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Making the NEF HandiRifle Better

by AJ Jordan

The NEF/H&R 1871 SB2 HandiRifle is a very good bargain. It can be had in most areas around the $200range. The gun balances very well and is compact due to the short receiver and22" barrel. For a walk around gun it is great. I have a NEF rifle that wasbought as a 223 Rem Heavy Barrel. I sent in for the extra barrel offer andpurchased the 22 Hornet, 45-70,

.410 bore shotgun and another 223Rem that was rechambered to a 22-250 Rem.

The biggest complaint about theSB2 is the trigger pull. It is crisp from the factory but in the 7 lb. range.This hardly leads to great accuracy. A good gunsmith can get a safe 2-lb.trigger pull from this gun. It is not a do it yourself job like the Remington700. BE ADVISED that if you want the extra barrel offer from NEF they will makeyour trigger the way it was originally. So get the barrels first, and then geta trigger job. If you are mechanically inclined you probably can do the springwork. If you can totally strip the gun and put it back together (without spare parts left over),you should not have a problem lightening the trigger pull. This is what I do for a trigger job.


I like to cut a coil off of thetrigger return spring. The hammer spring can be bent a little to change the tensionrate. This will have a big change in trigger weight. If it is taken too low,the gun will not ignite the primers, when the trigger is pulled. I hone thehammer and sear engagement surfaces on a Power Custom Series I fixture (around$100) using a homemade adapter. Engagement surfaces MUST be kept parallel!Visually checking the engagement of hammer and sear is a must. I use a goodmoly lube on the surfaces and for the through holes. I also debur everythingthat moves in the receiver. This can get pull down to 2 lbs. With the cost ofthe fixture, stones, and adapter, you are very close (money wise) to buyinganother Handi Rifle. It is cheaper to take it to a gunsmith and pay the $30-$50they charge. Or, buying all the equipment, screwing it up and then paying the$30-$50 for a gunsmith to fix it. If you insist on doing your own trigger job,have it checked by a competent gunsmith.

There are a couple things thatwill make the SB2 shoot well. One is to float the forend. I remove about1/8" of wood to float the barrel. After that, I make a rubber washer outof 1/8" rubber. This goes in the forend, in the inletting for the forendhanger stud. See figure 2. This willget rid of the vibration that is transferred to the forend while the barrel isdoing its thing when a bullet is going through it. This vibration will causethe gun to bounce off the rest un-naturally. This spacer will dampen theseunwanted vibrations.

The SB2 uses a transfer bar tomove the firing pin when the hammer drops. This is for safety, should thehammer drop prematurely. To getconsistent results the trigger must be fully depressed through the followthrough. This may sound like a minor thing, but it greatly impacts how the ammois ignited. I have seen on the chronograph standard deviations in the 70-100

fps range from just flicking thetrigger just enough to get a bang from the rifle. A deliberate and full squeezedropped SD's down to the high teens.

Another useful trick is to usebedding compound under the scope mount. Because of the way the mount fits it isnot the most helpful item towards accuracy. I like to use Accraglass byBrownells to help the mount be as rigid as possible. This is most helpful whenlong heavy scopes are installed. Be sure to put release agent on the barrel andscrews, or it might become a

permanent fixture.

I just installed a scope level onmy gun. If you are shooting from a bipod, it will keep you level. I shoot frommechanical rests. It helps shrink the groups to have the gun sittingconsistently on the bags.

Tip by Coyotehunter_1

NEF's Weaver StyleScope Base

Do not trust the factory scopebase mounting job. Remove the base andreinstall using Locktite (removable) on the base screws. Combine this with bedding the forward end ofthe scope base that dangles unsupported over the barrel.

Tips and info by popgun

NEF Factory TriggerJob

NEF will now do a free triggerjob for you at the factory lightened to about 3 ¼ to 3 ½ lbs. Contact NEF customer service for shippingand ordering instructions. NEF contactinfo is at

A good time to have the triggerjob done is when you send in your action, stock, and forend to have additionalbarrels fitted. You have to request atrigger job setting the trigger below the factory standard of 5 to 8 lbs. andthe trigger job is not done automatically when you send your action in for theadditional barrel offer.

NEF Barrels

NEF custom fits/headspaces each barrel to its action. This applies to the extra barrel offeralso. Each additional barrel you buy isfitted/headspaced to your action and the barrels cannot safely be used onanother action that it has not been fitted/headspaced to. If you buy a used NEF check to see that thebarrel has been fitted to the action that it is on. NEF stamps or etches the last 3 numbers of the action serialnumber on the barrels fitted to it.

The extra barrel offer selectionhas been expanded some. This hashappened since Marlin bought NEF. Ifthe NEF barrel that you want is not on the list and it is a standard offeringon NEF rifles/shotguns don't hesitate to ask NEF customer service if you canget the standard barrel you want. Youmay have to pay extra for it but you can probably get the standard barrel thatyou want. Of course barrel availabilityand current policy will determine if they can fill your request. 'Request' is the key word when talking toNEF. If you 'demand' a barrel that isnot listed in the extra barrel offer they will probably say, "it's notavailable".

Shippingyour NEF to the factory

NEF requires that you send theaction, stock, and forend to them when you order extra barrels. Again, this is because the barrels have tobe headspaced to the action. You caneither ship UPS or USPS. I shipped mineUSPS and it cost $10.70. It arrived atthe factory in 4 days and NEF sent me a 'Confirmation of Receipt'. NEF sent my rifle back to me via UPS and ittook the usual 4 day delivery time. Donot mark the box in any way that indicates that there is a firearm in thepackage. Include an envelope insidethe package that says 'extra barrel offer' on the outside of the envelope andinsert your order form or instructions in the envelope.

Note, you have to be at home orhave your gun delivered to someone 21 years of age or older that must sign forthe gun. No signature no delivery.

NEFTurn Around Time

Depending on the work/repairthat you request from NEF you can expect a turn around time of at least 3 weeksand as long as 5 or 6 weeks. Parts/barrelavailability plays into the time factor as does the amount of work yourrequest. I requested a trigger job andordered two barrels that had to be fitted to my action and the turn around timewas 5 weeks. That is reasonable forthat amount of work plus I special ordered one of the barrels.
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