BIG BOY STEEL CARBINE REVIEW: THICK COVER BIG GAME HAMMER

BIG BOY STEEL CARBINE REVIEW: THICK COVER BIG GAME HAMMER

Need a light, quick shooting lever action rifle for thick cover?

Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine is the solid choice.

I got hands on range time with this handy carbine and here is how it performed.

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If you are a big game hunter in thickly brushed and wooded country you know what kind of a pain it can be. Here in Ohio the thickets are full of buckthorn and multiflora rose thickets and other assorted nasty close growing reeds, vines, bushes and trees. Just trying to crawl through them on a deer drive or walk to the stand is brutal. A longer barreled rifle catches everything near it in thick cover. A snap shot at that big buck is never going to happen carrying that long pole of a weapon. What is needed is a hard hitting quick reloading short carbine.

This brings me to the Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine I picked up for review from my great friends at Silverado Arms. Chambered for the .44 Magnum and .44 Special cartridges this powerhouse is only 34″ long and weighs in at 6.59 lbs. with a 16.5″ barrel. Got your attention? Lets take a closer look and actually shoot this beautiful levergun carbine.

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First off the caliber I chose for the review carbine is the time honored .44 Magnum caliber. While Clint Eastwood might have made a big hit with that caliber on the big screen hunters and other deep wilderness adventurers made it famous against brown bears and other toothy foes shot with revolvers. The .44 Special while lighter still has a good reputation against two legged attackers and medium skinned game like deer. How about adding a longer 16.5″ barrel and watch the power  and accuracy increase to a truly magnificent level. This is where the big .44 gets very serious and the accuracy increase also gets a boost with the help of the shoulder stock. No shaky unsupported revolver shots here.

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The Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine sports a large lever. This is of classic design and will work exceptionally well when you are wearing heavy gloves during a winter hunt or as protection from thorns and brambles. Capacity is a total of seven cartridges and the blued steel receiver has a really nice matte low glare look to it.

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The round blued steel barrel has a rate twist of 1:20.

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The rear sight is a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn style with a diamond insert. The front sight is a brass bead for easy acquisition in a quick shooting situation.

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The American walnut stock on this Henry carbine is beautiful (as to be expected). Check out that beautiful checkering on the forearm and the wood grain. Note that sling swivels are also present for help so the carbine can be out of the way when you drag that big buck or other game animal out of the bush.

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The checkering on the stock is also very impressive. Functional beauty is the name of the game on the Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine. It also allows sure grip when the rain, sleet and snow interrupt your hunt.

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Just look at the grain on that fine stock. The stock is capped off with a black solid rubber recoil pad that also is built robustly. Fit and finish of wood to steel through out the carbine is well done also.

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If you prefer a scope or red dot sight that is easily accomplished with the drilled and tapped receiver. The scope mount type is BB-RSM found on the Henry Arms website.  The transfer bar safety on this carbine keeps the lines clean and unobstructed and the length of pull on the stock is 14″ in length. All who have handled this Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine have lusted for it. It is that handy and lively in your hands. The action is extremely smooth as is customary with Henry Arms lever actions. Now it’s time to shoot this work of art and see how it does.

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Range day arrived and I had to think of the proper way to live fire review this carbine. Being a carbine with a shorter sight radius means the front bead sight will appear larger than on a full length rifle barrel (it’s now closer to your eye thus “bigger”). The traditional 100 yard target I would usually use for rifle reviews at that distance will be completely obscured. Well that is not what a carbine is for anyway. It is meant for close to medium distance quick handling and shooting. Why not set up at 50 yards from a bench with a proper rifle rest? This is indeed what I did and the following groups were all fired in somewhat quick succession of five shots with no pause in between (as in a hunting situation would have minus the bench rest).

Initial sight in on another target allowed three clicks up and no windage adjustment of the rear sight that put the shots now in the center of the target. Now that was easy. The first group was the Federal Cartridge Company’s American Eagle 240 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point .44 Magnum Cartridges. The group size for four shots was 1.75″ with a flyer opening that to 3″. Shooting with iron sights that flier might have been shooter induced due to sun glare off the white target.

The second group was fired with the Winchester White Box 240 Grain Jacketed Soft Point .44 Magnum Cartridges. Four shots stayed in 1.5″ overall with a flyer opening up to 3″. I did not check but I surmise the flyer might possibly be the 5th shot in quick succession from the hot barrel. That would also address the earlier grouping in this article.
The best group of the day was with the Hornady 225 Grain FTX Lever Evolution .44 Magnum cartridges that grouped a total of 2.25″ with three rounds tearing up the target’s bulls eye itself. That would be a deer down with a precise heart shot.

The action was extremely smooth, light and effortless even from a seated bench rest position. I experienced no jams, mis-feeds or any other problem while firing this handy little rifle. Those big .44 Magnum projectiles hitting the backstop sure throw up a lot of dirt with seven shots at the ready. That’s a lot of firepower for big game, protection or range fun.

I also tried .44 Special cartridges for accuracy and feeding. The functioning was flawless and at 50 yards the bullet impacts were about a foot high compared to the .44 Magnum cartridge zero.

Off hand shooting was extremely fun and rewarding. This little levergun would truly be the big game hunter’s best friend to tote through rough country.

While I shot at 50 yards this carbine has proved itself capable well past that distance. If I were a target shooter at 100 yards or farther I might possible change to a Skinner Peep Sight or a small scope. Remember though a carbine is meant for fast shooting in tight quarters and a big, heavy scope would certainly detract from that. For big game hunting the factory iron sights are perfect for most targeting needs.

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If you are looking for an ultra dependable hard hitting carbine for deer, hogs or other big game in the thick stuff the Henry Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine in .44 Magnum is big medicine. For target shooting and collecting this carbine has both looks and punch. Check it out and all of the other great made in America rifles, carbines, shotguns, mares legs and other great products on their website.

Do you like articles about the outdoors? You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram.  Visit the Classic Woodsman’s storefront on Amazon
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