Henry Repeating Rifle


Cleaning the Henry


There are two thoughts to cleaning the Henry Rifle.  A Civil War reenactor while attending an event may only want to field clean his Henry Rifle.  This type of cleaning will involve cleaning the barrel and the action of fouling so the rifle will continue to function for the rest of the event.  Another thought to cleaning the Henry Rifle would be to completely disassemble the Henry Rifle for a complete cleaning.


Field cleaning a Henry Rifle when blank powder is used:

1.  Using a small rubber stopper or a finger, stop up the breech end of the barrel. 


2.  Pour water down the muzzle of the rifle filling the barrel about 2/3s of the way.  Shake back and forth several times and dump the water out.  Do this as many times as are needed until the water comes out relatively clean. 


3.  With a damp rag wipe out the breech area including the carrier area and the carrier.  Using a dry rag, wipe all surfaces dry.


4.  Using a cleaning rod and dry patches, dry the inside of the barrel and chamber area.  Use as many patches as need to dry the insides.  The final patch should be oiled and lightly oil the inside of the barrel.  Using this oiled patch wipe down the breech bolt and breech area.


5.  The final step should be to lightly wipe down the outside of the Henry Rifle barrel and lever with an oiled patch or rag.


You should be good to go for the next day’s battle.


For a complete cleaning you would want to remove the side plates, toggles, lever, barrel sleeve and magazine spring, carrier spring and lever spring, and carrier.  Completely clean all parts, lightly oil and reassemble. 


If smokeless powder is used then use a good powder solvent to clean all of the parts and lightly oil.


If using a “flash” powder then you might want to clean with water first then lightly oil.




Using plastic blanks will leave a plastic residue in the chamber and the barrel that is very difficult to clean.  Using plastic blanks can cause several concerns in authenticity and safety.