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P. 40

 Desirable U.S. Martially Inspected Henry Lever Action Rifle with Scarce Telescopic Sight
 “We intend to make both globe and telescope sight for our rifles. It will take a few weeks longer."
-letter from Oliver Winchester, November 17, 1863.
LOT 31
U.S. Inspected Civil War New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle with Incredibly
Scarce Telescopic Sight - Serial no. 3283, 44 Henry RF cal., 24 1/2 inch octagon bbl., blue/brass
finish, walnut stock. The U.S. Ordnance Department only purchased an estimated 1,731 Henry rifles
between April 9, 1863, and November 7, 1865, for use by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Many
others are known to have been privately purchased and used by Union troops who wanted the most advanced
firearms they could get their hands on. Repeating rifles like the Henry and Spencer were a force multiplier for Union troops. Period advertisements in newspapers during the Civil War gave a rate of fire of 60 shots per minute and called the Henry rifle “the best ever
offered to the public.” Many veterans spent their reenlistment bounties to get their hands on one of these potentially life saving rifles. They were considerably rarer than the Spencer rifles and carbines that were the main repeaters supplied by the Ordnance Department during the war, in part because production of the Henry rifles was somewhat limited and
Tyler Henry and His Famed Repeating Rifle” on page 146 estimates that only 800 of these Type 1 U.S. contract Henry rifles were ordered. Many of these rifles were used by the 1st D.C. Cavalry and subsequently the 1st Maine Cavalry.
On page 125, Quick notes that telescopic sights (scopes) are extremely rare on Henry rifles, and that correspondence from the factory indicated they had plans to equip some Henry with telescope sights. George Madis, in the “The Winchester Book,” indicated this correspondence was a Nov. 17, 1863, dated letter from Oliver F. Winchester himself saying, “We intend to make both globe and telescope sight for our rifles. It will take a few weeks longer.”This indicates that New Haven Arms Co. intended to make or have made telescopic sights for the Henry rifles. Very few Henry rifles have telescopic sights, and most have clearly after-market telescopic sights like those by Malcolm. The sight on this rifle is not marked and could be a New Haven Arms Co. product. Regardless, it is definitely of
the period of manufacture. It is fitted via a brass mount in a dovetail at the front of the octagonal section of the barrel and a long screw into
the upper tang that allows for elevation adjustment. The eye piece has a
also because the Henry was more delicate than a Spencer and fired a less powerful cartridge. This is an incredibly rare Civil War U.S. Type 1 Henry rifle manufactured c. 1863. Les Quick in “The Story of Benjamin
small aperture. While the cartridge was less powerful than the long range cartridges developed in the 19th century, Civil War advertisements for the Henry stated “it carries with force sufficient to kill at 1,000 yards.”

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