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Henry Rifle
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Henry Rifle

Catalog #: 32813    Accession #: 69413
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


New Haven Arms Company (Manufacturer)

In 1857, Oliver F. Winchester stepped into the weapons business from his shirt-making company in New Haven, Connecticut. He became president of the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company, which had moved its office and factory to his hometown the year before. The firm had produced only 3,000 arms when the name was changed to New Haven Arms Company. Winchester acquired exclusive ownership of the patents.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 8" H x 44" W x 1.5" D

Physical Description

Henry rifle Model 1860, .44 caliber.

General History

The Henry rifle was the immediate forerunner of the famous Winchester rifles. About 14,000 Henry’s were made between 1860 and 1866 by the New Haven Arms Company. The Henry rifle was developed from the Volcanic firearms system and was built around the .44 rimfire cartridge. Both the new rifle and the cartridge were designed by B. Tyler Henry. A basic feature of the .44 rimfire cartridge was the use of a metallic casing, rather than the undependable, self-contained powder, ball, and primer of the Volcanic bullet. Evidence indicates that the Indians at Little Big Horn had a large number of Henry rifles, while the Army was armed with the single-shot breech loading Springfield Model 1873.


Country: United States
Era: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
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