By: Tom Claycomb III
When I met with Dan Clayton-Luce, the vice president of communications for Henry at the 2023 SHOT Show, he showed me their new 9mm semi-auto Homesteader. I can’t tell you why but right away I knew that I had to test one out. I’ve never classified a gun as a “Fun Gun,” but the Homesteader hit me as a fun gun to own.
I see three purposes in owning this gun:
- Like the name depicts, I think it’d be a great little rifle to throw in the truck if you’re a rancher or farmer. It’d be handy to shoot snakes, badgers, ground squirrels, coyotes and other pests.
- It’d be a good home defense gun. Especially if you have a high-capacity magazine.
- Plinker — It’d be an awesome tin can plinker or to take new shooters out for the first time to learn to shoot.
The Henry Homesteader comes with a 5 and 10-round magazine. Dan had told me that it was compatible with Glock mags. I just assumed that they had worked a deal with Glock to use their magazines since this is the first semi-auto for Henry. Not so. To shoot with a Glock mag you simply tap out three pins, remove the Henry mag well and replace it with a Glock mag well adapter.
What I didn’t realize is that they also offer a mag well adapter that is compatible with SIG/M&P mags. So, by switching out the mag well adapter you can use high-capacity magazines from a few of your favorite pistols.
To write about accuracy I needed to mount on a scope. The Homesteader comes with a nice peep sight but it’s not fair to a manufacturer for me to say a gun can only get an X-inch group when really that group is just depicting how bad I am shooting with open sights. So with this said, I slapped on a Sightron S1 4-12×40 AO G2 scope for this test.
The Sightron scope turned out to be a good choice. It has a good, crisp view and when I’m done with this test, I’m going to mount it on a Mossberg Patriot LR Hunter .300 Win Mag for an upcoming Texas Exotic hunt in May.
SIGHTING IN THE HOMESTEADER
As is my custom, I ran out to the high desert country to do my shooting. Not the norm but there was only a 2-4 mph. wind which provided for perfect shooting conditions. To have a firm rest I used a Caldwell Stable Table Lite and Caldwell sandbags.
It surprises me how many hunters just lean over the hood of their truck and shoot off of a folded-up jacket to sight in their rifles. Their reasoning is, they don’t have a rock-solid rest when hunting in real-life scenarios. While I understand their reasoning, I’d contend that it is faulty reasoning. You sight in your rifle so it hits where you shoot. If you want to practice shooting offhand, off a rock etc., that’s smart. But it is not the time to shoot in awkward positions when sighting in your rifles. Make sense?
After mounting a scope, I always set up a target close to get it on paper so I know what adjustments I need to make. For targets I use Allen targets. I like their targets with a square corner which allows me to put my crosshairs on the corner. My groups really tighten down when I use Allen targets.
To see where the rifle was hitting, I started off shooting some cheap ammo. After the first shot I made the necessary adjustments and after a couple of more shots and tweaks I was ready to get serious. I then moved the target out to 50 yards. I’d feel super comfortable shooting pests at 100 yards but my gut feeling is that it has maximum performance at 50 yards. If something is out further, I’ll use the good ol’ Kentucky Windage method to hit my target.
I would say when testing a rifle, it’s important to use good ammo so as to be able to obtain the best groups. But really it is important to always shoot good ammo so as to always get good accuracy. So with that said, I took three flavors of Hornady ammo out for this test. I’ve had good luck with Hornady to obtain good groups plus it performs well in hunting scenarios. For this test I used three Hornady flavors:
AMERICAN GUNNER +P 124 gr XTP
CRITICAL DUTY +P 135 gr FLEXLOCK
CRITICAL DEFENSE 115 gr FTX
- With the cheap ammo I got a 2 3/8-inch group.
- American Gunner ammo — I obtained a 1-inch group, the first two shots were touching.
- Critical Duty — I got a 1 3/8-inch group.
- Critical Defense — I got a couple of 7/8-inch groups.
So, you can see by the above test why I say that it’s important to use good ammo. If you used ammo #1 your evaluation would have been, it’s a fun gun to shoot but inherently inaccurate. But if you shot the Critical Defense ammo you’d exclaim, wow, not only is the Homesteader a fun gun to shoot but for a 9mm it is an extremely accurate rifle.
Since it was a new gun I ran a couple of Swab-Its foam tips down the barrel when I mounted the scope but I didn’t touch the action which may be why I did have one jam-up.
An added plus is that the Henry Homesteader comes with a threaded barrel. I screwed on my Silencer Central Banish 30 suppressor and shot a bit with it. But I’ll write a product review on the Banish 30 after the upcoming Texas Exotic hunt with Adventures Missions and Retreats.
I love the Henry Homesteader. It has a uniquely engraved wood stock. In this world of plastic stocks, who doesn’t admire a wood stock? It is a fun gun to shoot and is an attractive rifle to boot. Shoot one and I bet you’ll soon be owning one.
Round Blued Steel
Rate of Twist
Hard Anodized Black
Drilled and Tapped
Scope Mount Type
Length of Pull
Top-Mounted Thumb Switch
Swivel Studs. 5-round and 10-round Henry magazines included. Threaded Barrel (1/2×28). Ambidextrous bolt handle. Additional magazines and adapters available separately.