.44 magnum Henry mares leg. Good for SHTF?


March 18, 2012, 11:08 PM
Ok guys I'm brand spanking new here. First let me give a little background here. First Im a 34 year old male and I've been in a wheelchair all my life. I love the outdoors, and prepping for an uncertain future. The problem is, when I'm in the woods, I have to crawl to get to remote areas. I need something small,light, powerfull enough for deer. I'm really digging the style and quality of the henry pistol/rifle. I would like some feedback on the survival aspect of this gun. I know it only holds six rounds, but I live out in the country, and have no interest in fighting my way to Chicago to get a loaf of bread. I'm figuring it's small and light enough to shove in a pack, and powerfull enough to solve most problems. I also have a small stockpile of .44 mag ammo to keep my Ruger Super Blackhawk running. I can't seem to get this thing out of my head, so any advice is greatly appreciated

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March 18, 2012, 11:32 PM
While the mare's leg is a cool looking item, it's just not practical for your stated needs. It's heavy, requires both hands to manipulate, is slow to load and would be extremely hard to work while prone. I think you'd be better served with a Redhawk or another Super Blackhawk, if you're set on the 44 Mag cartridge.

Good luck with your Quest.

Jorg Nysgerrig
March 18, 2012, 11:37 PM
We really don't do generic SHTF threads here. If you have a specific scenario that doesn't involve TEOTWAWKI for a survival situation, please feel free to be more specific.

Owen Sparks
March 19, 2012, 12:32 AM
Any good handgun should out preform it.

March 19, 2012, 12:58 AM
Not a serious gun for anything. Much better choices are plentyful .

March 19, 2012, 01:56 AM
A very bad choice for your purposes.

March 19, 2012, 02:31 AM
You'd be much better off just using your Super Blackhawk or a full-sized 44 lever.

murdoc rose
March 19, 2012, 02:49 AM
the mares leg while cool isnt really good for anything, firing it is awkward at best. Once you get one in your hands you'll understand.

M2 Carbine
March 19, 2012, 10:24 AM
The problem is, when I'm in the woods, I have to crawl to get to remote areas. I need something small,light, powerfull enough for deer. I'm really digging the style and quality of the henry pistol/rifle.
I have the Rossi .357 and Henry 22LR.



I like the guns. Like some other "unusual" guns it can be quite deadly in the hands of an experienced shooter, although there are usually better guns available for most situations, like your 44 Blackhawk.

In your case, I don't believe the Mare's Leg would serve you well.

Although the .223 is generally a little small for Deer, a small size, fairly powerful, very accurate, fairly light weight, high capacity, low cost gun that can be fired with one hand, is the Kel Tec PLR.
It can be "bare bones".

or fully dressed out.

March 19, 2012, 10:41 AM
M2 Carbine, that is the first time I've seen the kel-tec, and I have to say I'm digging the style. Looks better than any AR pistol I've seen. I appreciat all the comments so far guys. I pretty much knew the answer already, its just one of those things I had to hear from somebody else I guess. I get kind of bull headed when I fall in love with something. So what else would you all recommend to take the place of the mares leg? Remember, small, light, powerful and rugged is key here. Worst case scenario, I'll be packing one rifle, one handgun and limited supplies. Thanks again everyone, even though you shot me down, I love talking guns!

March 19, 2012, 11:00 AM
It's a gimmick gun carried by a made-up TV character from the improbable early '60's.

As has been stated, you can do much, much better.

Welcome! come in, be comfortable and enjoy learning.


March 19, 2012, 11:52 AM
The Henry could be pressed into service, but I think something with a stock would be much better for deer hunting. There are .44 Mag leverguns that aren't all that much bigger and pack pretty easily.

All that said, you can't deny Gee-Whiz factor of the mare's leg. :)

March 19, 2012, 12:07 PM
I'd pay 200 dollars, get a tax stamp, and put on a real buttstock on one of those guns. It would be a great short barreled rifle.

March 19, 2012, 12:44 PM
razorback 2003 has an idea there.......That would really fit your needs.....chris3

The Lone Haranguer
March 19, 2012, 01:04 PM
I don't see what it would do that a M4-style carbine or other collapsible or folding stock carbine (preferably, if legal, that can still be fired folded) would not.

