I’ve been wanting to suppress a lever action rifle for a while now and finally got my hands on a Henry Big Boy Steel Carbine 357. A suppressed lever action will have the quieted action of a sealed breach, yet a speedy reload with a flick of the wrist.
I chose the carbine model because the magazine tube is shorter than the end of the barrel and wasn’t going to need modification to use with a suppressor. Also the shorter 16.5″ barrel wouldn’t be unwieldy as a 20″ barrel after adding a 6″ suppressor on the end. I chose .357/.38 special because I already had the reloading setup. .45 Colt might be a better choice and pack more subsonic punch, but to each their own. Furthermore, .38 rounds will be cheaper to shoot, and I get my kicks from sending lots of lead downrange.
However the challenge in this project was on the gunsmith side. Although Henry barrels are threaded into the receiver, they are retained in a way that is very difficult to disassemble, and the factory won’t remove it for you. After some searching and asking I found Bullworx in Amarillo that was happy to tackle the project. In addition to threading the barrel to the standard 1/2″ x 28 they milled back the front sight just a touch. Then I mounted a Griffin Armament 3 lug mount that would host my Revolution 9mm suppressor.
I was pleased that my suppressor had a low enough profile that the factory sights worked without modification. Upon initial testing I was not getting satisfactory groups, but I discovered my suppressor likes to be indexed a certain way on the 3 lug mount. I didn’t see any evidence of baffle strikes or other damage, so I just keep this in mind when mounting. Results are now hit or miss if I have an issue when indexing it another way but I’ll have to keep you updated if I ever find out the root of the problem. With it indexed with the baffle cuts at 6 o’clock it shoots straight and quiet as can be, with easy 1″ groups at 25 yards and easily hitting 6-8″ plates at 100 yards by adjusting the rear sight up one notch.
While a reloading gate would have been more ideal for this project, the 3 lug mounted suppressor is easy enough to remove for reloads. I haven’t shot full power 357 loads through it, but since the Griffin Revolution can is full auto rate I imagine it can handle them out of a 16″ barrel. But this was built as a quiet gun so I don’t have any motivation to break the sound barrier.
As evidenced in the video this project ended up just as quiet as I was hoping for. I want to shoot it side by side with a suppressed .22LR and see if it’s just as quiet because it sure seems to be. Next I’ll have to figure out how to thread the Marksmanship Camp .22s!