A few weeks ago I wrote about the Springfield Arms M6, which was derived from the Air Force's AR-6 survival rifle/shotgun. But the AR-6 itself was probably inspired by a much older gun: The Marble Game Getter.
The Game Getter was designed, as the name suggests, as a small game gun that was light and compact enough for the sportsman to carry on every outing, with the hope of bagging whatever small game they might come across. The price? $27-30, depending on barrel length. (Sounds pretty cheap, but $27 in 1918 was equivalent to about $400 today!)The original Model 1908 Game Getter was produced from 1908 to 1918, and generally featured a .22LR barrel above a .44 smoothbore barrel, intended to fire a .44 caliber shot shell. 15" was the most common barrel length, with a lesser number of 12" and 18" barrel versions also produced. The Model 1921, which was offered as late as 1962, replaced the .44 barrel with the more familiar .410 shot shell barrel.
What initially killed off the Game Getter was the 1934 Federal Firearms Act, which banned rifles and shotguns with barrels shorter than 18". While the Game Getter without a stock was a legal pistol, albeit an ungainly one, the smoothbore barrel made it a sawed-off shotgun, and that made it an AOW, or "Any Other Weapon," requiring a $200 transfer tax to buy. Marble lengthened the barrel to 18" and appealed to the government to establish the legality of the gun, but by the time it was approved, the market for the gun was gone. Some examples continued to be assembled from the company's stock of spare parts until 1962, but the gun was essentially gone from the marketplace.
A few years ago Marble brought back an exact reproduction of the Game Getter at a suggested retail price of $1,995. That's a lot, but good examples of original Game Getters are going for $2,000 to $2,995 these days. Kind of makes the $600-700 people are asking for a Springfield AR-6 these days seem almost reasonable. If you're interested in a Game Getter of your own, or Marble's line of modern and vintage sight products, you can read about them at Marble's own web site.