Henry USA is the manufacturer of the finest lever-action rifles on the market today. They recently introduced smoothbore lever-action .410 gauge shotguns to the already extensive lineup. These blued steel and walnut-stocked shotguns were intended as “garden” or small game/utility shotguns. The pandemic and unrest of 2020 brought about more demand for defensive firearms. And Henry USA was ready to meet that demand with the introduction of the Lever Action X Model .410 Shotgun (and rifles) at the 2020 SHOT Show!
Upgraded to “Protect and Provide”
The addition of side-loading gates to the Henry tube magazine loading system gives owners of Henry lever-action rifles the best of all worlds. You get the ability to top off during a shooting string, as well as quick loading and quick unloading. To unload, simply remove the spring-loaded tube and dump the ammo out. No other lever-action currently on the market can do all three. Now that all Henry centerfire rifles are also equipped with side gates, they fulfill the Henry USA mission to “protect and provide.”
The Henry Lever Action X Model Shotgun
Henry USA added three tactical enhancements to the walnut-stocked Side Gate .410 to produce the .410 X Model.
- Instead of a fixed choke, the X Model has a 19.8-inch smoothbore barrel with an interchangeable Invector choke.
- A green fiber optic bead sight is mounted upfront. The receiver is drilled and tapped for optics mounting.
- Synthetic stocks are used instead of fine walnut, which allows the X Models to be fitted with molded-in sling swivel mounts. There are also M-Lok accessory slots and a Picatinny rail segment on the forend.
The X Model has a six-round capacity of 2.5-inch .410 shells. None of the Henry .410’s can handle 3-inch shells.
Barrel length: 19.8 inches
Overall length: 38.6 inches
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Length of pull: 14 inches
Rear sight: None
Front sight: Fiber optic
Preparing to Test the Henry USA Lever Action X Model Shotgun
I wanted the ability to fire .410 Slugs from the X Model, and full choke is for shot loads only. So, I ordered an improved cylinder choke for use with slugs in addition to shot.
I wanted to test the X Model using loads capable of defending the home, farm or campsite against human or animal attackers. I tested three loads from American Tactical and Hornady.
- American Tactical 1/3-ounce 12 Pellet BBB Buck Shot with 1,400 feet per second muzzle velocity
- American Tactical ¼ Ounce Rifled Slug with 1,550 feet per second muzzle velocity and 582 foot-pounds of energy
- Hornady .410 Triple Defense, which features a .41 caliber FTX slug positioned over two .35 caliber round balls and muzzle velocity, according to Hornady; 750 feet per second with 394 foot-pounds of energy
Testing the .410
With the improved cylinder choke installed, the smoothbore Henry was remarkably accurate and extremely fun to shoot. Cycling was just as smooth as one would find in a lever gun cycling brass cartridges. We first tested the American Tactical Rifled Slugs. The green fiber optic dot glowed vividly atop the receiver, and the first six slugs all dropped into a nice 3.5-inch group centered on the orange X-ring on the B-26 silhouette at 33 feet. All shots were fired from standing.
After my buddy tried his hand with AT Slugs (with similar results), we tried the American Tactical Buckshot load. We moved up to 15 feet. Aiming directly at the head, I managed seven pellets in the target, with three scattered around it. This load would be more effective when fired using the full choke.
We fired the Hornady Triple Defense shells from 20 feet. The target was a piece of treated 2×10 yellow pine. Firing into the board resulted in the .41 FTX slug landing dead center to the point of aim, with the two .35 caliber balls landing very close. All three projectiles had penetrated through the back of the board. It was clear the Hornady Triple Defense .410 load would be our defensive load of choice for the Lever X .410 with improved cylinder choke.
Henry Lever Action Shotgun Final Thoughts
The Henry Lever X is a great shotgun. It has smooth levering and feeding with a good trigger. And it was accurate and fun to shoot. My 7-year-old son loved shooting it while I supported the forend. If recoil didn’t bother him, it shouldn’t bother anyone else. The Henry X-Lever .410 definitely is a great survival/home-defense shotgun that lives up to Henry’s protect and provide slogan.