by Karen Mehall - Friday, September 6, 2013
What if someone handed you a million dollars? Maybe you’re picturing early retirement, a fancy house, exotic vacations. … Now imagine earning that $1 million yourself then giving it away—every cent—to an important cause. American Legacy Firearms (ALF) owners Steve Faler and Warren Hanson are doing just that as the NRA-member duo gets set to donate $1 million to the NRA by year’s end as their way of doing their part to protect the Second Amendment.
They must be wealthy, you assume? Not even close. Faler and Hanson are simply gun owners earning a living one gun sale at a time and donating partial proceeds from the sales of their limited-edition NRA firearms straight to the NRA.
Their quest kicked off in 2011 when they launched the special edition NRA Auto-Ordnance M1911 commemorating the 100th anniversary of John M. Browning's design. Only 100 guns were offered per state with the design noting the state name and number in the 100-piece series. As sales translated into real dollars for NRA, Faler and Hanson wondered what NRA gun to offer next. Out came ALF’s NRA Hunting Tradition rifle in 2012 featuring engravings of big game scenes based on Mossberg’s bolt-action 4X4. Now more than $750,000 of the way to meeting their $1 million goal, they unveiled the highly engraved yet fully functional NRA shotgun paying tribute to NRA and the shotgun’s role in waterfowl and bird hunting.
Launched in August, the NRA shotgun is based on the H&R 1871 Pardner Pump. As I scanned the prototype Faler lent NRA Publications for review, my eye went straight to the 24-karat gold-plated receiver. A gold pheasant, goose and ducks on the receiver’s left side seemed to fly right out of their nickel-plated background. A quail scene is engraved on the grip and a tom in full strut spans the stock above the words “Hunting, an American Tradition.”
Flip the shotgun to the right side and the receiver showcases the three most important letters in a gun owner’s alphabet: NRA—the foundation of our freedom and hunting heritage. The black NRA modern logo contrasts boldly against the background’s gold plating. In step with the receiver’s left side, three gold ducks are set in a nickel-plated scene. A dove adorns the grip, but the stock is bare, ensuring NRA is the most prominent design element on this side of the gun and reinforces the “Hunting, an American Tradition” message on the other side.
As with ALF’s NRA pistol and rifle, only 100 NRA shotguns are available per state. The underside of the receiver sports an NRA limited-edition serial number; its state name, number in the series and turkey feather are engraved in the underside of the forearm. Each comes with a TSA-approved Plano case. The MSRP is $2,495, but ALF is selling it for $1,995 until Christmas. Layaway is available with $200 down and $100 a month.
Available in 12- and 20-gauge, the H&R 1871 Pardner Pump accepts 2¾-inch and 3-inch loads and features a grooved fore-end, ventilated recoil pad, ventilated rib barrel and a brass bead front sight. It is imported, but engraving is done at ALF’s plant in Hope, Ark.
When I called Faler to discuss production, I learned this is a man who foregoes owning a house and lives in a trailer so he can donate even more to NRA. While he holds back a few dollars for his No. 2 hobby—drag-racing his Mustang convertible—clearly his No. 1 pastime is more important. “I quit a job once to go duck hunting, and I quit a job one other time to go pheasant hunting,” he said with enthusiasm.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Faler adds a dose of common sense and asks, “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do they not understand?” as he referenced the nation’s political climate."
"It’s NRA that helps us to ensure our voices are heard in Washington so we have the right to own guns now and in the future. If you’re not an NRA member, we’ll sign you up for your first year free.”
Faler says ALF uses the latest in engraving tools and machines to offer great detail. “These guns are meant to be shot, he explains. “The plating, like blueing, will get worn through the years, but we’ll engrave it all again for $200-$300. Enjoy these guns, share them with the next generation and support NRA.”
Prior to engraving, guns are disassembled to prepare parts for buffing and polishing then plating is bonded to the metal surfaces. As I noted the detail in the finished layers of artwork, Faler gave credit to the masking process. “This is what makes our engraving accurate,” he explained. “After plating, we paint—or mask—each engraved part up to four times each, depending on the desired finish.” Of course, it helps that the company’s engravers are hunters with a hunter’s eye for detail. Three people do all the hand-drawn designs then the 24-karat gold and nickel is cut by hand.
An NRA Life member since 1992, the Fort Collins, Colo., resident never forgot moving from Montana to Colorado in 1972 and reading the bumper sticker “Don’t Californicate Colorado.” “I’ve supported NRA ever since and my goal is for everyone else to do the same.”
Who wouldn’t enjoy having an ornate yet still functional shotgun while giving back to the NRA? While 99 other gun owners—but only 99—will have this same NRA gun in any given state, sharing the wealth is all good when supporting the NRA. As I got ready to ship the shotgun back to its rightful NRA-supporting owner, I thought of how often I’d heard someone say “every gun owner must do his part.” Faler and Hanson certainly took those words to heart.
NRA Special Edition H&R 1871 Pardner Pump
Type: pump-action shotgun
Gauge: 12, 20, 2½" and 3"
Barrel: 26" w/ventilated rib
Trigger: single stage, 7 lbs., 5 ozs. pull
Magazine/Capacity: tubular/4 rnds. (2¾"), 3 rnds. (3")
Sights: single brass bead, drilled and tapped for scope base
Stock: American walnut with grooved fore-end and ventilated recoil pad; length of pull 14 1/4"; drop at comb 1 1/2"; drop at heel 2 1/4"
Overall Length: 48 1/8" (12-ga.); 46 1/8" (20-ga.)
Weight: 7 lbs., 4 ozs.
Metal Finish: gold- and nickel-plated; blued
Accessories: screw-in modified choke
MSRP: $2,495; ($1,995 until Christmas)
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