Why Buy a Henry Pump Action Octagon .22 WMR?

A Technical Review of the H003TM

December 14, 2021

Man holding a rifle in one hand and a box of ammunition in the other hand
I remember looking at Gun Digest Annual as a teenager and wondering why anyone would want a .22 WMR pump action rifle when higher capacity, larger caliber semiautos were available. I also remember buying the cheapest bulk .22 LR ammunition and chuckling at the people who would pay almost as much for a much smaller box of skinny .22 Magnum. Years later, after learning to shoot accurately and knowing the difference between calibers in terms of impact on the target, I came to appreciate both the Henry Pump Action Octagon and the .22 WMR.

Pump or slide action is very efficient: neither hand has to switch position to cycle, pulling back helps absorb some of the recoil, while the forward motion brings the muzzle back on target. With a capacity of 12 rounds in the tube and one in the chamber, the H003TM holds enough for a successful varmint hunt or a defensive encounter.

22 Magnum might sound like a “faster .22LR for a whole lot more money,” but it’s actually much more than that. An elegant cartridge, it achieves significantly higher velocity in a rifle with the same low chamber pressure as the .22 LR. At 100 yards, .22 WMR is as fast as a .22 LR at the muzzle. Comparing 40-grain projectiles, .22 WMR from the 20.5″ octagonal barrel matches the 5.7×28 FN cartridge fired from PS90 carbine. While more expensive than bulk .22 LR, .22 Magnum is less than half the price of the comparable centerfire calibers. And, to compare apples to apples, .22 WMR is only about 50% more than .22 LR ammunition of comparable accuracy. For shooting small varmints across a field, both the improved accuracy and the flatter trajectory with reduced wind drift matter.

A woman in a pink blouse with a bandoleer aiming a pump action rifle

Almost all .22 WMR bullets are jacketed, which provides the manufacturers with a lot more options for ensuring high terminal performance. For example, CCI 40gr FMJ fired from a rifle will burn right through the 3/8″ hardened aluminum plate that stops .357 Magnum and 10mm Auto from pistols with 5″ barrels. A 30gr CCI or Hornady ballistic-tipped hollow point will expand massively in a groundhog or a squirrel at ranges where .22 LR would penetrate without expansion. Heavier than most and superbly accurate, Federal 50gr GameShok penetrates well enough for defensive use while grouping under 1.5 MOA. With ammo makers paying more attention to .22 WMR quality control, I’ve had exactly one misfire in about 13 thousand rounds of that caliber fired so far.

The Henry Pump Action Octagon comes with the same semi-buckhorn open sights as other Henry rimfires. With a brass bead up front, these are optimized for speed and work well for a squirrel at 25 yards or a defensive shot on a larger target at 50. Accuracy beyond that is possible but takes more time and skill. Fortunately, the receiver is grooved for 3/8″ rimfire rings, and a Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5x shotgun scope I used for testing is an excellent, reasonably-priced compromise for close range and far. With a 100-yard zero, the mid-trajectory height of a Federal 40gr bullet is only 2 inches. Dead-Hold BDC reticle marks correspond to 125, 160, 190, and 220-yard drops. If you prefer a Picatinny rail for a red dot or a larger scope, a conversion base is available from the Henry store.

Side view of a pump action rifle against a white background

Clean and well-balanced, this rifle is easy to shoot accurately off-hand. It is safe to carry in the field with the hammer down at 1/4 cock over a live round. The finish and fit of metal to walnut stock is excellent. Besides zeroing, the only task advised for field use is adding sling swivels and a sling for both carry and support. The octagonal barrel is heavy enough not to deflect from the use of a hasty sling, even though the entire gun is slender at 6 pounds even. While the protrusion of the bolt above the neck of the stock during cycling made me nervous at first, I quickly discovered that the natural hand position with the index finger in line with the trigger keeps the thumb safe.

