Scopes for Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum — FAQ & Buyer’s Guide!

The Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum is a lever-action repeater rifle, popular for being the “cowboy rifle” of the American Wild West. There are many calibers for the Henry Big Boy, but the 44 magnum is one of the most used — especially for hunters. In this article I am going to help you choose a scope for the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum. We are going to be looking at several different types of scopes, at different price points, so you can find one that fits both your necessities and your budget. After testing several different manufacturers, it was obvious to me that Leupold VX-3 was the best choice.

Review of Best Scopes for Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum

Here is our list of the Best Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum scopes.

  1. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T
  2. Leupold VX
  3. Burris Handgun 2-7×32 mm Rifle Scope
  4. Vortex Crossfire 2
  5. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

#1. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T

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The Vortex[1] Viper HS-T is a close contender for the best scope you can get for your Henry Big Boy 44[2] Magnum. Although this is not a cheap scope, the HS-T is well worth every cent — it is almost entirely similar to the Vortex Viper PST Gen II, which costs almost twice as much and actually is regarded as one of the best rifle scopes available.

The Viper HS-T excels at medium ranges and can also be reliably used for the longer distances — although that will depend on your chosen magnification and skill level. This SFP scope is made from aircraft-grade T6 aluminum and has quite a heft to it — this a bulky, but very resistant scope.

Image of Vortex Rifle Scope

While its build is certainly impressive, it is frankly overshadowed by the optical quality of the Viper HS-T. This scope uses low-dispersion glass, which has increased color fidelity when compared to regular glass and a considerably higher resolution. If that means nothing to you, at least retain the basics: the image on the HS-T is extremely clear and life-like.

As expected, the glass elements of this scope are coated with a protective coating that greatly reduces scratches and damage from small debris. Not only is the scope rugged and very durable, but so is the glass.

The turrets on the Vortex Viper HS-T are crisp and very pleasing to use. These turrets are the same as the ones used on the Vortex Viper PST and are quite similar to the ones on the Vortex Razor — they have true zero stop and fiber glass-etched dials, which allow you to see your settings instantly. These turrets allow you to set your elevation, windage and parallax.

The main differences that set apart the Vortex Viper HS-T from the PST is the lack of illumination, the lens size, and the reticle type. The HS-T does not have illuminated radicals, it uses a 44mm lens instead of a 50mm lens, and it uses MOA instead of MIL. And if you don’t know what MOA is on a scope, it is a means of making adjustments to account for distance and other factors.

While the aforementioned features do explain the pricier tag on the Vortex Viper PST, you need to do the math and figure out if those are features that you actually need. If you do not, you will be happy to know that you are getting a scope almost as good as the PST, for a fraction of the price. Vortex also makes some of the top scopes for a .338 Win Mag.

Does the Viper HS-T come with a sunshade?

Yes. The Vortex Viper HS-T comes with both sunshade and lens caps.

What’s the recommended torque when mounting this scope?

According to the owner’s manual, the Vortex Viper HS-T has a recommended torque of 18 ft in.

Is there a turret lock function?

There is no turret lock function on the Viper HS-T, but there is no need for one. This scope has zero-stop functionality, and you will always be able to return to zero.

Where is this scope made?

While Vortex is an American brand, their Viper optics are manufactured either in China or the Philippines. However, they are of very high quality.

#2. Leupold VX

Great Choice
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Leupold’s[3] VX line offers budget scopes and high-end scopes, with everything in between. The VX-3 sits comfortably in the middle of the pack, lacking some of the fancy doodads on the more expensive scopes, but still providing a considerable upgrade over the entry-level scopes.

Regardless of the higher quality materials and better build construction that the higher-end VX scopes might have, there is one great thing that is constant throughout the entire VX range: the glass. While the glass is unsurprisingly better at the higher end of the spectrum, the low-end glass is still generally better than the competition’s glass. So, it is no surprise that the VX-3 has excellent glass.

The secret to the quality of Leupold’s glass is not a secret at all. Leupold uses a proprietary technology, called “Twilight Light Management”, that increases twilight visibility for up to 10 minutes. With a combination of special coatings and the proprieties of the glass itself, Leupold is able to squeeze extra light from dusk and dawn. That’s why I consider them to be one of the top low light scopes for under $500 shooters can buy.

This technology gets considerably better as you move up along the line up. While the budget VX-Freedom only has “Twilight Light Management”, the VX-3 goes an extra step further with “Twilight Light Management Max”. This is not as good as the “Twilight Light Management Max HD” on the higher-end optics, but it still proves to be a considerable step-up from the budget range.

The point is: the image on the Leupold VX-3 is great, regardless of the time of the day.

The VX-3 is SFP and has a Duplex reticle with no illumination. The reticle is easy to see and provides adequate indicators at every magnification level.

