Henry’s New “LONG RANGER” Leveraction Rifle in 308 Winchester

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 19th, 2016


Click pictures for a larger version.






Gear driven bolt works very smoothly.





The Long Ranger balances perfectly just forward of the lever for easy carrying.







Four-shot detachable box magazine.





Though a relatively new company compared to some rifle manufacturers, Henry Repeating Arms has been producing quality leveraction rifles in the USA for many years now. Beginning two decades ago with the production of a reliable, accurate, and affordable 22 levergun, Henry has grown into the largest producer of leveraction rifles in the USA. My first experience with a Henry leveraction was with a handy little 22 Magnum that I bought for my Dad years ago, and I have since owned and fired many Henry leverguns. While other brands of leveraction rifles have stumbled, and even failed, Henry is constantly growing; producing a full line of leveraction rifles for hunting, fighting, and recreation. While Henry also produces pump, bolt-action, and semi-automatic rifles, as well as leveraction pistols, they are best known for their leveraction rifles and stellar customer service. With manufacturing facilities in New Jersey and Wisconsin, Henry Repeating Arms is a company that is growing and prospering, amazingly with neither an AR-15, 1911, nor a plastic pistol in their product line. Henry is building their reputation on the most-American of rifles; the levergun. While on the topic of the Henry Repeating Arms Company, before moving on to the rifle that is the subject of this review, their company motto is, “Made in America, or not Made at All”, and the company, under the leadership of Anthony Imperato, has been very generous to veterans, youth, and to the shooting industry.

With rifles in the product line to cover most any hunting need, until now, all Henry leverguns used traditional tubular magazines, chambered for rimfire or centerfire cartridges that work very well in such designs, but the topic of this review is their new Long Ranger, chambered for, at this time, the 223 Remington and the 243 and 308 Winchester cartridges. The rifle shown here is chambered for the latter, which is an excellent all-around cartridge for hunting most all North American big game, excepting the large bears. While the 308, properly loaded, will certainly do the job, for large beasts with teeth and claws, I prefer Henry’s 45-70 levergun.

The Long Ranger is a thoroughly modern rifle, with a traditional look and feel. Technically, the Long Ranger is a lever-operated bolt action, as it has a six-lug rotating bolt head with a secure lock-up into the barrel extension that is rugged and reliable. The lever drives a geared bolt to feed cartridges from a detachable box magazine, and the rotating bolt head contains the extractor and ejector to quickly and reliably clear the chamber of a spent cartridge case. The Long Ranger wears a twenty-inch tapered barrel. The barrel wears no sights, and the two-piece walnut stock features a forend that is pretty much free-floated under the barrel, with just the slightest tension felt while sliding a piece of paper between the barrel and forend. The stock wears a satin finish and the buttstock is fitted with a very functional recoil pad to attenuate the felt recoil on the shooter’s shoulder. The barrel wears no mechanical sights, but the aluminum receiver features side ejection, and is drilled and tapped for the included two-piece Skinner Sights scope mount bases. The scope bases will accommodate any standard Weaver-pattern rings.

The Long Ranger looks very similar to the excellent Browning BLR rifle, so we might as well get the comparison done now. Both wear two-piece stocks and utilize a gear-driven rotating bolt, but the rifles are not identical. The Henry trigger does not travel with the lever as it does on the Browning, and in my limited experience with the Henry, it has a better trigger pull than does the BLR. The Henry also wears a satin non-glare finish on both the metal and wood, and, as mentioned above, the Long Ranger has no mechanical sights. The BLR has either a straight stock or a semi-pistol-grip stock, while the Long Ranger has a straight stock, and they are priced within just a few dollars of each other. Both are excellent rifles, but only the Henry is built in the USA, if that is important to you. It just comes down to personal preference.

The Long Ranger balances and handles very well. Weighing in on my scale at seven and one-quarter pounds with an empty magazine, the lightweight aluminum receiver and excellent balance make the rifle feel lighter in my hands. It comes to the shoulder quickly, like a good bird gun. Being lever-operated, the action can be cycled quickly from either shoulder, without taking the gun off target. The steel box magazine holds four cartridges, for a total loaded capacity of five in 243 or 308, with one more in 223 Remington. The magazine is removed by pressing a large flush-mounted steel button on the right side of the receiver. The magazine loads easily and functions well.

