There are many reasons why I tend to support local companies and jobs is one of them. I am happy to see the growth of Lesleh Precision of Belle Vernon. As many of you who read my articles know, Lesleh Precision makes the working parts of Henry Rifles. Strange as it may sound, the firearms market is soft with sales centered in military look alike and handguns.

Sporting firearms are just not selling well and some of the major firearms companies are in trouble. Conversely, here is Henry, whose sales are growing. Its motto is, “Made in America or Not Made At All,” which certainly doesn’t hurt its standing with me. But mottos cannot stand alone. Made in America is a good thing, but better yet is the offering of a locally made product combined with high quality and a reasonable price.

I received a call from Ron Heisel, owner of Lesleh Precision, asking me to come up to his Belle Vernon plant and see some of the new offerings. Now, you my readers know I just jumped in my truck and headed down there to see for myself. Perhaps the biggest change in the Big Boy and other lever action rifles was the manufacturing of a rifle with a side loading gate. This feature offers the shooter the choice of loading through the side gate or from the muzzle end of the magazine.

The arrangement enables the hunter returning to his vehicle to empty the magazine without running each round through the action. Just remove the spring assembly from the magazine and turn the rifle over and gravity will do its part and the ammo will fall out. Some of Henry’s offerings take a little trust from the American Buyer. Who would ever have thought we would see a single barrel shotgun being made or even a break open single shot rifle? What about their offering a rifle in a lever action shotgun in the .410 gauge? Or a lever action rifle with a brass receiver in .223 caliber? There are just too many variations of firearms to mention them all. But one thing they do that other manufacturers don’t do is personalize your firearm.

Do you want brass? They have it in brass and also in silver, case hardened or just blued. The name Golden Boy is self-explanatory. They also have commemorative models for farming, mining, boy scouts and so forth. All of this is made here at home, offering, not just jobs, but good jobs to local workers. Of course, the back bone of Henry’s line is the lever action rifle, some in rim fire and some in center fire. Henry even has the nerve to pull the old 38-55 cartridge out of retirement and offers a lever rifle in that chambering.

The Henry Company is owned by a New Yorker, Louis Imperato, but we won’t hold the New York bit against him because he has created a successful gun company that must have been inspired by the old western movies. Whatever and wherever, we owe a debt of gratitude to this city-raised gentleman who has done so much for the shooter and the hunter. Oh, I almost forgot, Thanks also to Ron Heisel for the great work done by Lesleh Precision. I had a great time looking at the new line of products and visiting with my friends at this great manufacturing plant. I hope they continue successfully for many years to come.

  • Every year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission offers two days when a person can fish in the states waters without the possession of a fishing license. The second of these two days will be on July 4 and the other falls on May 26, which is today. So all of you folks who want to take a youngster fishing or for that matter fish yourself, today is the day to do it without the cost of a license.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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