September 13, 2012

Henry Lever Action Octagonal No. H001TV 17 HMR

It has been said in the industry that "when all else fails, invent a caliber." Part and parcel of any highly new-product driven industry is the constant attempt to invent new lines of price and performance where none exist in a tangible, real-world sense. One fairly recent cartridge development that has gained traction and popularity is the Hornady 17 Magnum Rimfire introduced in 2002. It is remarkable in many respects, gaining distinction as the first successful rimfire cartridge to hit the market in over 40 years. The last rimfire considered to be a "successful" introduction was the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire in 1959.

<>Most all of the 17-caliber cartridges offered today are either 17- or 20-grain. With such flyweight bullets, as a practical matter they are most suited for ground squirrels, rabbits, and similarly fragile and small-sized game or varmints. CCI reportedly manufactures most all 17 HMR ammunition, though there are slight differences between the brands themselves. As far as we know, this is still the case. As for the case itself, it is the 22 WMR necked down to accept the 17 HMR’s 0.172-inch-diameter bullet.

Billed as the "world’s fastest rimfire," it appears to be just that, although there are a few caveats. The sectional density of the projectiles (about .084 for the 17 grain; .097 for the 20 grain) suggest it is not a great platform for penetration, and the ballistic coefficients of the respective bullets (about .123 for both) also promise that windage is a consideration at longer ranges. It clearly is, with just a 10-mph crosswind blowing either bullet horizontally 8 inches or so at 150 yards. Unless your shooting conditions are very calm and consistent, despite the 17 HMR’s high initial velocity, it remains a 100- to 125-yard gun for most small-game applications.


Quality American walnut, easy to load, and generally well-mannered handling and ease of use combined with a competitive price tag all added up to an “A” rating, in our view.

What this cartridge promises and delivers on is the fun factor. With negligible recoil and a reasonable cost per shot compared to most centerfires, the Hornady 17 HMR is easy on the shoulder and not especially damaging to the wallet, either. In our quest for value, performance, and fun, we looked Henry Lever Action Frontier Model No. H001TV Octagon-Barrel 17 HMR, $550.

The Henry impressed us with its dashing good looks right out of the box. The medium-stained walnut stock was far better figured than average, the bluing was dark and rich, the lever action was buttery smooth, and its trigger was a very light and crisp 3.5- pound break. The heavy octagonal barrel made it look like a real gun, not a Tinkertoy, and the gold "Henry Repeating Arms" barrel lettering set off the gun nicely. Though traditional, the buckhorn iron sights are a long ways away from our favorites, and we half-expected the Henry to be a bit of a pain to scope up. We were wrong, though, finding that a set of Millett 1-inch Angle-Loc Windage Adjustable 3/8-Inch Dovetail High Rings ($20) mounted our Sightron SII 2.5-10x32mm scope quickly and with no hassle. The Millett rings gave us plenty of clearance to cock and decock the hammer manually and also required no removal of the factory iron sights. Though the 11-shot Henry tubular magazine was not exactly enough to "shoot all day," it was the best magazine capacity of the tested rifles.

We had breezy 8- to 12-mph range conditions, so we decided to do our shooting at a laser-verified 50 yards. We discovered that the Henry didn’t care for the 20-grain ammunition, shot the 17-grain Hornady rounds well, but was at its best with the Winchester 17-grain ammunition, shooting several consecutive groups inside one-third of an inch—groups we easily covered with a dime. We hadn’t thought that our stable of 17s would be as ammunition-sensitive as 22 Long Rifles tend to be, but we were wrong about that as well. For whatever reason, the Henry told us it liked to be fed the Winchester ammunition the best.


Though the 11-shot tubular magazine does not exactly "shoot all day," it was the highest capacity of the tested rifles, did not rattle, and the loading port (shown) is cut so you cannot load a cartridge upside down. Henry made it easy to use, as easy as any tube-fed array we have tested.

We went over the Henry closely, trying to be as picky as possible. We really couldn’t find much to carp about. We did find one section of the forearm wood, the very end pointing toward the muzzle, that was not sanded smooth. It was hard to spot, and we considered it so very hard to discern and in such an unobtrusive area we initially didn’t bother to call Henry to avail ourselves of their lifetime warranty. We think that for most consumers, it would go completely unnoticed or would not be considered worth a phone call.

