North American Auction Company
Live Auction

New Year January Western Collector Sale

Sat, Jan 23, 2021 11:00AM EST
Lot 109

Civil War Henry Model 1860 .44 Lever Action Rifle

Estimate: $35,000 - $50,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,500 $250
$5,000 $500
$7,000 $1,000
This lot offers you the opportunity to bid on an incredible piece of American, Civil War, and Firearms history in the form of an original Henry Model 1860, lever action, repeating rifle, chambered for .44 Henry Rimfire. The Model 1860 was designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry in 1860 and manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company. Production ran from 1860-1866, during which time approximately 14,000 were manufactured. Initially, production was slow, with 150-200 rifles produced every month. The famed M1860 gained a renowned reputation for its use at the Battle of Little Big Horn, as well as acting as the base for the iconic Winchester repeating rifles. Additionally, the Henry rifle was adopted in small quantities by the Union in the Civil War and favored for its greater firepower and rate of fire than that of the standard issue carbines. When first encountered by the Confederate troops, it is documented that Confederate Colonel John Mosby coined the rifle as, "That damned Yankee rifle that can be loaded on Sunday and fired all week". For a Union Civil War soldier, owning a Henry Model 1860 was a point of pride. Soldiers who had saved their reenlistment bonus believed the high rate of fire would save their lives. Since tactics had not yet been developed to take advantage of the firepower, Henry's were most frequently used by scouts, skirmishers, flank guards, and raiding parties. After the Civil War, many Henry rifles found their way in the Western Frontier. Many fell into the hands of the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians and took part in the obliteration of Custer's U.S. Cavalry troops in June of 1876. The Henry M1860 is a 16 + 1, breech loading lever action rifle, utilizing a brass receiver, iron rifled barrel, and walnut fixtures. This example shows the standard 24" octagon barrel, factory without fore-grip, folding ladder rear sight, and is paired with a brass blade front, rotating lower tang catch, hidden butt-stock trap door (with the cleaning rod), butt-stock, barrel sling loops, and a sprung magazine—operated by sliding the spring forward and rotating the tip of the barrel, leaving you to drop your cartridges in through the front. The rifle shows the original roll-stamping and is period correct and reads, "HENRY'S PATENT OCT. 16. 1860 - MANUFACTURED BY THE NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEWHAVEN. CT." on the top of the barrel. The serial numbers are also shown on the top of the barrel, behind the rear sight, on the inside of the lower tang, and on the inside of the butt-stock, underneath the upper tang. Overall, the rifle shows very-good, collectors grade condition. Aesthetically, the brass receiver and butt-plate showcase a mustard, mellow-yellow patina, the iron barrel has a naturally aged plum finish, absent of major pitting or rust, and the walnut butt-stock shows handling marks, and is absent of cracks. Mechanically, the rifle has a smooth action and strong rifling, and it is accompanied by the original butt-stock cleaning rod! The tight fit and finish of the wood to frame is fantastic, showing a high grade. Serial Number: 431. The rifle, manufactured in the first half and possibly within the first two months of production between 1860 and 1863, qualifies as an Antique Long Gun, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.