with a round in the chamber and the hammer DOWN!
Should you cock the hammer with a round in the chamber and you decide not to fire you simply hold the hammer and pull the trigger and allow the hammer to move slightly forward. You can then release the trigger and the hammer will continue to lower to its "rest" position under the control of your thumb. But should the hammer slip from your thumb and the trigger is not pulled the rifle SHOULD NOT fire. However as bocojnala stated you must ALWAYS keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:49 PM
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Marlin 336 lever has a cross bolt safety that when on will not let the gun fire. It was put there for when the user is unloading and has to cycle all the rounds thru the action in order to get them out. I don't have a problem with this safety feature and use it when unloading. I immediately turn it back off after because its easy to forget about and I don't want to be on a buck and hear click when I pull the trigger.

This cross block safety would also prevent the rifle from accidental discharge if the hammer slipped when de-cocking. I have never had a concern de-cocking a lever gun but some pistols are a little tricky.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:20 PM
  #8  
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There are more Marlin 336 rifles out there without the crossbolt safety than with them. I prefer the lever actions without that cross bolt safety since I grew up without it and I am content to put my rifle on half cock for the safety. That crossbolt safety cost me a deer the first and last time I ever used it. I was using my Marlin Guide gun in 45-70 and I had a big doe at 20 yards broadside in front of me, I had a perfect sight picture and squeezed off a shot. A very loud clank was all that I heard, and the doe kicked in the after burners and was gone. Fortunately, 15 minutes later a bigger doe came strolling buy and I took her. I never engaged the crossbolt safety again. It is not necessary and is over kill.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:09 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
There are more Marlin 336 rifles out there without the crossbolt safety than with them. I prefer the lever actions without that cross bolt safety since I grew up without it and I am content to put my rifle on half cock for the safety. That crossbolt safety cost me a deer the first and last time I ever used it. I was using my Marlin Guide gun in 45-70 and I had a big doe at 20 yards broadside in front of me, I had a perfect sight picture and squeezed off a shot. A very loud clank was all that I heard, and the doe kicked in the after burners and was gone. Fortunately, 15 minutes later a bigger doe came strolling buy and I took her. I never engaged the crossbolt safety again. It is not necessary and is over kill.
Oldtimr, I have 2 of those Guide Guns and I'm also a lefty. I never use the cross bolt safety on either except when loading it and at the bench. And the only reason I use it during loading is just for the added safety factor.
But to all that don't know, the Henry Longranger is their new model that looks very similar to the Browning BLR. And it has no crossbolt safety. The only "safety" which is not a real safety is the 1/2 cock position. But it also incorporates a transfer bar system where the hammer cannot strike the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully rearward.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:13 AM
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It makes sense that they are using a transfer bar on lever guns, they have been using them a long time on singe action revolvers, I believe Ruger may have been the first to install them.
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