The H&R 1871 Buffalo Classic is a cheap alternative to test the waters for BPCR shooting. The rifle is of good quality and value for the dollar spent.
You get an American black walnut hand checkered stock and schnabel fore end, a chemically color case hardened action and curved metal butt plate with a 32" blued barrel, and to top it all off BLACK PLASTIC trigger guard and fore end spacer.
I guess the bean counters at H&R-NEF said "that's it we can't afford to make them of metal we'll never sell another if the price is $50.00 more".
If you're beating your head into the wall about the plastic on your Handi or BC, you can get a CNC machined matte blue fore end spacer from Toth Tool and Engineering at his web site for 25 bucks, a real quality part, he ships it with screws.
The trigger guard is another story, RO 2513 is the part# and they are $39.95 + $5.00 S&H if you call H&R NEF, but here's the rub, that info is from 2005, that's the latest info I could find, and I didn't try calling the factory.
I finally found a steel trigger guard off an early Topper, the one with the lever style barrel release that you push to the side, it has the same hole spacing and profile as the Handi-BC guard, but the Topper did not have the transfer bar system like the newer models, so there are 2 modifications to make it work.
There are 2 pins that hold the assembly in the action ,the forward pin holds the guard to the action and the rear does too but it also doubles as the trigger and barrel release catch pivot. The Topper rear trigger pivot pin hole has to be enlarged to match the diameter of the Handi's action , drilling it larger is not a problem, it's best done in a drill press with a vise.
Then you will find that the Handi's trigger with the barrel release catch will be to wide to fit into the Topper's guard, so you will have to remove about 1/10" of metal from the right inner side of the Topper's guard at the trigger pivot pin hole area for clearance of the barrel release catch. This can be done with a Dremel and a carbide cutter, a cut off wheel, needle files and some cold blue.
There are very good instructions @ perkloafm.com along with the info about the factory part, without these I would not have tried the conversion myself. I used their photos to match the profile of the guard with the Topper parts photos I found on an online auction site.
Hope some of this helps others in their quest for an all steel Handi-BC or NEF shotgun.