Henry Repeating Arms President Anthony Imperato refers to his company’s lifetime warranty policy and customer service policy as "Extreme Customer Service." Since the forearm did have a minor finish flaw, we contacted Henry, described the small cosmetic issue, and sent along a photograph to show precisely what we were referring to. Without hesitation a brand-new replacement forearm was overnighted to us that was finished perfectly. Henry made good on its warranty and customer-service pledge.

The only annoyance we could come up with in use of the Henry is what would be expected with any lever-action shot off our Caldwell Fire Control rest—we had to cant the gun to cycle the action, the lever’s downward throw interfering with the shooting rest itself.

Our Team Said: We liked the octagonal barrel of the Henry, we appreciated the trigger, we enjoyed the lack of rattling present in the loaded gun (as opposed to some tube-fed attempts), and with the Henry’s smooth action and more than acceptable accuracy with 17-grain ammunition we ended up impressed. It did everything we could ask of a lever-action 17 HMR.

Comments (21)

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Posted by: LjReoxrp | October 5, 2013 4:43 AM    Report this comment

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Posted by: LjReoxrp | October 5, 2013 4:43 AM    Report this comment

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Posted by: LjReoxrp | October 5, 2013 4:40 AM    Report this comment

I have a nice Henry in 22mag and realy like it for gettin gritters even coyotes and racoons and like canovack I am not to hip about put pointed rounds in a tube mag. canovack please let me know how that fried squirrel with pecans turns out or even fried squirrel with pecan sauce. God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Kepping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | September 16, 2012 11:24 AM    Report this comment

While the .17 HMR seems to be popular with some shooters, I still prefer the .22 LR rifle. .22 LR ammo is significantly less expensive and I've dropped many a squirrel, rabbit, and groundhog with both head and body shots. I own two .22 Henry rifles; a lever-action and a pump. Both are great rifles and give me hours of fun and affordable shooting pleasure.

Posted by: Parker L | September 15, 2012 2:53 PM    Report this comment

It's creative Colonel- I'll give you that!

Posted by: PVB | September 14, 2012 9:32 PM    Report this comment

Well, PVB, since most of the pecans are coming from my trees, I figure I'll have to develop a way to fry the squirrels while adding the pecans to the frying pan. How does that sound? C'mon, now trout always have tasted pretty good with almonds.....

Posted by: canovack | September 14, 2012 6:46 PM    Report this comment

I purchased a .22lr Golden Boy about ten years ago. The trigger was amazing for a factory rifle. The walnut stock rivaled the one shown above. The problem I had was that the rear sight groove in the barrel was cut at an angle. My dealer returned the rifle and was repaired without question; the problem was that the rear stock now had a big knot in the center--someone obviously was envious of my beautiful wood. Customer service was called and they basically called me a liar. My dealer called stating that he would never sell a rifle that had such an imperfection in the stock. Too bad for me was the answer. Rifle returned and refund given by my dealer. Too bad, it was a very nice rifle.

Posted by: Wreckless Ralph | September 14, 2012 2:46 PM    Report this comment

Canovack - I hope you get your share of the pecans- them thangs are darned friggin' expensive!

Whoever was going to "try" the Winchester 17 HMR ammo, it's all made in the same place. Through a marketing agreement, CCI puts Remington or Winchester labels on the product for those companies.

Posted by: PVB | September 14, 2012 2:21 PM    Report this comment

Speaking of low power ammo, I maintain a small supply of CB caps just for the purpose of harvesting squirrels who come into my yard to dig up my wife's potted plants, while hiding their pecans. My Gamo Shadow .177 cal pellet rifle also does the job.

Posted by: canovack | September 14, 2012 12:17 PM    Report this comment

I know many folks that have shot groundhogs rabbits and similar sized game, and nothing happened the shootee simply walked away, more often that should happen. I like 17hmr, but I think 22 Mag is more effective. it's a judgement call. Of course with field mice, a BBcap could be used... less damaging to the meat.

Posted by: Mister E | September 13, 2012 8:21 PM    Report this comment

Wow! Are we back to this again? Well, anyway, lever guns in .22 are always a lot of fun, and to be truly honest about it, the .22 is the only cartridge I feel reasonably safe shooting in a piece with a tubular magazine. Whoops! Correction, tubular magazines on shotguns are usually pretty safe too.

