H&R and IJ Black Powder Cartridge Revolvers

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by birddogo1e, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. birddogo1e

    birddogo1e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Recently picked up a couple of BP cartridge revolvers, an IJ ?2nd Model? 32 cal AMERICAN BULL DOG and an H&R ?1st Model, 2nd Variation? 32 cal SAFETY HAMMER DOUBLE ACTION.

    The first is identified by the stamped "AMERICAN BULL DOG" on the top flat of the barrel. The SN 76XX is found only under the left grip. The grips are black hard rubber without chips or cracks in VG condition showing an eagle holding arrows in its claws. The revolver is nickel plated which shows some very minor pitting (smaller than grains of salt) on the frame but no BP fouling in the cylinder/barrel mating area as I have seen on many specimens from the l800s. Considering the potential age of this gun (100+ years) it is in very, very good condition. The octagonal barrel is 2 7/16" long from the front of the 5-chamber cylinder. Cylinder lockup is good. There is no caliber identifier on the rear left flat of the barrel, which makes this a BP cartridge only piece. Most of the model identification data from various posts of this forum indicate this is a 2nd Model 32 IJ Bull Dog made from 1887 to 1889, except an older one from B Goforth where he specifies dog face grips for the 2nd model and eagle grips for 1st model mid frames with barrel length the same as mine, 2nd Models have a 2 1/2" barrel. He also wrote that both 1st and 2nd Models were made for both 32 RF and CF. Elsewhere the name stamped on the barrel makes it a 2nd model. The quality of this revolver is not up to par with other OJs that I have. Example: the bore is VG with sharp lands and grooves but have light chatter marks in them, which probably occurred when the barrel was rifled. Poor QC. However, the 5 chambers are veru nice. Also the nickel plating is very thin and worn in a couple "high traffic" areas.

    The 2nd has "SAFETY HAMMER DOUBLE ACTION" stamped in two lines on the cylinder back strap. It is all nickel except for the "bobbed" safety hammer, which appears case hardened. It is also a 32 cal BP with no cal ID stamped on the left rear barrel flat. It has black hard rubber grips with a scrolled design, which are in almost new condition without cracks or chips. In fact, there are very few finish indicators that this revolver isn't a recent made. The gun has a 2 1/2" octagonal barrel without any stamps and the lands and grooves are sharp and shiny. The 6 cartridge chambers are also bright and smooth. Cylinder lockup is very good. The revolver has been fired as there was residue on the front of the cylinder that Hoppes #9 had no trouble removing, but not fired much to be in the condition it is. The serial number 94 is found under the left grip and scratched into the backside of both grips. Except for the name and SN, there are no other markings, not even Patent identifiers stamped on the left upper edge of the safety hammer.

    I would like to know if my tentative Model IDs for these revolvers is accurate and what the years, either real or estimated, of manufacture are. I think the Safety Hammer one is special in some way as it has a very low SN and does not conform to Patent stamp criteria. I'm hoping someone reading this can help clarify this.
  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Unless the grips have been changed, your I.J. is a first model ABD made 1882-1886, as only the dog's head grips were used on the second model. The second model also has a rounded frame top behind the hammer versus the squared profile of the first model. They were numbered in batches, so the serial number is no dating aid.

    The Safety Hammer version of H&Rs American Double Action was introduced 1887.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  3. birddogo1e

    birddogo1e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    HRF; Thanks again for your very prompt response. Please note that the Eagle on grips of mine is a vertical side view with checkering in open areas around eagle not horizontal front view with wings out stretched towards top and bottom of grips and with no (apparent) checkering in open areas as shown in 1st Variation photos you posted 04-12-2008 under thread "Iver Johnson American Bulldog 1st Type". Also, name is stamped on top barrel flat (Var #2) not on cylinder backstrap (Var #1) while frame behind hammer is slightly rounded, not a sharp edge as in the 1st Model photos you posted then. Does any of this additional info effect your answer?

