Lot 2016: Stunning, First Model New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle with Original Sling
6th May 2017
This Henry lever action rifle was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co. in December 1862. This rifle has the distinctive first pattern receiver with rear sight dovetail. In addition to the receiver with rear sight dovetail, the rifle has the on the early style features which include: (1) small diameter magazine cartridge follower, (2) straight receiver follower cut, (3) "perch belly" lower stock profile, (4) first style buttplate with rounded heel and (5) hand fitted buttplate screws. The barrel has the square-back profile, nickel silver front sight blade introduced around serial number 1200 and third pattern folding leaf rear sight with "900" yard marking below the center notch and elevator bar with rounded ends. The buttplate has a hinged trapdoor, and the butt trap contains three sections of the four-piece jointed hickory cleaning rod furnished with early and mid-production Henry rifles. The left side of the stock and barrel are fitted with the sling swivel and screw fastened loop for a sling hook which were special order features on early Henry rifles. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the small (2-17/32 inch) legend: "HENRY'S PATENT OCT. 16, 1860./MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS. CO. NEWHAVEN. CT." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. This first style legend uses block letters for "NEWHAVEN" in the second line and serif letters for the remainder of the marking. The serial number "1297" is stamped: (1) on the top barrel flat between the rear sight dovetail and the receiver, (2) on the inside of the buttplate ahead of the top buttplate screw hole, (3) on the lower left side of the receiver tang, (4) in the upper tang inlet of the stock, (5) on the shanks of the hand fitted buttplate screws and (6) on the shanks of the upper and lower tang screws. All of the visible serial numbers match. The octagon barrel/integral 15-shot magazine and bolt are blued. The hammer, trigger and lever are casehardened with muted case colors. The brass receiver and buttplate have the natural finish. The straight grain American walnut stock has a high polish piano finish. The rifle is fitted with a black leather, military style sling with two integral brass hooks, two leather keepers and double brass hook that attaches to the loop on the left side of the barrel. The sling is narrower than a standard Civil War era musket sling and fits the sling swivel perfectly. The Henry rifle was the most advanced rifle manufactured during the Civil War. Although the Federal Army equipped only one regiment (1st D.C. Cavalry) entirely with Henry rifles, most of the Henry rifles manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co. during the Civil War were privately purchased soldiers who were quick to see the advantage provide by a 15-shot magazine rifle. Henry rifles were especially popular with soldiers from the Midwest. By the end of the war several Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio regiments were armed primarily with privately purchased Henry rifles.
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