Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3063: Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: December 5, 2021

Desirable Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $22,500

Desirable Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 CF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 534
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 59
Class: Antique
Description:

This Henry lever action rifle was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in the sixth month of production: October 1862. This very early Henry rifle has the first style brass receiver with rear sight dove-tail and rectangular follower cut. The distinctive octagon barrel and 15-shot integral magazine have the early small diameter brass follower, nickel-silver, half moon, front sight blade, first style folding leaf rear sight with "1000" yard graduation below the center notch and small, two-line legend with block "NEWHAVEN" marking in the second line. The first style buttplate has a rounded heel with the serial number stamped on the inside of the heel rather than below the butt trap. The shanks of all the tang screws and hand fitted buttplate screws are stamped with the rifle serial number. The bottom edge of the straight grain walnut stock has the slight 'perch belly' profile found on early production Henry rifles. The rifle was one of the first Henry rifles with spur loading lever and tang-mounted lever latch introduced about serial number 400. The left side of the stock and barrel are not fitted with a sling swivel and screw-mounted loop which were special order features on early production Henry rifles. The serial number is stamped: (1) on the top barrel flat behind the rear sight, (2) on the left side of the lower receiver tang, (3) in the bottom of the upper tang inlet of the stock, (4) inside the heel of the buttplate and (5) on the shanks of the buttplate and tang screws. All of the visible serial numbers match. Experts believe nearly all of the Henry rifles manufactured during the Civil War saw military service. Henry rifles were privately purchased by individual Federal soldiers who appreciated the fire-power offered by the 15-shot repeating rifle. The Henry was especially popular with Federal soldiers in the western theater - several Illinois regiments were armed primarily with privately purchased Henry rifles by 1864. Following the Civil War, many Henry rifles were used in the frontier west where they were popular with both settlers and Native Americans. As a result, early production Henry rifles like this example typically saw years of hard use in a hostile environment. Surviving examples are extremely rare. Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection

Rating Definition:

Fair. The rifle shows typical handling wear of a firearm that saw years of continuous use but no abuse. The bolt has been converted to use center-fire cartridges and the upper extractor is missing. The magazine T-bar screw, the screw on the left side of the magazine sleeve and the leaf sight elevation bar are all missing. The blue finish on the barrel/magazine has aged to a dark brown patina. The sides of the barrel and magazine show scattered shallow dents and light pitting. The barrel edges show handling wear and the New Haven Arms Co., legend and serial number are worn but legible. The rear sight is correct to the rifle. The brass receiver and buttplate have a good-looking patina. The receiver has numerous light dents and scratches and the side plate edges show removal marks. The hand-cut knurling on the hammer spur is worn. The stock has been heavily sanded and refinished. There are several hair-line cracks visible in the lower edge and the buttplate edges over-hand the lower edges of the stock. This is a scarce example of a desirable first year production Henry lever action rifle.



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