Henry 44 Mag Big Boy Review

Henry 44 magnum big boy review

Henry 44 Mag Big Boy Review
Opening morning swamp bottom 7 point with the Henry 44 Mag Big Boy Rifle Ken McBroom

Henry 44 Mag Big Boy Review: A Hunter’s Perspective

A HUNTER’S DISCLOSURE

I want to start this review with complete and transparent disclosure. I’m not a shooter I’m a hunter. This review of the Henry 44 Mag Big Boy rifle will be from a perspective of a lifelong hunter, from a view that guns are a way to harvest animals. No hand loads here. If a rifle can’t shoot factory ammo well enough to harvest animals it don’t make the cut. In fact I’ve been known to return or sell a rifle that failed to group accurately with a couple different loads.

I’ll experiment with a few different bullets to see about a little better group, but the rifle needs to start by showing that it can at least hit the vitals at 50 yards with any round. There have only been a couple guns in my life that I thought didn’t shoot well enough to hunt with. The Leverevolution ammo will kill animals, but there seemed to always be at least one flier with each group. The Winchester didn’t have any, so why not go with the Winchester ammo and save a little money?

Again I’m a hunter not a shooter. If you’re critical of people that don’t use highly technical terminology like chrono speeds and trigger weight then move on. This ain’t for you. I hunted for 30 years with many different guns including expert marksman in the Army and never even heard of trigger weight. Now days that seems to be a topic with every gun review out there. Won’t be any trigger weights here. No idea if the Henry 44 Mag Big Boy has a heavy trigger or a light trigger. One thing for sure, it’s no hair trigger and that’s fine by me.

Rambling Angler Store

FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE HENRY 44 BIG BOY RIFLE

My first impression of the Henry 44 Big Boy rifle out of the box was “Hey I’ve got to get to the range.” The rifle just screamed “shoot me, shoot me” and it screamed loud and clear. The lines were sexy and the look was rugged. Like a parlor girl you couldn’t wait to see after weeks on the trail. The weight was great, but comfortable and it proved to come in handy opening morning with two offhand kill shots. The weight felt great and helped to stabilize the rifle for accurate offhand shots.

The American walnut stock and forearm are solid in the hand with no looseness or rattle. It’s as solid as can be. The checkering is meticulously engraved into the forearm and stock giving an excellent grip even with wet and bloody hands. I was field dressing my first deer when the second walked into range for an easy 25 yard offhand shot. The walnut and the checkering on the Henry Big Boy Rifles give it a classic look that anybody can appreciate whether shooter or hunter.

My Henry Big Boy 44 Mag was ordered in steel. A hunting gun. Plenty of people hunt with the brass big boy, but I couldn’t do it. Not sure I’d even put myself in that predicament. Two reasons for the steel finish. First I couldn’t take the brass gun into the places that I hunt and feel good about it. I’d be constantly worrying about the rifle and I don’t want that, not when I’m trying to hunt. The other reason is kind of like the first. I think a little rust and pitting that might make it onto a blued rifle is just character while any kind of tarnish, scratch or blemish on that pretty brass receiver would be a travesty so I stick with the down and dirty steel.

AT THE RANGE WITH THE HENRY 44 MAG BIG BOY RIFLE

I couldn’t wait to get to the range with my new Henry Big Boy and see if it shot as good as it looked. It was only 3 days before the opening morning of Kentucky’s gun season and the Henry .44 Mag Big Boy’s debut. A skinner peep sight was ordered for the Henry, but I wanted to leave it factory for the first season. I wanted to give an out of the box Henry 44 Mag Big Boy review. I left the factory buckhorn sights installed. The buckhorn sights from the factory worked great. The Henry was sighted in and ready for the opener.

