More On The Henry Rifle

Emory, thank you so much for your information!  We found it extremely helpful on the Henry and Winchester rifles.  My son just got his grade (an A++ !) on his project and the entire class was amazed in the original cost versus some recent sales of the antique guns.    Your info was more than good enough for Fox work!!!  By the way, I do think it would be a great thing to add to the website.  We looked in a lot of places but never could find that info.  As I said, the kids in my son's class were very interested in the topic!

 
Thank you again for your help!
 
Hi, Fox
 
    Yes, we do, have information on the cost of a Henry rifle at separate periods of time.  The price jumped around a lot because of the general economic collapse after the Civil War.  The Henry was barely saleable after the Civil War, and after Oliver Winchester bought the corporate loans from the bank that couldn't be paid because of poor sales, he then dictated to the inventor Tyler Henry to make the improvements of a loading gate and especially a wooden forearm necessary to get people to buy them.  Thus the Henry went out of production in 1866 to put the (1866) Winchester into production.
 
    In round numbers, the Henry rifle cost about a month's pay for the "working man."  Sometimes only two weeks pay.  So, depending on economic conditions, call that $16 to $30.  To also put a relative value on this, that is about the cost of three boxes of ammunition for it at 50 shots a box for $6 a box.  Learning to shoot with a Henry was way too expensive.  Because of the high cost of ammunition, the older muzzle loading guns stayed in active use in the civilian world into at least the 1880s.
 
    The term "comparable" Winchester begs a question.  The Henry was improved to become the first Winchester with both rifles shooting the same cartridge woefully underpowered for military rifle use or buffalo hunting.  The 1873 Winchester had a new cartridge that was a little better, but not much.  It wasn't until 1876 that Winchester came out with a bigger lever action model, but it was too heavy, expensive, and sometimes wouldn't stand up to the rigors of service.  So, it wasn't until 1886 that Winchester had a lever action gun for powerful cartridges, and that went through two models to make the slightly less powerful model 1894 Winchester that you can buy newly made today.  The 1894 is way more powerful then the Henry, but the two are very different in the cartridges they will shoot and how they work internally.
 
    I'll have to think of where you can look for information.  My primary source of 40+ years ago isn't coming to mind quickly, and would be hard for anybody to find to look at.  The general economy reference comes from bunches of historical reading over many years.
 
    Thank you for your comment and praise on the website.
 
    Good enough for Fox work?  Does this suggest another question or line of thinking from you?  Let me ask you, is this of a broad enough interest to add to the website?
 
Emory
 
My name is: Fox
I like to read: historical books - in particular those based on fact
Hi - was wondering if you could help me with a question. My son read the book
"old Yeller" at school at had to do a project making comparisons between that
time period and now. We have found a lot of info on the 1860 Henry Rifle and
compared it to a current/comparable Winchester. Our problem is finding and
original sale price for the 1860 Henry - do you have any idea of the price or
can you give me a place to look? Thanks so much -

p.s. Your website has been very helpful!

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