H&R Handi-Rifle

I don't write on firearms all that often, but I don't know how I've overlooked this gun for so long! Probably because it was a single shot, it has stayed below my radar for the years that I have been owning and shooting long guns. It's been funny actually, I purchased this gun and mentioned it in passing to a client acquaintance I have. He hunts and knows guns, and responded "Oh, are you just getting into shooting? I started with an H&R single shot." I think his response summarizes how I too felt about single shot firearms for so long - that they belong to new shooters who need to learn the basics. Once you know the basics, it's time to upgrade! But part of my efforts this year have been to pare down the equipment I own and carry, both  in quantity and complexity. I still have an eye for the latest tactical toys, but my attempt at learning simplicity have really shown me that personally I often try to replace practice and true expertise with equipment aesthetics. Not my favorite thing to admit, but too often true for me. When in fact, the Handi-Rifle, in all it's single-shot glory, is plenty of firearm for my casual shooting purposes!

Now for the really amazing part! If you want to shoot another caliber through your Handi-Rifle, with a new barrel and minimal modification, you can! Calibers supported by this platform are many - .357, .44, .223, 30-30, .243, 30-06, .204, .35, .500, even 12 and 20 gauge are a few of them. The model I purchased was a .223 with a 24" heavy varmint barrel. Right off, I visited Graybeard Outdoors (the guys on this forum are the grand poobahs of H&R everything) and traded the heavy .223 for a narrower profiled 30-30 barrel of shorter length. I also picked up a 20 gauge barrel that will fit my handi as well. Officially, H&R wants customers to buy their additional barrels directly from them. They have a pretty streamlined process laid out here, to send your handi in to them, purchase the barrel of your choice, and then let H&R smiths provide, install, and tweak it. Turn around time on the rifles seems to be running in the 3-6 week range. However with the newer Handi-Rifles, most folks now are able to buy a 'new' used barrel and swap it out on their own without any trouble. Swapping out barrels on your own is as simple as unscrewing the hold screw in the forend, opening the action, and lifting the barrel rearward and up. To install, do the opposite. If you want to do further modifications such as floating, be certain to check out Graybeard Outdoors.

For an inexpensive, versatile rifle, I have very high hopes that this gun and I are going to get along. You just can't beat being able to add another caliber with such an easy, affordable change. Now all this praise and enthusiasm may be premature because I have yet to shoot the thing! I've got a day off coming - range report after that!

1 comment:

  1. Their only flaw (other than that stupid plastic trigger guard)is their trigger-pull, which is usually stiff and isn't adjustable. They're tack-drivers, though!