I have always been an admirer of lever guns. Having owned numerous old Winchester and Marlin lever rifles of days gone by I realized I had rarely hunted big game with one. Several years ago, I was fortunate to harvest a cow elk with a Winchester Model 71 in .348 Winchester.
This year I decided it was time to change all that and was determined to hunt with a lever rifle on my annual New Mexico deer hunt.
Having the good fortune to enjoy the quality firearms from Henry Repeating Arms over the last few years I decided to give a Henry lever gun a try for mule deer. Henry Repeating Arms is always on the leading edge of firearms development and manufacturing.
Most folks think of Henry and picture a really nice western style lever gun of days gone by. I am no different. So when I learned of the Henry Long Ranger series being offered in 6.5 Creedmoor lever gun, I was a bit surprised.
Henry introduced its Long Ranger line of lever guns in 2017, and it was an immediate success. The first caliber offerings were in .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, and .308 Winchester, typical calibers one might expect in a modern-day, lever action hunting rifle.
But with the name “Long Ranger,” there was still room to make the jump to a chambering more in line with its name. In late 2018 Henry did just that and along came the first 6.5 Creedmoor Long Ranger.
Its machined and chromed steel bolt with a 6-lug rotary head is very solid and beefy, allowing for greater accuracy than you might expect in lever guns. The top is conveniently drilled and tapped for scope mounts.
The side ejection from its lightweight, aerospace alloy receiver worked perfectly. On the bottom is a steel-bodied, flush-fit, detachable four-round magazine with steel floorplate. The mag is released using a blackened steel button on the right side of the receiver.
All this behind a 22″ round and blued, free-floated sporter barrel.
A beautiful oil-finished American Walnut stock with precise laser-cut checkering, sling swivel studs, and a solid black rubber recoil pad are all standard on the Long Ranger. While the Henry brand is often associated with eye-catching flair, this rifle is handsome in the traditional understated fashion, perfectly suited for hunting.
Overall Specification and Features of the Henry Long Ranger in 6.5 Creedmoor:
- Barrel Length, 22 inches
- Barrel Type, Round Blued Steel
- Rate of Twist, 1:8
- Overall Length, 42.5 inches
- Weight, 7 pounds
- Receiver Finish, Hard Anodized Black
- Rear Sight, Folding Fully Adjustable (optional)
- Front Sight, Ramp with Ivory Bead (optional)
- Scopeability, Drilled and Tapped (base available at www.henrypride.com)
- Stock Material, American Walnut
- Buttplate/Pad, Black Solid Rubber
- Length of Pull, 14 inches
- Safety, Transfer Bar
- Extras, Sling Swivel Studs, Removeable Box Magazine (4 round with floorplate)
- Additional Calibers, .223 Rem, .243 Win. .308 Win
- MSRP $1,138
With the 2021 fall big game hunts fast approaching I was fortunate to get my hands on a Henry Long Ranger, chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. Initially I was more than content to enjoy the iron sights that are optional on this rifle. But when deciding to take the Henry as my deer rifle for this year I elected to mount the Riton 1 Primal 3-9×40 scope atop the Henry Long Ranger.
The Riton Primal 3-9×40 model offers a more streamlined profile and sits well atop the Henry Long Ranger. Other Riton Primal models offer higher magnification but the “1 Primal 3-9×40 is the quintessential hunting scope, offering Riton HD glass, an integrated throw lever, and fully coated lenses.”
This Riton scope comes with the RAK Reticle and is designed with the hunter in mind. The hash marks in the Reticle are 2 MOA on the horizontal line and 2 MOA on the vertical line with additional 4 MOA dots. Learn more about RAK reticle on the company’s website at riteonoptics.com. I found the 1 Primal to be very fast and easy to use in the field and a super value at a $249.99 price tag.
Specifications of the Riton 1 Primal 3-9×40 include:
- Magnification, 3-9
- Tube Diameter, 1 inch
- Objective Lens Diameter, 40mm
- Focal Lens Position, Second Focal Plane
- Lens Coating, Fully Multi-Coated, Full Wide Band, Waterproof Coated, Low Light Enhancement
- Reticle, RAK
- Field of View at 100 yards, 41ft-13ft
- Material, 6061-T6
- Eye Relief, 3.3inches/85mm
- Exit Pupil, Low 10.6mm – High 3.5mm
- Click Value at 100 yards, ¼ inch
- Adjustment Range, 80 MOA
- Mounting Length, 4.25 inches
- Length, 10.75 inches
- Weight, 19 ounces
- Included Items, Flip Up Lens Covers, Lens Cloth, Allen Wrench
Once the Riton (using Riton’s own high quality medium height rings) was mounted atop the Long Ranger, utilizing a Henry Picatinny rail made just for the rifle, it was out to the range for zeroing. Fortunately, I had several options of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo to try in the Henry.
I had ratholed several boxes of the caliber from various manufacturers for just such an occasion, a good idea in today’s hard to find ammo times. With my deer hunt looming, I selected Jeff Bond’s American Hunter 140 grain AccuBond, previously supplied by Lucky Gunner for testing.
As it turned out the American Hunter ammo by Jeff Bond is no longer available but with a 1 MOA, three shot group at 100 yards in the Henry Long Ranger I elected to use it for my deer hunt and had enough for just such an occasion.
Once in the field my impression of the Long Ranger was very positive considering the pairing of the relatively new 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge in a traditional lever gun action. The rifle carries easy in the field with its streamlined profile and proved more than adequate to take a nice desert mule deer this season.
Making a stalk on a mule deer buck that I had spotted from about 1000 yards out, I was able to get within 200 yards of the buck. It only took one well-placed shot from a sitting position to bring the buck down as he fed along the bottom of a desert draw. The shot was instant and humane as is the hope of any ethical hunter.
The Henry rifle, Riton scope and the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge had performed perfectly.
The Henry Long Ranger in 6.5 Creedmoor does not disappoint, nor does the Riton scope that sits perfectly atop this lever gun. The end results to date are the freezer full of venison and a quality rifle and scope.
Both are ready to head to the field again soon … a Barbary Sheep hunt could be in the near future!