In-Depth: Henry X Model 30-30 Tactical Lever Action

Here at Ultimate Reloader, surrounded by precision bolt action rifles and fast firing semi-automatic and automatic firearms, we found ourselves eagerly awaiting the delivery of our first Henry lever action rifle, the X Model 30-30. Last year we had stories on two traditional lever action rifles, a 45-70 and a 30-30. Shooting those rifles and putting together those videos and stories awakened quite an appetite for lever action rifles here among the Ultimate Reloader crew. When we learned that Henry was shipping us a new X Model 30-30 rifle, the anticipation grew. 

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About Henry’s X Model 30-30 Lever Action Rifle

The Model X is Henry’s tactical, suppressor-ready lever gun. Making this overview extra special is the the 25th anniversary of today’s Henry Repeating Arms lineup. Gavin has been interested in lever guns for some time. Gavin’s last lever gun was, rather sadly, a BB gun. 

From Henryusa.com

Combining Modern Performance with Classic Lever Action Lineage

When it comes to firearms, there are few that could truly be considered a piece of Americana quite like a lever action chambered in .30-30. While most people may envision blued steel and walnut stocks (we have got you covered there too), we take a great deal of pride in keeping up with the demands of modern hunters while not losing sight of our heritage. With the Lever Action X Model .30-30 we have borrowed that Americana spirit from one of the most legendary hunting platforms of all time and lovingly poured it into a feature-packed rifle for today’s whitetail woodsman.

Tough synthetic furniture provides a lightweight and worry-free alternative to our typical hardwood and accommodates in-line sling swivel studs, a Picatinny rail, and M-Lok accessory slots on the forestock. The solid rubber recoil pad ensures that the buttstock won’t slip and slide around to keep your shots consistent. The blued steel barrel is topped off with bright fiber optic sights for quick target acquisition, and the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept your choice of optics for those who prefer some magnification. For those who wish to run a suppressor or other muzzle device, the barrel is finished with 5/8×24 threading and a removable thread protector.

Keeping true to our roots, the Lever Action X Model .30-30 utilizes a 5-round removable tube magazine for convenient unloading when the job is done, and the addition of a side loading gate allows that magazine to be kept topped off without needing to remove the tube or suppressor.

There are good reasons that the .30-30 cartridge is still widely popular to this day, and this rifle ensures that it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

What’s In the Box

I was delighted to see the company motto “Made in America, Or Not Made At All” printed on the box. In full transparency, we had to open the box previous to this video to verify the serial number when it arrived since we are an FFL. The rifle comes enclosed in a plastic bag, a Henry tag underneath it. Another paper tag is tied around the lever, denoting inspection. Also included are instructions and a paper warning users to ensure the gun is empty. 

Gavin immediately jumped to the muzzle, threaded ⅝ x 24. The rifle felt solid. As I worked the action to check the chamber, I thought to myself, “Wow, this thing is smooth!” I’ve been shooting lever action rifles since I was a child, over 55 years ago. This Henry is an updated version of the lever actions to which I’m accustomed. 

Specifications and Features

This is not your grandpa’s 30-30 rifle! Henry has built this rifle with a synthetic stock for weather resistance, and has allowed for modern accessories. A Picatinny rail, M-Lok accessory slots, and a threaded barrel make adding a suppressor, scope, red-dot sight, flashlight, laser or bipod quite simple. I especially like the idea of mounting a light on the gun to aid in finding wounded game or for self protection. 

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Henry X Model 30-30

There are several other models available of this gun. This 30-30 has a 5 round capacity with a tube that can also be loaded from a side gate. Side gates are a recent improvement to Henry’s rifles. This gun accepts but doesn’t come with a Weaver 63-B scope mount. The installed fiber optic sights have contrasting colors and are easy to pick up. Though you still need to be careful, the transfer bar safety allows you to lower the hammer without worrying about ignition. (You should still worry about it a little.) The stock has integrated swivel studs that do not stick out from the gun. MSRP falls at $1,051, though street price may vary. 

Testing

TriggerScan TS-11 Trigger Profiling Tool

The trigger felt crisp and fairly light to me. To confirm, Gavin used a TriggerScan TS11 trigger profiling device and found a consistent pull of 3.54 pounds. Travel to actuate measured 0.024” while overtravel measured 0.031”.

Summary of TriggerScan values:

Spec Value
Peak Force 3.54 lb
Travel to Actuate 0.024”
Overtravel 0.031”

Borecam Inspection

We also decided to take a look down the bore with the 26” TESLONG NGT 100H rifle borescope. We haven’t shot any rounds or cleaned it. When we removed and reinstalled the thread protector, we accidentally pushed a bit of crud into the barrel. This was easily wiped away. A bit of copper  and carbon was visible from test firing, but there were no bad machining marks. We did find a grain of powder, likely from the test firing.