I love this rifle so much. I’m very picky about my sights since I hunt gnarly swamp bottoms and thick woods almost exclusively. I’m pretty hard on rifles and bows and anything attached to them which is why I plan to install the Skinner peep on this gun.. If you hunt out of nice shooting houses then there might not be a problem. To be clear I am for all hunters and don’t judge those that hunt out of nice blinds and shooting houses. In fact I hope to have me one on my little 7 acre property for next season. A place I can slip in when in a hurry or wake up late or if it’s raining. Any way you can get outside and enjoy “the hunt and the harvest”  then do it.

henry 44 mag big boy

Once I had the sights set I started to take shooting the Henry 44 Big Boy seriously. It was surprising how well the rifle grouped at 50 yards. Not because I doubted the Henry, but my own marksmanship. I’ve not shot open sights for many years maybe 25 years since I shot my M16 and they were peep sights. I did have two types of ammo to try. A box of Winchester soft point. I was looking for the LEVERevolution ammo and couldn’t find any so I bought the Winchester. It was much less expensive. Unfortunately, I found a box of LEVERevolution ammo. It cost more, but I knew I wouldn’t be hunting with it after 6 shots.

Now all you shooters out there go ahead and jump me for “not breaking in the barrel” or whatever else I did wrong. When I shot the Winchester ammo the groups were much better and consistent from the start. These were the bullets I would use to hunt with. I have about 30 rounds left and they will last me several years. I always shoot 3 rounds before the season to make sure everything is good and that is all I will shoot. Any other round I shoot will hopefully harvest a deer or two. Here is the group I shot after getting the sights situated.

IN THE WOODS WITH MY HENRY 44 MAG BIG BOY

The Henry felt as good as it looked on my shoulder picking my way through the tangled swamp opening morning. The weight helped keep my Run & Gun Sling anchored to my shoulder. It felt like my first deer season when I shot a lever gun with open sights. I grew up hunting with a lever action Marlin. That was back before they were cool. Kids at school made fun of my lever action, always asking why I didn’t shoot a Weatherby or Browning bolt action with a big scope.

Growing up hunting big farm country in Lynchburg, Tennessee, long shots were the norm. I did envy their nice bolt action rifles, but my dad give me his lever action Marlin and I wanted to hunt with it. Later I put a scope on it, but I installed see-through scope rings. I never wanted to be without a sight. That rifle went to Alaska and hunted Blacktail deer in the rainforest with me. Needless to say the lever action has always had a place in my heart and this Henry would replace that void, and it felt good.

run gun sling
Run Gun Sling

There is something about a lever action rifle, to me anyway. I guess I’m nostalgic about these things. After hunting with a bow exclusively for 20 years it feels good to get back into rifle hunting. Something I haven’t done since I was a young man. As a bowhunter close-up hunting is my thing. The Henry lever action 44 Big Boy not only exudes nostalgia but also challenge. With open sights hunting in swamp cane and old-growth oak trees, nearly anything that comes within sight is within range of the Henry. It just isn’t easy to explain the feeling of the lever action rifle to those that don’t feel it themselves. Like a fine Tennessee sipping whiskey, brewed just over the ridge from my childhood hunting grounds, some will never understand.

LOADING THE HENRY 44 MAG BIG BOY RIFLE

I have to say that loading a rifle has never been a big deal to me. Again see my full disclosure above. As a hunter, I have never worried about how a rifle loads. A single shot would be fine with me. I’ve heard from a couple of friends and read about some hunters that dislike tube loading. I’m not sure where the issue lies. If you load your rifle that morning to deer hunt and you need to reload anytime that day either you have enough deer processing to do for one day or you need to get back to the range.

The Henry 44 Mag Big Boy holds 10 rounds! Now as I learn more about the lever action rifles Henry is putting out I have learned that the way they get such good accuracy with their long ranger models is because the clip allows them to use a tighter receiver. Or something like that. The way it was explained to me made sense so I believe it and the guy was a shooter so I’m sure all the technical stuff was correct. In that case, it would matter how a rifle loaded. I like accuracy with the long-range rounds and out past 100 yards I feel that anything that can improve your accuracy is important.