Regarding the build, the Leupold VX-3 is — as is usual with Leupold scopes — a very sturdy piece of equipment. Leupold tests its optics on their proprietary “Punisher” recoil simulation machine. Each scope is built to withstand a minimum of 5,000 punisher impacts — each impact simulates 3 times the recoil of a .308 rifle.

The Leupold VX-3 is also capable of operating at a very wide temperature range — it is designed to function from -40ºF to 160ºF. This scope is also fog and waterproof up to 33 feet.

The only negative thing about this scope is the lack of parallax adjustment. Parallax is set. Other than that this is probably the best scope you can get for the Henry Big Boy 44 magnum. A few shooters ran into some Leupold CDS Dial Problems that you should be aware of.

Does this scope come with the necessary mounting rings?

No. You will need to buy the mounting rings separately, as Leupold does not include them. It is recommended that you buy medium height rings for 1-inch tubes.

Does the Leupold VX-3 come with lens covers?

Unfortunately, the Leupold VX-3 does not come with lens covers. You will need to buy lens caps that are size 16 for the eye and 19 for the objective.

#3. Burris Handgun 2-7×32 mm Rifle Scope

Burris is not new to the scope game. The 2-7x32mm is a solidly built scope that can handle the recoil from large caliber rifles and handguns, while providing excellent accuracy.

The scope itself is made from a solid aluminum block and is very sturdy. While it isn’t exactly a lightweight scope, it doesn’t weigh as much as most scopes this size tend to do. The Burris 2-7 weighs 13 ounces.

The turrets are adequate. They are not exactly what I would define as crisp, but they are easy to use. However, there is no parallax adjustment knob. The scope adjustments are limited to both windage and elevation, and there is also a focus ring near the eye piece.
This scope uses a “ballistic plex” reticle, which is quite similar to a classic reticle, but has some extra markings that will make long-range shots easier and more accurate.


The best part about Burris scopes is the fact that they have lifetime warranty. If it breaks, Burris will either fix it or replace it — and that alone might be worth your consideration. This is what makes Burris one of the top long range scopes for under $300 that I have tested.

The way I see it, there are probably better scopes out there at the same price point, however that does not mean that the Burris 2-7x32mm is a bad scope — I fully believe that you will be perfectly happy with it. But maybe you could scrounge up a few more dollars and go for the Viper HS-T or the VX-3.

Does this scope have fixed parallax?

Parallax on the Burris 2-7 is fixed, but unfortunately Burris does not disclaim the distance it is fixed at. From my tests, the scope appears to be parallax free at 100 yards.

Does this scope include lens covers?

Sadly, this scope does not include lens covers.

#4. Vortex Crossfire 2

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When you are shopping for a riflescope in the sub $300 category, you are bound to have to cut some corners. Long-range scopes have complex optical elements and adjustments that do not come cheap — it’s a wonder at all that scopes like the Crossfire II even exist.

Despite lacking the fancy stuff which you will find on the more expensive scopes, the Crossfire II hits the mark where it matters — accuracy. This is a very accurate riflescope that makes a good compromise between price and quality and will leave buyers on a budget thoroughly satisfied.

Build-wise this is an average scope. It is not a toy, but you won’t be raving about its construction to your friends. It can survive some bangs relatively unharmed, but it isn’t a scope that I would go around mishandling — or maybe I would because of its price.

The Crossfire II is made from T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, but the attention to detail is lower than on the pricier scopes. Still, assuming you treat it with care, it should last you plenty of time.

This budget scope has a classic SFP reticle, which you can see just fine at every magnification level — or could, if the glass wasn’t so bad at the higher magnification levels. While the Vortex Optics Crossfire II provides a relatively clear image at lower magnifications, as you increase the magnification things tend to get progressively blurrier, which will hinder your shooting capabilities.

Maybe that is a compromise you are willing to make, which can be okay if you are not planning on shooting distant targets. At a distance, things are hard to see, and, as you would expect given its price, the reticle does not have any type of illumination.

The turrets are a bit mushy, but they work. They won’t give you those satisfying clicks, but at least their readings are accurate. You can adjust windage, elevation and your objective. This is what makes  the Crossfire is the Best AR10 scope as well. Parallax is set to 100 yards — which is also something you will need to learn to adapt to.

While this is far from being a great scope, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II offers a lot for its small price. I would not recommend it to everyone, as there are some issues with the Vortex Crossfire. But overall it is great for the shooter on a budget.

Does Vortex include a sunshade?

No. You will need to buy the sunshade separately.

Are scope mounts included? If not, what’s the recommended ring height?

Scope mounts are not included. You should use medium rings, but the height might vary depending on your rifle. As you know, you want the scope to be as close to the body as possible, but still with enough height so it clears the barrel.

Medium rings tend to work well for this, but it will depend.

