H&R 28 gauge double ID needed

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Raiden, May 4, 2008.

  1. Raiden

    Raiden New Member

    May 4, 2008
    I have been asked to identify an H&R 28 gauge shotgun, vintage unknown (but we guess 1920s-30s timeframe). The gun is a break-open side-by-side double, featuring two hammers and two triggers, free-floating inertia-driven firing pins, brass bead front sight, lacquered wood with checkering in the grip areas, and a synthetic buttplate. There is no safety. It looks a bit like an old L.C. Smith. Takedown is accomplished by popping off the forend and opening the action; the barrels then come out of the receiver assembly.




    Markings are:


    It appears to say zero-C, C for "Charlie", instead of a year, after "Feb. 27".


    28 GAUGE is on the rib between the barrels. There is no accomodation in the chambers for a certain size of shell; the bores are smooth all the way from front to back, so it would accept any of the various lengths of 28 gauge shells.


    The only other markings are the number 736 on the top of the receiver (hidden by the barrels when assembled), and 736 again on the inside of the forend piece.



    The current owner fired it at least once when he was younger, and it was owned by his mother (if I recall correctly), and may have been handed down from his grandmother. The bores are in good shape, a little bit frosty and there's a small dent on the right barrel which supposedly was caused years ago when the gun fell over and struck against some furniture. It's been in storage unused for a long time. For my part, I disassembled it and cleaned it non-destructively, just a basic cleaning - swab the bores with Hoppes 9, disassemble the front section and wash off some crud & dust, oil the metal, and give the wood a quick wipe with turpentine & linseed oil. I did intend to open up the receiver to see if anything was broken or dirty, but I buggered one of the soft screws that holds in the firing pin on the left hand side, and decided to stop what I was doing right then and there. Other than that, I'd say the blueing is maybe 50%, and it has a nice patina, including what looks like deliberate case coloring on the external receiver surfaces.

    What do we have here? Is it possible to guess at a value? There are no plans to sell, but it's such a fun treasure from the attic, any information is of value beyond dollars.

  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Hi Raiden.....welcome to TFF. :)

    Keep checking back. Our resident expert Harrington & Richardsons, Bill Goforth (he's literally writing the book on them ), should be along shortly to tell you all you'd like to know about your H&R.

    BTW.....nice photos. Wish we got more like that.

    Xracer (& ex-professional photographer) :D

    *Shameless Plug*
    Books by Bill Goforth:
    Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works 1871-1993
    H&R Arms Company 1871-1986 (due fall of 2008)
    available from www.gunshowbooks.com

  3. TheJakster2

    TheJakster2 New Member

    May 6, 2007
    Bill will know for sure. I've found some ads for a Model 1909 double barrel in small bore. Certainly appears to be what you have. But is a fountain of info when it come to H & R
  4. Raiden

    Raiden New Member

    May 4, 2008
    You didn't see the pictures I deleted off my camera. ;) I don't have much space or good lighting, so I have to pick a sunny day and throw down a towel on my porch to photograph firearms. It works, but it's frustrating.

    This forum is actually the fourth or fifth result when you search for "harrington shotgun identification" with Google. I know of H&R's making M1 Garands in the 50's, and I think they made some prototype FALs for the U.S. Army, but I had never heard much about their civilian firearms. Worcester is semi-local to where I grew up, also, which makes this shotgun especially interesting to me personally. I'm glad there is someplace I can come to with questions about this thing. :)
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    this is what i have in the up coming book on H&R's firearms

    The debate on just where this shotgun was manufactured is still on going. There is evidence that points to European as well as U.S.A origin. This model is listed in the catalogs as having Imported Walnut butt stock and forearm, while other H & R shotguns of the era are listed as having American Walnut butt stock and fore-end. H & R catalog number 12 (1913/1914) has a parts list and diagram that show the different parts of the action, which indicates there were parts on hand that could be ordered. This is a model that needs more research done on it. Whatever its origin, it was a limited production model offered between 1909 and 1920 and not encountered very often. I would estimate production at 5,000 to 10,000. The only variations I have discovered so far are in the chambering. The original chambering was 20 or 28 gauge and 44 cal. shot. Toward the end of production two other chambering were offered 410-44 and 14mm shot. The era of 1916/1917 appears to be the first time H & R offer their shotguns (single or double barrels) in the 410-44 chambering.