CONCLUSION TO REVIEW

The Henry lever action 44 Magnum Rifle is a hunter’s gun for sure and I would say it would make a great gun for shooters as well. It is fun to shoot that’s for sure. It’s equally fun to hunt with. It looks good when you want to show your friends or grandkids. It looks so good that it will make them want to go hunting. If you love to hunt thick woods and get in close the Henry 44 mag is the perfect gun. Yea there are plenty of other calibers and I love the 30-30 but this is a HENRY 44 MAG BIG BOY review and I like it. Plenty of power not only for crushing bone and making a quick kill but also to barrel through some limbs that seem to always be in the way in the thick stuff.

I would highly recommend the Henry 44 mag big boy rifle to anyone that loves nostalgia, close-up hunting, and all-out sexy guns.

Check Out My First Hunt With the Henry 44 magnum Big Boy Rifle 

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

32 Comments

  1. I recently purchased a big boy silver in .44 mag and love it. The only thing I replaced were the sights. Went with fiber optic gun-sights. At 61, my peepers aren’t as good as they once were. Anyway the 44 Magnum Henry Big Boy shoots great. This lever action rifle cycles ammo super smooth…like butter. The one thing I found was it did not have an appetite for wad cutter ammo. My Henry prefers round nose and hollow points. I can live with that. Anyway nice gun, I would purchase a Henry again.

  2. Hi Chuck thanks for the reply about your Henry .44 Magnum Big Boy. I love mine. I put the peep sights on mine but eventually will probably put a scope on it because of my eyesight. It’s OK but I will probably even go to a scope on my turkey gun just to be able to better pick a shot through thisck cover which is where I hunt.

  3. I picked up my Henry Big Boy .44 on a Thursday (3 years ago) and took a nice doe on Sunday morning. Just after legal shooting light that morning the doe walked in at 35 yards. The 240 grain soft point anchored her where she stood. The little rifle is a dream to carry in brush or long hikes. It handles like no other rifle I have used. Mine wears a Leopold 2-7×33 optic, which is a perfect match for my eyes and the hunting condition in the Arkansas Ozark hills.

  4. That’s great Wendell. I love my Henry .44 Big Boy as well. I have the peep sights installed now but have thought about a tight, compact scope. How do you like the Leopold 2-7×33? Do you like the varible scope? I was thinking about a fixed power. What are your thoughts since you have a variable? Thanks for the comment on the Henry .44.

  5. I have the brass big boy 44. I love the rifle. I’ve taken 2 pa. Deer with it. It is a great woods gun. The 44 packs a punch. I would not feel under guned hunting black bears with it.

  6. Yea it ain’t for everybody. I only bowhunted for 20 plus years and don’t mind short range hunting. Besides that, because of bowhunting I have adapted to hunting the thick stuff. I also hunt public land. I have no confidence sitting on the edge of a field like I did as a kid and taking a shot at 300 yards with a 30’06 I just feel like they will never show themselves because I hunt pressured deer.

  7. I just put a 0-4 power Pentax scope on my 44. It is made in USA. I ordered the mount from Henry. It is their 1 piece mount and rings. It is perfect. It sighted in very easy. Hitting cardboard deer at 100 yards is easy. I love my 44 Henry.

  8. That sounds awesome> I have thought about putting a 4 power on mine and taking it to Kodiak Island to hunt Blacktail deer. I want to kill one with my bow but might want to take a close range gun first to see. I have \killed so many Blacktail deer when I lived in Alaska but never a buck. I really want to get back there and shoot a buck. I have friends in Southeast Alaska where I lived and worked that want me to come go with them but I told them I would like to do it on my own as I always hunted alone when I was there. If you have a photo of your setup I would love to see it. I would add it to my Henry .44 Mag review article. You can send it to my email at ramblinganglermedia@gmail.com Thanks for the comment and may your bullet fly true.

  9. I lived in Alaska for 18 years. I stayed up there after getting out of the army. I came home to pa after my father passed away. Alaska is awesome. I had my own airplane and hunted and fished and panned for gold if I wasn’t working.ill get my wife to help and will send a picture of the scope set up.i hope you have a blessed day

  10. That’s exactly what I did. After Desert Storm and aircraft maintenance school in Colorado I headed to Alaska to work on airplanes. I spent 20 years most of which was in the bush working on helicopters. I have worked many gold exploration jobs. You should read my About page. It tells how I started writing I was sitting in a tent in Chicken Alaska.

