Photo: Jan Hrdonka
The idea of a short, handy carbine has always been appealing to me. When I was a badge toter in two different Texas counties I generally relied upon a lever-action carbine in .44 Mag. I used both the Marlin Model 1894 and the Browning Model 92, both with receiver sights and the barrels cut to 16 inches. Even cut down, these lever guns still held 9 rounds of ammunition and were quite handy.
Another carbine that I have always liked is the Ruger Mini-14. While it has always had a good reputation for reliability, some have felt that the Ruger was not as accurate as it should have been. That always seemed odd to me because the ones that I owned and shot were certainly comparable, accuracy-wise, to the Model 94 Winchester and the .30 M1 Carbine. None of those three would win Honorable Mention at Camp Perry but they have won an awfully lot of gunfights.
Regardless, a while back Ruger made some changes in their Mini-14 machinery and even did some redesign work on the carbine. My understanding is that they tightened some of the tolerances and began using a slightly different barrel design.