Episode-1417- The Amazing NEF/H&R Handi Rifle — 45 Comments

  1. thanks so much for doing this show jack. after hearing your response to my question the other day i am super excited to listen to this show tonight. in response to your idea of buying a rifle and then buying the youth stock to go along with it well… i searched a local dealer and found a combo rifle that comes with both stocks for the same price as the youth or adult! check it out H&R 72637 Handi-Rifle SB2 Yth/Adult

  2. Fun show. I’m one of those ammo geeks that enjoys reloading almost as much as shooting.

    I’ve been a fan of the .38/.357 family for a while because of the wide range of capabilities, AND the potentially low cost if you get into handloading and bullet casting. As you said, the said cast lead 158gr SWC can fly at 600fps or 1200fps depending on the powder charge.

    That idea of reaming for .357 maximum is intriguing…

  3. Oh that was a great show for my ears!! Thanks for going over this subject. I am a big fan of the pistol rounds in rifles also and liked hearing your thoughts on it all. I think these rifles really do offer a person the ability to try before you buy in a since. Most good rifles are $700+ for a rifle you would hand down to your kids, but how do you know if you selected the right caliber? You get one of these and try them out. My uncle has one with like 10 barrels and it has helped him understand the calibers on a much higher level than most people, because he has shot, reloaded and shot them all again.

    I would like more guns with the beans. I know your not a gun podcast, but i sure enjoy the subject along with learning about everything else. Thanks

    • Yea now that you mention it that sorry ass bitch needs to get his ass on here and talk about that 21st Century Long Hunter series. Hey Dave, see this? LMAO.

      For those that may not know, Dave is a dear personal friend the above is in jest.

  4. Neat rifle, neat show

    Nice to hear someone enthusiastic about the force and flexibility of the .35 Whelen… if you’re also a .357/.38spl shooter and happen to have jacketed pistol bullets, there are several loads that will push those bullets out of a .35 Whelen case at .357 Maximum velocities. No, it doesn’t make sense if you have a .357 Max rifle, but it’s a nice light-kicking round to practice with a bolt gun in that caliber and awfully deadly on lighter-skinned game at shorter ranges without the full .35 ‘Wail-on’ overkill.

  5. Also in convertible single-shots…

    One of the first guns I learned with (and still have) is my grandfather’s Savage 219/220. It follows the same general idea as the Handi-Rifle but has an internal hammer and no takedown screw (the front stock just levers off). Barrels were available in .22 Hornet, .30-30, 20ga, and 16ga. Maybe others. Pop-pop bought the .30-30 and 16ga barrels with a nice little canvas carry case. It’s long been a little rusty and unkempt, but it’s always worked and has brought home more than its share of game simply because it’s been a perfect ‘truck gun.’

  6. How awesome it is when you do a show on something as near to my heart as the NEF series of guns!

    When I was 11 years old my dad got me a Pardner shotgun in 20 gauge for Christmas; it was my first gun, and is still my most prized possession. I learned to hunt with it. Nowadays I shoot it with a 28 inch vent rib barrel in 12 gauge, and it is every bit as effective against clay pigeons and squirrels as a thousand dollar Beretta.

  7. Never understood why anyone would like a single shot until I shot my first H&R. I previously used a Rossi…bad experience. I enjoy shooting the H&R more than my bolt guns.

    I have heard from H&R enthusists that the newer guns aren’t the same quality and the barrel accessory program is very slow and that it’s thought that the current NEF/H&R owner would like to do away with the program. Anyone heard that?

    One of my favorite shows Jack!

    • The barrel program has always been slow, 6-8 weeks. Have not heard a thing about quality issues. Marlin is the new owner, they are lock solid on quality and always have been. Shutting down the program would be sad, gut I can see why they might do it. I likely takes a lot of time/money to administer compared to the profit it generates.

      I guess it is time to get a shit load of barrels while the window is open.

  8. Great show.

    I am thinking of getting a new rifle for deer season, and the H&R Handi Rifle is definitely in the running. Whatever rifle I get, I am seriously considering the .243 for our smaller (<250 lb max) Alabama deer. Most shots would be taken at ranges of 100 yards or less.

    The .357 Maximum is interesting, especially in a rifle where the inter-cylinder gap and forcing cone erosion is not a factor. Since kinetic energy is 1/2 of mass times velocity SQUARED, the improvement in energy of .357 Max over .357 Mag is of course a factor of (1600/1250)^2 or 1.638, or about 64% more. It's a significant jump.

    • I love and I mean LOVE the Handi Rifle it is so affordable! So much fun, too.

      That said in your area when I assume you are hunting the bush mostly not open fields? If that is the case and if you can find one the older Ruger 44 Auto Carbines are absolutely fantastic bush deer guns.

