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Old 04-20-2021, 06:10 AM
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Handi rifle thoughts



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I know these are now Discontinued however, yesterday I saw one in a gun shop in.44 mag and I am quite tempted.

I've always had a thing for single shot rifles, I would most likely home load as .44 is quite pricey here and if its anything like .38 I'm sure I can make a significant saving.

Handi rifles are now exceedingly rare in the UK and this looks like and old one made by New England firearms.



How are these rifles they look simple and rugged I'm hoping they are well made and don't break?

Any info on longevity and things to look out for when purchasing would be greatly appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 04-20-2021, 06:17 AM
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Wink

Handi Rifles are very dependable rifles, usually have ample accuracy for hunting and most practical applications. I have one in .280 Rem with a bull barrel. A good friend had one in .308 Win, until his wife claimed it.

The rifle should serve you well and continue working well for whomever becomes it future caretaker.

Last edited by Gator89; 04-21-2021 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:32 AM
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Thanks Gator,

I don't need much encouragement I'm particularly impulsive. The rarity of this rifle over here is pulling me in!

I might call the gun shoppe purveyor and ask for him to reserve it

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Old 04-20-2021, 03:01 PM
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Nef was the most recent manufacturer. H&R can be traced back to the 60s if not earlier . They had the 058 and 158 models , a shotgun rifle combo . One receiver two barrels . Thaen came the Ultra series , and limited run specials , Elk , buffalo classics . The old Shikari was a 45/70 with a cleaning rod under barrel , also available in 58 cal black powder with a ramrod / cleaning rod under barrel .
Some later hi pressure cartridges had difficulty in ejecting . These are spring loaded ejection not a mechanical cam operated extractor . Straight walled cases are good .
Ive got a 1970s set in 30/30 , 22 hornet , 357 , and 44 mag with a 20 gauge barrel as a set with one receiver . I also have a 223 ultra with a fancy Maple stock , , 260 elk comm , a 223,308 ultra , a223 handi rifle and a survivor package .

Last edited by Gmac5; 04-20-2021 at 03:04 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-20-2021, 03:17 PM
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I took my time looking over a H&R 44mag many years back. I though it was a well proportioned gun and a great value. I did not buy it, but; that was not for any issue with the rifle. A couple of friends have got good service with SB2 versions in 243 with short youth barrels. Eventually one developed a problem. Not firing all the time. In general they seemed to have a good enough reputation. I still have 4 shotguns. I had one real bad lemon, that would have been five. And I got a Remington/Ilion NY with a problem. Then I got one I kept. My experience was 20% issues in the old days and 50% issues from Remington.

If you actually hunt, as opposed to doing a ton of club shooting, these guns really work. I will take my 4 shotguns to the grave.

On the down side, these are not guns I would ever pay a collector premium for. These were low cost, simple guns. Stocks not much to look at. These were a good deal back in the day. I would think a waste of money to pay up big time.

I saw first hand an H&R's that did not eject and the other I mentioned that did not fire all the time. Having said that, if they were still in production in Gardner Mass, I am sure I would still be a buyer. My two problems were more unusual. I wont go off on a tangent about those.

Last edited by fourbore; 04-20-2021 at 03:24 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-20-2021, 04:50 PM
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Ive had quite a few in a bunch of calibers and still have several.
Check to see if it is a pre-transfer bar model, those were the most trouble free/reliable and have a double arm mainspring.
My old Shikari 44 Mag was a solid, reliable, easy to live with sgl shot and I regretted selling it within two weeks. (easy model to spot, it has a cleaning rod beneath the barrel). I liked it best with cast bullets at about 44Spl loads, maybe 44Spl '+P' level but it also handled .440 round balls run through a .430 sizer die as well as full 44Mag loads.
The later t-bar models had some ignition issues off and on. Buying replacement 'lifter and striker' parts does not guarantee you get parts that fix it (ie, I 'could' sell my old bad one on e-bay easy and it would still be bad). I know how to fix it, if you buy it and have issues pm me.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:56 PM
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I have one in .22lr that has been great for dispatching pests. I haven't seen one in 44 mag or 357 mag in years....if I do I would likely snap it up. Most of the ones I see and that is rarely is a shotgun model.

