Personally I think the older H&R's are just plain better than the NEF's. The wood for example is much more proportioned to those rough cut 2x4's they put out on the NEF's.
I also own a few old Stevens 94 single shots. They can be picked up very reasonably.
In fact my last one cost me $25.00 It had the barrel cut down to 18" and is ugly as heck. There is no front bead but it patterns great out to 20 yards or so with 6 & 7 1/2's. I might put a polychoke on it but then again it shoots right on the way it is and I don't have that pesky bead to worry about!
I'll post a pick of my truck gun! And you all can make offers!
There is only one reason why a single needs help openning up...it just doesn't get enough alone time with you. Take that puppy out and play with it a while. A little TLC goes a long ways....The Stevens here needs some help to open.