From a website story on why they drifted away from selling many to few.


Born from a single-shot shotgun, the Handi Rifle has been around for many years. While it was viewed mostly as a novelty in the 1990s, it came into its own in some southern states about 20 years ago when the primitive weapons deer season regulations were amended to include single-shot cartridge rifles designed before 1900. While the Handi had not been around nearly that long, the design dated back to somewhere around the mid-1800s.

With a general dislike of muzzleloaders, hunters immediately flocked to sporting goods stores and the Handi became the south's primitive weapon.

I can remember going into the now-shuttered Surplus City in Clinton to buy a couple when the new regulations were adopted. The sales assistant said, "We've sold more Handi Rifles in the last three days than we've sold in the last 10 years."

Those initial sales were almost exclusively in .45-70 Government caliber to meet the .38 caliber or larger stipulation in the regulations. As the definition of primitive was broadened to include .35 or larger calibers, the Handi line expanded to the .35 Whelen and again, hunters bought more Handi Rifles.

Regulations for primitive weapon seasons were again amended in 2013 to allow any legal weapon on private property, except during the early, antlerless-only season. The regulation went into effect in 2014. The effect on the retail market was immediate.

"It (sales) quit altogether," Dave Swann of Swann's Gun and Repair said. "I didn't sell a one last year."