.32 H&R and .32 M&H Long
I posted some information earlier that turns out not to be entirely accurate. Rather than edit those posts, I will open a new thread to post new information I have found and try to clarify the points involving two (or three) old .32 cartridges, the .32 Harrington & Richardson, the .32 Merwin & Hulbert, and the .32 Merwin & Hulbert Long.
First, there really was a .32 H & R, NOT the much later (and much more powerful) .32 H&R Magnum. With a case length of about .890", it was a longer cartridge than the .32 S&W (.32 S&W Short) but not as long as the later .32 S&W Long. It was developed around 1883 and many H&R top-break and solid frame revolvers were chambered for it. Most collectors who see the .32 H&R marking assume (as I did) that it was just another name for the .32 S&W. Note that the .32 H&R was called just that, not the .32 H&R Long.
There were two .32 M&H cartridges. The .32 M&H (or .32 M&H Short) was effectively the same as the .32 S&W (.32 S&W Short); it was also developed around 1883. The bullet was slightly lighter than that of the .32 S&W, and had a deep groove, usually called a grease groove, but actually intended to help retain the unfired cartridges in the M&H revolver. The case length was the same as .32 S&W, about .590". It was used in a small frame revolver, and was discontinued (under the M&H name) about 1900.
The other .32 M&H was the .32 M&H Long, dating from about 1885; this was the same as the .32 H&R (no "Long"). The .32 M&H Long was made for a larger .32 M&H revolver, with a longer cylinder and a longer extraction throw; apparently, M&H made that gun specifically to use the .32 H&R, which they then had made, calling it the .32 M&H Long. The dimensions were the same as the .32 H&R. It was discontinued under either name around 1915.
All the cartridges mentioned are collectors items today. Many are not headstamped and the .32 H&R/.32 M&H Long is often confused with the .32 S&W Long. They are of the same diameter as the .32 S&W.
All of which is complicated, but I think it explains the .32 H&R as a distinct cartridge, and the use of the M&H cartridge name on an H&R revolver.
One additional point of clarification, I have never seen a topbreak revolver for the .32 S&W Long; S&W intended that higher pressure round to be used only in their Hand Ejector revolvers and lengthened it to prevent its use in top break revolvers, even their own.
(FWIW, M&H was a development company; the M&H guns were actually made by Hopkins and Allen and are of very high quality.)
Last edited by Jim K; 12-22-2009 at 11:31 PM..