H&R 38 defender 5 shot

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by rmcneil, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. rmcneil

    rmcneil New Member

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    I have An H&R Arms revolver 5 shot 38. Blueing has been redone. Not a good job of it either. Has plastic 1 piece grips with H&R logo. It is a break top. The numbers on the frame under the grip are as follows. 4657
    This is all I have on this gun.
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi rmcneil.....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.




    *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. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is most likey one of the early defender's manufactured in 1939 to 1946 era. i will need to see some good photo's to tell for sure. the late model 925 defender introduced in 1964 is not quite the same revolver.
    bill
  4. rmcneil

    rmcneil New Member

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    here are some pics. some are a little blurry. The numbers on the frame under the grip are 4657 there is an M and an H under the numbers and an O above and off to the side of them. Sorry about the picture quality it is the best my camera would do.

    Attached Files:

  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is one of the wwII era H&R defenders manufactured as early as 1939 and as late as 1946. most of these defenders were purchased by the government and a lot were purchased by individual companies with war time government contracts for issue to security guards. in the early 1960 the government declared these revolvers surplus and they ended up on the civilian market. some were still new in their brown cardboad box. i would suppect yours is one of those released by the government in the 1960's. serial number 4145 was shipped to the Free Norweign Navy in 1943 and serial number 5203 was shipped to the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. in Manitowoc Wisconsin in 1944. serial numbers on these war time models were in a seperate series statring at 01 (or 101) and going as high as 15145. the total manufacture and the total number purchased by the government is still unknown at this time

    the exact date of manufacture of indiviual serial numbers is unknown for now but i suppect most were manufactured 1939 thru 1942. H&R themselves last listed these defender revolver for sale in a December 1947 magazine ad as the model 925 in field & stream magazine. thier inventory must have finally been sold shortly after that as no other ads or catalogs featured them until the new model 925 Defender was introduced in 1964.

    bill
  6. rmcneil

    rmcneil New Member

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    Thank you very much for all the information.
  7. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Just FYI.....Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company (during WWII) built 28 submarines for the U.S. Navy, side-launching them into the Manitowoc River and sending them via inland waterways to the Gulf Coast at New Orleans. Manitowoc Shipbuilding also produced LCT landing vessels which were tested in practice "invasions" on Lake Michigan beaches.

    Bill.....I knew about the Colt "Commando" and S&W "Victory" models made during WWII (mostly made for sale to defense plants for their gate guards, etc.), but hadn't known that H&R was doing that also. Was IJ also doing this kind of WWII business?
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    wwII is another era of iver johnson history that is clouded in mystery. all handgun manufacture seem to have ceased by 1942. the iver johnson revolvers that are wwII related, that have shown up seem to have been purchased straight out of inventory. serial numbers vary and are not from any given era. one to the british government safety automatic revolver i have seen date form the 1920's and another to the middle 1930's. serial numbers of post war civilian production seem to have picked up where they left off at the end of 1941. iver johnson was allowed to keep manufacturing a limited number of champion single barrel 12 gauge shotguns some of which found their way unto the civilian market but most went to companies for issue to security guards.

    the only u.s purchase of the safety automatic revolver i can verify are the 1500 purchased in 1910 and 1911 by the navy (these ended up in the hands of the OSS in WWII. the british are known to have purchase 2,258 and the dutch purchased about 1000 early in the war that may have actually ended up in japanese hands. since the britich and dutch were buying just about any handgun available, if more were available they would have bought them.

    there are no records that have turned up as to exactly what iver johnson manufactured during the war, but the rumor around the fitchberg area (i heard it from several sources during my visit in 1999) was the management was pacifist in nature, but did manufacture reising submachine recievers for H&R and machine tools for other companies involved in war work. it was also stated that the president of the company at the time (iver johnson's grandson) was more interested in his dogs and horses than the firearm company.

    it would appear that while most firearms manufacturer were heavily involved in war work during WWII iver johnson was only mariginally involved. while they survival the war in fairly decent shape (financely) they failed to moderize soon enough and their post war production was only a fraction of the pre war production and probably cause their demise in 1975 when the company was sold to outside interest.

