Many hunters and shooters know the positive attributes of a single shot hinge action shotgun. The simplicity, safety and ease of maintenance have always been major positive attributes of this classic action. What can really go wrong with such a design? Barn find single shot shotguns of yesteryear in this variety might still function today (with many sporting DIY firing pins made from nails as the only repairs ever completed). These well used and beaten game-getters and chicken coop defenders deserve a place on the mantle. It certainly is wise to upgrade to a quality made modern version of such a great time proven design with some major modern upgrades in functioning and craftsmanship. Henry Arms heard the call and manufacture right here in the USA beautiful classic style single shot shotguns in both steel and brass frames.
My good friends at Silverado Arms received a 12 gauge 3.5″ magnum (yes you heard that correctly) Henry Arms Steel Single Shot Shotgun for this review. Make sure if you are ever here in northeast Ohio to stop in or shop online on their website. What I found waiting for me was the Henry Arms Model H015-12 sporting a 28″ round blue steel barrel complete with a modified Rem Style Choke Tube installed.
The blued steel receiver mates to the American Walnut stock and forearm with great fit. The checkering allows you to keep a grip out in the wet woods. The patterns in the wood grain is just beautiful as has always been the case on any Henry firearm I have handled. Henry Arms spares no expense at fitting fine wood to their firearms.
With a weight of 6.65 lbs. and an overall length of 43.5″ it is a handy package that carries well into the backwoods. The shotgun comes also with a black solid recoil pad and a brass bead front sight. Length of pull is 14″ and the rebounding safety keeps the competition’s annoying crossbolt safeties at bay. When it’s time to shoot just cock the hammer back. Quick and smooth is what that’s all about.
With turkey season right around the corner here in Ohio and across the country I thought it would be fitting to test just how well the Henry Arms Single Shot Shotgun with steel receiver would do in that role. I procured the heaviest 3.5″ turkey load I could find. Yes I could have tested patterns with a lighter load but that 3.5″ chamber just needed to be utilized in the fullest degree. Remington Premier Magnum Copper Plated Buffered Magnums with 2.25 ounces of #4 shot would do nicely. Dram level was max with that load. At 35 yards a standard rifle target was targeted. With the supplied modified choke lead shot made a quick clean kill of the target.
The target received quite a large amount of hits right where it would count on a big gobbler. I personally counted 76 holes in the black with plenty in the center of the target. Now mind you this is just with a modified Rem-Choke. Tighter constricted choke tubes that are on the market would tighten that pattern up even more drastically. Turkey chokes are as numerous as the waves on the oceans these days with many varieties on the market for the Rem-Choke equipped shotguns. Still easily at over 40 yards that pattern would level any gobbler that comes in to your calls.
How was the recoil you ask from such a lightweight shotgun? Firing from a proper standing position the recoil was no problem at all. The rubber recoil pad I am certain played a big part in recoil reduction. What I did find though is to watch how close the top of your thumb is to the action release lever. Upon the heavier recoil of the 3.5″ turkey loads that lever did smack my thumb’s first joint area that was placed a bit too far up the stock on occasion. This was not a problem with any of the 3″ magnum loads I tested or the 2.75″ variety either. Heavy recoil does odd things for certain. Always be sure to hold your weapon right when firing the big boys.
So is the Henry Arms Single Shot Shotgun just a turkey gun you ask? By no means is it! I fired a Remington Express 00 Buckshot 2.75″ load that grouped all 9 pellets into a circle 12″ wide at 40 yards away. Obviously that load really liked the Henry shotgun and the modified choke. That would be a great load for coyotes to say the least.
The beauty of a single shot shotgun is that shell length or load is no determining factor of what you can fire. Light trap loads along with heavy field loads tested fired flawlessly. The aiming point was true to the center of the shot patterns with all loads tested. Speed was quick on target with such a quick pointing shotgun. The action worked with zero problems and the spent shotshell ejected with good force when the action was opened. This allows for a quick second shot when a live shell is handy nearby. I was very pleased by the performance of this classic styled Henry Arms Single Shot Shotgun. The removable choke tube system is a huge improvement over the older shotguns that have a fixed chokes that does not allow flexibility of uses. Choose the choke tube that best fits the game to be hunted. It will certainly get the hunt done well with that great old school style to boot. Gobblers, squirrels, rabbits, upland birds, you name it, this single shot will hunt them all well.
I found the Henry Arms Single Shot 12 Gauge Shotgun with steel receiver to be a great addition to any hunter’s tools for harvesting game. They are simple yet beautiful and would serve a novice or experienced hunter well in the field. Also available is a brass receiver model and 20 gauge along with .410 bore models. Check out Henry Arms website and see all the great models of rifles, shotguns and mares legs they offer. Best of all they are all “Made in America, Or Not At All”.