March 19, 2012, 01:10 PM
Welcome to THR '75.

March 19, 2012, 02:19 PM
I think the Black Hawk will work fine for your needs. The mare's leg is not a light handgun. But if you want it, get it.

Contrary to some here, I think the mare's leg has potential for your purpose and certainly is a fun gun. I question if you would or could put it in a pack when you are in a wheel chair. Hence, I think your single action 44 should be just as good. The mare's leg is a gimmick gun, no question. But I would much rather have this than a Judge or something similar. I have the Henry 22LR version.

March 19, 2012, 03:10 PM
I'd consider a 10.5 AR pistol with the short ACE buffer tube. I'm building my second one as someone liked my first one more than I did. If you brace the buffer tube against your cheek you can have a solid 3 point stance. I've shot some really nice groups that way.

I've found that shooting a mares leg is hard on my wrist because of the angle.

March 19, 2012, 05:06 PM
Hey guys thanks for all the replies. I forgot to mention that I live in Illinois I guess, so owning a legal SBR is out if the question. Redlg155, I dont suppose you could post a pic of this AR rifle could you? I've been looking at a Colt AR for a while, but for some reason, I just can't fall in love with this rifle, and it's $1100. I really enjoy shooting the low-tech stuff. Can't really explain why. I would rather pack and shoot my ruger SBH than my Glock 22 with the 22 round mag and flashlight. I'm also considering buying a marlin 336 30-30 and cutting it down to a 16-18 inch barrel, cutting off a couple inches off of the stock, and putting a scout scope set-up on it. Just figured the henry is almost that already from the factory.

Apple a Day
March 19, 2012, 05:58 PM
I recently saw a Mossberg lever-action rifle in .30-30 with a telescoping stock. It may have been the single ugliest gun I've ever seen but with the sliding stock it might fulfill your criteria. Check out their website.

March 19, 2012, 06:00 PM
(Shudder) I've already seen it. Warning, the following plastic-fantastic may make you nauseous. ;)


March 19, 2012, 06:02 PM
Welcome to THR '75.

Ah, the bad old days!

So, are you on even or odd days for your gasoline ration? Want to swap plates so we can get gas on both days?

March 19, 2012, 06:03 PM
As long as "Disco Duck" doesn't start playing. Oh, wait, that was '76. ;)

March 19, 2012, 06:07 PM
Ordinarily I'd agree this is just a fun gun for cowboy shoots. But then I got to thinking. Clamp the ML *TO* the wheelchair on a telescoping arm and you don't need no stinkin' buttstock. Then you've got something the rest of us would really envy. A light, handy firearm with more stability than is remotely possible off a bench for most of us running around on wobbly bone legs.

The whole point of the buttstock is to make up for the fact that, while standing or squatting or kneeling, the human body and arms are constantly swaying and flexing and moving all over the place. If you are in a chair and will have to essentially fire either from the chair or prone anyway, the need for the buttstock is diminished.

Thing is, I'm not sure it's legal at that point. I don't know what the AFT's position is on wheechair handgun mounts. Anyone know?

March 19, 2012, 06:08 PM
Go over to Straightprep.com/forum
for some good SHTF talk. I try to stick to general gun talk here at THR.

Hocka Louis
March 19, 2012, 07:44 PM
We all here know just how it is to get something in one's head. Research, a trip to the LGS or Funshow, and finding the checkbook soon follow... Interesting, albeit momentarily lockable, thread.

I like the pics. How does one actually SHOOT a Mare's Leg anyway!? Seems the worst of both worlds...

March 19, 2012, 07:47 PM
Unfortunatly I don't have a pic of the one I sold and the new one is not completed, however, AR15.com has an excellent AR pistol section that has a wealth of information. The trick is to use a recoil buffer like the ACE so you have that extra to brace against your cheek so you can shoot it like a rifle or pistol. It's close to the SBR but without the paperwork.