  11. Sorry I’m having trouble getting a picture and sending to you of my rifle.my camera on my phone is blurry.my wife beth tried to send the picture from her phone.we have very spotty cell signal here.

  12. This looks great and just what I want. I like the short scope with low profile mounts. Thanks for sharing. Did you get the scope mounts from Henry I would like to get the same setup you have here for your Henry .44 Mag. I hunt swamp bottoms and thickest brush I can find. This scope setup would be perfect. You said it was the Pentax scope? I will have to check it out.

  13. Yes it is a Pentax 0_4 power and is made in USA. I ordered the mount from Henry pride accessories. Under the parts section. It is their big boy ring and base the number htbbrbs. It works on the rifles that do not need a cantilever base.if you noticed my rifle is not shiny. I sat for hours in our cabin in northern Maine and dulled the brass with 0000 steel wool. I hope this helps. I shot expert marksmen in the army. Now I’m having trouble with the rear sights.i know Leupold makes a nice scope like the one I used . Take care God bless.

  14. I shot expert as well in the Army. I would have shot hawkeye but I forgot I shot 2 targets with one shot then missed one but I had one more round. It killed me when we cleared our chamber and a shell popped out. The bad thing is I tried to do it when we were practicing I noticed if I waited for the 50 m target to pop up I had a second or 2 to shoot high on the 50 and hit the 200m. It worked but then I didn’t think to take a second shot at the one I missed. Bad thing is I missed a 50m target LOL. I have looked at the Pentax scope and like it. I have also looked at the Leupold scope for my Henry .44 Mag I will have to decide. I have the Skinner Peeps on mine but as I get old I am finding that a scope is in order. I want one on my turkey gun too not for magnification as much as just getting the sight on them. Thanks for the info I will check out those mounts for the Henry Big Boy for sure.

  15. Thank you for your service. I was not sent to desert storm. I served in the 813th artic engenders. 87 to 91. One of my regrets was not staying in the army.but I got to stay in Alaska . Pennsylvania is a hunting state also.god has blessed me . I now have an awesome wife and work for the pa game commission. Life is good God bless

  16. That’s great. I have it pretty good myself living on Kentucky Lake and writing and tying jigs and I also have the best wife. Thanks for the communication. Ken

  17. Hi ken. I have another Henry story. My babies brother is going to be 50 in august.his son and myself, bought him a brass Henry big boy 44. For his birthday.i love my brass big boy. Last weekend Hunter and I shot my Henry and I had 3 shots touching at 50 yds. The rifle is better than I am godbless

  18. That’s awesome and thanks for the comment. I really enjoy shooting my Henry .44 Mag. I am an old schooler at heart and love shooting with open sights. Plus I hunt very thick stuff on public land so all of my shots are fairly close. Good luck this season and keep me posted on your success with the Henry Big Boy .44

  19. Hi Ken. We just got done sighting in my baby brother’s brass big boy 44. He put a2-7*33 Leupold scope on it with the Henry 1 piece mount. At 50 yds it basically enlarged a hole. At 100 it was amazing. If it didn’t make so large of hole it would be 1 inch. We were shooting Winchester 240 grn flat points. Good luck in deer season.your friend Jeff God bless

  20. That’s great. I would love to see your set up with your Henry Big Boy 44 rifle. If you can’t post a pic through the comments feel free to email me a pic at ken@ramblingangler.com I would like to see your Henry set up to consider it for mine. I have peep sights on mine now but might want to install a scope just because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Also, be sure and sign up for my newsletter and you will get any new outdoor post sent to your inbox. Thanks and good luck this season. Ken

  21. Hi Ken I’m 55 years old this year. I shot open sights for years. I can see the front sight crystal clear. I’m getting old I need a scope now. I wish I was as good as I belonged to Uncle sam.i really like my Henry Big boy 44. God bless.

