Mare's leg type guns- why?

FL-NC

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Messages
8,784
Location
Fl panhandle
We recently watched a sci-fi series on amazon called "fallout", where a bad guy uses a version of one of these things that was evidently chambered in some sort of high explosive round, judging from the effects every time he used it. It got me thinking about the ones that exist in reality, and I even took the time to look at one over the weekend at my LGS when I was shopping for things that are actually useful to me. Besides being very pricey (to me) I noticed that they tend to be chambered in either rimfire or centerfire pistol calibers (which makes sense I guess, for what they are). The question that is bothering me is, what exactly is the intended purpose of them, other than a "range toy"? They seem too long, awkward, and heavy to be used in any manner that a handgun is normally fired, and holding the thing with 1 hand at the rear where all the fire control magic is happening and the other on the front at the handguard would be more steady, but would not loan itself to things like sight allinement, which would badly effect accuracy IMO. I suppose a child or "little person" may be able to shoulder the thing and use it as a rfile, but that is a limited niche, and probably illegal, given some of the foolishness I have seen dictated by the authorities in similar matters. That said, I have never actually fired one. That leaves the question- what exactly are these things designed for?
 
Same as I dont get plastic Robo Cop , Judge Dred looking hand guns. Others buy them and we don't count.
 
Its marketing. TV and gun games sell stuff, and the makers accommodate a market.

More a toy than anything else. Not saying you couldn't make it work, if you took the time to actually figure it out, but to what end?

The pump and semi auto Shockwave type shotguns are in the same basic category, and they do have a narrow, niche type use, but you can make them work, and effectively with some practice.

The lever action of the Mares leg makes that a bit more difficult. Its bad enough with a stocked gun working the lever actions. There is enough of a nub of a stock there that I can see getting a consistent cheek weld with the Mares leg, but working that lever is going to make it tough.
 
i am thinking that a short, mare’s-leg, pump- or lever-action shotgun chambered in 410 could be a useful niche piece for r.v. or camping, like the other, more famous niche handgun, bond arms derringers, but on growth hormones. while i would choose a 410 mare’s leg, i generally prefer handgun calibers in my b.a. derringer.
 
We recently watched a sci-fi series on amazon called "fallout", where a bad guy uses a version of one of these things that was evidently chambered in some sort of high explosive round, judging from the effects every time he used it. It got me thinking about the ones that exist in reality, and I even took the time to look at one over the weekend at my LGS when I was shopping for things that are actually useful to me. Besides being very pricey (to me) I noticed that they tend to be chambered in either rimfire or centerfire pistol calibers (which makes sense I guess, for what they are). The question that is bothering me is, what exactly is the intended purpose of them, other than a "range toy"? They seem too long, awkward, and heavy to be used in any manner that a handgun is normally fired, and holding the thing with 1 hand at the rear where all the fire control magic is happening and the other on the front at the handguard would be more steady, but would not loan itself to things like sight allinement, which would badly effect accuracy IMO. I suppose a child or "little person" may be able to shoulder the thing and use it as a rfile, but that is a limited niche, and probably illegal, given some of the foolishness I have seen dictated by the authorities in similar matters. That said, I have never actually fired one. That leaves the question- what exactly are these things designed for?
They are not new just revived and back in the old day's (1800s) trappers used them to kill live game in their traps.
 
I've always wondered "why" to Mare's Leg type guns as well. They seem very impractical.
Because STEVE MCQUEEN. He made it look uber-cool. If he'd had a long-handled cooking spoon in a holster, everybody would have wanted one of those..

The funny part of his Mare's leg is, it was made from a Winchester Model 1892 chambered in .44-40. In the two shows he used it, Trackdown (the precursor show to his better known) Wanted: Dead or Alive, he had larger .45-70 cartridges in his gunbelt, because they looked more impressive.
 
Cooper Howard, the Ghoul in Fallout was a bounty hunter so he "had " to have a Mares Leg.:) I hope they continue the series I was getting into it

 
Back then the Treasury classified it as a machine gun, Seriously? I can see them doing that today, but I thought they were smarter back then.
 
Last edited:
I seriously doubt any 19th century trapper wasted a bullet on trapped critters.
I got the years wrong.

In 1904 Winchester made a 15″-barreled Model ‘92 Trapper as verified by Cody Firearms Museum records. In 65 to 70 percent condition, it is easily worth $8,000.

Gun: Winchester Model 1892 “Trapper”
Chambering: .44-40 Win.
Serial No.: 257XXX
Manufactured: Sept. 7, 1904
Condition: NRA Good (Modern Gun Standards)
Value: $8,000
 
I got the years wrong.