March 19, 2012, 07:54 PM
Collapsible stock on a lever action huh? Just when I thought that Jersey Shore was the worst thing to come about lately, someone has to blow it out of the water. Lol. Just kidding man. I'll at least check it out, since you went through the trouble of telling me about it.

March 19, 2012, 08:23 PM
@Cosmoline thanks for the tip buddy, but if I had to hunt from a wheelchair, I probably wouldn't hunt. The woods here isn't exactly up to wheelchair friendly specs if ya know what I mean, so it gets left at home. I use a John Deere Gator to get me in the general location, and hoof it on my hands and knees the rest of the way.

March 19, 2012, 08:29 PM
Thanks Redlg, I'll go check it out as well. I like the Ace Socom stock allot. It was gonna be the stock for my AR that I dont have .Lol

Carl N. Brown
March 19, 2012, 08:47 PM
How does one actually SHOOT a Mare's Leg anyway!? Seems the worst of both worlds...
You get the DVD of Steve McQueen's old TV series "Wanted Dead or Alive" and watch how Josh Randall does it.

March 19, 2012, 09:12 PM
@Swing I don't know which one I should do first. Thank you for saving me from wasting my time, or throw up.Lol Who at Mossberg thougjt this was a good idea? We should all buy one of these, because they will no doubt be collectible. Thanks man

March 20, 2012, 12:20 AM
Honestly, I bought my son one of those youth model red riders. Go check one out, hold it, and decide if you want something smaller than that. I cant hit a damn thing with that goofy thing! But my son is 6 so it fits him perfect.

March 20, 2012, 01:47 AM
The main flaw in 10-inch ARs is the drastic loss of velocity in a caliber that already has its deficiencies.
For that reason plus the unwieldy clumsiness inherent to the AR pistol package I wouldn't bother with one.

Mounting a Mare's Leg to a wheelchair?

Before this gets too far into fantasyland, if there's already a reliable Ruger that you're familiar with & can shoot reasonably well, what's wrong with sticking to it?

March 20, 2012, 02:13 PM
Chute2thrill I know what you mean about being cramped up trying to shoot something that doesn't fit ya.lol Guess I'm just gonna have to wait till one of my dealers gets one in stock. I've held the .22 version, and yeah it's a bit on the small side. I think if I could find a slip on recoil pad that would actually fit I'd be ok. All I need is another 1-1 1/2". Yeah I know, story of my life.lol
@DPris- dont worry buddy, you will never be seeing a mad max styled wheelchair coming through the woods, I save that one for the street! There is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to a proven formula, I'm just always searching for the perfect survival gun,and I have yet to find mine. What I may end up doing is buying a marlin 336 & chopping it down making it a barely legal youth sized carbine. The marlin has allot of aftermarket goodies available as well.

March 20, 2012, 02:22 PM
When talking about traditional rifles (of the non-black kind), you might be better off with a bolt action rifle sized for kids as opposed to the Marlin 336 which is a fairly heavy rifle.

Another option is to get a Thompson Contender in say 30-30 or something similar which is really not a bad choice.

March 20, 2012, 09:17 PM
@22 rimfire Yeah I've been thinking about the thompson too. 16" barrel and a youth stock makes for a very compact rifle. Gotta love the single shots for that! Thompson Center make some deadly accurate guns too. Could carry an extra barrel in my pack too, say a .22lr. Oh boy there goes the wheels in my head again!lol

March 20, 2012, 10:43 PM
Guns1975, what part of our great communist state are you from?

March 20, 2012, 11:26 PM
A Kel Tec S16C might be a good deal for you. Its stock folds under the rifle with the AR type magazine still in place. The gun can be fired in the folded position or unfolded. Folded it's about the size of a mare's leg and should be pretty maneuverable from a wheel chair. Unfolded it handles like a normal rifle. It also has a built in bipod which folds under the barrel when not in use. It's not a very pretty weapon but its very light, functional, reasonably priced and would be good for game up to deer sized and as well for two legged predators. These rifles can be found around $550-600. The SU16CA is a CA model which no one outside CA would want.

March 21, 2012, 02:08 PM
Oops double post's!!!!!