      I don’t have one of those but I do have one of these

      The 44 might be the most underrated deer round on the planet, where shots are not much over 100 yards that is. I would not take it as a first pick for where I hunt in Southwest Texas because I often shoot 200 yards or more down there. But man when you get into the woods it is just flat out amazing.

      Then there is the old 336C in 35 Remington. Great gun!

      All around gun though for just about everything hard to beat either the 260 or 7mm-08 in a compact bolt action like the model 7.

      So many choices!

      One thing I have thought of doing is either taking a 357 reamed to Max or 44 Magnum Handi Rifle, cutting the barrel to 16.5 inches, having it recrowned and doing it up with a good peep site set.

      I am ALWAYS looking for what I call the “baby guide gun”. A while ago Marlin made what they called a Guide Gun, a short barreled ported 45-70 on the 1895 frame. It was AWESOME but it is discontinued.

      Someone up there then got the idea to do the same with the 1894 and cut the 44 mag down to a 16 inch barrel and put ports on it. The ports were dumb, the damn thing has almost no recoil and I feel the ports killed the idea. They harm nothing but people looked at it and said, why?

      My answer is I don’t care! I just want one, a 16 inch barreled 44 mag, in a lever gun. Now that is a Eastern Woods gun!

  9. I have had several nef/h&r over the years, the first one was a 12ga with a fixed modified choke, that I paid $80 for, brand new. The only one I still have is a h&r topper deluxe with 3 ½” chamber. I bought that gun, an extended turkey choke, and a box of 10, 3 ½ inch turkey loads. I took the butt pad of, and found it had a steel bar filling the hole through the stock, which I removed. I have never, in all my life, shot anything that recoiled that hard. My 375H&H is a kitten comparatively, and I gave away the other 9 shells. The steel bar went back in the butt stock. I never got into much tinkering with them, beyond refinishing stocks.

    I agree about the 22 hornet not being like a 22wmr. My friend had a nef in the hornet, and insisted on shooting squirrels with it. A 22wmr can be messy vs a squirrel, the hornet tears them in half.

    Remington bought out marlin a few years back. There were some definite quality issues that ensued in the marlin leverguns afterward, but I never heard of any issues with NEF/H&R.

    The one gun that has always intrigued me, is the H&R 1871 Buffalo Classic. I have kicked around the idea of getting one, and having it reamed to 45-110. They run about $400 locally, and the only other option for someone to get a long range style 45-110 is a sharps reproduction that will go over $2000 easily.

  10. Excellent little gun. Max loads run about like a 7.62 X 39 Russian, and you can download it all the way to 32 S&W Long ballistics. You can make brass from any 223 family case, and some of us have cut a rim slot in the chamber that allows use of 357 mag brass as well, although the neck is short. Initially it met some resistance as most new SMALL capacity cartridges do, as most shooters seem to get “magnumitis” but once they tried it most of that vanished. I have a load that has a 112gr cast bullet at about 800 fps into one hole at 25 yards and is quieter than a high speed 22LR, and can be loaded for 7 cents per round.

  11. I am trying to decide on getting the t/c venture or the Ruger American rifle. I will listen to this show before making a decision. Nef does make a 25-06.

    • Yep they sure do. I had one in my hand years ago at a gun show with a sweet looking cinnamon laminate stock on it, nicely checkered too.

      I had spent all my cash and the guys stupid card reader would not read my PayPal debit card. I left because the ATM was tapped out, drove down the road a few miles, found an ATM and came back, it was sold.

      The seller felt bad he said guys always say they will come back and never do. He said to make up for it I could take 10% off anything on his table, sadly there was nothing else he had I wanted.

      I think I wanted that gun as much for the stock as the round it fired.

  12. Love the show Jack. I am a 30-06 guy too. You were breaking my heart the whole show! I think you sold me on the 7-08. You know the late grits Gresham carried a Rem model 7 in 7mm-08 later in his life. He shot big bull elk with it no problem.
    My wish list is now a 25-06, 7mm-08, 30-30 win 22-250 and the 357 mag/max.
    Thanks for the show Jack!
    Maybe we can get one gun show a month?

  13. Excellent show, Jack. I do love a good gun-geek show now & then.

    I like what I hear about the 22 Hornet – and the NEF/H&R may be the only way I ever get a gun in that caliber. But I’ve been wondering, ever since episode 451, if a .223 load could be developed to mimic the performance of the 22 Hornet? The cases are roughly similar and the calibers are close. It would be just as reloadable as the 22H and it might have some advantages like longer case life (from using a light load in .223 cases), more available dies & cases and getting more use out of a .223 rifle.