The Henry H003TM works reliably with all ammunition tested, from 27gr leadless to 50gr soft points. Best accuracy around 1.5 MOA was obtained with 40 and 50 grain Federal, Speer, and CCI ammunition. Although flatter-shooting out to 225 yards, the lighter loads had more wind drift and grouped closer to 3 MOA, making them a better bet at short to medium ranges only. Heavier bullets provide both adequate penetration for coyotes and or hostile humans, and reliable expansion to about .30 caliber past 50 yards. Lighter projectiles fragmented heavily up close and showed limited expansion with excellent penetration further out.

This carbine proved a range favorite for everyone, from seasoned marksmen to newbies. Recoil-averse shooters especially enjoyed the slide action: it was like shooting a shotgun but without punishing recoil. Thanks to the extra energy of the 22WMR cartridge, this fun-maker also serves serious duties with equal competencies.

Woman smiling holding a rifle next to a man with a caption that reads "Make Happy Smiles! Take New Shooters To The Range."

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20 Comments
  • Ed
    December 14, 2021

    I think Henry should make some 12 gauge and 20 gauge pump shotgun‘s, that would be awesome! I have the car being youth 22 and the 22 magnum standard carbine, Both of which I enjoy very much

  • Paul Metcalf
    December 15, 2021

    I just need to know where I can find one.

  • kenneth cantrell
    December 18, 2021

    just got one i have wanted one all my life now that i am 73 yrs. old i bought myself one. i am interested in a peep sight to mount for it and my yellow boy.

  • Chad Gordon
    December 24, 2021

    I LOVE my Henrys!! You guys make great guns!! Keep up the great work!!

  • Keith Gracie
    December 24, 2021

    The pump action sounds awesome. I am sold and want one!

  • EDDIE HALL
    December 24, 2021

    22 WMR HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FAVORITE OF MINE, SOME DAY I WILL HAVE ONE OF THESE RIFLES

  • Grant
    December 25, 2021

    If I could have located a Henry in 357/38 special or a 22 pump I would purchase today, both.

  • Col Hartman
    December 26, 2021

    To amp up the potential of this pump 22 Mag as an “even better” varmit firearm, ANY PLANS in the works to offer it with a threaded barrel for a suppressor?

  • Daniel Joesph Amundson
    December 27, 2021

    How do I get one of these pumps with octagon barrel? I checked Scheels stores around me and they are out.
    Thanks,
    Dan A.

  • Robert Sluder
    December 27, 2021

    Great read. Even learned a few new things. Thanks. We sell a lot of Henry’s, however not much with the pump action. I think because the lever action is so much more because of history.
    On a better note, in the 22m, I really like the pump action. You should have it with a peep sight. Seems more accurate. We own Cowboys, Guns and Accessories in the Seattle area, just North.
    Henry is our #1 seller when we can get them, however right now it is tuff.
    Thanks again for all the information.
    Bob 🙂

  • Steven C Leirer
    December 27, 2021

    Can you design, make, and sell this pump action rifle in the 357 calibers?

  • Jack Theal
    December 28, 2021

    Were in Canada can you buy your product, AR-7, first choice. Thank-you. J.T.

  • Robert
    December 28, 2021

    I have had my H003 for going on two years now and love shooting it. My only regret is not buying it 20 years ago!

  • Robert B. McCready
    December 28, 2021

    I want a pump action Henry 22 magnum rifle. I have tried everywhere, and I can’t find one, Can you help me?

  • JAMES DULANEY
    January 1, 2022

    I own both the 22lr and magnum pump Henry rifles. They both are beautiful and shoot straight. Look for them online if your in the market

  • Gary robinson
    January 4, 2022

    Where can I find one

  • Ken
    January 6, 2022

    I would love to see this pump action gun with side gate loading and chambered in 22Mag, 327 FedMag and 357 Mag !!

  • James Wyatt
    January 7, 2022

    I love Henry guns I have 11 Henry guns GOD bless made in the USA

  • Nolan Holifield
    January 9, 2022

    Absolutely LOVE both my 22 LR pump and 22 WMR pump rifles!!!! Best out there!!!!

  • Joseph Kandrot
    January 9, 2022

    You guys make a nice gun I will be buying another one ! The 45/70 is almost too nice to shoot .but that won’t stop me