March 21, 2012, 02:17 PM
Ljnowell, Im in the southernmost part of Illinois. Just outside of metropolis .
@exavid I have seen the su16, and I agree, it is pretty funky lookin'. Lol. Looks dont get you anywhere though. Do you own one? I'm just curious about the long term durability and accuracy. If it shoots good and last's who cares what it looks like! I've been told my local gun shop has a .45 colt mares leg in stock, so I'm gonna go check it out friday, just to see how it fits. I'll report back, if it suck's I'll be the first to admit it and throw this whole thread in the crapper. Thanks guys

March 21, 2012, 03:26 PM
When you do, keep in mind it's not a rifle & you don't shoot it like one.

March 21, 2012, 04:03 PM
I haven't fired the SU16, only handled it. A fellow I know has one and likes it, says while it's not the finest looking or finished gun it shoots well. Not so fine a finish seems to be a Kel Tec trademark. I was going to buy one, thought it would be a good SHTF rifle but decided I wanted to go more toward a 5.56 target rifle. So I ended up with the Stag M4L with its longer bull barrel. Comparing the weight of the two guns sure shows the difference almost 2:1 favoring the SW. If I had to hike any distance the SU's weight, about half my Stag's, would get my vote.

March 21, 2012, 05:03 PM

I know this is not your question but when you say you live in the country do you mean a rural area with lots of farmland and low population or more like a suburb where everyone has 5 acres?

What I am questioning is why you feel the need to bug out and crawl around in the woods? We live in the country and no way am I bugging out and leaving everything I have worked for behind for looters. We are in the process of moving to a old farm and I already have been making plans for survival (mainly tornadoes but if my shelter can survive a tornado it can withstand a lot of other things).

In regards to the Ranch Hand the best carry method I have heard of is in a backpack that has a long vertical outside compatment that you can use as a scabbard.

March 21, 2012, 08:26 PM
DPris--- yeah I know you're supposed to just kimd of hold it out there with two hands to shoot it, but I'm wanting to see if it's just long enough to shoulder and fire, if not I may just buy a full-size stock and cut a couple of inches out of it.
Exavid--- I know all about the not-so-top-notch finish on the kel-tecs, the ones I've shot seem to work well though. I'll have to lay my hands on anything before I buy it. Maybe one of the local shops around here will have one. From what I have read, it sure makes a good canidate.
BSA1--- I live in a rural area. You're just as likely to see a tractor on the road as you are a car. My main purpose for this rifle will be to acquire food for the family, and the woods are pretty thick here. The ONLY reason I will be bugging out is if our chemical plant goes south, or we have a localized disaster, like a major earthquake. We like on the new madrid fault line.

March 21, 2012, 08:41 PM
Well a major chemical leak and living on a earthquake fault line are certainly good bug-out reasons to me. As for the Ranch Hand it is on my to buy list simply because it looks like a lot of fun to shoot.

March 21, 2012, 09:18 PM
Yes, you are "supposed" to hold the mare's leg with two hands... but you can snuggle up to it and shoot it like a short rifle or you can shoot it from a rest like a rifle. The size does present some challenges.

In regards to the Ranch Hand the best carry method I have heard of is in a backpack that has a long vertical outside compartment that you can use as a scabbard.

Or you sling it over your shoulder in a scabbard.

March 21, 2012, 09:29 PM
BSA1-- I won't buy a guy if it's not fun to shoot. To me, if it's not fun, I will never shoot it enough to get good with it. I mean, if its gonna feel like a job, I'd rather be at work.lol
22 rimfire--- so you're saying it has " snuggle" potential? Man I hope so. I like to cuddle.LOL

March 21, 2012, 10:38 PM
I've been told my local gun shop has a .45 colt mares leg in stock, so I'm gonna go check it out friday, just to see how it fits. I'll report back, if it suck's I'll be the first to admit it and throw this whole thread in the crapper.

Excellent. Look forward to the report. :)

March 22, 2012, 12:05 AM
Here's the kid shooting the Ranch Hand:


March 22, 2012, 08:32 AM
Mainsail--- Great pic!

March 22, 2012, 09:08 AM

the only one that can pull off a gun like that is steve mcqueen and hes dead.


check out the vid hunting my not be as far out there as you think but it could be expensive.

