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H&R 38 S&W hammerless info

GrepseGrepse Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
edited July 2014 in Ask the Experts
I was given an H7R hammerless revolver in .38 S&W.It is a top break with auto ejectors. The serial number is 177191.
Does anyone know when it was made and is it safe to shoot modern ammunition? It's got a deep blue finish with rubber grips. The barrel says 38 S&W CTGE on the side with the Harrington and Richardson Arms co Worchester Massachusetts on the top of the barrel.
It's a real dandy of a pistol.
Jeffrey C


  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,649 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If none of our folks can help? The late Bill Goforth, who was one of our members. Wrote and published a book on Harrington and Richardson firearms. Prior to his passing. "H&R Arms Company 1871-1986" Don't know if it still in print? You might try the Amazon or Bookfinders sites on the net.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,346 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    H&R's were the best of the cheapies. Top breaks are a weaker design. It would likely be safe with modern ammo for a while.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    to quote the late Mr. Goforth-

    decoding H&R serial numbers is not easy and it takes up quite a bit of the H&R book as different models usually have seperate serial number series. gererally speaking there were three types of serial number series.

    pre 1905 (1904 and before) which were more like batch numbers and usually ran from 1 to 99,999. on some models there was a different series every year.

    post 1904 (1905 to 1939) one single series starting at 1 and going into the middle 6 digits (some third model auto-ejecting revolvers have been observed with number in the 800,000 range.

    1940 and after letter codes used to denote year of manufacture. starting with A in 1940 and going to BC in 1986.

    caliber markings on the side of the barrel ALWAYS indicate 1905 or after manufacture. when H&R made the switch to smokeless powder in 1905 they started marking the caliber on the left side of the barrel of all their handguns. no caliber markings = black powder, caliber markings = smokeless powder.

    It sounds as if your revolver was made after the start of smokeless powder (1905 for H&R), and, if in good mechanical condition, should be able to safely shoot present day standard .38 S&W ammo.
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