While built for hunting, the Long Ranger is touted by Henry to offer exceptional accuracy, so for shooting the rifle, I reached for the good stuff; meaning match-grade ammunition from Buffalo Bore, Winchester, and Sig-Sauer. I tested the rifle for function with every type of 308 Winchester that I had available, and for accuracy with the above-mentioned match ammo, as well as various types of hunting ammunition. For accuracy testing, I mounted a scope sight that is well-suited to the performance capabilities and likely uses for the Long Ranger; a 3 to 9 power Leupold VX1. The variable power makes this scope and excellent choice for use either up close or at a distance. The VX1 is a quality American-made riflescope with good glass and click-adjustable turrets, that is both reliable and affordable. I like its light weight and low profile on a rifle such as the Long Ranger. It only adds eleven ounces to the package, keeping the rifle well-balanced, while offering the capability of engaging game at long distances. I would rather go afield under-scoped than over-scoped, and this 3 to 9 Leupold seems to be an ideal choice for a quality hunting rifle such as the Long Ranger. The scope was secured atop the Long Ranger in Leupold Rifleman vertically-split rings. These rings are lightweight and low-profile, and hold the scope securely.

All accuracy testing was done at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level at a distance of one hundred yards with an air temperature hovering around the eighty-six-degree mark with a relative humidity of sixty-seven percent. The Long Ranger was rested on the bench in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest, to eliminate as much of my human error as possible. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in Feet-per-second (FPS). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Sig-Sauer Match 168 2589
Set Point Custom SMK 175 2560
Buffalo Bore Sniper 175 2550
Buffalo Bore Soft Point 150 2964
Handload - Barnes XLC 168 2549
Winchester BST 168 2622
Cor-Bon Match 168 2530
Lehigh Defense Chaos 110 3292
Federal Gold Medal Match 168 2594
Federal Soft Point 150 2846
Hornady SST 165 2718

Accuracy, as expected, was excellent. Most three-shot one-hundred-yard groups measured under one inch, with some groups measuring half that much. I did fire one three-shot group into the same hole at one hundred yards with the Sig-Sauer ammunition, but could not duplicate that feat, so that particular group is not pictured, as it is not representative of that ammunition in this rifle. However, every group with that Sig ammo went under one inch. Federal soft point ammo averaged just over one and three-quarters inch, but all other ammo tested did better than that, with the exception of the Lehigh. This rifle just does not like that lightweight bullet as well, but still exhibited fair accuracy for out to one-hundred-yard targets.            

The box magazine loads easily, and the cartridges chambered smoothly. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly, after an initial ejection problem early on in the testing. Sometimes, an empty cartridge case would not clear the ejection port. Applying a drop of lubricant to the ejector cured the problem, and the rifle ejected as it should after that. As mentioned above, with good ammunition, the Long Ranger would group three shots into an inch or better at one hundred yards. Who says leverguns can’t be accurate?! The trigger released crisply with an average of 4.7 pounds of resistance initially, but lightened up a bit after use.

The Henry Long Ranger is very comfortable to shoot. It mounts quickly, and the excellent stock design allows repeated firing with no discomfort. The stock is well-checkered for a positive hold in all weather conditions, and the non-glare finish is ideal for a hunting rifle. The leveraction is the most-ambidextrous of repeating rifle designs, and the Long Ranger works just as well for left-handed shooters as it does for right-handed shooters.

The new Henry Long Ranger is an excellent choice for the hunter that is wanting an accurate, smooth, and reliable levergun that is, like all Henry rifles, “Made in America, or not Made at All”. The suggested retail price of the new Long Ranger is, as of the date of this review, $1014.95 US.

To look at the extensive line of quality Henry rifles and accessories, go to www.henryrifles.com.

For the location of a Henry dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Long Ranger online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.

For a closer look at the full line of Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

To order quality ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.doubletapammo.com, www.lehighdefense.com, www.midsouthshooters.com, and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





Jeff tested the Long ranger with a variety of ammunition.





Aluminum receiver has steel bushings for scope base screws.





Receiver is drilled and tapped for supplied Skinner steel scope bases.



Leupold VX1 scope.