Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The "Poor Man's Survival Rifles"

Hello CMFSP Listeners,
I am beginning the process of uploading material to this blog that I hope will help you in your Survival/Preparedness planning.  This is the first article, submitted by a listener in Oregon, which also happens to be my home state.  I welcome other submissions and will credit each author however they want to be credited. :)

Darrell in Oregon
      At this time there is a tremendous amount of interest in survival firearms. I 
believe that for purely defensive purposes semi-auto rifles cannot be beat. I have a few 
SKS's and a Mini-14 for those purposes. I also have several bolt action rifles that could 
serve as dual purpose guns (defense and working). However,  many people who want to 
prepare for an uncertain future lack the finances to purchase M1-A's and AR-15's. Thus, 
the purpose of this article is to inform these people of what I consider to be a viable 
      The Harrington and Richardson (H&R)  firearms manufacturing company has been making 
weapons for more than one hundred years. Down through the years they have made untold 
numbers of handguns and rifles. Today, however, they make mostly single shot rifles and 
shotguns. They also sell pump and semi-auto shotguns. I want to write about their line of 
American made single shot firearms. The vast majority of the time a single shot should 
suffice for survival shooting. Michaels of Oregon makes a 9 shot sleeve that you can put 
on the stock to carry extra ammo. A plus feature is that these rifles don't carry the 
stigma of  "evil assault guns".
     One of the best features of  H&R products are the prices. You can purchase one of 
these rifles for less than $300. Although they are available in a number of calibers, I 
recommend what I call the "Big Six."  Having owned numerous guns for the past 
55 years, I have learned that the most popular rifle calibers are: 223 Remington, 243 
Winchester, 270 Winchester, 30-30 Winchester, 308 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield. 
Someday you may find yourself in need of ammo in some podunk village miles from the 
nearest city. If you locate a little store that sells any ammo at all, you'll probably 
find one or more of these calibers (if these shortages ever end). That cannot be said 
about exotic calibers such as 257 Weatherby, 300 Remington Ultra Mag or 308 Norma Magnum, 
etc. You get the idea. Stick with common calibers. H&R  shotguns usually sell for less 
than 150 dollars. They also have a line of low cost rimfire rifles (.22, .22 magnum and 
.17 HMR). 
     I recently purchased an H&R in .223 Remington. It uses the same cartridges as my 
Mini-14. I also wanted a rifle that shoots .308 Winchester, so I bought one of those. 
Another caliber that found its way into my battery was a 45-70. This caliber violates 
what I just wrote about having common calibers. But I always wanted a gun in that caliber 
to play with and it was very low priced so I yielded to temptation. I now have 3 H&R 
single shot rifles.
     But, get this! You can send the receivers back to H&R and have OTHER CALIBER BARRELS 
fitted to them! Then you can change calibers in a minute! For example, I plan to send in 
the receiver from my 45-70 and have 270 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield  barrels fitted 
to it. One Gun - three calibers! I also want to send in the receiver for my .223 and have 
a .243 barrel fitted. Inasmuch as I already have a Marlin 30-30, that will enable me to 
shoot ALL of the "Big Six" calibers. You can also have shotgun barrels fitted 
to these rifles.
     Furthermore, you could  buy one shotgun and have it fitted with several different 
barrels such as rifled barrels for slugs, long or short barrels, and different gauges, 
     And you could purchase one rimfire rifle and have it fitted for the 3 available 
     So, how much does it cost for an extra barrel? According to the H&R website, extra 
barrels cost from $90.00 to $120 for rifle calibers. Shotgun barrels run from $44.00 and 
up. Rimfire barrels range from $61 to $70. There is a small fee for fitting the barrels 
and of course there are shipping costs. I figure that the cost of the two extra barrels 
plus fitting them to my receiver and shipping will go like this:

                                           Cost of Firearm (45-70)               $243.
                                           .270 and 30-06 barrels                $180
                                           labor to fit 2 barrels                     $30
                                           shipping and handling                 $20
                                                  Total                                  $473

Dividing $473 by 3 (the number of calibers), you find that it will end up costing me 
$157.67 per caliber! Can you get brand new guns for that kind of price anywhere else? 
These costs are from the H&R website and their Barrel Accessory Program brochure 
(effective February 1, 2007, so labor and shipping might be a bit higher today).
     Of course, these rifles are based on technology that has been around for decades. 
But, what's wrong with that? If they function well (and all three of mine do), sometimes 
the old ways are very acceptable.  A really good feature of these firearms is that they 
come with exposed hammers which must be manually cocked before firing. They have a 
transfer bar mechanism similar to Ruger revolvers. This insures that the hammer cannot 
contact the firing pin. It is neccessary to hold the trigger all the way back for the gun 
to fire. Without a finger on the trigger the gun will not go "bang"! I consider 
this to be very safe. Also, they all use the same type of scope mount base so you only 
need to purchase one scope and one set of rings which can be easily switched from gun to 
gun. I do it all the time.
     Just for the record - this author has NO connection to ANY gun company! 

 (Chip's note: The web site for the company that makes these rifles can be found here: )

1 comment:

  1. For the larger calibers, I recommend only wood stocks. I had a Handi-Rifle in 30-06 with a synthetic stock and ended up trading it in. No matter what I would try to do, the recoil was just brutal. I handloaded powder-puff 110grain bullet loads, and filled the stock with lead shot, and it still caused me to much pain to shoot. I've spoke with other Handi-rifle owners, and they agree that the synthetic stock is not the way to go.