    H&R on the other hand came out of the wwII era on very good term with the military and went on the manufacture M1 garands during the 1950's and M14's and M16's during the 1960's. they even did considerable expermential work for the government during this time, manufacturing a limited run of the FAL's and an H&K rifle Model and some special expermential M14 rifles.
    bill
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  9. rmcneil

    rmcneil New Member

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    I have an Iver Johnson 12 guage single shot. I bought it at a garage sale for 2 dollars. The end of the barrel was split about an inch. I cut it off and used it to dove hunt for a couple of years. The forend is missing. It is now a wall hanger. I will post some pictures in a couple of days. Maybe you could tell me how old it is. Oh yeah how much do you think the 38 is worth?
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    with the condition the defender 38 is in it probably won't bring more than $125 most likely a little less.

    would need pictures and more information on the iver johnson shotgun before i can give you any help on it. most iver johnson's shotguns were full choked and with a shorten barrel the choke is gone and that would hurt the value.
    bill
  11. krazie

    krazie New Member

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    I have just acquired a Defender 38 that was my grandfathers. I'm looking to find as much information on it as possible. My main concerns are what kind of grip it had because I would like to get as close as possible. I've included some pictures and can take more if need be. Thank you for any help.

    Kyle


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  12. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    so far i have identified five different models of the 'H&R defender revolver'. this one is most likely the fourth one down with model number 25. the grips were one piece oversized plastic attached with a single screw at the lower back. try one of the online parts suppliers like jack first inc., numrich arms or bob gun shop.

    MODEL 299 NEW DEFENDER--------------------------1935-1939
    Large frame top break revolver, 22 rimfire caliber 9 shot cylinder capacity, 2 inch barrel only, adjustable sights, one piece walnut grip, pocket Size, marked on right side of barrel with model name and caliber, modified “Rice Frame”, automatic cylinder stop, finger rest trigger guard., Overall length only 6¼ inches, serial number range unknown believed to be in the same series as the Model 999 Sportsman.,
    VALUE: 100%=$525 60%=$250

    H&R DEFENDER SPECIAL MODEL 299---------------1935-1939
    Large frame double action top break revolver; 38 S&W caliber; cylinder capacity 5 rounds; 2 inch flat sided barrel; sights, front adjustable for elevation and rear adjustable for windage; blue finish; finger rest trigger guard; birds head grip frame shortened for special one piece pocket size checkered Walnut grips; automatic cylinder stop; overall length 6 ¼ inches; Serial number range unknown.
    VALUE: $600 $275 (very seldom seen)

    DEFENDER NO MODEL NUMBER TOP BREAK-----------1940-1942
    Large frame double action top break revolver; 38 S&W caliber; cylinder capacity 5 rounds; 4, 5 and 6 inch flat sided barrel; fixed sights; blue finish; no finger rest on trigger guard; birds head grip frame one piece oversized checkered Walnut grips; automatic cylinder stop; hammer mounted firing pin; automatic cylinder stop; most likely this is the beginning of the Defender 38 Model. 25. The literature for the Model 25 show a slightly different revolver. The literature for this revolver refers to it as the Defender 38. Top of barrel marked with company name and address, left side of barrel is marked; “DEFENDER 38” and right side is marked; “38 S&W CTGE”. Believed to be in a separate serial number range and possibly have letter code prefixes.
    VALUE: 100%= $325 60%=$155 Add 20% premium for 5” and 6” barrel (scarce

    DEFENDER No. 25 LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK----------1943-1945
    Large frame double action top break revolver; 38 S&W caliber; cylinder capacity 5 rounds; 4 inch flat sided barrel only; sights, front adjustable for elevation and rear adjustable for windage; blue finish; no finger rest on trigger guard; birds head grip frame; one piece oversized checkered black plastic grips; automatic cylinder stop; cylinder release via push button on left side of barrel lug; Right side of barrel is marked with company name and address and caliber, left side of barrel marked “DEFENDER 38”, serial number series is believed to be a separate series
    VALUE: 100%=$325 60%=$155