Initial Shooting Impressions

After the initial overview, Gavin and I took the rifle, as shipped from Henry, to our nearby steel target range and proceeded to have a blast, literally! Confirming our initial thoughts, the rifle functioned smoothly. It was easy to load via the side-gate or through the tubular magazine. The factory fiber optic sights glowed brightly, making hits on steel easy. As someone who occasionally hunts with iron sights instead of a scope, I appreciated the presence of quality sights on this rifle. 

Although we liked the rifle as built by Henry, this is Ultimate Reloader — we couldn’t leave well enough alone. Back in the shop Gavin quickly installed the Weaver 63-B scope rail, a Sightmark reflex sight, a hammer expander (or extension) and a SilencerCo Hybrid 46 suppressor.  The expander threads right onto a track in the hammer and is secured with a set screw and loctite. This allows for ambidextrous hammer access which is helpful when using a scope. 

This progressed into a discussion of safety while hunting. Working a lever right before taking a shot isn’t the best way to keep game ignorant of your presence. It’s quieter to keep a round chambered and pull the hammer back when you are ready to fire. Henry’s manual says the gun is safe to carry with a round chambered and hammer down because of the transfer bar safety. 

We were making hits on steel without even zeroing the reflex sight, using a bit of “Kentucky windage.” After we all had the chance to shoot with a bit of hold over, we installed and zeroed a Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 1-6x scope. As predicted, hits got even more consistent! This is actually a very nice 30mm scope for a modest range hunting rifle. 

The rifle itself weighs about 8 pounds and has a firm but comfortable recoil pad. The weight grew as we added accessories, dampening the 30-30’s already modest recoil. The suppressor also reduced recoil, making the rifle a joy to plink with. Our entire crew got in on the action and we made a serious dent in our supply of Federal Hammer Down 150 grain 30-30 ammunition. 

About Federal HammerDown 150 grain 30-30 Win Ammunition

The 30-30 has been around since 1895. A 150 grain soft point bullet traveling 2200 to 2400 fps with this cartridge has long been recognized as an excellent combination for deer hunters at appropriate ranges. Federal’s HammerDown 150 grain 30-30 Win ammunition is marketed as a premium line for hunters using lever action rifles and includes a bonded bullet among other attributes. 

From federalpremium.com

Make your lever gun run like never before with the industry’s only ammunition truly designed for optimal cycling and overall performance from the time-tested rifle platform. Velocities of Federal Premium® HammerDown™ loads are customized to produce superior ballistics and terminal performance through lever-action barrel lengths. The construction of the molecularly bonded soft point bullets has also been adjusted for the best accuracy and expansion at those velocities. The geometry of each round’s case, bullet and cartridge ensures flawless cycling through tubular magazine and typical lever-action feeding systems.

    • Specifically engineered for lever guns
    • Functions flawlessly in side gate loading and tubular magazines
    • Modified chamfered case for easier feeding
    • Bullets optimized for better terminal performance out of lever-action rifles
    • Designed in partnership with Henry Repeating Arms
    • Bullets provide best-in-class expansion and weight retention on impact
    • Increased velocities and performance in pistol cartridges
    • Nickel-plated cases

Chronograph Results

Gavin tested five shots over the Caldwell G2 chronograph with excellent results. The velocity was about 100 fps short of the advertised 2390 fps, but the standard deviation and extreme spread figures were quite good for a factory gun with factory ammunition! We were all impressed.  

Average 2281 fps
STDEV 13 fps
ES 34 fps

In the future we will be shooting this rifle and ammunition for accuracy tests at 50 and 100 yards, maybe even further. We’d also like to do a ballistics gel test with various types of 30-30 ammunition. 

Conclusion

Henry’s X Model 30-30 retains the functional attributes of a traditional 30-30 lever action rifle, but with many new features that make it even more useful. This is quite the lever action rifle: easy to load and shoot, accurate, and able to accommodate modern accessories. Rifles like this will take the good old 30-30 well into the 21st century! 

Get the Gear

Check out the X Model 30-30 and other terrific Henry rifles on Henry’s website. For those who prefer a more traditional lever action rifle, those are offered as well. 

You can also find Federal’s HammerDown 150 gr. 30-30 ammunition on federalpremium.com

Hardline Pro 1-6×24 BDC-COMP | CrimsonTrace

Hybrid 46 – SilencerCo

You’ll also want to think about a 26” TESLONG NGT 100H rifle borescope.

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Thanks,
Guy Miner

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