March 22, 2012, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the pic man. The video was awesome as well. I subbed to his channel.

March 22, 2012, 01:03 PM
It's not a matter of "supposed to", it's a matter of the inherent limitations of the gun & people trying to make it into something it isn't.

With scrunching, it can be fired with the stock nub against the shoulder.
It's neither comfortable nor efficient, and it makes the gun even slower in repeat shots.
It also places the action against the face, which is not a good idea.

Adding any length at all, such as a pad, to make it more shoulderable runs the risk of drawing LE attention & possible federal charges, and so does attaching a stock, since both make it an illegal weapon without the proper federal process being involved.

If you're absolutely determined to have a relatively short '92-style levergun, I'd suggest you just buy a 16-inch Rossi & go with that.
You'd have four inches more in the barrel, but you'd have a couple more rounds, and you could take a couple inches off the rear & get much better efficiency & more practicality.

March 22, 2012, 05:13 PM
DPris--- I've been checking out the rossi line , and the 16" model caught my eye. Also looked at some uberti's lastnight looked pretty good. I don't have any experience with either make however, I checked out a rossi ranch hand and noticed the action was nowhere near as smooth as the henry's. It would probably loosen up over time though, and the price difference is pretty signifigant as well. I would never modify a gun illegally, what I meant to post was in a SHTF type environment, I could throw the longer stock on. Sorry I didn't clarify that. Definately gonna check the mares leg out tomorrow, as well as some rossi models. Nobody stocks too many uberti's around here for some reason. Thank's for lookin' out for me on the SBR thing.

March 22, 2012, 09:53 PM
i personaly think the gun is more of a toy (as in no real usefulness) than any thing. if you want one get one it may work for ya who knows i would kinda like one rigged up with a holster and every thing just to have. Im not opossed to haveing a gun as a just ot have thing i have a thompson thats not really practical for any thing but its cool to own and go plinking with. in a real shtf situation there are much more pratical guns.

basicaly what im saying is if you want one get one hell its cool in a way.

March 22, 2012, 10:14 PM
Here you go:


March 23, 2012, 12:10 AM
(Shudder) I've already seen it. Warning, the following plastic-fantastic may make you nauseous. ;)

Laugh all you want, but I was shopping for another rifle the other day and that thing came up in side conversation. LGS apparently can't keep it on the shelf.

March 23, 2012, 02:30 AM
AKA "PT Barnum Special".

March 23, 2012, 07:16 AM
I cannot imagine a Mare's Leg being good for anything beside making TV Cowboy's look cool.

March 23, 2012, 07:19 AM
steve mcqueen

LOL maybe if carried 44-40 ammo and not 45-70 with his piece.

March 23, 2012, 09:07 AM
I think these lever action pistols are just about the most useless guns ever put on the market. They require two hands to operate and are too big for effective concealment.

Forget about the impractical toy and get a good handgun.

March 23, 2012, 10:38 AM
I think these lever action pistols are just about the most useless guns ever put on the market.
Then you should definitely not get one.
They require two hands to operate and are too big for effective concealment.
What's your point, or, so what? Who said concealment was a requirement?
Forget about the impractical toy and get a good handgun.
Toy? That's a dangerous attitude. Maybe people should get what they want. I love shooting mine, which I can assure you is no toy, and it suits my purposes perfectly.

