I have one just like it. K00443. Interestingly the kit (it was the whole $179 NE w/stock and all) had a front sight bead that didn't have the same thread as the barrel hole! I swapped it at a local gunsmith's.
I don't know why the New Englander didn't seem to be ultra-popular. I added a .50 rifle barrel and it is a VERY handy hunting rifle and shotgun.
The 26” barrel is a good compromise between a long barrel for power and accuracy and a short, handy carbine. I’m really happy with my High Plains Sporter, currently in Bob Hoyt’s hands being bored to .58, 1 in 66. Elk medicine.