By: Enid Burns

Just a year before Google was founded, and more than two decades after Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computers, the first Henry Repeating Arms model H001 Classic Lever Action .22 rifles went on the market.

The rifles were meant to evoke the classic lever action designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry, and while there are no actual ties to the New Haven Arms Company, Henry Repeating Arms is a true spiritual successor. While equally noteworthy, those first rifles – which have become sought after by collectors – were not produced ‘down by the Rio Grande’ or anywhere “Out West.”

Rather, when the company first opened, it was located on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York —  “Back East” in the Connecticut/Massachusetts’ “Gun Valley” region – where the American firearms industry was born.

“Colt had a showroom in Manhattan, as did other gun makers of the era,” said Brooklyn-born Anthony Imperato. Imperato took out a home equity loan to fund and launch the Colt Blackpowder Arms Company, producer of the historic Colt revolvers and muskets under license from Colt’s Manufacturing.

Along with his father, Louis Imperato, the father-son duo leveraged decades of the family’s experience in the gun business to develop a rimfire lever action rifle in 1996, and to launch Henry Repeating Arms. Today, the company is headquartered in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, employing more than 550 people and operating three manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and New Jersey.

Henry Repeating Arms currently manufactures more than 200 different rifles and shotguns in a wide variety of calibers and finishes for hunting, home protection, collectors, and a wide variety of shooting sports endeavors. Notable standouts include the company’s flagship rifle, the Henry Golden Boy .22; its centerfire counterpart, the Henry Big Boy; a complete line of youth-sized rifles and shotguns; a sprawling collection of engraved Tribute Edition firearms; and a popular modern approach to the lever gun, the X Model series.

Lifetime Warranty

Since Colt Blackpowder Arms Company first opened in Brooklyn 25 years ago, all Henry rifles and shotguns are supported by a lifetime warranty, a “personal guarantee” from Anthony Imperato, and the company’ award-winning customer service department that is empowered to make any decision necessary to customers’ complete satisfaction.

In 2016, Henry Repeating Arms won a Stevie Award in the Customer Service Department of the Year category at the American Business Awards.

Silver and Gold

Imperato credits the company’s success to its hard-working employees.

“Without a doubt, we would not be here celebrating 25 years of success without the hard work and dedication of every Henry Repeating Arms employee, several of whom have been with me since day one. They are the heart and soul of the company,” said Imperato. “And to all of the Henry owners around the world that have chosen to make us a part of their lives, thank you, we are eternally grateful.”

Those sentiments have been echoed by Henry Repeating Arms President, Andy Wickstrom, who said that Henry fans have much to anticipate this year.

Throughout the year, Henry Repeating Arms will celebrate 25 years of business by releasing several limited-edition models, including the Golden Boy “Silver Anniversary” Limited Edition, a special edition of the New Original Henry, a 25th-anniversary edition of the H001 Classic Lever Action .22, and other special rifles yet to be announced. Exciting!

“I am incredibly proud to have been involved with Henry for 24 of the 25 years that the company has been making and shipping guns, but I feel an even greater sense of pride when I look to the future.” Wickstrom continued. “This company was built on a solid foundation of talent and sheer determination, and while we have come a long way, it still feels like we are just getting started.”

Great Causes Indeed

Over the course of its 25 years, the company has launched a charitable branch called Guns for Great Causes, where Henry Repeating Arms has made significant financial contributions to children’s hospitals and to families of critically ill children.

Guns for Great Causes has also provided support to active-duty and military veterans’ organizations, law enforcement and first responder organizations, pro-Second Amendment organizations, shooting sports education groups, and wildlife and habitat conservation entities. As part of Henry’s 25th-anniversary celebrations, the company is further donating 1,000 Golden Boy “Silver Anniversary” Limited Edition rifles to raise a total of $1,000,000 for distribution among deserving constituencies.

Equally impressive is that throughout its two and a half decades in business, the Colt Blackpowder Arms Company has lived up to its motto and promise: “Made in America, Or Not Made At All.”

Enid Burns is a freelance writer based in Michigan. She covers a wide range of topics from antique relics from around to the world to the latest bleeding edge technology too. Her exposure to military history and firearms comes from her husband, fellow freelance writer Peter Suciu, and together they have traveled the world visiting around 20 countries on five continents. Together they have built a collection of helmets, uniforms and small arms representative of armed forces and conflicts that span the globe. She and her husband continue to travel to military collectibles and antique arms shows around the country to find more treasure, and to discover more topics to research and to write about.