Resting the rifle on sand bags, we fired five 3-shot groups at 100 yards, with very interesting results. The 18.43” barrel proved to be surprisingly accurate. The Hornady 325-gr. FTX was the most consistent performer, with all groups falling under two inches, and the best group of the day measuring 1.25” center to center. Hornady’s 250-gr. Monoflex produced groups averaging in the two inch range. Apparently not the best match for this gun, it’s still an optimal load for whitetail deer. Accuracy of two inches at 100 yards puts meat on the table all day long. Recovery from the berm confirmed that these bullets expand just as they are supposed to, and will leave your game right where you shot it.
Man can only punch paper for so long, and this rifle is just too much fun to shoot only once or twice a year. Drawing on my Top Shot roots for inspiration, it seemed only right to perform some exhibition shooting with the rifle using the Black Hills 405-gr. loads, so we set out for some classic steel action shooting.
First up was the iconic trick shot of splitting a bullet on an axe head. Twenty five yards down range an axe was mounted. Just a few rounds were used to obtain a perfect zero and after which seven out of eight the next rounds split right on the edge. Making these shots was easy, as the rifle has a very smooth trigger pull. Trigger pull weight averaged of 6 lbs. 14 oz. on my Lyman trigger-pull gauge (www.lymanproducts.com). There was some creep, but it was minimal, and not enough to even notice when pulling the trigger on game.
The 405-gr. load proved to be the lightest on the shoulder, with fast follow up shots being very easy to get off. Plate racks need to be wary when this beast is in town, as it sends them down with authority. With a little practice a good shooter can get the next round downrange before the last plate hits the dirt. Balance was excellent, and the light weight of the rifle makes long strings of offhand shooting very manageable. This was our next course of fire and the rifle was way too much fun!
Working with the Black Hills 405-gr. round was indeed a pleasure, and at the end of the day t was deemed the “most shootable.” Eighty rounds of .45-70 should leave you in a world of pain, but not with this load. Henrys extra soft recoil pad also went a long way toward keeping my shoulder the same color it was when I walked in.
With a retail price of $850, this gun is certainly within reach of the everyday shooter. The Meopta MeoStar comes in at around $1,450, but that is certainly a lot cheaper than having to go on another hunt to an exotic location because you had to pack up before the animals came out.
See the Henry .45-70 at your gun shop, or for more information contact Henry Repeating Arms Co., Dept. OT; Tel.: (201) 858-4400; Web: www.henryrifles.com