TO THE EXECUTIVES, CORPORATE OFFICERS, MARKETING GURUS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE HENRY REPEATING ARMS COMPANY, WINCHESTER REPEATING ARM COMPANY AND ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER OF LEVER ACTION RIFLES:
WHY ISN'T YOUR COMPANY MAKING A VERSION OF THE PISTOL SHOWN ABOVE?
The Mares Leg/Laig or Bounty Hunter pistol is a true invention of Hollywood. First thought of, as far as I know, for use by Steve McQueen in the 50's Western TV series THE BOUNTY HUNTER, it's been used by other actors and shows since then. Folks like me, ordinary folk, have wanted to have one of these guns of my own, but cannot justify the artificially high price that the makers of these weapons have charged and are charging for what is basically a cut down rifle.
I think there exists a significant market, both within the shooters and hunters and sportsman as well as within the ranks of the .22 plinker. Although there have been replicas made from cut down Winchesters and other lever actions, and although there is at least one Italian maker (Puma) who makes a version of this gun new as a pistol (thus avoiding the $200 tax for turning a rifle into a pistol), common sense says that this gun could be made by American companies and sold at a far less price than the replicas have sold for in the past.
Let's consider what would have to be done. I suppose a CNC machine would have to be repurposed to make the stocks shorter and to make the barrels and magazines 4" shorter. This would all occur before the barrel was fitted to a new receiver, thus it would be made new as a pistol, thus avoiding the $200 federal tax.
The receivers are already made by your companies, as are the other parts. Some slight re-enginnering would be necessary to make the magazines work properly, and of course as mentioned above a new stock and a cut down barrel would have to be made, but these are small changes.
For Henry .22 lever action rifles, it would seem like this would be an ideal move into some new marketing territory. I would buy a .22 version of this gun, were it reasonably priced at about $400 - $600, instead of a larger caliber version for the same price. It would be a great companion for hunting and fishing and just overall fun on the farm.
This type of pistol is a unique Hollywood creation, but logic dictates that someone back in western times could have done this as well. Perhap a railroad armed car guard, or a coach gun for someone traveling in a stage coach or buggy. It stands to reason that if folks were sawing off shotguns for close range weapons back then they were doing it to rifles. Seems like some of the gangster rifles like the BAR from the 30's and 40's on display in museums often had cut down barrels to 12" or 14" for use in the confined spaces of a car.
In any event, I've shot both the Wrangler lever action as well as the Henry, and they are both excellent guns. Likewise, other brands like Marlin make excellent lever action rifles. I think a gun of this nature would not only be an attention getter for a company but a profitable sales item, if it were priced reasonably.