As soon as you open the box you can tell that you aren’t going to regret this purchase. As is typical with Henry rifles and shotguns, the Axe .410 just shines with an aura of Quality. The bluing is rich, deep and even, and the walnut grip and forearm are beautifully stained and polished. The machining is perfect, and there are NO rattles when you shake the gun. The mechanism operates like the precisely fitted parts of a finely crafted machine- which is exactly what it is.
Barrel Type- Round Blued Steel
Rate of Twist- Smooth/Full Invector Style Choke
Overall Length- 26.4″
Weight- 5.75 lbs.
Receiver Finish- Blued Steel
Rear Sight- None
Front Sight- Brass Bead
Scopeability- Drilled and Tapped for a Weaver 63B base
Stock Material- American Walnut
Length of Pull- N/A
Safety- Transfer Bar
Best Uses- Target/Plinking/Utility
Embellishments/Extras- Swivel Studs.
2 1/2″ Shells Only.
When I took this gun to the range I didn’t know what to expect. I have some experience with lever guns (I own a Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum), so the basic operation was familiar to me. What I had no experience with was using a lever-action firearm without a shoulder stock. I wasn’t worried about recoil since it’s “only” a .410, but I wasn’t sure if the thing would be comfortable to use at all… and my concerns proved groundless. The Henry Lever Action Axe is very comfortable to shoot. Its weight is enough to soak up the already mild recoil impulse of the .410 rounds I put through it but not enough to induce fatigue from holding it up.
Speaking of the ammo, Winchester Ammunition was kind enough to provide me with the .410 shells I used in this review- their AA Sporting Clays #8 shot, their Super X Upland Game #6 shot, their Super X Rifled Slugs, and their PDX1 .410 Defender ammunition. Keep in mind that these are all in the 2 1/2″ length, as that’s what the chamber on the Axe is sized to take.
I did experience one bit of difficulty, though. The screw that fastens the loading gate to the receiver loosened up, which allowed the loading gate to block the mechanism from working. Once I figured out the problem it was an easy matter to remove the screw, apply some blue thread locker, and then reinstall the part. There were no problems afterward
As you will see when you watch the video below, I was able to achieve hits on different sized targets with all of the loads mentioned. I also used a frozen turkey to get some idea of the effectiveness of the PDX1 410 Defender and Rifled Slug loads. With the full choke installed the Axe patterned well at 20 yards with the shot loads and Defender shells.
The Henry Lever Action Axe is a relatively light, handy firearm. It is extremely easy to operate and points quite naturally. It’s heavy enough to mitigate any recoil yet light enough to present to the target with no difficulty. It’s extremely well made, and let’s face it- it’s just COOL looking!
I almost forgot- there’s one more very definite Pro- with a 15.14-inch barrel and a 26.4-inch overall length, this neat little gun jams a thumb in the eye of the NFA- which is a HUGE plus in MY book!
The first really isn’t a Not-So-Good, but is more of a Caution- the screw that attaches the loading gate to the receiver needs to have some thread locker on it to make sure that it doesn’t back out and cause a malfunction. If you might want to have this gun ready for that “bump in the night” scenario, you need to be able to depend on it. After I used the thread locker I haven’t had any issues.
The next negative is along the lines of a suggestion- some checkering on the grip, and especially the forearm, would help with control of the weapon. It gets a little “slippery” when you shoot slugs through it. It’s nothing dangerous, but it DOES happen.
The last thing in this category is the price. A $970 MSRP is a touch more than I would normally want to spend, but you have to keep in mind the quality of firearm you’re getting. Henry has a reputation for making great firearms FOR A GOOD REASON- they make GREAT firearms, and they make them here in the USA. This isn’t an inexpensive import, it’s American made precision gunsmithing.
Henry Lever Action Axe .410 Thoughts
Overall, I LOVE this little lever gun! I think it would serve well as a trail gun for hikers or riders in snake country, and when loaded with slugs might make a mountain lion think twice about trying to add you to the menu. It would also serve well as a home defense weapon when loaded with one of the increasingly more common .410 defensive loads available, especially if you mount the scope base and attach a red dot sight to it.
I don’t think anyone will regret buying this firearm.
Check out my review video on YouTube!