Like carrying a 1911 cocked and locked over a round in the chamber, a tubular magazine with center-fire ammunition just sorta gives me the willies. I know, intellectually, that the chance of a mishap is pretty slim with flat nosed bullets, but I can still imagine a scenario where some sort of trash is in the magazine between rounds, that permits recoil forces to compress a primer, thus igniting an entire magazine load of ammo. Call me a worry wort, but I just need somebody to explain to me why that cannot happen.

Posted by: canovack | September 13, 2012 7:42 PM    Report this comment

I have owned a Henry "Golden Boy" .17HMR for several years. It is a beautiful lever action rifle, referred to as the "varmit express". Everything "Gun Report" states about it is true. I love its smooth action and how easy it is to zero. The lever action is so smooth it makes you feel like a cowboy fighting off bad hombres in the old west. I've had to send mine in for service, and that lifetime warranty is just that. I had no problem getting a live person on the line and everyone was very helpful and handle my problem with diligence, care, and consideration. The only negative I know of is that some ammunition (Hornady) gets jammed sometimes when chambering... (I will have to try the Winchester 17-grain ammunition). Other than that, an absolutely beautiful rifle. I plan to buy another .17HMR, probably another "Golden Boy". I plan to own one of Henry's "Golden Boy" in the larger caliber. Hey "Gun Report" which of the larger caliber lever actions do you like best???...

Posted by: danakg | May 7, 2011 11:07 PM    Report this comment

I wish I would have boughtt THAT Henry! I have never seen a Henry with wood that pretty anywhere. With acceptable accuracy, it would surely have had a proud place in my stable. And Mister E - all I can say is you don't know what you are missing. The .17HMR is a short to medium range SMALL varmint round par excellence! Ridiculously accurate, pelt friendly and devastating out to 150 or even 200 yards in windless conditions and will drop a small varmint in it's tracks.

Posted by: Markbo | April 30, 2011 6:51 PM    Report this comment

I have a 22 & 22mag Henry. Guess I'll have to get .17 now. They are great shooting rifles and have not had any problems with either one, I recommend them to anyone who wants a fun & reliable rifle to shoot.

Posted by: Robert V | April 29, 2011 10:00 PM    Report this comment

I can't speak for the calibre (17HMR), but I can for the Henry. I had a lever action in 22WMR with a hex barrel. It shot flawlessly and had the smoothest action of any lever rifle I've ever owned. Plus, they're made in the US.

Posted by: exdetsgt | April 29, 2011 3:46 PM    Report this comment

I have 2 17HMR rifles. A Browning T Bolt and a NEF break open single shot. Both are very accurate with .17gr. I consider it the THE perfect inside 100 yds caliber for non-edible small to medium sized pests or varmints. I have taken countless nuisance beaver (some with out of water body shots) endless porcupines and several raccoons with it and none have moved after being hit. I witnessed feral hogs drop in their tracks with head shots, the only movement was kicking legs. CCI makes a 20gr FMJ that I have not used on game but should give good skull penetration for feral hog size varmints or treed members of the cat family. I would question using FMJ for body shots. Any one who thinks it a wimpy "field mice" gun is foolish indeed. uarry

Posted by: m.4570 | April 28, 2011 11:20 PM    Report this comment

Henry Rifles are among my favorite rifles ever. Not only are they 100% U.S. Made!!! but they are smooth, well finished, accurate and just darn fun to shoot. The price is outstanding and the customer service is hands down the BEST of ANY company (arms industry or other) that I have EVER dealt with! I recommend Henry products to everyone that will listen to me... and no, they don't pay me to say that... but if they did, I'd ask for payment in rifles!

Posted by: Ethan S | April 28, 2011 7:33 PM    Report this comment

A great gun for field mice.

Posted by: 106345 | April 28, 2011 3:58 PM    Report this comment

It shoots fast and flat which make it great for groundhogs.

Posted by: Buzz C | April 28, 2011 1:28 PM    Report this comment

I suspect that 22 Mag, 17HMR, etc. are attempts by the ammo industry to phase out 22 S/L/LR with it's woefully antiquated design. Problems include the exposed lubrication and the too-thin casing. I believe that 22 Short is the first self-contained cartridge ever. We will be, however, stuck with 22 forever unless someone can design a modern cartridge that will chamber into a 22 gun, and shoot well. That said I sure like shooting 17HMR at targets, but would never think of using it as a hunting round, ever.

Posted by: Mister E | April 28, 2011 12:35 PM    Report this comment

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