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Henry 1865 Repeating Rifle Catalogue

Item #358: $14.95
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Henry 1865 Repeating Rifle Catalogue

48 pages, over 8" x 5 1/2", soft-cover in full color. New re-print restored and digitally enhanced. The first Henry Co. Catalog. Illustrated.

NOTE: Two pages of testimonials are missing from this copy of the catalog.

Utilizing the basic concept of a self-contained metallic cartridge, as patented by Smith and Wesson, the 16-shot Henry was the first truly practical repeating rifle. It was perfected by B. Tyler Henry for the New Haven Arms Company and its principal stockholder, Oliver F. Winchester. Only about 14,000 were manufactured by this Company between 1860 and 1866. Because of the turbulent times and the superior firepower offered by this weapon, a very high percentage of the Henry rifles saw active service, either in the Civil War or on the western frontier. With slight modifications it would, in 1866, evolve to the famed "Yellow Boy" Winchester.

Public acceptance of the Henry was instantaneous. Although the cartridge itself, the .44 caliber rimfire, was low-powered, the capability of being able to fire 16 shots rapidly constituted an enormous advantage. When used in early skirmishes these new rifles demonstrated overwhelming firepower. The factory was never able to catch up with orders and only one model was manufactured on a regular basis. During the Civil War, some Northern volunteer units bought their own Henry rifles and ammunition and considered it money well spent. The Confederates referred to the Henrys as "that damn Yankee rifle that can be loaded on Sunday and fired all week." Considering they were using single-shot Springfields versus 16-shot Henrys their comment is understandable. The cost of a Henry ranged from $42 in the East to $75 in California . A contemporary advertisement claimed the Henry to be "the most effective weapon in the world" - and at the time it was the truth.

The arrival of the Henry on the frontier revolutionized the fighting tactics of both Indians and whites. Previously, when attacking a small party, the Indians strategy was for a few warriors to charge and draw the fire of the riflemen's single-shot rifles. Then the remainder of the Indians would rush before their opponents could reload. The first Indians to encounter the new Henry rifles were obviously in for a very rude surprise. Such an incident occurred in 1865 when some 40 Blackfeet warriors attacked two miners in Montana and, to their surprise and horror, the Indians were completely defeated by the guns "that wouldn't stop shooting." Thereafter they referred to the Henrys as "Spirit Guns."

The Henry found early and enthusiastic acceptance in Wyoming . Travelers through this volatile country knew full well that they passed through on the thin tolerance of the hostile tribes. The prudent secured the best firearms they could get. One of the most notable uses of the Henry in the Powder River area was the 1866 Fetterman Battle. Two Civilians, Isaac Fisher and James Wheatley, were armed with Henrys and by all accounts inflicted numerous casualties on the Indians before running out of ammunition and being overwhelmed. Used by permission of www.travel-to-wyoming.com.