Absent from the market for nearly 20 years, the smoothbore rimfire “Garden Gun” concept is back in a new offering from Henry Repeating Arms.
While based on their Classic Lever Action .22 platform, which has sold more than 1 million units since it was first introduced, the new Henry Garden Gun does not have a rifled barrel and is instead meant to be used to fire .22WMR No.12 shotshells.
Such “rat shot” cartridges, manufactured by companies like CCI, are ideal for close-range vermin control and general short-distance plinking. In fact, many famous exhibition trick shooters of the early 20th Century commonly used such rounds as added insurance when smoking targets in front of eager crowds.
“This may be a niche product, but it fills that niche particularly well,” says Henry’s president, Anthony Imperato, of the new Garden Gun. “For the farmer or the gardener, it’s something convenient to keep closet close-at-hand to dispatch pests without using a level of firepower that could cause even more property damage than the pests themselves.”
The new addition to Henry’s line uses a smoothbore 18.5-inch blued steel barrel with a 15-round underbarrel magazine tube. Sporting black finished ash wood furniture with a raised grain, the lever-action rimfire is set apart from Henry’s more common smooth walnut stock as seen on the Classic series rifles.
When it comes to specs, the Garden Gun is a trim 36.5-inches long overall with a weight of 5.25-pounds, giving it an easy “grab-and-go” package when needed to repel critters lurking in the tomato bushes or for a ride-along while on the tractor or riding mower in snake territory.
MSRP is $421.
Garden Gun History
Smoothbore .22s were once a common facet on the consumer firearms market in the U.S., first appearing in the 1930s with a shotgun version of Winchester’s Model 67 single-shot bolt-action rifle. Remington later followed up on this in 1939 with the Model 511SB (SB= smoothbore) .22 and, over the next two decades, Big Green would produce at least two other platforms with a similar concept.
Until this week, the final Garden Gun produced domestically was Marlin’s pre-Remington Model 25MG which went out of production in 2002. However, as far as we can tell, Henry’s is the only type that is a lever action.
Everything old is new again.