SIDNEY — The Shelby County Bicentennial Committee will be offering commemorative Henry rifles to be sold to the public.
The commemorative rifles to be sold include the Henry Standard, the Henry Golden Boy, and the Henry Big Boy models.
“When the committee first began planning Shelby County’s Bicentennial, we discussed offering a commemorative Henry rifle,” Shelby County Bicentennial Committee Co-chair Bob Guillozet said. “After a great deal of research, we began working with Brian Nesby of Rocky Mountain Firearms. A part of that work included choosing the facets of Shelby County’s history to include.”
“Perhaps the toughest part of the entire project was designing the engravings that would best illustrate Shelby County’s history,” Guillozet continued. “Brian’s engravers worked with Mary Beth Monnier of Creative Marketing Strategies on the final design of the images used.”
“Benjamin Tyler Henry invented the first practical, lever action repeating rifle,” Shelby County Bicentennial Committee Chair Mike Barhorst said. “The Henry rifle, patented in 1860, gave a single man the firepower of a dozen marksmen armed with muzzle-loading muskets. The rifle changed the outcome of several engagements in the Civil War, and certainly in the Indian wars.”
“The rifle’s revolutionary design and rapid rate of fire made the Henry popular with both the military and civilian purchasers,” Barhorst continued. “Reports of the successful use of Henry rifles in the Civil War were numerous.”
One such example was the account of Major William Ludlow at the Battle of Allatoona Pass. “What saved us that day (Oct. 5, 1864) was the fact that we had a number of Henry rifles,” wrote Major Ludlow. “This company of 16 shooters sprang to the parapet and poured out such a multiplied, rapid and deadly fire, that no men could stand in front of it and no serious effort was made thereafter to take the fort by assault.”
After an encounter with the 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which had the good fortune to be armed with Henrys, one Confederate officer is credited with the phrase, “It’s a rifle that you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long.”
The Henry rifle would go on to play a significant, if not dominant role in the frontier days of the American West. It would soon become one of the most legendary, respected and sought after rifles in the history of firearms. A contemporary rifle collection isn’t complete without a Henry rifle.
Available From Rocky Mountain Firearms will be the Henry Standard. The .22-caliber rifle will have a blued receiver and round barrel. Only 25 of the guns will be available, and each gun will be engraved with the number in the series. The Henry Standard will sell for $699.00.
The Henry Golden Boy has a brass finished receiver and octagon barrel. It too is .22-caliber. Like the Henry Standard, only 25 of this model also will be available. The Golden Boy sells for $895.
The Henry Big Boy is a large-bore rifle, and only 10 will be offered. It comes with an octagon barrel, and can be ordered in one of four calibers, including .357 magnum, .41-caliber, .44-caliber, or .45-caliber. It too, comes with a brass finish receiver. It sells for $1,495.
Located in Johnstown, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Firearms is a small, family-owned business that has been producing special edition firearms for 17 years. “My wife and I grew up in South Dakota,” Brian Nesby of Rocky Mountain Firearms said. “When we both turned 40, I was offered a job in Colorado in the firearms business. We talked about the opportunity, and knew that if we didn’t move at 40, we never would. I started my own company two years after we moved. We’ve never had reason to regret the move.”
“We’ve sold a number of commemorative Henry rifles in Ohio, including Perry and Lawrence counties,” Nesby continued. “We generally create these guns for centennials, sesquicentennials and bicentennials. I try to spend a lot of time learning about the history of the community for which the guns are being produced.
“Rocky Mountain Firearms is far more interested in quality than quantity,” Nesby said. “As you can see in the pictures of the rifle being produced for Shelby County, we engrave historical scenes from your area and your history. The rifles make very fine family heirlooms and make great gifts as well.”
“We like to give back,” Nesby said. “We want to leave money in Shelby County, and that’s why we are donating two guns, a Henry Standard and a Henry Golden Boy, to be raffled off, with the money benefiting the Shelby County Bicentennial Committee.”
The right side of the butt stock includes an engraved image of General Isaac Shelby and a map of Shelby County including the townships. The left side includes the bicentennial logo and the tower of the courthouse.
The right side of the pistol grip includes an image of Schultz’s Battery. The left side of the pistol grip includes an image of the Grange Hall on the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
The right side of the forearm stock includes a farmer plowing a field with the plow pulled by a team of horses, and an image of two foundry workers pouring molten metal into a mold. The images represent both agriculture and industry.
The left side forearm stock includes an image of Lake Loramie and the logo of the Shelby County Deer Hunters Association. Lake Loramie State Park is Shelby County’s only state park. The Shelby County Deer Hunters Association is the country’s oldest sportsman organization.
Those wishing more information or to purchase one or more of the commemorative Henry rifles should contact Brian Nesby by phone at 888-742-4867 or 970-231-3050. Orders are placed in the order received.
“It truly is a limited edition offering,” Barhorst stated. “Once the guns are sold, no more will be produced.”
“Additional information concerning the raffle for the Henry Standard (No. 1) and the Henry Golden Boy (No. 1) will be released once the guns have been manufactured and delivered,” Guillozet stated. “We hope to have raffle tickets available shortly.”