March 23, 2012, 03:24 PM
Mainsail--- is that you're gun and scabbard? If so that is one sweet set-up.
Panzercat--- I don't doubt that it's a big seller. You put a collapsible stock and a rail on it, and people will be beating down your door to own one.
I went to my local shop today and checked oit the henry mare's leg
Positives were--- great craftsmanship, great looking and compact.
Negatives were--- wrong caliber, it was a 45lc. And price, $749
I asked them about getting a .44mag and they said that everything is hard to get right now due to the huge demand on guns right now. They only had three lever actions there, and two were .22lr
Due to the cost of the firearm and limited availabilty, I decided to buy a marlin 336. Price was $387 . It's the 20" barrel version, and it comes with a camo allen brand sling. I know allot of you guys say " don't buy a lever -action, get an AR", but honestly I 1) am not really an AR kind of guy, and 2) can't reall justify spending a grand on one. I'm still really interested in the mares leg, but may purchase a rossi ranch hand instead in .44mag. They are just way more reasonably priced than the henry, and for what I'm gonna use it for, I dont need anything to fancy. The gun shop that I buy my handguns from, I'm assuming, took some pretty serious damage from the tornado we had hit a couple of weeks ago in harrisburg,IL because nobody answers the phone, and I don't wanna go there stirring around and get in the way of the clean-up efforts. It's a pain buying a handgun in KY and having to transfer it to IL, that's why I went ahead and purchased the marlin. SO ANYWAY, can you all give me reliabilty/durability reports on the rossi ranch hand? I'll probably start another thread asking this. Until then, I'm gonna customize the marlin to better fit my needs. Thanks for all the help guys. Hell, we didn't even have any fightin' in here.LOL

March 23, 2012, 03:35 PM
You know what would be sweet? An SBR'd mare's leg with a suppressor, preferrably in .45.

March 23, 2012, 06:37 PM
I must be getting old...

Apple a Day
March 23, 2012, 06:45 PM
I cannot imagine a Mare's Leg being good for anything beside making TV Cowboy's look cool.
Better accuracy and power due to the longer barrel than a standard pistol. I've got the .22 version. Easy to carry small game gun and fun target Gun. Not everything has to be "tacticool".

March 23, 2012, 07:01 PM
You know what would be sweet? An SBR'd mare's leg with a suppressor, preferrably in .45.

Yup. I've been giving it some real thought.

Edit to add:
Most of my thought has been about one of these in .45-70govt. What it would lack in velocity (to stay subsonic) it could make up for in weight. Think of it like being a cowboy version of the .458 SOCOM.

March 23, 2012, 09:05 PM
Neither of my ML's are more accurate than a good quality revolver.

Can't say much about longterm durability on the Rossi, but mine's certainly reliable. So's the 16-incher.
Both, however, have been worked over & are not exactly stock. :)

March 23, 2012, 09:13 PM
Do you have anybody in your SHTF group? Where are you located? When it happens we can't survive on our own.

March 23, 2012, 10:43 PM
Dpris--- thanks for the report man. Glad to hear your satisfied with rossi quality. Was it reliable stock? Or is that why it got worked over?
I hope I'm not driving everyone nuts with all the questions.
Bluethunder--- I live in a rural area with allot of open farmland around. I live up on a big hill, surrounded by family members, so we're doing pretty fair as far as location goes I guess.

March 23, 2012, 10:49 PM
The holster is from Cochise Leather (http://www.cochiseleather.com/r10-mares-leg-rifle-scabbard.aspx).


My Ranch Hand has been 100% right out of the box. For the money it's a great gun.

March 23, 2012, 10:54 PM
I just know when it happens all I am going to be thinking about is if you are OK. It will be hard on all of us but somebody in a wheelchair it will be tougher. Glad you got family close.

March 24, 2012, 02:12 AM
Take a look at the current issue of Guns Of The Old West magazine, more info on the Rossi ML if you can find the issue.
In a nutshell, I fired mine in factory form off a rest for accuracy & function first, it ran fine.
Rossis typically come a little oversprung because the factory doesn't spend a lot of time polishing the guts.
After the accuracy session it was sent to Steve Young for a chop job make-over & general slick-up.

The 16-inch ringlever was also gone through by Steve a couple years ago.
Much slicker, and the wing safety is gone on both guns.


March 24, 2012, 08:49 AM
Mainsail---Glad to here your rossi has been a faithful companion. it's always frustrating to buy a new gun, only to send it back to the manufacturer for repair. I've been lucky so far I've only had to do that to one gun, a taurus 617
Bluethunder--- No need to worry about me brother. Being a christian, I believe that we all have our day, if it's my time to go, it's my time to go. The only regret I would have is leaving my family behind. Dammit, now I'm tearing up....
Dpris--- thanks for the report. I'll try to find that magazine today when I'm out.

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