My Henry Shooting “Friend”…

by Mike Kendra on April 26, 2010

My teammates from 2002 shooting the Henry, but not the aforementioned "friend".

I have a “friend” who loves to shoot his .44-40 Henry Rifle, and he is pretty good with it. He has won at least a few medals with it in individual competition.

Last National, late in the repeater event, he was running low on ammo, in fact he was running so low, he only had ten rounds left to complete the last event, which I believe was the pot-tile event.

Up to this point my “friend” had been doing 3 for 22 at the 100 yard tiles, 10 for 26 on the clay board, and 8 for 20 on the 50 yard tiles. This isn’t what I would consider “great shooting” but with the Henry this is fairly normal for my “friend”.

What he did next is the stuff of legend…. okay it wasn’t that amazing, but I was still very impressed.

My “friend” ignored the command to load his magazine, he just stood there. Then, at the command to load and come to the ready, he single loaded his first shot.

Once the match commenced he continued to only single load his ten rounds. He managed to shoot and hit 8 pot-tiles with just 10 shots, clearing half the frame all by himself, and with a much better hit percentage!

Admittedly, those ten shots took much longer than the first ten shots of just about every other Henry shooter. I am also not completely sure this method is kosher by the current rules, although I just looked and couldn’t find a specific rule that said you couldn’t do it.

I’m thinking that the advantage he had to cause him to shoot so much better was: First, he took his time and aimed. He had no choice but to take the gun off his shoulder to load the next round. This gave him an automatic pause between shots.

Second, his Henry never heated up like mine does in the match, so perhaps his lube worked better? Not sure about that theory, but I think there might be something to it.

One of our teammates said “it ain’t Henry shooting if you don’t load the magazine…”, so I don’t know what to think. I wonder if this method spoils the “spirit” of the repeater event, because in this event the Henry was used as a single-shot rifle…

Now my friend wants to know if he should attempt this again at the next match, but I don’t know if he should. What are your views on the matter?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil Spaugy April 26, 2010 at 8:16 am

There is no violation of the rules, but in my mind, which method helps the shooters competing company finish the event in the fastest time possible?

Or better yet, load the magazine, and shoot slower !!

Sherry Myers April 26, 2010 at 8:52 am

Phil’s right, there is no violation of the rules. Another thing to consider is how front-heavy the Henry is when the magazine if fully loaded, creating fatigue – especially if one is not used to it.

One thing I’ve seen a LOT in repeater matches is ‘belt fed’ mode. Some people seem to thing a wall of lead is better than taking the extra half second to correct aim that’s slightly off.

Norm Gibson April 26, 2010 at 9:23 am

Maybe only loading five rounds in the magazine to start with, or as Phil said load the magazine and bring the gun down between shots to lever the next round in to rest your arm.

What probably was happening is that when you have “plenty” of ammo you fall into the mode of hurrying your shots thinking that if you miss you always have another round to send down range. When you only have a few rounds you tend to try to make every shot really count.

Mike Kendra April 26, 2010 at 11:39 am

Isn’t loading the magazine part-way against the rules or a policy? I thought there was a danger of premature ignition when the follower was returned to it’s normal position atop the stack of bullets. Now I’m not dumb enough to let the follower strike the bullets, but I know others on the line might not be so… intuitive…

Joseph Plakis April 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Yes loading the magazine half way is against the rules.

I have been known to empty the magazine in less than 40 seconds but do have a high hit percentage. As soon as that begins to slip I take the gun off my shoulder to reload to slow down the rate of fire!

Phil Spaugy April 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I would load a full magazine and take my time….its pretty obvious that while there is a bunch of shootin’ going on, there is not much hitting……or better yet buy a Spencer. It holds 7 rounds, and shoots slower by virtue of having to cock the hammer for each shot

Norm Gibson April 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Joe unless you are referring to reloading the magazine during the match I do not see any rules that prohibit partial loading of the magazine. I have found that sometime the rules are not always organized in a way that makes finding all the information in one place possible, so if I am wrong could you point out to me where in the rules is says so. As Mike says if that were the case letting the follower down on the cartridges gently is a very prudent precaution to follow.

Sherry Myers April 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

Section 25.3.f states: “During Breechloading rifle/Carbine II company matches, Henry firearms must start every event with a fully loaded magazine.”

Norm, you’re right. This rule is in the section on loading and clearing firearms instead of the Breechloader section. Took me a bit to find it.

Mike Kendra April 27, 2010 at 9:35 am

Sherry, that’s the definitive answer I was looking for, thanks for finding that!

With this rule, if a shooter only has 10 rounds to shoot in the last event, going by the rules, they cannot compete. That stinks.

Norm Gibson April 27, 2010 at 11:05 am

Thanks Sherry. Probably needs a reference notation.

Norm Gibson April 27, 2010 at 11:12 am

Mike I would think that if he only has 10 rounds left and could not fully load the magazine that he could single load instead. On our team everyone uses the same load so if someone is short a few rounds he can usually get a few from someone else.

Mike Kendra April 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Maybe I’ll have to start a future blog post on ways that the rule book can be improved. Thanks for all the contributions everyone.

Joseph Plakis April 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm

If you were on the line with only ten rounds left and were not able to get four other rounds you would have to single load. Here are all the rules that deal with loading henry rifles. If you only loaded ten you violate rule F, for individuals you must load one round at a time otherwise you violate rule E. As simply defined as confused as possible!

25.3 LOADING HENRY RIFLES (amended 01/05)
a. The barrel of the firearm must be pointed downrange, in a near horizontal position, during loading.

b. No multiple cartridge “speed loaders” may be used to load or reload a Henry rifle.

c. When commanded to LOAD MAGAZINES, cartridges are singly fed into the magazine. The follower must be lowered onto the foremost cartridge in the magazine; it shall not be allowed to spring freely onto the cartridge.

d. When the Henry magazine is empty the magazine may not be reloaded. The Henry must thereafter be single-loaded directly into the breech.

e. During individual matches Henry firearms must be loaded and fired with single rounds. The magazine shall not be used in individual match competition. (added
01/05)

f. During breechloading rifle/carbine II company matches, Henry firearms must start every event with a fully loaded magazine.

Norm Gibson April 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm

thanks, Joe

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