H&R 'Handi-Rifle' Question


Col. Plink
August 19, 2009, 05:30 PM
Hey y'all!

I'm considering putting together one, possibly two, rifles for my nephews (who are early adolescents).

I'm wondering what folks' opinions are of the H&R 'Handi-Rifle', especially in .223 and possibly .308 I'm thinking the youth model might be better for their current size but they're headed into the big growth spurt so possibly not (I don't think the rifles are all that big to begin with).

If I can I'd like to go with the .223 for the slighter one and .308 for the larger, for ease and affordability of the round. If not .308 possibly .243

Recoil in a single-shot .308 might be my only concern (unless there are QC issues with these H&R's), but I don't think it would be all that bad for a young man who'll be over the moon to have it and get proficient with it.


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August 19, 2009, 05:37 PM
.308 recoil will be pretty stout on a 6.5 pound single shot.

.243 will bring down muleys and black bear, why go with .308?

August 19, 2009, 05:38 PM
My cousin got one in .243 for Christmas when he was 10. He was and still is kind of a small fella' and handled it just fine. Cody is now 19 and still considers it to be his favorite "meat grinder". Another note, my younger brother stated with a H&R .410 at 8 and did fine with that as well.

August 19, 2009, 05:38 PM
I would recommend getting both rifles in the same caliber for the sake of interchangeability of ammunition and also so that the younger one doesn't feel left out when the older takes his .308 to go hunting and the young guy has to stay home with his .223.

Also, I'd get the full size if they are almost big enough already, on the other hand no one likes to learn on a rifle that is too big for them if this is to be their first.

August 19, 2009, 05:38 PM
I have a .223 handi rifle with a synthetic stock.It's a sweet shooter with no felt recoil.I added a bipod [Harris ultra light] and it's as accurate and fun a rifle as you could hope to find.Length of pull should not be a problem,as it's already about ''youth sized''. USE HEARING PROTECTION...I call mine ''Barky''.

August 19, 2009, 05:38 PM
I have one in .270 that I traded for, and I'm quite pleased with it. I shoots MOA with Rem CLs. Greybeards Outdoors Forum, has a whole section on accuracy with Handi rifles, and things you can do to make them more accurate. I'm happy with the accuracy of mine as it is. I have a 14yr old who will be using this rifle for mule deer hunting this season. He has no problems what so ever getting on target and handling recoil.

chestnut ridge
August 19, 2009, 05:41 PM
The 308 handi rifle does have noticeable recoil. One of the great
features is the extra barrel you can buy from H&R. Someone will
post the latest on this; I am out of date.
I would get two rifles in 223 to start; since they are easy to shoot and
you could always get extra barrels in bigger calibers later.

Ranger J
August 19, 2009, 05:50 PM
Accuracy with handi rifles seem to be 'iffy'. There seem to be some calibers that have 'problems. In the past I have had the following--1. 223 Shot well but had ejection problems. Sold it to get Savage 200 in same caliber. 2. 'Old 44 mag' It was terrible and patterned rather than grouped with everything I ran through it and I used just about every combination I can think of. Sold to someone that was going to convert it to 445 super mag. 3. 'New 44 mag" shoots great and I still have it. 4. 357 mag. Terrable barrel the chamber was too long and sold it to someone that was going to convert it to 357 max. 5. 308 shot good with very little recoil as I filed the bolt hole in the stock with lead shot. Sold it as I wanted a multi shot gun in that caliber. 6. 45/70 In my opinion the best barrel Handi makes. I have heard very little bad about them and mine came right out of the box shooting any load I ran through it well. Still one of my favorite barrels. With the lead shot in the stock and light Trapdoor level 300 gr loads it has little recoil.

Reading the comments on the Handi rifle forum the 243 barrels seem to have lots of accuracy problems.


August 19, 2009, 06:17 PM
Maybe a 30-30 rather than a .308?

August 19, 2009, 06:35 PM
Quick thoughts...

Recoil sensitivity and physical size are not always related.

Have the boys fired different types and calibers of guns and do you know what they like, either in terms of calibers or perhaps what kind of hunting they'd like to do?

The synthetic stocks at least are standard $35 Choate parts, so I'd say get them what fits well right now.

A good choice might be the Survivor series in .308, .223 or .45LC/.410 as they are a bit "cool," come with slings and their lenght of pull happens to be right in the middle between the standard and compact size stocks at 13.25".

Hope this helps and good luck,


August 19, 2009, 06:46 PM
I have a 30/30 and a 308. My 308 is the 'Survivor' heavy barrel. Recoil is not bad with it, but it is as heavy as a bolt gun. The lighter barrel model works well in 30/30, and it's all I need for deer and hog...

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