Civil War Henry Repeating Rifle & Original Cleaning Rods
Appraised Value: $35,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: ()
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: I've had it for probably 30 years or something like that. I've had it in the closet. I haven't done really much with it.
APPRAISER: In the collecting field, we commonly refer to this gun as the Henry rifle. It's the Henry repeating rifle.
APPRAISER: It's patented by B. Tyler Henry in 1860, and he had the guns manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut. Some of the unusual features about this is it shoots a metallic cartridge and .44 rimfire, and that's sort of the beginning of the metallic cartridge era.
APPRAISER: The other thing is the gun is capable of holding 15 rounds. As you can well understand, in the mid-19th century, the average soldier is walking around with a musket...
APPRAISER: ...and here's a gun that holds 15 cartridges. All you have to do to actually fire it is cycle this lever. It ejects the spent cartridge and loads a new round. The Confederate soldiers, when this gun first arrived on the battlefield, would say, you know, this is just terribly unfair because they can load this gun on Sunday and they can shoot this thing all week. It really is a movement into the forefront of the modern weapon. The way that it feeds-- there's a spring, which is actually missing on this gun...
APPRAISER:...that runs the length of the barrel here, and then there's a little lever or a plunger, and what you would do is you would take this plunger and you'd push the spring all the way to the top, turn the barrel over, and it catches the spring, and then you gravity-feed the cartridges down the magazine.
APPRAISER: So we are missing that spring and we're missing the little lever.
APPRAISER: What we do have that's kind of interesting and kind of nice is if we look here at the butt of the gun, we can see there's a little trap, a hole in the butt.
APPRAISER: And out of that, we find the original cleaning rods.
APPRAISER: And it's unusual to find these rods. It's not unheard of, but it is unusual and it's a nice, nice feature that we do have them intact with the gun. Roughly 14,000 of these rifles were made, so there's not very many of them.
APPRAISER: And collectors, they're really interested in them because this gun eventually becomes a Winchester. The gun directly after this is the Winchester Model 66 and then we have the Winchester Model 73, and these are the guns that are identified as capturing the West, but what's even better about your gun, or more unusual, is this gun was actually purchased by the government to be used in the American Civil War, and one of the ways we know that-- if we look here on the butt stock, there's a little cartouche. And then right here at the end of the barrel and over at the top of the frame, we'll see a CGC. That's for Charles G. Chapman, and he is the government inspector that was sent to inspect these rifles so that the government would accept them. The proper serial number range for a martial Henry falls roughly between 3,000 and 4,000, and if we look here under the sight, we're going to see that we have serial number 3,645, and that's a very desirable feature for a Henry collector. When we come back and we look at the stock, we see the wood is in really nice shape. The brass has this lovely, lovely patina to it and the barrel actually has a tremendous amount of original bright blue, but it's underneath this peppery rust. The way the gun sits here today when we're looking at it, in a retail situation, it's probably worth around $35,000. It's hard to find this particular rifle with this amount of original finish on it. It is not the first cartridge gun...
APPRAISER:...but it is the one that probably, more than likely in the collecting community, obtained the most fame.
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