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Side view of Mare's leg rifle on stump with farmhouse in background

The History of the Mare's Leg Rifle

The Mare's Leg Rifle is a firearm introduced in the television show Wanted: Dead or Alive in 1958. It's a short-barreled rifle that looks like a cut-down shotgun or sawn-off rifle and has an overall length of about 20 inches.

Early Development

The gun was designed and manufactured by the Advanced Armaments Corporation, a California company that specializes in the weapons of old. The first Mare's Leg Rifle prototype was created using a classic Winchester 1892 rifle with the barrel and fore-stock cut and refashioned into a short, looped stock. The model has since grown to include modern takedowns such as the EVO Advanced Tactical Rifle, the Mossberg Blaze, and the Norinco 1887 Lever Action.

Television Use

The original Mare's Leg Rifle was made famous by Steve McQueen as he played the part of bounty hunter Josh Randall in the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive. Initially, the producers wanted to use a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun for the show. However, they soon realized this could be dangerous and illegal in some areas. Josh Randall's Mare's Leg Rifle was a unique two-piece design that could be broken down into two separate parts in seconds, making the weapon much more manageable and concealable in tight areas.

Film and Theater

By the 1980s, Mare's Leg Rifle had become popular with movie stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who used weapons in films such as Escape from New York and The Expendables. The gun was also popular amongst hunters due to its lightweight, maneuverability, and higher accuracy than shotgun-style weapons at lower ranges.


Despite its popularity, the Mare's Leg Rifle is still subject to heavy regulation in some areas. In the United States, the National Firearms Act imposes a $200 Transfer Tax to acquire a firearm with a barrel length of less than 18 inches. This tax has turned the rifle into an often impractical weapon in some areas, as the tax and legal difficulties associated with obtaining the weapon have made the firearm a choice for only experienced shooters and gun enthusiasts.

Armory has long been fascinated by the history of the Mare's Leg Rifle

The history of the Mare's Leg Rifle is steeped in Hollywood glamor and nostalgia. While the weapon is still heavily regulated, it remains a popular choice among movie stars and gun fanatics alike due to its unique design and practical features.

Armory carries many different styles of the Mare's leg rifle. Call us today, and we will find the right type for you 

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