In 1904 Winchester made a 15″-barreled Model ‘92 Trapper as verified by Cody Firearms Museum records. In 65 to 70 percent condition, it is easily worth $8,000.

Gun: Winchester Model 1892 “Trapper”
Chambering: .44-40 Win.
Serial No.: 257XXX
Manufactured: Sept. 7, 1904
Condition: NRA Good (Modern Gun Standards)
Value: $8,000
Makes no difference. A trapper may have carried one but would not have wasted ammo on a trapped critter. That's what sticks and rocks are for.
 
Makes no difference. A trapper may have carried one but would not have wasted ammo on a trapped critter. That's what sticks and rocks are for.
I grew up trapping now 69 years old, at the age of 8 I was learning from an old trapper that was born in 1916. He even talked about having and using a Trapper when out checking his line. He told me when he was trapping wolves and bears it came in real handy to put them down. So please do not show your ignorance if you have not trapped or have known some old-time trappers.
 
I grew up trapping now 69 years old, at the age of 8 I was learning from an old trapper that was born in 1916. He even talked about having and using a Trapper when out checking his line. He told me when he was trapping wolves and bears it came in real handy to put them down. So please do not show your ignorance if you have not trapped or have known some old-time trappers.
What happened 60yrs ago and what happened 150yrs ago are two very different things. So you think he (a trapper, not just someone who occasionally traps) was burning through expensive ammo during the great depression? Let alone a 19th century trapper? No. That was money they didn't have to spend.
 
I grew up trapping now 69 years old, at the age of 8 I was learning from an old trapper that was born in 1916. He even talked about having and using a Trapper when out checking his line. He told me when he was trapping wolves and bears it came in real handy to put them down. So please do not show your ignorance if you have not trapped or have known some old-time trappers.

I too grew up in the day when there were still trappers alive that legally trapped bear....both black and grizzly. I would not want to use sticks and stones on them myself. Same goes for wolves and cougars. I still use a .22 on 'yotes I catch in leg hold traps, just because it's easier and does little to reduce the worth of the hide.
 
I too grew up in the day when there were still trappers alive that legally trapped bear....both black and grizzly. I would not want to use sticks and stones on them myself. Same goes for wolves and cougars. I still use a .22 on 'yotes I catch in leg hold traps, just because it's easier and does little to reduce the worth of the hide.
Well fur trappers are not typically trapping friggin' wolves and bears. They're trapping beaver, otter, mink, marten, fox and other fur-bearers. If you're trapping for a living 100-150yrs ago, I guarantee you're not burning through .44-40 ammo like today's bulk .22's. A trapper is not going to specifically carry a chopped off rifle, especially one without a buttstock, only to dispatch bears and wolves. They're going to put them down with whatever rifle they're carrying, for rifle carrying reasons.

And let us not forget that the 15" 1892 trapper mentioned above was not a mare's leg, nor was it a standard production model.
 
Well fur trappers are not typically trapping friggin' wolves and bears. They're trapping beaver, otter, mink, marten, fox and other fur-bearers. If you're trapping for a living 100-150yrs ago, I guarantee you're not burning through .44-40 ammo like today's bulk .22's. A trapper is not going to specifically carry a chopped off rifle, especially one without a buttstock, only to dispatch bears and wolves. They're going to put them down with whatever rifle they're carrying, for rifle carrying reasons.

While I agree about the practicality of a mare's leg in today's trapping world, I still will argue about putting down what's in your trap. Whenever the wolf is declassified(off and on) here in Wisconsin, trapping has been and still is a very viable method of taking them. Beating them to death in a leg hold trap with a stick would be even more impractical that using a Mare's leg. It could also get you a charge of animal cruelty if it became known. Every "Alaska" show I see where the personalities have a wolf, or a lynx or a wolverine in their leghold trap......that animal gets shot. Saving ammo is probably not the priority as much as saving your hand/fingers.
Fur buyers don't like bullet holes.
The best price I ever got for a red fox here in Wisconsin was one I shot while fall turkey hunting with 3" #5s. Most serious trappers know where to put a shot and how to sew it up so it doesn't affect the hide appreciably. As a kid trapping, I learned how to stand on a foxes chest to quickly kill it without hurting the hide. I'm thinking beating it or any other fur bearer to death with a stick or stones, would create more blood and bruising on the hide than a small bullet hole. Blood on the hair is why most trappers refrain from shooting, just as much as the hole.

The Mare's leg is a prime example of a firearm, that while not practical, is marketable. IMHO, no different than a Taurus Judge, or even a heavily engraved firearm. Different strokes for different folks. If it trips someone's trigger, I say go for it. Ain't no hair of my hide.
 
Back
Top