REVIEW: Henry Evil Roy .22 Rifle

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How about some pure fun on the range? This .22LR blends authentic style with competition-ready quality. READ MORE

henry 22

by Major Pandemic

When the Henry Rifles first re-appeared, the public enthusiastically embraced the brand and for good reason. Anthony Imperato and family have made it a passion to restore the Henry firearms name and even made it better in the process. The Henry rifles are beautiful to own, look at, and shoot. This Evil Roy .22 is yet another incredible rifle from Henry.

I have noted before that when it comes to Henry Rifles, there are only two types of people; those who have yet to shoot a Henry and those who have and now lust after them. Just as Ruger has arguable made one of the best updated single action cowboy revolvers, Henry has updated the Henry design to deliver something so refined that Benjamin Tyler Henry himself would have only dreamed was possible back with the original design. I love them and own several Henry rifles in .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .22LR and this Evil Roy Henry seemed to be just the perfect gun to add to the collection.

The international winning CAS (Cowboy Action Shooter) Gene Pearcy with his CAS alias of “Evil Roy” partnered up with Henry to create something a bit different. Evil Roy suggested taking the very popular Henry Golden Boy .22LR rifle but with a shorter 16.5-inch barrel, with a more durable plastic buttpad, a brushed nickel receiver and barrel band, and a shorter overall stock — a combination and/or slight modification of existing parts of various models. The result is a short, quick-handling, and accurate .22LR rifle that is a blast to shoot.

gene pearcy
Gene Pearcy, AKA “Evil Roy.”

FEEL
The Evil Roy is at its heart a Golden Boy with a few configuration changes which include the nickel finish receiver with grooved scope rail, shorter 16.5-barrel, shorter stock, and plastic buttpad instead of brass.

Although I have no real complaints with my original Golden Boy, there were times where I felt the 20-inch barrel was a bit long. For youth shooters, the full-sized Golden Boy stock can seem a bit big.

evil roy 22
Short and fast compact package that is perfect for plinking or a hunting.

The thought of a lever action rarely crosses many people’s minds when shopping for a new rifle, until they put one in their hands. Henry Rifles draw you in, the fit feel and finish begin your mind’s journey back in time to the Old West, and by the time you pull the trigger and rack in the next round as you watch your tin can dance, the hook is set so deep that a love affair of Henry rifles is inevitable. Someone once told me more Henry rifles are sold at the range than in gun stores… Everyone falls in love with Henry rifles not only because of their history and quality, but also because they shoot and cycle exceptionally well. Most people will say the same thing when they pick up a Henry, “they knew something about firearms and shooting back then.” The Evil Roy is a bit lighter than the Golden Boy but still retains the balance, pointability, and of course accuracy.

evil roy rifle

FEATURES
The Evil Roy is priced with an MSRP of $499 and is about $50 less than the standard Golden Boy. It carries the same high quality features as their Big Boy brothers. The Evil Roy rifles feature the same historic semi-buckhorn style rear sight, brass bead front sight, stunningly beautiful blued octagonal barrel, banded barrel, steel parts, and perfectly finished American walnut stock. It also add a large action charging loop versus the smaller loop. The Big Brother has a solid brass receiver, the Golden Boy a Brasslite receiver and the Evil Roy has a nickel-base alloy receiver that is also grooved for a .22 scope mount.

henry stock
Henry has brought back the art of the stock.

FUNCTION
The Henry Evil Roy tube magazine holds 12 rounds of your favorite .22LR ammo or up to 16 of the spooky quiet 22 Short/CB rounds. That is a huge ammo capacity by any standard which makes the Henry Evil Roy a blast to shoot up box after box of inexpensive ammunition. The Evil Roy feeds and fires anything from a .22CB all the way to hot .22LR high velocity rounds. The reload does takes a bit longer than a magazine change but is simple enough and requires the magazine spring tube to be pulled partially out and rounds slipped into the tube. One company makes a speed loader if you are so inclined, but I just use a 3/8-inch aluminum tube with a stopper as a speed loader.

The next point I feel I must make is how fast the Henry Lever actions can be fired. Shoot the Henry Evil Roy next to a semi-auto 22 and you will be surprised how well you keep up the pace. The large loop helps to improve speed. The action is safe and simple to operate, shoots faster than a bolt action and slows the beginners (and old) shooters down enough that shots connect more consistently connect due to better sighting. Lever actions are also far less dirty than their semi-auto cousins because gas is not being blown back during the cycling process. Due to the cleaner cycling, lever actions are also very reliable as the round count continues to grow all afternoon.

henry scope
Aided by a Burris scope, the Evil Roy shot very accurately.

From a safety perspective, the simplicity of the transfer bar safety prevents accidental firing when decocking/lowering the hammer. The Henry Rifles have what I call a “single-action revolver safety” which negates the need for additional safety mechanisms. For hunting, having the ability to safely have a live round in the chamber and only requiring the hammer to be cocked prior to a shot makes this a very safe rifle to carry. As the rifle’s lever is racked, a new round is automatically chambered and the hammer is cocked — it could not be simpler.

ACCURACY
The Henry Evil Roy rifle is an easy gun to shoot accurately using only the semi-buckhorn sights, but adding on the 4X Burris Micro scope delivered some nice little1/4-inch 25-yard groups with SK Standard and CCI Standard Velocity rounds.

Once you see how well the Henry Evil Roy shoots, you start to forget about shooting bulls-eye targets and start hammering spinners and cans.

The front brass bead front sight works great. The rear semi-buckhorn is also highly functional, but just notmy favorite. My plan is to swap the rear sight with a historically fitting brass Skinner peep sight which I have on several of my other Henry Rifles.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I was not sure at first whether I would shoot it as much as my Golden Boy, but with the flexibility to pop a scope on and off really added a lot of utility and upped the precision.

Any time someone wants to start shooting, I start with the Henry. These rifles are safe, simple, and non-threatening for anyone to use, and with the shorter length stock it is also a kid friendly rifle to use for learning. This is one heck of a family-oriented rifle that everyone loves and it is that universal appeal that is special about the Henry Evil Roy — everything about this gun is not just good but great.

henry rifle specs

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Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

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