    DEFENDER MODEL 925 LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK -----1946-1947
    Large frame double action top break revolver; 38 S&W caliber; cylinder capacity 5 rounds; 4 inch flat sided barrel; sights, front adjustable for elevation and rear adjustable for windage; blue finish; no finger rest on trigger guard; birds head grip frame, one piece oversized checkered black plastic grips; automatic cylinder stop; weight 25 ounces; overall length 9 inches; cylinder release via push button on left side of barrel lug; there has been one model 925 that is a factory manual ejection revolver with a serial number low enough that it actually may be a Model 25. It has company name and address on top of the barrel, “DEFENDER” on right side of barrel and the caliber on the left side of the barrel.
    VALUE: 100%=$325 60%=$155 Add 50% premium for manual ejecting model

    bill
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  13. krazie

    krazie New Member

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    Thanks Bill. Now, according to the descriptions, the markings sound like the 3rd down but the sights sound like the fourth. In the fourth desription it states the company and caliber are on the right side. Mine just has the “38 S&W CTGE”. Any clue? Sorry to be a pain, just looking for all the info I can get.

    Thanks,
    Kyle
  14. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    krazie,
    Based upon the examples in my collection:
    Earliest examples will be marked on the left side of the barrel with the Model designation and the H&R name and address on the right side. Latter pieces will have the manufacturer name and address on the barrel rib and the caliber on the right side - this series is still in a state of confusion, it appears that during the war years, H&R put together what they could without regard to markings - therefore, the markings is somewhat confused. Bill has attempted to categorize what these markings mean and when they were produced - however - this series is still in a state of flux and as we accumulate more examples the situation may be more clearly clarified. As for now, the 10 pieces in my collection and the other pieces that Bill has been able to examine provide the info that is published/provided. This may change in the future.
    Jim Hauff
  15. krazie

    krazie New Member

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    Thanks for the reply and thank you both for the info. My main reason for the question was to go for the walnut grip or the plastic. Once again, thanks.

    Kyle
  16. mattinuniform

    mattinuniform New Member

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    I too have a H&R model 925 "Defender" 38 S&W CTGE with the serial number: 10

    It was my grandfathers that he used in WWII, I want to have it reburbished but there is no one in my area (Maryland outside of Washington DC) that I can find to do it. Anyone know

    1) what this is even worth
    2) where I can take it to have it cleaned (it has a lot of rust)
    3) repaired (needs hand grips)

    I have attached a photo (not great) but all I have...

    Please someone email me and help me out! it might not be worth much money but it is all I have left of my Grandfather

    Attached Files:

  17. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Can you describe the shape of the barrel? Is it key-hole shaped (raised barrel rib with cut-out below and round barrel) -or- flat sided "tear drop" shaped? Is the front sight adjustible or fixed blade? Is the rear sight adjustable or a small 'V' shaped sight which is part of the barrel latch? The picture as presented on my computer is not clear enough to see those details.
  18. mattinuniform

    mattinuniform New Member

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    The barrell is smooth, the front site in not adjustable. rear site is just the small V I will work on taking better photos and posting them. I really just want to find someone that can Restore the pistol for me.
  19. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Yours is a very, very early Defender. I have two of these early ones. As to restoring - collector value in fair to good condition is less that 200 bucks per piece, probably closer to $125 to $150. In my opinion, as an H&R collector, having it gently buffed/de-rusted and then re-blued would not be a bad thing to do - since it has sentimental/heritage value to you. Finding the one piece, checkered Walnut grip can be done, but will take some searching and watching the auction sites (auctionarms and ********* and ebay) - typical cost for this "mono" grip - is between $35 and $50 (I know this because I've bought several.) Having it reblued/restored - do a Google search for firearms restoration shops - you should be able to find someone fairly close but will most likely have to ship the piece to them - will cost up to $50 to do so - refinish will probably cost around $200.
    Do the math - you must determine if the cost is worth while. If it were mine, I would use a mild metal polish, Flitz paste or equivalent, to remove the rust - then treat with a light gun oil, wipe off after a day or two, then apply spray silicone to the entire piece with a cotton swab - allow to sit for a day or two and then buffing with a clean solf cloth. I've used this method on over 600 firearms (blued and nickeled) and it always improves the appearance as well as protects the finish for as long as 14 years. If you decide to go this route - ask me to give detailed instructions on the process I use.
  20. mattinuniform

    mattinuniform New Member

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    Thanks for all the help...

    Here are some better photos, if anyone out there (and thanks Jim) knows more info on this pistol please let me know...I have never seen one with such a lower serial number. I Do Not want to sell at this time, just refurbish and restore.

    Thanks!

    Attached Files:

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