    In his book "The Breech Loading Shotgun in America 1865-1940", J.T. Vorisek suggests the design and machinery for this shotgun were purchased from Neumann Freres of Liege, Belgium and I am inclined to agree. The lack of any Belgium proof marks would certainly indicate manufacture in the U.S.A. In a like manner the stock being manufactured of Imported Walnut indicates some inventory on hand was also purchased.
    Side by Side double barrel, side lock action with exposed hammers; English style walnut pistol gripped butt stock and fore-end, checkered; lock plates removed by single screw; frame forged steel; finish, browned barrel and case hardened frame; coil springs thru-out; rebounding hammers; cross bolt barrel locking; double triggers; barrel are made of de-carbonized steel; right barrel modified choke and left barrel full choke.
    1909-1916 - 20 - 28 INCHES- 6 ¼ LBS. – Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    20 - 26 INCHES- 6 LBS - Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    28 - 28 INCHES- 6 LBS -- Standard Loads both Black & smokeless Powder
    28 - 26 INCHES- 5 ¾ LBS –- Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    44 cal - 26 INCHES- 5 ¼ LBS -- 44 W.C.F. and 44 XL shot cartridges only
    1917-1919- 20 - 28 INCHES- 6 ¼ LBS. – Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    20 - 26 INCHES- 6 LBS -- Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    28 - 28 INCHES- 6 LBS -- Standard Loads both Black & smokeless Powder
    28 - 26 INCHES- 5 ¾ LBS –- Standard Loads both Black & Smokeless Powder
    410/44 – 28 INCHES- 5 ½ LBS -- 410 2 inch & 44 W.C.F. and 44 XL shot cartridges only
    410/44 – 26 INCHES - 5 ¼ LBS -- 410 2 inch & 44 W.C.F. and 44 XL shot cartridges only
    14mm - 28 INCHES- 5 ½ LBS -- 14mm shot cartridges only
    14mm - 26 INCHES- 5 ¼ LBS -- 14mm shot cartridges only

    the small bore double gun was one of many attempts H&R made to offer a double barrel shotgun. the earliest was their importation of the anson & deely Double manufactured in england 1883-1885, later attempts were in the 1970's and 1980's. the model 404 from 'rossi' was imported in 1970-1971 and the model 1212 from 'lanber' 1975-1980.

    the patent date marked on this shotgun is actually feb. 27.00 (the last 0 being badly stamped. this patent #644402 was issued to m. bye and assigned to H&R. it is for a main spring (hammer) seat for a single barrel shotgun. the parts list in the 1912 catalog does appear to have this type of main spring seat.

    this is a highly sought after small frame double barrel shotgun with values going about $700/$800 for 75 to 80% and much higher for the higher condition guns.
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  6. hip_shot@comcast.net

    hip_shot@comcast.net New Member

    Jul 25, 2008

    " Being a advanced collector of Vintage Gun's for over 30 years I will tell you that you can add another "0" to the value that you put on the SUPER-RARE H&R Double Hammer Gun in 410 or 28 Gauge. I will buy all that you can come up with in excellent condition for the price that you say that they are worth $700/$800 LOL ! I have a 410 x 44 Cal in excellent condition that took me over 25 years to locate, These are so rare that there is nothing about them in any past or current gun books. I had a Old friend that passed away over 20 years ago that showed me one of these rare H&R 410 hammer SxS but he refused to sell it to me because it was one of his favorites so I searched all of the Illinois Gun Shows I could for over 20 years and the internet untill last year when I finally found a original 85% condition 410 44 Cal on ********* and purchased it, however whenever I would ask a dealer or collector if they had any H&R 410 or 28 Ga SxS Hammer gun's for sale they would always seem to look at me like I was from another planet. I was surprised to find another 410 44 on Gunsamerica one week later after the one I found it was totally redone with a bad re-blue but the seller had a copy of the original 90 year old Magazine ad that was a great help : ) "
  7. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    Rarity has little to do with value.
  8. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

