24″ BARREL FRONTIER .22 MAGNUM IN REVIEW

24″ BARREL FRONTIER .22 MAGNUM IN REVIEW

Henry Arms has a long barrel .22 magnum rifle ready for target and hunting action.

With a 24″ long barrel this rifle is ready to slug it out with varmints way out there.

I got a chance to review the Henry Frontier .22 Magnum Lever Action Rifle and here is how it performed.

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There’s no secret I am a big fan of the .22 magnum cartridge. In many areas where I hunt here in Ohio it fits in perfectly. That little number has more speed and power of the .22 long rifle cartridge. It is also much quieter than the larger centerfire cartridges which lessens the chance of bothering neighboring landowners during a hunt. For groundhogs and other game in small fields and orchards this combination of positive attributes is the perfect cartridge as a walking varmint rifle.

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The great folks at Henry Arms are well aware of just how useful the .22 magnum cartridge really is. They chambered the Henry Frontier Rifle with a 24″ octagon blued steel barrel with a 1:16 rate twist for that great round in the model H001TMLB. The longer barrel gives the shooter a longer sight radius which equals to even better accuracy when targeting with the front brass bead and fully adjustable semi-buckhorn with diamond insert rear sight. If you wish you can add a scope to the 3/8″ grooved receiver. The quick shooting lever action rifle also holds 12 rounds.

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A phone call from my great friends at Silverdo Arms announced that a Henry Frontier .22 Magnum Lever Action Rifle was at the shop waiting for review. The American Walnut stock on the 7 lbs. black receiver finished rifle was quite a beauty. A 1/4 cock safety keeps the dreaded crossbolt and tang safeties at bay that clutter Henry Arms competitor’s rifles. The balance of the 42.5″ overall length rifle settles directly forward of the receiver on the forearm. The rifle’s wood to metal fit is well done and it is a joy to gaze upon and handle.

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The action operated quite smoothly as I expect of any Henry rifle I have handled and have not been disappointed. Now it was time to find out how well it will shoot.

For the review I am using the supplied iron sights. With the longer sighting radius this would allow the varmint hunter or target shooter a weapon that is quite accurate without a scope. Scopes can fog in the worst times, get dotted up with rain, mud and snow or loose zero. Iron sights on a classic style lever action rifle just feels right too.
The very next day my wife accompanied me to a friend’s small backyard range. I set a target up at 20 yards to get a working zero before my main range day when I will fire for groups. Looking at the rear sight I decided to raise it 2 clicks from the lowest position. The first off hand shot fired was a Winchester Magnum Jacketed 40 Grain Hollow Points. Much to my surprise it was a bullseye hit in the x-ring. Well the preliminary sight in was quite simple. Now for initial function testing. The action was really smooth and the lock up was nice and tight. Firing was quick with this smooth action with spent casings extracting with no issues whatsoever. Spent shells mounded up on the ground in a hurry. Handing the rifle over to my wife to try she cranked out shot after shot. She really enjoyed firing this rifle as so did I. The next range test will be longer distances from a bench and a proper rifle rest.
Range day came for actual groupings on the toes of an upcoming major thunderstorm (got to love spring!). First I set up a target at 50 yards for a more proper sight in using a shooting bench and rifle rest. My first shot was a tad to the left. Loosening the small screw on the rear sight I then used a brass punch to lightly move the rear sight into proper alignment. I then tightened that small screw and the windage was now spot on. I then shot on separate targets for record.
The first test was with Winchester 40 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point .22 Winchester Magnum cartridges. I fired five shots without taking a break between them (as you would in a hunting situation). The large front bead sight covered these targets pretty good but the overall group is 1-7/8″.
The next cartridges tested were the Remington Premier 33 Grain V-Max cartridges. The five shot group shrunk to 1-3/8″ overall. Better quality ammo was making it’s worth known as it should.
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The winner of the day was certainly the Hornady 30 Grain V-Max cartridge. The group also achieved a 1-3/8″ group at 50 yards and was dead on for elevation. If you notice the test targets the 40 grain Winchester cartridges printed lower that the 33 Grain Remington V-Max cartridges. The Hornady V-Max load shed 3 extra grains in their loading which put the projectiles right on the money. Remember that interesting tidbit when sighting in any weapon with lighter and heavier weight bullets. This particular test rifle really likes the V-Max style projectiles.

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While quite happy with the above groupings (that could certainly have been improved upon by more trigger time with this rifle) what would it do at 100 yards away? With the thunderstorm minutes away I quickly set up a target at 100 yards. As lighting lit up the skies I fired five rounds in quick order off my rifle rest. The below target group of 4-3/8″ was the result before the hail stones came raining down and ending the range day. Welcome to typical Ohio weather.

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First off this rifle could easily achieve tighter groups with a scope mounted. The large front bead on the front sight is great for targeting game size animals but the round bullseye targets get covered at longer distances. Aiming for a dime sized target x-ring at 100 yards or farther would then be much easier. I do have to say I really like the scope-less traditional approach when using this rifle. The trigger I found to be quite pleasant and the action is super smooth even from a bench rest. The short throw puts you back in the game with another loaded round without loosing target acquisition. Any groundhog, coyote or other marauding pest is in serious trouble from the hunter armed with such a great performing rifle that feels lively in your hands. Oh yes John Wayne would be proud.

As with many shooters I previously was under the impression that the .22 magnum cartridge was best used as a bolt action cartridge for maximum effectiveness. After testing the Henry Frontier 24″ barrel lever action rifle I can honestly tell you it is also at home in this lever gun platform. Whether for varmints or target shooting the Henry Arms Frontier Rifle is a must for any proper collection. Be sure to check this rifle out and all of the other “Made In America, or Not Made At All” rifles, shotguns and mares legs on the Henry Arms website.

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