This first model Henry lever action rifle was manufactured in 1862. The rifle has the distinctive brass receiver and crescent buttplate with octagon barrel and integral 15-shot magazine. The rifle has the first style receiver with rear sight dovetail and early style buttplate with rounded heel. The rear sight dovetail on the receiver was discontinued about serial number 3,000, and a buttplate with pointed heel was introduced at about serial number 4,000. The barrel has the early pattern nickel silver front sight blade with rounded back and third pattern folding leaf rear sight. The third pattern rear sight is distinguished by "900" stamped below the center notch in the top of the leaf elevator bar with rounded ends and lack of the elevator stop screw in the top of the leaf. The stock and barrel are fitted with a sling swivel and loop for a sling hook. Sling swivels and loops were extra cost, special order items until mid-1863. The buttplate has a hinged brass trapdoor and the butt trap contains a four-piece hickory cleaning rod. The stock is straight grain American walnut with a varnished piano finish. The rifle has a blue barrel and integral magazine. The hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The top barrel flat is roll stamped with the two-line legend "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS.CO. NEWHAVEN.CT." The left side of the lower tang is stamped with the numbers "1159" and "1862. "1862" repeated on the stock inlet, the inside of the buttplate below the trap, both upper tang screws, the lower tang screw, and both buttplate screws. The serial number "1159" is repeated on the top barrel flat between the rear sight and the receiver. Experts believe that most of the 7,500 Henry rifles manufactured between April 1862 and January 1865 were purchased for use in the Civil War and saw some military service. Aside from 900 rifles purchased by the Ordnance Department in 1863-1864 to arm the 1st D.C. Cavalry Regiment, nearly all Henry rifles used in the Civil War were privately purchased by soldiers who wanted to have the most advanced firearm available and take advantage of the sustained firepower of a 15-shot magazine rifle. As rifles that saw use during the Civil War, the great majority of the Henry rifles under serial number 7,500 show moderate to heavy wear. It is not often that surviving Henry rifles are encountered with original blue finish as found on this example. The condition of this rifle was summarized by noted firearms dealer and collector Herb Glass, Jr., stating that the rifle is "a crisp and unusually nice example. It has seen use, but has obviously been well cared for...and generous amounts of blue are retained on the barrel assembly. Perhaps most important, the brass and wood are untouched and in lovely condition overall."
Fine. The barrel assembly retains 20% original blue finish in the protected areas, otherwise a pleasant smooth brown-gray patina. The fine brass has a very attractive mellow appearance. The receiver has tight fitting side plates. The wood is also fine with minor dings and scratches associated with a lifetime of use. Mechanically excellent. In his letter Herb Glass, Jr. said it best, "It is a handsome Henry and the icing on the cake is that it is the more desirable early version."
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