Lever action rifles have a special place in the imagination of the American hunter and firearm enthusiast. These classic, powerful weapons evoke an old-fashioned spirit of rugged Western self-reliance, and they’re still popular to this day. That’s partially why Henry developed the Long Ranger rifle, which uses lever action operation but features a geared action for ease of use and shot consistency.
The Henry Long Ranger includes side ejection and a lightweight aerospace alloy receiver, plus a drilled and tapped top for scope mounts. It’s available with detachable magazines of five-round capacity in .223 or four-round capacity in .243, .308, and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges, offering exceptional user preference and hand-loading potential. Add to that a two-piece, oil-finished American Walnut stock, and it’s clear that this is set to be a popular rifle for years to come.
That said, like anything – the Henry Long Ranger isn’t without its problems. Some early adopters of this firearm have noted some common issues. Let’s break down those issues one by one and go over how to fix these mechanical problems so you can get your rifle back to working condition in no time!
Cartridge Loading Jams
As a lever action rifle, it’s no surprise that the Long Ranger is subject to cartridge loading jams if its users are hesitant or otherwise not sure how to complete the lever action motion properly. The lever of the Henry Long Ranger has to be operated very briskly and consistently. Make sure that you do not short-stroke the lever at any point – otherwise, you may accidentally partially load a cartridge into the chamber, resulting in a sudden, debilitating jam.
How to Fix It
You can usually fix this issue on your own. Point the gun away from you or anyone else and use pliers or another tool to pull or remove the cartridge from the chamber. Alternatively, use a cleaning rod or another tool to push the cartridge out of the barrel or chamber.
In the worst cases, you may need to take your Henry Long Ranger apart to open up the chamber and remove the jammed cartridge. Be sure to practice using the lever action a few times before trying your Henry again so the same issue doesn’t recur in the future.
Failure to Eject
Henry Long Ranger users have reported a failure to eject problem. This usually occurs when the user doesn’t facilitate the action fast enough, so the firearm doesn’t fully remove a spent cartridge from the chamber before loading a new cartridge from the magazine. Again, this is tied to the fact that the Long Ranger is a lever action rifle, and some may use the lever action a little too hesitantly.
How to Fix It
To fix a failure to eject problem, The magazine and make sure it is still fully seated. Then rotate your rifle so the ejection port is angled at the ground. Use the lever action to draw the slide back; hopefully, this will eject the spent cartridge. If it’s still jammed, take a pair of pliers and work the spent cartridge out of the chamber very carefully, then clean the chamber and barrel thoroughly before loading more live ammunition into the rifle.
Headspace is essentially the distance from the boldface to the part of the chamber that restricts a cartridge from moving forward after it is chambered. Depending on the weapon, the headspace will be either on the shoulder of the chamber or in the forward portion of a case rim. Headspace is important because it allows firearm manufacturers to ensure their chambers are long enough to accommodate all potential cartridges that may be loaded into a specific gun.
Some Henry Long Ranger users have reported headspace problems. If headspace is too short, cartridges might not feed into batteries correctly. If headspace is too long, cartridges could be subject to unwanted deformation or other firing problems.
How to Fix It
You’ll be most likely to run into headspace problems with your Henry Long Ranger if you load your own refurbished ammo. Therefore, the best way to fix this problem is to ensure that your bullet and case combination is aligned with the center of the bore as accurately as possible. Generally, the more centered you can make your cartridge, the more accuracy you’ll see when you pull the trigger.
However, you can also try to reduce bolt wear and tear by using only manufactured ammo. Alternatively, send your rifle to a knowledgeable gunsmith to get the bolt replaced with a new, coated variety that will result in fewer mechanical issues.
Inconsistent or Large Shot Groups
Last but not least, some Henry Long Ranger users have noted that shot groups can be inconsistent or larger than expected. In other words, the shots don’t quite hit the mark every time!
At some level, this is an unavoidable part of using a lever action rifle. Despite its smoothness and ease of use, the Henry Long Ranger is still a lever action rifle, which requires you to move the rifle a bit each time you chamber a new cartridge. Therefore, some barrel deviation is expected.
However, the Henry Long Ranger’s barrel heats up fairly fast compared to what you may be used to, particularly if you shoot ARs or other weapon platforms frequently. On top of that, if your Long Ranger was preowned, you may notice that your shot groups are inconsistent when you fix a specific scope to the rifle’s top. In this case, the rifle might have been modified or balanced for a specific scope, not the optic you just fitted it with.
How to Fix It
Fixing inconsistent shot groups is mostly a matter of patience. Take your time between shots so the barrel doesn’t heat up, and be sure to properly calibrate your rifle and any scope you mount atop it. Furthermore, practice very smooth, consistent trigger pulls and lever action reloads, particularly if you haven’t used a lever action rifle before.
As you can see, the Henry Long Ranger might run into several mechanical problems over your time with it. But with the right know-how and a little gunsmithing gusto, you can fix up your weapon and get back to the shooting range or your next hunt with confidence restored in your rifle.
Growing up, John loved learning about the components of firearms and what makes them work, which still intrigues him to this day. He’s a very outdoorsy person, and he loves fishing, hunting, and skeet shooting. He is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.