Lot 2020: Civil War Era New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle
6th May 2017
This is an example a desirable Civil War era Henry Lever Action Rifle that was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co. in early 1864. The rifle has the distinctive Henry "gun metal" brass receiver and buttplate and blue octagon barrel with integral 15-shot magazine. The barrel has the early style round back nickel-silver front sight blade and a dovetail mounted folding leaf rear sight with the rounded top and 900 yard center notch. The Second Style receiver lacks the alternate rear sight dovetail found on Henry receivers until about serial number 3000. The bottom of the receiver has the late beveled magazine follower cut, and the magazine has the large diameter brass follower. The buttplate is the First Style with rounded heel which was eventually replaced in the mid 4000 serial number range with a sharp pointed buttplate heel. The buttplate has a hinged brass trapdoor with a four piece cleaning rod. The left side of the stock and barrel have a factory sling swivel and screw mounted loop for a sling hook, that became a standard feature by early 1864. The hammer and lever are casehardened. The top of the barrel is marked with the Second Style legend: "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16, 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS CO. NEWHAVEN, CT." The Second Style legend, introduced in the late 3000 serial number range, is larger and has all Roman (serrifed) characters rather than the smaller First Style legend with the combination of Roman and Gothic letters. The serial number "4710" is stamped on the top barrel flat at the breech, on the left side of the lower tang, in the upper tang stock slot, on the inside of the buttplate toe and on the shanks of both hand-fitted buttplate screws. The tang screws are correctly not serial numbered. Experts believe that most Henry rifles made before 1865 were privately purchased by individual federal soldiers who wanted the unprecedented firepower offered by the 15-shot Henry repeating rifle. The Henry rifle was especially popular with soldiers in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky regiments. Many of these soldiers purchased Henry rifles from dealers in Louisville, Kentucky, and other Midwest cities in 1864 using re-enlistment bounties.
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