The Henry Big Boy lever action rifle is a model that has deservedly gained a pretty positive reputation for not just being reliable, accurate, and durable, but also just plain fun to shoot. Henry makes these classic lever actions available in nearly all of the common straight-walled cartridges ranging from .357 Magnum all the way up to .44 Magnum. What is perhaps best about the Henry Big Boy series of lever guns is simply their value. Most of these lever guns can be had for about $900 or less and you’re getting an amazing combination of quality construction and reliability in a proven platform. However, these lever actions are quite limited when it comes to one thing – optics. Other more modern lever guns have started to incorporate integrated or factory-installed Picatinny rails for use with riflescopes, red dots, and sometimes even Laser IR devices for night vision hunting. Luckily, XS Sights sells a great DIY solution for replacing the factory iron sights on a Herny Big Boy rifle. Their functional and sleek-looking Lever Rail and Ghost Ring sights still preserve iron sight capability while adding some much-needed versatility to a dated platform.
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Winning Combo: XS Sights Lever Rail + Henry’s Big Boy Lever Gun
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The Henry Big Boy Carbine comes with a 16.5″ Round Blued Steel Barrel with a 1:16 twist rate. The standard sights included are a front brass bead and a rear fully adjustable semi-buckhorn sight with a diamond insert. If someone wants to, the receiver is already drilled and tapped for a scope mount. The Henry Big Boy in .357 Magnum has a standard capacity of 7+1 rounds.
XS Sights Lever Rail and Ghost Ring Sights
Rail Price: $72.00
Ghost Ring Sight Price: $111.00
Total Package: $183.00
The installation process for these sights is fairly straightforward and requires only a minimal amount of gunsmithing skills and tools. XS Sights sent along the Lever Rail with it already installed on the rifle so for reference, I’ll include their own installation video from their YouTube channel which you can follow if you’ve found yourself here looking for installation instructions.
The cost for the entire upgrade is about 1/5th the price of the entire rifle. This is something worth considering if you’re working on a budget. If you’re looking to permanently add an optic to your rifle, simply using the included drilled and tapped mounting points on the top of the receiver might be more cost-effective. The XS Lever Rail alone will allow you to mount a red dot, lights, lasers, and whatever else you want to the top of the rifle, but the $75 rail doesn’t include any iron sights and you won’t be able to use your factory iron sight anymore because of the increased height of the rail. The whole package is obviously the most versatile and redundant, especially if you include a QD mount on your optic setup.
Are Ghost Rings Better?
Ghost ring sights are an interesting and possibly antiquated sighting solution that offers the shooter less long-range precision, but an arguably faster sight picture for taking quick follow-up shots. On a long-range rifle, they might seem quite out of place but when you factor in the relatively short effective range of the .357 Magnum cartridge combined with the fact that you have to cycle the rifle manually, you can see why ghost right sights might be a great compromise to have instead of more traditional iron sights.
At the range, we found the ghost rings to be fairly quick to pick up but failing to place the front sight blade precisely in the center of the ring when shooting meant that the further you were away from your target, the more likely it was that you’d hook a shot even on a fairly large human-sized target.
A More Modern Solution
While Ghost Ring sights might have been an innovation for the age of iron sights, in today’s modern world, we have access to more sophisticated methods of gaining not only a fast but pinpoint accurate sight picture that’s even more forgiving for a wider variety of shooters. If you’re looking to be the fastest gun in the West with your Henry Big Boy lever action, you could put a modern red dot on it using the XS Lever Rail.
Over the course of a few range sessions, we mounted everything from Laser IR devices for use with night vision, to simply using it with white light and one of Holosun’s new 507COMP red dots. The combination of a big window and a near parallax-free aiming solution meant faster follow-up shots, which also meant that we shot way more ammunition than we had planned for – .357 Magnum isn’t cheap!
Worth the Upgrade?
Nearly $200 for some machined aluminum accessory seems like a pretty steep price but I think it’s one that gets you access to so much more functionality out of your lever action. Night vision hunting is becoming incredibly popular and if you’ve already dipped your toes into this hunting scene you’ll likely have already spent thousands on thermal or other night vision equipment, $200 isn’t that much to give one of your classic guns access to more modern capabilities for a bit of an extra challenge at night or maybe just for some fun plinking after dark.
If you guys have ever used one of XS Sights’ Lever Rails feel free to let us know down in the comments and tell us what you decided to mount to yours!
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Source link: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2023/09/13/xs-sights-lever-rail/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss by Luke C. at www.thefirearmblog.com