    May 5, 2003
    hipshot, just a word in your ear: Mr. Goforth is *the* preeminent expert on H&R firearms at this time. He has literally written the book on their revolvers and is currently working on the book on the shotguns. (At least, that's the information I gathered from reading his message.) His valuations are usually spot on for these vintage firearms. While you may find other folks asking for higher or lower prices, they don't necessarily represent the entire market, just the corner you've experienced. That said, if you have relevant information to market prices, you might want to offer them to Mr. Goforth in a bit less excitable manner. I'm sure he'd appreciate the market intelligence to help make his forthcoming book more accurate.
  9. robertchambers

    robertchambers New Member

    Nov 17, 2008
    It would be interesting indeed if a link between Neumann Freres and any American gunmaker could be established. Since reading your response, I have searched the corners of the world for a copy of the book that you've cited "The Breech Loading Shotgun in America 1865-1940, J.T. Vorisek" ...I can't find a copy anywhere.

    As unusual as it sounds, a good many American double gun parts originated in Europe, Especially Parker and Fox...but Baker, LC Smith, and Ithaca's are quite often encountered with LLH barrels (L Lochet-Hebron, Liege), and others, , so it's not unusual for the period. In fact Parker even used foriegn laborers to run its various departments of their factory in Connecticut. If possible, could you elaborate on what Vorisek says about the Neumann/H&R possible connection? The similarities in action lines IS quite similar to the Neumann/Pieper/Jennsen hammerguns of that same period....the lines are even more reminiscent of the Remington model 1889 hammergun....the problem is that Neumann's hammerguns are quite common but not in any smaller guages. At least not that I've seen.

    Hope we can discuss this further....also... I have a H&R 28 ga rabbit eared double serial number 53...which is why I became interested in this thread...thanks in advance
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    the book by joe voriseks is a self published book and since joe has passed on i doubt any new one are being printed. being self published the number of those printed seem to be limited. i do not have one by a collector of single barrel shotguns friend of mine does and he furinshed me with the information on H&R shotguns in this book.

    my reasoning for believing what joe said is the H&R catalog number 12 state the wood used on this gun is imported walnut while all thier single barrel shogtuns used american black walnut wood. also they have parts available whith means they purchased a large inventory or could manufacture parts in house. without written proof we may never know for sure about this gun. my personal feeling is H&R did not purchase the machinery to make this gun but instead purchased but purchased the gun and all the inventory available from the original manufactured. this gun was carried in the catalogs between 1909 and 1920 but seem to have been of very limited production. my opinion is they were carried in the catalogs until what they had purchased was sold and after 1920 the parts do not show up in the parts catalogs H&R issued every few years.

    i have long known that some early manufacturers of single barrel shotguns used belgium barrels. in the iver johnson 1896 catalog it is proudly stated they use only the best belgium barrels. with out proof i have suppected some manufacturer of double barrel shotguns also used belgium barrels.

    i am really not a shotgun collector so my knowledge is limited to what i have learned about H&R and iver johnson shotguns. iver johnson being my main interest and H&R a secondary interest.
  11. gregnnora

    gregnnora New Member

    Mar 2, 2011
  12. hillbrook

    hillbrook New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
  13. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I've responded to your e-mail. WE all would enjoy seeing your pics. If you can't post on this site - I'll be glad to receive and then post for you.

    Got the pics. Here's the first four:




    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  14. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Here's the last two pics of the 28 ga. Small Frame Hammer gun:


    The butt pad is not original to the gun - it appears to be a well fitted "Red Head" brand pad, but the original black, hard rubber plate seems to be underneath it on the butt.

    Overall condition of this piece - to me - seems to be around 85- 90% barrel blue, less than 10% color case on the locks and the wood seems to be in V.Good with well defined checkering. Current RETAIL value I'd estimate at $1200 to $1400 in today's market. I've seen EXCELLENT condition pieces sell just under and just over $2K.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
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