Henry’s New Classic Farm Tool: The Smoothbore Garden Gun

The pest control “rifle” designed to fire 22LR snake shot is back in a proven lever action platform.

henry garden gun smoothbore
The Henry Garden Gun Smoothbore is designed to deal with pests around the farm and is built on the company’s Classic Lever Action .22 platform.Henry Repeating Arms

Henry Repeating Arms is bringing back a popular close-range pest control tool of old with its new Henry Garden Gun Smoothbore.

The garden gun was charged with eliminating pests from orchards, farms, and other places where food grows or pests hang out, with the added benefit of not damaging the very structures and environments the guns were supposed to protect.

While technically .22 rifles (22LR in the U.S. and usually 9mm in Europe), they were shotguns for all intents and purposes meant for close-up work, with smooth bores designed to be used with tiny pellets known as “rat shot” or “snake shot,” which was typically #12 shot—only five hundredths of an inch in diameter.

The small pellet size meant they aren’t capable of carrying a lot of energy, as such, there was little chance of doing damage to wooden or tin structures on the farm, and that a ricochet or stray pellet likely wouldn’t injure any nearby livestock.

cci shotshell 22 lr
The 22LR shotshell from CCI loaded with #12 rat shot.CCI

Henry says a garden gun has not been produced by another major manufacturer since 2002. Additionally, most of the more recently produced garden guns were bolt action or slide action, making Henry’s new offering a bit more interesting.

Keeping with tradition, Henry’s new Garden Gun is built on the company’s Classic Lever Action .22 platform—which crossed the 1,000,000 production mark in late 2017—and is designed to 22LR shotshell cartridges.

“This may be a niche product, but it fills that niche particularly well,” says Henry Repeating Arms president and owner, Anthony Imperato. He continues, “For the farmer or the gardener, it’s something convenient to keep closet close at-hand to dispatch pests without using a level of firepower that could cause even more property damage than the pests themselves.”

The use of .22 LR shotshells are favored for tight quarters or enclosed spaces due to their quieter report, negligible potential for harmful ricochet, and an impact that is unlikely to penetrate walls and roofs.

federal ammo 22
Federal also makes .22LR shotshell ammo for pest control as part of its Game Shok line.Federal Premium

The rifle features an 18.5-inch round blued steel barrel with no rifling for a tighter shot pattern and better range than you get with 22LR shotshells fired through a rifled barrel. It has a 15-round tubular magazine and ash wood furniture finished with a black stain—while it looks handsome, it’s also to differentiate it from similar Henry Classic Lever Actions.

On top is an adjustable rear sight and blade front sight providing plenty of accuracy for the short-range shots the gun is designed to make.

It weighs in at a scant 5.25 lbs. and is a compact 36.5-inches overall for a trim rifle that promises to nimble and easy to carry. MSRP: $421

Henry Garden Gun Smoothbore SPECS:

Barrel Length: 18.5"
Barrel Type: Round Blued Steel, smoothbore
Rate of Twist: N/A
Overall Length: 36.5"
Weight: 5.25 lbs.
Receiver Finish: Black
Rear Sight: Fully Adjustable
Front Sight: Blade
Scopeability: 3/8" Grooved Receiver
Scope Mount Type: N/A
Stock Material: Black Ash
Buttplate/Pad: Plastic
Length of Pull: 14"
Safety: 1/4 Cock
Best Uses: Target/Pest Control