Is the reticle of the Crossfire II illuminated?

No. Since this is a budget rifle, luxuries like illuminated reticles are not included.

#5. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

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Is fitting a red dot sight on your Henry Big Boy Magnum 44 something you should do? Probably not. Is it something you can do? Most definitely yes. And if you choose to do it, the Bushnell TRS-25 is a great cost-conscious choice.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: this is a budget red dot sight (you probably wouldn’t want to spend a lot for a Henry Big Boy red dot). What that means is that it lacks in some regards when compared to the pricier red dot sights, but it is still very capable at its core function.
The build of the TRS-25 is acceptable, and it does have some heft to it — the TRS-25 is O-Ring sealed and completely waterproof. That is why it is also one of the best Ak optics available for shooters. This scope has a 3-degree MOA, but it is relatively easy to zero by adjusting the corresponding screws.

The red dot reticle is exactly what the name indicates: a red dot reticle. It has 11 brightness levels and can easily be used during the day.
While this is a budget reticle that can surely be used with the Henry Big Boy, you probably won’t want to do it for a prolonged time — this scope does not handle recoil that well after a while, and some elements are prone to damage.

If you are looking for something funny or need a red dot sight for any other of your weapons, then the Bushnell TRS-25 is probably an okay purchase. I would never recommend this sight if you intend on strictly using it with the Henry Big Boy Magnum, but at the end of the day it is your choice.

As a red dot sight, the TRS-25 does an alright job. However, it is not very durable. You should probably just get a regular scope.

Is there an included mount riser?

No. This scope does not come with any additional accessories.

How long will a battery last?

According to Bushnell, a single battery will last you around 3,000 hours at an unspecified brightness level.

Best Scope for Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum Buyer’s Guide

How to choose a scope for the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum?

scopes for Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum

Choosing a scope for the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum is a very personal decision. First and foremost, you need to understand what you are expecting your scope to do. Are you looking for a long-distance scope or something that excels at close to medium distances?

Sadly, there are few scopes (affordable scopes, at least) that allow you to do all of those things at once. So, you will need to decide what you value the most and buy something that fits your needs.

Even after deciding the range, there are plenty of other decisions you have to make when it comes to choosing the best Henry Big Boy scope. Do you want an illuminated reticle? Adjustable parallax? All of these things come with an extra price. Budget scopes rarely let you do any adjustments beside the standard windage and elevation ones.

I would like to be able to just point at a scope and tell you to get that one, but, unfortunately, the best scope for you and your Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum will entirely depend on your use case, and that is something you need to figure out on your own.

What ammo does the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum use?

As the name indicates, the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum uses .44 caliber bullets. This type of ammo was originally designed for revolvers, but it was later adapted to rifles such as the Henry Big Boy.

Magnum .44 bullets are heavy and have deep penetration potential, making them indicated for hunting small game at short distances. However, due to their size, they also produce an enormous recoil, which can be difficult to control when shooting .44 caliber pistols.

How do you load the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum?

To load the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum, you need to insert the cartridges (one at a time) on the slot located on the underside of the barrel. The cartridges need to be inserted with the end towards the trigger and the weapon should be pointed upwards, so that the cartridges slide down.

After inserting the cartridges, you can insert the inner magazine tube and lock it into place.

Once the firearm is loaded you can use the lever to place the bullets in the chamber and shoot the gun.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a scope on a Henry 44 mag?

Yes, you can put a scope on your Henry 44 mag. For most shooters, adding a scope will greatly improve your accuracy from medium to long ranges. This can make it much easier to hunt and shoot accurately on the range.

What is the effective range of a 44 mag rifle?

Generally speaking, the effective range of a 44 Magnum rifle is about 50 yards. However, there are many skilled shooters who have used this firearm for distances up to 100 yards. For most shooters, expect a maximum shooting distance of about 50 yards.

Is a 45 more powerful than a 44 Magnum?

No, a 45 is NOT more powerful than a 44 Magnum. The 44 Mag is by far the more powerful cartridge & has a tremendous amount of stopping power. The 45 ACP was originally designed to be fired from small pistols and does not produce as much energy as the 44.


I know that choosing the best scope for the Henry Big Boy 44 Magnum is not an easy task. Even with my help, you are probably still confused and unsure what is the best scope for your use case.

If I had to choose one 44mag scope from this list, I would probably choose the Leupold VX-3. I found that this scope offers a nice compromise between price and quality and offers excellent glass for a very affordable price.

The Vortex Optics Viper HS-T would probably be my second choice. This is also a great rifle, capable of competing with its bigger brothers, the Viper PST.

At the end of the day, you need to choose a scope that you are comfortable with and one that fits your needs. Which scope do you think is the best for the Henry Big Boy Magnum 44? Let us know in the comments below.


About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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