The company revered for all-American lever-action rifles actually builds a significant number of firearms outside that cowboy scope. In fact, Henry Repeating Arms offers a healthy dose of single shots, a semi-automatic, a few youth bolts, and the one with perhaps the greatest cult following – the Pump Action Octagon. Here’s what you’ll want to know about one of the few slide-driven rimfires still in production today and why it remains a solid seller. 

Meet the Henry Slide Action

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
These classic-looking pumps have a special nostalgia to them. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Henry’s Pump Action Octagon, also known as the Model H003T, is one of several non-lever Henry rifles, but it’s the only slide gun. Reminiscent of olden days’ shooting galleries at carnivals and competitions, this iteration uses a 20-inch blued steel octagon barrel. 

Buyers have a choice of versions in either .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle (S, L, LR) or the more powerful .22 Winchester Magnum (WMR). Capacity varies by chambering, with the LR holding 15 rounds compared to 21 Shorts. The Magnum, meanwhile, has a lesser capacity of 12 rounds in the same tubular magazine. Regardless of caliber, the rifle weighs an even 6 pounds empty. 

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
The sights are classic but effective at shorter distances. You can also mount a rimfire optic if you want. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/
Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
Loading is done via a tubular magazine. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Sights are a classic style with a brass bead front sight and fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear with a white diamond insert. The receiver finish is a basic black over alloy, akin to the company’s entry-level rimfire lever guns. The internals, meanwhile, are steel. The gun is dressed with an American walnut stock of above-average quality. The buttstock is smooth, without checkering, while the forend wears vertical ribs. 

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
There isn't a manual safety. Instead, the gun uses a classic quarter-cock mechanism. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/
Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
The buttplate is a simple polymer affair. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

While the irons are capable, the receiver is grooved at 3/8-inch for common rimfire scope mounts. The 14-inch length of pull is topped with a simple polymer buttplate. It’s worth noting that there’s no manual safety, but rather an old-school quarter-cock mechanism. The grooved action button sits at the right front of the trigger guard to release the forend and open the action. 

Range Time

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
It took a bit of practice to get used to a pump-action rifle again, but the gun ran with authority when we did. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

On the range with the svelte pump, it took us a few magazine tubes of .22 LR to gain comfort with running a pump, having seldom done so in recent years. The gun is quite stiff out of the box, due in part to its tight tolerances, and benefits from a quick clean and lube job before commencing range day. We ran a healthy mix of ammunition brands, weights, and types of projectiles, including CCI, Federal, Aguila, Browning, and Remington. 

The pump doesn’t care what you feed it, it simply performs. However, it’s worth noting that within the first 50 rounds, we experienced several failures to fire, which we quickly learned was due to not running the tight action with enough authority. This is not a rifle to be babied. Like any other pump, it’s a tool that’s meant to be used as such. 


The throw of the action is surprisingly short. Once things loosened up a bit, we even threw in a few CCI .22 Shorts. While the snap is noticeably less, the gun never knew the difference. All rounds ejected with authority. Loading through the cartridge-shaped magazine tube is a breeze as is rapid unloading. 

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
The throw on the ribbed pump was short, and the action didn't care what ammo we used. It fed it all and ejected casings aggressively.  (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

That’s one of the allures of the relatively simple pump-action rifles. They have a reputation for running, plain and simple. The actioned wore into a smoother groover after several hundred rounds downrange, and it certainly feels like it could become a trusted old pal with repeated use. 

The only thing we weren’t crazy about, and that stands for all the lower-priced rimfires, is the black receiver finish, which stands in contrast to traditional blued steel. Through several hundred rounds and multiple shooters, however, the finish has held up just fine. Besides, we’re not worried because Henry would certainly provide a remedy if we ever had an issue. 

Henry Octagon Pump Action Rifle
Sure, we would have preferred a blued finish, but the gun has nice wood and a classy look regardless. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

As for range practice and accuracy testing, we opted to go straight iron sights, even though adding an optic would be a simple affair. We fired offhand at 15, 25, and 50 yards. While the 50-yard target opened up considerably, that was more due to freehand movement. Shooting at 25 yards easily put all rounds into less than a 2-inch circle. 

While certainly not a target trigger, the pull did break under 4 pounds. We also didn’t note any issues with the iron sights, and shooters wanting to upgrade for greater accuracy potential without going to a full-on optic ought to look at Skinner Sights’ peep-style upgrades for Henry rifles. 

What’s Driving the Rimfire Pump Renaissance?

Pump actions – especially rimfires – are seldom built these days. They feel like a dinosaur of the past, yet the platform is one of the most simple and reliable. One of the underrated benefits is that a pump can be actuated with the non-dominant hand, thus allowing the shooter to keep their dominant hand in the firing position. 

Who buys pumps these days? The short answer is anybody. Slide guns like the Henry suit hunters, plinkers, ranchers, and all sorts of practical users. Besides, running a pump like the Henry conjures up memories of the old carnival gallery guns. While classics like original Winchesters, Stevens, and Remingtons remain collectible as historical firearms, they’re long out of production. That’s why the American market continues to gravitate toward Henry’s Pump Action Octagon for its practical use, classic lines, and the allure of the past in a modern-production gun.