Lot #39
Lot #41

Lot 40: Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 40: Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500
Price Realized:

Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2185
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 12
Class: Antique
Description:

Henry lever action rifle manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co., in 1862. The rifle has the distinctive gun metal brass frame and crescent buttplate and blue 24-inch octagon barrel with integral magazine. The hammer, trigger and loading lever are color casehardened. The straight grain, black walnut stock has a low-luster varnish finish. The rifle has the distinctive early features which include: (1) alternate rear sight dovetail on the frame, (2) buttplate with rounded heel, (3) serial numbered buttplate and stock screws, (4) first style, folding leaf rear sight with "100" yard marking on the base and "1000" yard marking on the top of the leaf below the center notch, (5) first style, half-moon nickel silver front sight leaf, (6) small magazine cartridge follower and (6) straight follower cut in the frame for the small cartridge follower. The butt trap contains an original four-piece, jointed hickory cleaning rod. The rifle is not fitted with a sling swivel on the stock or sling hook loop on the left side of the barrel. Sling swivels were extra cost, special order items on early production Henry rifles. The serial number, "638", is visible: (1) on the top of the barrel between the rear sight and the frame, (2) on the lower left side of the tang beneath the stock, (3) on the inside of the upper stock tang inlet, (4) on the inside of the buttplate at the heel. The fitted buttplate screws and upper and lower tang screws all have the rifle serial number stamped on the shank. All of the visible serial numbers match. The top of the barrel is stamped with the first pattern, short legend "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860/MANUFACTURED BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS.CO. NEWHAVEN CT." in two lines. The legend uses Gothic (non-serifed) letters for "NEWHAVEN" and Roman (serifed) letters for the remainder of the marking. The New Haven Arms Co., manufactured approximately 1,300 Henry rifles in 1862 as Oliver Winchester struggled to build a market for his advanced 15-shot repeating rifle. In 1863 and 1864 the advantages of the sustained firepower became apparent and large numbers of Henry rifles were purchased by individual Federal soldiers. Experts believe that most Henry rifles manufactured between 1862 and 1865 were purchased by individual soldiers and saw some Civil War service. Henry rifles were especially popular with soldiers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan regiments in the Western armies.

Rating Definition:

Good. The barrel and integral magazine have an attractive dark brown patina. The barrel and rear sight have some very minor, scattered pitting on the edges and contact points. The first style rear sight is complete and original to the rifle. The New Haven Arms legend and serial number are sharp. The brass frame and crescent buttplate have an untouched patina. The frame and side plates have scattered minor dents and scratches, primarily along the upper side plate joints. The case colors on the lever, trigger and hammer have faded to a mottled brown patina. The hammer retains about 30% of the casehardened finish. The stock is in fair-good condition. There are four 1/2-inch diameter wooden plugs below the comb and on the wrist on the right side of the stock. The plugs are professional period repairs and are only visible with close inspection. The toe of the stock has been cracked and professionally repaired. Henry rifles were purchased as combat weapons and typically show the wear associated with military use in the field. This is a, good-looking, above average, example of a first year production Henry rifle and a classic and historic Civil War firearm.



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