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Harrington & Richardson top break

J_MobJ_Mob Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
edited August 2008 in Ask the Experts
Trying to find out the age and history of an old H&R auto ejector revolver. Here's the particulars:

Top of barrel:Harrington & Richardson Arms Company,
Worcester,MASS.U.S.A.PAT. OCT.4'87 MAY 14&AUG 6'89.

No markings on either side of piece or anywhere on bottom. Does not have the caliber marked anywhere on the gun.

Serial under top "strap", visible when cylinder is removed is a tiny "B" then 75243, also has the 75243 stamped into the handle under the grips, along with some unintelligable scratchings on the inside of the grip panels. Only other marks are a 198 stamped in the face of the cylinder and on the ejector.

From other readings: Is a 6 shot, holds .32 S&W long but barely(nearly rub on the other side), cylinder will free-wheel with hammer down, and it has a hammer.

Any info or help would be appreciated.

Here's a pic.
antique.jpg

Comments

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    J_MobJ_Mob Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Looking to find out information on a H&R .32 Top Break what I am guessing to be a Second Model. Six round cylinder. chromed w/H&R target logo grips, Cylinder is barely long enough to fit .32 S&W Long Ctgs. H&R Arms Wooster, Mass. Ect on top strap and ser.# in the 17000 range in the underside of the top strap above the cylinder w/ partial ser.# on the star, cylinder face, and the frame under the grip. This model also was a single/double with a factory bobbed hammer. No cal. markings on barrel Standard topbreak frame with a manual ejector release. Never seen one of those before. Any ideas as to date of Manufacture.
    Dave
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    FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
    edited November -1
    Mr.Goforth will be along and likely tell you everything you want to know. But w/those Pat. dates, I'd bet it's a BP model and NOT safe w/modern ammo.
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    32 Magnum32 Magnum Member Posts: 820 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It's a 2nd Model, 2nd Variation "Auto Ejecting". It was made between 1893 and 97. Nickel trigger guards were used up until sometime in 1897 (B was used as a prefix in 1896), after which blued trigger guards were used on nickel plated pieces. It is an antique and was designed and built to handle black powder loadings (H&R switched to smokeless powder loads sometime after 1904 and at that time began stamping the cartridge chambering into the left side of the barrel.)
    This piece was chambered for the .32 H&R Long cartridge, which was longer than the .32 S&W but not as long as the .32 S&W Long - that is why it is a tight fit in the cylinder. The S&W .32Long cartridge was introduced in late 1896-97.
    The "assembly" numbers on the cylinder and ejector should match the last three digits of the serial number. Since they do not on your gun, the cylinder assembly was swapped at some time after manufacture.
    The "unintelligible" scratchings on the inside of the grip panels will be the last three digits of the frame serial number - these were applied by the craftsman who hand fitted the hard rubber moldings to the frame. These guns were all hand fitted before final finishing - that's why all the main assemblies will have/should have matching assembly numbers.
    (Historical data courtesy of Bill Goforth's research - hardware/gun data courtesy of my collection.)
    Jim Hauff
    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic/6b60rjggVsnt8VyAoFXZKTrudJ9rxWSjXAUUv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg
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    J_MobJ_Mob Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the info 32 Magnum. I am going to throw a couple more questions in here if no one minds. SO being black powder, if I was to buy some, say ten-x BPC (black powder substitute) .32 S&W rounds would they damage the gun or me? It would still be safer then using modern rounds correct? Or should I just clean it and put it in a display box....:(
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    32 Magnum32 Magnum Member Posts: 820 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've heard, but not seen nor used, that reloaders have loaded black powder low pressure loads for these old black powder capable pieces. I DON'T RELOAD and therefore DON'T have relevant data to back this up. I do know that most of these old black powder loads generated chamber pressures well under 10K psi with muzzle velocities in the low 600 fps. You really don't know what stress, strain and abuse that piece has experienced over the 100+ years of its existence. If I were you I would hang it up and give it an honorable retirement. I dont' shoot any of my old break tops that were made pre mid 1930's and then only after a thorough inspection and with specially loaded smokeless loads made by a local small scale reloader who makes low pressure cowboy action ammo. Many of those old blackpowder guns were used well into the smokeless/Nitro powder era with unsuitably higher pressure ammo and that is the reason that so many of them are shot loose - the frames stretced and the hinges loosened up - and I have seen some that are displayed by gunsmiths and dealers with the sides of the cylinders blown out. Use Caution!
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    J_MobJ_Mob Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited November -1
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