Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 18: New Haven Arms Company Henry Rifle

Auction Date: May 20, 2011

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $22,500

New Haven Arms Company Henry Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2500
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 11
Class: Antique

This Henry lever-action rifle was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in 1863. The rifle has the early pattern receiver with rear sight dove-tail and early style buttplate with rounded heel. The left side of the stock and left side of the barrel are factory fitted with a sling swivel and loop for a sling hook. The rifle has the distinctive octagon barrel with integral magazine and brass receiver and buttplate. The hammer and loading lever have a case-hardened finish. The stock is walnut with a varnish finish. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860./MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS CO. NEWHAVEN. CT." ahead of the rear sight dove-tail. The serial number, "2975" is stamped on the top barrel flat between the rear sight dove-tail and the receiver. The serial number is stamped on the inside of the buttplate and on the shank of the lower buttplate screw. All of the visible serial numbers match. Most Henry rifles saw some service during the American Civil War. The Henry rifle was the most advanced repeating firearm manufactured between 1861-1865. Although the Ordnance Department purchased only about 1200 Henry rifles during the Civil War individual Federal soldiers appreciated the fire-power of the Henry. Large quantities of Henry rifles were purchased by soldiers from Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky in 1863 and 1864; these rifles saw service in the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's March to the Sea. Henry rifles were understandably popular on the frontier following the war. As a result, Henry rifles tend to show the hard service associated with weapons that saw combat and daily use in a rugged environment. The rifle is complete with the four-piece, jointed, steel cleaning rod furnished with later production Henry rifles.

Rating Definition:

Good with a stock repair. The rifle shows moderate honest use. The barrel and integral magazine have an untouched deep brown patina; surfaces are generally smooth. The barrel legend and serial number are clear. The dove-tail mounted front sight is a period replacement. A non-factory blank is fitted in the rear sight dove-tail on the barrel. The receiver is in very good overall condition. The brass has been polished many years ago but now shows a light attractive patina. The sides of the receiver have some scattered dents and scratches and the edges of the side plates have some removal marks. Three notches are scratched on the lower receiver tang. The rear sight is a modern replacement. A hole for a tang sight is drilled in the upper receiver tang. The lower tang screw is a modern replacement. The hammer and lever have a mottled gray patina. The stock was broken at the wrist and has been roughly repaired, sanded and varnished. The repairs appear to be period work. The upper butt plate screw is shorter than the lower screw and may be a period replacement. This is a solid example of an early configuration Henry rifle. These early rifles were used in large numbers by the 66th Illinois Infantry (Western Sharpshooters), the 7th Illinois Infantry and other Mid-Western Regiments during the Civil War.

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