Well, I finally got to get my hands on a Henry 30-30. Went into a local gun shop looking for some parts and sitting next to a golden boy was the new version of the Henry 30-30.
This is the newer model that they released with a fore end cap instead of a fore end band. It also comes with an XS ghost ring sight and an XS front sight.
Asked to take a look at it and I must say I was impressed. The wood to metal fit was excellent all the way around. The bluing was a nice deep blue. And the finish looked to be the same thickness as they put on their 22 rifles. This is a satin finish that's thick enough you can polish it to a gloss if you want to.
The checkering on the rifle is done by laser. The ridges were fine and clearly defined and very consistent on both the stock and the fore end. Detail in the checkering is excellent.
They allowed me to cycle the action and even that was pleasant. Because it is based on the 336 action it feels the same. Although with the Henry, it felt like an action that it already been cycled several hundred times instead of a rough gritty action like the new Remlins have.
The straight stock felt very comfortable in my hand and so did the fore end. The fore end on this rifle is narrower than that of the 336 and closer to what you would find on the Winchester.
The rifle was very well balanced. This is a 6.5 pound rifle and I swear it felt like it was only 4 pounds. It snapped up to the shoulder very easily. In fact, it felt better balanced than the 30 AW I have.
To my surprise, the butt plate is actually a thin recoil pad. It has some give to it but not too much, and is softer than the rubber butt plates that Marlin uses.
There were a couple of things that I would change on this rifle but they are minor. The first one is the set of the fore end to the barrel. The barrel channel on both sides fits tight against the barrel. I can see this introducing a drifting problem as the barrel heats up. In actuality however, this is no worse than most 336 rifles that have a gap on one side of the barrel and none on the other side. This is also an easy thing to fix. I would also like a slightly smaller ring on the back sight. But that's personal preference, and others would say it's just fine.
A lot of people have complained about the MSRP for these rifles. The street price at this store seemed reasonable to me. The shop is asking a around $640 for the rifle. That seems a little high priced until you consider the fact the ghost ring and front sights will cost you $80-$90 plus shipping. Then the swivels and studs would cost you another $20. That means you're paying around $500 for a rifle that, at this time, is built to a higher standard than the Marln/Remington 336.
Unfortunately, since it was in the store there was no way I could shoot it. So of course I cannot give you an accuracy report. However, were I not shifting employers in the next month and don't know how long the transition will take, I would have no problem plunking down the cash for this rifle.
So yes you can call me a heretic since I own a Marlin 30-30, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em. Oh yeah, when I wrote Henry with some questions, and asked them why I couldn't find a review, they told me they have so many orders coming in for the 30-30 and 45/70, they don't need the press. My guess is, until they get caught up, they'd prefer not to have any at this time. (Would just put them further behind)