Lever Gun project

#1
This post is to document a lever gun project that I am working on. The rifle is a Henry X model in .357 for use as a rifle to hunt pigs, with a secondary purpose as a New York legal defensive carbine.
Reasoning – I chose this particular rifle and caliber for a few reasons. First is perceived quality over newer Marlin offerings, the addition of a loading gate of other Henry models, factory thread barrel and synthetic stock. The .357 caliber was my choice primarily due to increased capacity over 30-30 and 45-70. That coupled with the performance jump the .357 has when used out of a rifle seemed to fit the needs and ranges this rifle is intended to be used at.
Set up- I mounted a 1.25-4 Trijicon accupoint with a German post reticle using a Ranger Point Precision 1913 rail and Leopold low rings. The optic was still a little high for me so I added a Triad Tactical stock pack. The sling is a Blue Force hunting sling, I also added a Ranger Point Precision offset hammer spur to aid in cocking with an optic mounted and, a Para chord wrap on the lever.
Range time- I have had the rifle to the range twice for function check and zero.
Ammo tested: Sig Vcrow 125, Horniday lever evolution 140, UMC 125 JSP, Blazer brass 158 JHP.

I started with a rough zero at 25 yards with federal 38SPL. Then moved to 100 yards and confirmed zero with the blazer. I then shot 2 5 round groups with each .357 load on hand.

Findings:
1. My rifle doesn't like the sig ammo. It would only print 2 or 3 rounds out of 5 on paper. It also had the most difficulty cycling.

2. The rifle seems to prefer heavy bullets. The 140 and 158 loads sat around 3MOA.

3. POI from on the 25 and 100 yard targets had less that 3" of deviation. This was surprising to me but good news for the guns intended purpose of hunting at short ranges.

4. The 5/8X24 muzzle pitch is annoying on a 9MM/.38 bore. I would like it to be in a industry standard like 1/2x28 to facilitate attaching a muzzle device.

5. There is little recoil allowing the sights to stay on target while shooting.

Field Time- I took the rifle out hunting this past weekend and harvested a large Sow. While walking with the gun the weight was noticeable and more than I would like for a .357 carbine, I would like to see the naked rifle weight cut from 7.3LBS to 5.5-6LBS. The polymer stock became slick with sweaty and bloody hands (my hands were bloody because I attempted to shoot another pig as I was gutting the first), I plan on getting the grip stippled and replacing the forearm with a Midwest lever Mloc and adding rail scales. The hammer offset, Optic, and sling all were sustains.

Terminal- I harvested a +130LBS sow using Blazer brass 158 JHP at 43 meters with a quartering away shot placed behind the shoulder. The bullet entered the ribcage and traveled forward striking the shoulder socket and continuing in to the front of the opposite leg. The pig dropped where it stood, with enough time it would have expired with a single shot but I put it down with a head shot that entered the top right of the head and exited the rear of the bottom left jaw. The penetration of the first round was more than I expected but I do not believe the bullet expanded well, I am unable to confirm since I did not recover the bullet. It did a well enough job that I will continue to harvest game with it but probably with better bullets.

Plans- I plan on eventually sending this rifle to Mad Pig Customs to have the barrel cut and have a Dead Air Key micro break permanently attached for a small can, along with the Midwest forearm, cerikote, and a small Modlight.
 

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