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Old 04-20-2021, 07:05 PM
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I don't have an HR, but .44Mag is one of my all-time favorite rifle chamberings (Marlin 336-44, Ruger 77/44, Rossi M92, Rem788).
I'd say, go for it.
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:12 PM
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Fwiw, I have an uncatalogued model, a 357 Mag Classic Carbine. It almost takes 360DW cases, they only need about .010 trim to fully fill the chamber. With the various powders available it can easily reach into the 357 Maximum cartridge performance (which is an under-rated one by many).
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Old 04-21-2021, 03:19 AM
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Thanks for all the replies,

I like the idea of pistol caliber carbines and was after a Ruger 77 in .357 but they aint cheap and I was slightly put off by tales that apparently the 77 needs a bit of gunsmithing to make them really shoot well.

I will go to the shop in the next day of two and have a closer examination, to see if it is indeed and older model. if it does turn out to be an older model with the transfer bar arrangement I will probably buy it and devalue it by putting a suppressor on the sharp end.

Shame we cant have pistols and you cant have sound moderators, as we call them in the UK.
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:04 AM
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To be clear, the Older Models are the Non T-Bar, and imo the more desirable.
It is easy to tell, when cocking it just watch in front of the hammer, take to full cock and hold the hammer while pulling the trigger. On trigger pull the 'lifter-striker' assembly activates and the striker rises into position behind the firing pin nub.
Btw, having the T-bar isnt a deal breaker if you otherwise like the gun, and for me would be a point of inquiry regarding return or repair 'if it doesnt work right' as well as a point of negotiation.
The striker part of that assembly is often the culprit, not being quite tall enough and/or radiused too much on the F-pin side so it squirts out like a watermelon seed when the hammer hits thus not imparting the full blow to the F-pin.
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:54 AM
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My HandiRifle .357 is at the Gunsmiths becoming a .357 Max, getting shortened to 16.5 inches and threaded, it should still handle .38 Spec/357Mag just fine.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:26 PM
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I like filling the chamber proper with the correct brass and 'avoid the jump' to the throat/lead; same considerations as with 22 Shorts in a LR except their bullet, with the rebated heel, are are pretty much case dia anyway, not so with an inside-lubricated typical cast lead bullet.
If all you shoot are jacketed bullets they can take a lot more abuse and will still straighten out once they get downbore a ways.
That 357 Max case/cartridge is a sexy little thing, and easy to handle. I stoked up some of my 360DW trimmed cases with the low-end Max data load and seated the jacketed bullet out for the same Max oal (so, even though in the shorter case the powder-room was the same and pressures would be similar, though likely less with less case mouth tension) and they performed excellently. I got the sense of what the Max can do, but for my world it is more than I need. It is really sweet with 38Spl or +P equiv. loads in the chamber filling 357DW cases.
Nice sized holes in paper
Nice smack down on steel
Nice squirrel to varmint load (think .36cal. muzzle loader size holes in critters).
A 44Mag would be similar, mine was! RB through 44S&W equv., 44Spl equiv, to Express 44Mag (lighter bullet), to heavy bullet full house 44Mag, it did it all well. I did use the RB loading for small game for a couple of season, it was just as effective as a 44 RB with a moderate load in any 44-45 muzzle loader Ive ever had and waayyy quicker to reload.

Last edited by gcrank1; 04-21-2021 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcrank1 View Post
A 44Mag would be similar, mine was! RB through 44S&W equv., 44Spl equiv, to Express 44Mag (lighter bullet), to heavy bullet full house 44Mag, it did it all well. I did use the RB loading for small game for a couple of season, it was just as effective as a 44 RB with a moderate load in any 44-45 muzzle loader Ive ever had and waayyy quicker to reload.
Have two .44's, one with sights and one without, without will get shortened and threaded eventually.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:58 PM
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Grab it and don't look back.
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