    Could this work or is there a key detail I’m missing? I can’t be the first to have this idea. So is anyone doing this. And if not, why?

    • You know the cartridge just doesn’t seem to “load down” very well. It is what it is and it does what it was made to do very well.

  14. Re: the 357 Mag, I remember a guy a the LGS who said it was inferior because the load was not meant to push the round through such a long barrel (16″ or greater). I’m skeptical. BS?

    • BS, you will eventually get to a point where the barrel length will be enough that the expanding gases have reached their limit, and the bullet will start to lose velocity while still in the barrel. Where that point is reached I don’t know, 30″, 40″?. A 20″ barreled 357 still has some muzzle flash when firing 38 special loads, so it’s not an issue. There are guys that fire thousands of rounds of reduced velocity 38spl cowboy action loads through 20″ barrels and I’ve never heard of a problem.

      Any cartridge will have increased performance when fired from a rifle compared to being fired from a pistol. Usually a couple hundred feet per second increase, if not more.

      • Trekker111 is dead on right. I don’t know where the sweet spot is, the point were something like H110 stops pushing the pill a little faster but it damn sure ain’t less than 16 inches.

        I have never chrono’d my 357 out of the handi, so my numbers are estimates but they are based on real data from an 18 inch barrel, so they are conservative.

        I can tell you for a fact both the Max and the Mag had real measurable gains going from a 12 inch Encore to a 18 inch Contender when we tested those out with a chronograph.

        Now I think if you put a 16 inch barrel on a REVOLVER you’d likely get past a point of diminishing returns. Likely long before it. Due to the venting at the forcing cone but that isn’t what we are talking about. We are talking closed breach.

        All one need do is pick up a Speer Manual where all load data is based on factory chronograph results he is one example.

        357 Magnum fired from a Marlin 1894 barrel length of 18″. Bullet 158 grains, charge N110 at 15 grains, MV – 1738

        357 Magnum fired from a S&W Model 19 barrel length of 6″. Bullet 158 grains, charge N110 at 15 grains, MV – 1253

        Again that is from Speer, these guys and other companies that publish data are meticulous in testing. They have to be for liability reasons alone.

        The above is pretty black and white isn’t it?

  15. I’ve been looking for something that is cheep to shoot. However I’ve been trying to buy .22 ammo for almost two years and still cannot get much. I don’t know much about different ammo types so am looking for suggestions. I am willing to learn reloading to further bring the cost down.

    This will mainly just be target practice with my son plus ground hog control.

    • For dirt cheap to shoot it is hard to beat plinking with the 38spc.

      Cheap lead wadcutters, a can of powder and a case of primers go a LONG way with it.

      It is even pretty cheap to buy ammo for

      I mean right there you are at 32 cents a round. Not to mention you end up with 1,000 rounds of brass. The Marlin Lever Gun in 357 is a a lot more fun to shoot but it costs more. The NEF in 357 will slow you down, you will do a ton of shooting hours before you burn off 1000 rounds one at a time.

      The 38 is also quiet in the NEF, I would say as quiet at least as the 22, down loaded a bit it would be quieter.

      • You should be able to walk into any gun store and order one, often even at reduced cost over one out of their rack since they don’t have to sit on the inventory. Check avenues for person to person sales as well. Because the rifles cost so little, people looking to get rid of one often hang on to them because most stores that buy used guns will only give $50 to $100 on a handi rifle, and even less on the shotguns. So they sit on them, or find a buyer themselves.

        I have seen a FEW used NEF rifles at gun stores, but not many. The 3 I sold were sold to friends.

  16. My local Gander Mountain (which is usually a ripoff) has a bunch of these guns in stock for $299. What kind of prices are you guys seeing?

    Also, while it’s real easy to find a used 12 gauge, the rifles seem harder to come by on the used market…

      • You can find used ones on gun you just have to make sure they are not to old so that the barrel accessory program will work. I have just missed two opportunities to buy used hand I rifle receivers. Receivers only. One went $75 the other $85. That would be a good value.

  17. Well this is just cool. I listened to this show thinking to myself “man, I need to get one of these”. Then I remembered that my first shotgun I used as a kid was a break action single shot .410. So I visited my parents house, dug into the back closet and turns out, I do own one! I just never knew it could be anything other than a .410!

    • Jon I have one of those to. From the early 80’s. Unfortunately the are too old. I called NEF they only will sell you barrels for I think 2000 and newer handi rifles

  18. Great show! I own many and they are the ones I keep on the 4-wheeler. The 357 Max is awesome, I thought I was the only one that had one. I really like the 500 S&W, great pig roller. Keep up the good work, educational and entertaining!