Experimental Triple-Magazine Henry Rifle

This rifle is an experimental twist on the Henry, built with three magazine tubes in a fixture pivoting around the axis of the barrel. While only half the length of the barrel itself, the three tubes allow a capacity of 21 rounds, compared to the original design’s 16. The magazine assembly also acts as a front handguard, and removes the issue of the exposed follower tab on the original design. However, it adds a level of complexity, expense, and weight to the rifle that had to be balanced against its larger capacity. This idea was not put into production, and the only known example is this one.

Thanks to the Cody Firearms Museum for allowing me access to film it!


  1. Good idea, bad execution! The design is certainly less idiot-proof than the usual configuration and risks jamming with a pratfall…

    Thankfully the later tubular magazines did away with the external follower tab and therefore kept dirt out of the works. The only problem is how to load the magazine. Either the follower and end cap detach from the magazine body as on modern Henry rifles or a loading gate is built into the receiver unit. The next best idea is to abandon the tube altogether and craft a box magazine or a rotary magazine. Any objections?

    • Five extra round, plus more durable magazine, plus better sealing from the elements, plus easier loading, plus better balance, plus shielding the hand from barrel heat, plus a carbine length barrel could have the same magazine capacity.

      Seems worth it to me!

  2. The Turkish Army experimented with multiple-tube magazine Winchesters like this during the Russo-Turkish War (1870-77). They were intended for use from defensive entrenchments to deliver massed fire onto Russian “human wave” assaults, as at Plevna, so the extra weight wasn’t really an issue.

    One “side-effect” of this was the Austrian Schulhof Model 1882 rifle with a multiple-column gravity-feed to rail magazine in its hollow stock;


    Note the thumb trigger; the feed system prevented the use of a searage and trigger in the usual position.

    Another was the Austrian Mannlicher Model 1880 rifle with tube-sheaf magazine in the stock. Fundamentally the same setup as the modified Henry, but housed inside the butt rather than under and around the barrel. It can be found on pages 6 to 11 of Mannlicher Rifles and Pistols by W.H.B. Smith;


    In the 1870s and 1880s, the Austrian army was obviously very interested in increasing the firepower of the individual infantryman, when everybody else was balking at introducing even eight-to-ten-shot rifles due to fears of soldiers “wasting ammunition”.

    I’m guessing they watched what happened between Turkey and Russia with very close attention, and assumed that sooner or later, they’d be at war with one or the other.

    Pretty fair guess, actually, where Russia was concerned.



    • Nice book !
      I read Mannlicher have been pretty busy, now I see the result of his research with lot of different magazine configuration and loading systems.

  3. An (as usual) very interesting and absorbing piece – on a subject that us lesser mortals would never other wise see (or even be aware of !).
    It ‘seems’ to have been a thoroughly workable concept-practical gun and a great pity it not proceeded with – presumably the unit cost not matching the estimated market. Though I would have thought it would have at least niche appeal-uses e.g. fortress, marine and at least novelty – where its capacity outweighing (no pun intended)any extra weight or other drawbacks. Finally(though not into such) a gift for modern war gamers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.