Re: H&R Topper M48 and H&R Bay State questions
Let's start with the "BAY STATE". I do not have much personal experience with shotguns marked with this "store brand name" so I'll quote from Bill Goforth's research notes:
".......It is a known fact that there was a Bay State Arms Co. located in Uxbridge, Mass. in the 1890's and at some point Bay State was pruchased by Hopkins and Allen. Also known is Hopkins & Allen used the name "COLUMBIA" on some of their shotguns. H&A was pruchased about 1917 by Marlin Rockwell who only needed H&A's physical buildings and machinery. The first H&R reference I have found confirming that they were manufacturing s.b. shotguns using the names BAY STATE and COLUMBIA is a revised price list dated June 21, 1932. This price list shows the COLUMBIA named shotguns as having the same wholesale price as the H&R STANDARD NO. 8 ($8.25)....The wholesale price listed for the Bay State NO. 7 is $6.50.....The price list dated April 15, 1933 is the first to give a physical description and specifications for the BAY STATE s.b. shotgun. The illustration used in the ..price list.. looks the same as the (H&R) No. 8 STANDARD, which leads me to believe that they are the same gun with the BAY STATE having lesser quality wood and finish. I found one reference that states that 7,000+ BAY STATE or COLUMBIA models were furnished to Sears Roebuck & Co. in 1940-41 marked with the name EASTERN ARMS."
So, conclusion - the BAY STATE was a catalogue or hardware store "Brand Name" gun made by H&R, made at some time before 1932 up to the early days of WW2, circa 1942. The H&R guns marked as "CHOKE" were the full choke of the era in which it was made. With a serial number in the 800K range -IF the BAY STATE guns were serialed in the same series as the No.08 STANDARDS - I would guess that your gun was made in the mid 1930s. The single barrel shotguns made before 1943 (with the introduction of the much improved MODEL 48) have non-self adjusting latches or barrel locks and all will eventually shoot loose.
As to the MODEL 48 - this model was introduced in 1943 and was the first improvement of the old Model 1908/'08/STANDARD that brought the single barrels into the modern arena. There were two recognized variations: 1st 1943 - 1953 with a "case color hardened" receiver/frame; 2nd 1954-57 with a blued receiver/frame. Also, #1 Var. will have a black hard rubber molded butt plate, #2 Var. will have a rubber butt pad. Your gun, from the pic. is a 1st Variation. Note that early MODEL 48 production will be stamped "STANDARD" and latter will be stamped "TOPPER".
As to the Canadian connection, here is an e-mail I received from a close friend and H&R colleague:
I just yesterday received a reply from my old friend and workmate on the Canadian situation. According to him, H&R started shotgun operations in Long Branch, Ontario as an assembly operation in a government facility. They then decided to manufacture the shotguns in Canada and moved the operation to Drummondville with approximately 100 employees I don't know what the circled X stamp means or signifies???? Some other manufacturers used markings similar to that when a gun was returned to factory for refurb or fix-up???? The 'H' prefix to the serial number should indicate manufacture in 1947 and the box is marked with the LONG BRANCH address - so it was put together from parts made at Worchester Mass. Perhaps the circled X was used to designate Canadian assembly???????? Very interesting items - hope I didn't bore you will the long winded dissertations.
Jim Hauff ~ H&R Collector In Memory of Bill Goforth and Jim Ritchie
Last edited by Jim Hauff; 12-07-2011 at 10:49 AM..