  22. I have the Big Boy .44 mag in brass. I put a 1.5x – 4.5x variable shotgun scope on it. It was a $75 scope I picked up at Bass Pro. Initially sighting it in at 75 yards, I shot 5 shots with Magtech 240 grain and made a slight scope adjustment and then shot 5 more shots with Federal 240 grain. All 10 shots from two different brands of ammo and with the scope adjustment could have been covered with a softball. I’ve killed 3 deer with this gun and the shotgun scope worked perfectly. I leave it on either 1.5x or 2x when I am moving around and turn it up to 4x or 4.5x when sitting. The gun/scope combo has worked well for me.

  23. That’s awesome. I’ve been thinking about putting a scope on mine this year. I just put some skinner peep sights on my Henry .44 Mag.

  24. Hi ken. I used my brass big boy 44 in Pennsylvania. My brother used his also. Deer were very scarce. I got a very nice doe. I shot about 100 yards. The Bullet hit her on the right front shoulder and exited her left hind quarter. It passed the whole way through the deer. I was using Winchester white box 240 grn. Soft point.i absolutely love my Henry big boy 44. What an awesome hunting rifle. I do not baby my rifles. Even though it’s brass. You Pennsylvania buddy Jeff.

  25. Hi Jeff, thank you for the comment. I do love my .44 as well. I bowhunted for 25 years exclusively only using a rifle a few times over those years. Needless to say I am a close encounter hunter and prefer hunting thick areas on public land. The Henry .44 Big Boy is perfect for that. I have killed several deer with mine as recently I have started hunting with a rifle more. I hunted mature bucks and killed does before and after the rut to eat when I bow hunted. I have kind of hung up the mature buck deal and just like to hunt for the hunt and some meat for the table. Not only does the Henry Big Boy .44 mag get the job done close in it also looks good doing it. I also have the Henry .410 lever action shotgun that is now my favorite squirrel gun. Thanks again for commenting and keep in touch. Be sure and check out my magazine that I am launching March 1 and consider subscribing. It is a paid subscription but the only advertising in it will be from my store which is how I fund the making of the magazine and pay my writers. I will also be putting together camps for my subscribers to attend with a lot more benefits to come. I want to build a serious group of outdoors people that become a family of the Rambling Angler Outdoors and get away from the social media rat race. Take care and stay in touch. Ken https://ramblingangler.myshopify.com/products/rambling-angler-outdoors-magazine

  26. Hi ken.i just checked my brass bigboy 44 mag with my cast bullet handloads. The bullets are from Montana bullet works 240 grn hrdcast gas checked. Sized 430.im using imr 4227 at .5 below max. From Lyman cast bullet handbook.amazing accuracy. At least as good as winchester white box 240 grn flat points. And a whole lot cheaper to shoot. I was basically shooting a large hole through a 2″sticky dot on cardboard at 50 yards. And almost touching holes at 100. I was rested and have a 1-5 scope on henry mounts. Very easy extraction and primers were not flattened. Jeff

  27. Hi Jeff thanks for the comment. I have never reloaded but great to hear of a Henry .44 Big Boy that accurate. I was impressed with its accuracy out of the box. I am a hunter and while I do demand consistency even a 2 inch group is good for me. I do prefer the accuracy you are getting with yours but I am stuck with shooting factory loads. To be clear my Henry shot way better than 2 inch groups but not as good as yours. Ken

  28. Hi Ken. Thanks for responding. My brass henry has gone through 700 rounds in about 2 years. Mine is brass and is not babied. I have owned mine since 2010. The more I shoot it the better it shoots.it absolutely loves 240 grn hard cast. And they are very deadly on deer.

  29. Hi Ken from Pennsylvania again. We were having ground hogs trouble at our state shed. I took my brass henry to work. 6 shots so far and 6 less ground hogs. They don’t suffer much. Most were close but one was close to 100 yards. That little scope really works. My hand loads shoot to same spot a winchester white box 240 flat points. But here in Pennsylvania. You cannot find them. God bless from Pennsylvania buddy Jeff

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