The Handi-Rifle is an inexpensive shooting platform that puts simplicity and reliability first in order to keep prices low. These rifles are about as simple as can be: single-shot, break-action rifles patterned on shotguns made in late 19th century and build with modern machinery.
Made in Ilion, New York, the Handi-Rifles are marked under two labels, New England Firearms or Harrington & Richardson, although they are owned by Marlin, which in turn is owned by Remington, which is part of the Freedom Group. And in the past, they have also contracted with the US government to produce M1s, M14s and M16s for GIs, and T223s, which were licensed productions of Heckler & Koch HK33 assault rifles for Navy SEALS, and Reising submachine guns during WWII.
So while the Handi-Rifles are quite simple, they have a strong pedigree. Being single-shot rifles they are also particularly accurate considering the price, depending on the caliber, most will shoot sub-moa out of the box. With a little sanding and bedding, Handi-Rifles can be accuratized even further. They are also incredibly rugged, as their simplicity leaves little to fail with them.
They have been chambered in many different calibers, .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, .22 Hornet, .204 Ruger, .22 Long Rifle, .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, .22-250, .223, .25-06, .280 and 7mm-08 Remington, .243, .270 .30-30 and .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .35 Whelen, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 Long Colt, .45-70 Government and .500 S&W. They also offer combination guns with two barrels, one for handgun cartridges and one rifled for slugs in .357 Magnum and 20 gauge and .44 Magnum and 12gauge. Barrels can be swapped out on any Handi-Rifle to change its chambering or profile.
Sight options vary from model to model, but are usually of three types, iron sights, no sights but a rail for optics, or sights and a rail. Their massive Buffalo Classic with its 32-inch barrel chambered in .45-70 has Williams rear and Lyman Target aperture sights with multiple sight inserts.
They also cover the spectrum of stock materials and finishes. While many are simply deep blued, several models of Handi-Rifle are available with satin stainless and case-hardened finishes. The stocks range from modern synthetics to American black walnut and laminated hardwood and come in several different styles, including straight, Monte Carlo, and thumbhole.
Another Handi-Rifle that stands out is their Survivor, which has a heavy bull barrel but compact thumbhole stock. The stock is also a large storage compartment for whatever you can stuff in it. The Survivor is chambered in .223 Remington and .308 Winchester.
These rifles are just as home plinking as they are hiking through the wilderness and stalking game. They may come in all kinds of different styles, some light, some heavy, some modern, and some classic, but they all have one thing in common: they’re cheap. Even the most expensive Handi-Rifles only run about $400, with the bulk of the models running in the range between $200 and $300.
And that’s an excellent bargain.
Photo credit Mississippi Sportsman.