    Also, would it be reasonable to say that with a two-digit SN, my 32 H&R Safety Hammer revolver was very probably made in 1887, the 1st year of manufacture for this type?

    If you have the time and inclination, I would appreciate your checking out two recent posts on other threads for other H&Rs I picked up with the two here as a package deal. All or none.

    My post dtd 06-29-2012 under thread "H&R Arms 22 Revolver 7 shot info" (2nd from last post) and
    my post dtd 06-30-2012 under thread "H&R .32 top break revolvers" (last post).
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    You need to post a photo to confirm the ABD model you have. The eagle on grips of the smaller calibers differs as you describe from the one on the large frame .44 I posted, and the frame bend is not as sharp on the smaller ones.

    Jim Hauff is the H&R expert but he's not available lately. My impression has been that serial numbers on H&Rs ADA and SHDA are batch numbers also. But lack of the patent date on the hammer may indicate early production.
  5. birddogo1e

    birddogo1e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    hrf;

    You sure are fast. Is your puter equiped with an alarm? Hoping that your first eval was correct. As for the SHDA the lack of Pat #s caused me to think the same. Will wait to see what Jim thinks whenever he again becomes available.
    Will post a photo as soon as I get software loaded to download pics from ny new Kodak.
    Slight learning curves for Geezers like me are a little steeper.

    I added something to my above post that you might not have seen yet but as it concerns H&Rs???
  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Attached view is from the late Bill Goforth's I. J. book, showing the extra large frame .44 upper left, large frame .38 lower left, small frame .22 upper right, and medium frame .32 lower right. All have eagle design grips and are apparently intended to show the four frame sizes of first model.

    However, the frame, trigger, and hammer profiles of the .32 look like the second models to me, and I suspect match your gun?

    The .32 also looks identical to the Boston Bulldog variation introduced 1887...

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  7. birddogo1e

    birddogo1e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    As you can see from the photos, I finally figured out how to upload, the only apparent differance between pictured bottom right ABD and mine (PICs 1&2) is shape of trigger guard. Mine does not curve foerward as much, more to the rear. Otherwise twins. Also providing pics of SHDA (PICs 3&4). Agree that lack of Pat info on hammer has some significance. Hope Jim can help clarify. Now if only someone could show/tell me how to reduce size of pictures.

    Attached Files:

  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Trigger guards on the ABD in book and yours look identical to me, but they are easily bent.

    If your pics are on a PC, most have photo software that allows you to resize them.
  9. birddogo1e

    birddogo1e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Re: Harrington & Richardson Model?
    Please note that in the 1st paragraph of quote last edited by b.goforth; 08-14-2005, it states that those Safety Hammer Double Action (SHDA)/American Double Action (ADA) revolvers with the company and address stamped on the barrel are 2nd Models making them suitable for smokeless powder cartridges. Quotes of this are also included in post replys in other forums as well. However, in later posts by Bill G. (first noted in 09-03-2004 post on "Safety Hammer Double Action" thread on this forum), he identifies the company and address being stamped on the barrel starting with the 1st Model 4th Variation SHDA/ADA revolvers. I believe Bill gathered additional information after posting this and the 2nd identification for SHDA/ADAs Model/Variation identifying criteria is correct. It is important that this be verified so that the unknowing won't try shooting smokeless in a BP revolver.
    I have a 1st Model 3rd Variation 32 SHDA SN 94 that has no company/address stamp and a 4th Variation 38 SHDA SN 40XX that does. Neither of them have any caliber stamps anywhere on the barrels. When comparing my revolvers with the the one in the 3rd photo of a 2nd Model in Jim Hauff's 01-05-2012 post under the "Harrington and Richardson Revolver" thread on this forum they are identical except for the lack of any barrel stamps on my 32 and only the Co/address on my 38. A couple of other ID features he called to attention on the photo are; the sloped recoil shield (both of mine have this), the rounded hammer screw, both of mine have flat screw heads and the right side screw ends are flush with the frame and also nickeled, the Pat # on the hammer (the 32 does not have but the 38 does), and the 4 nurled bands on the cylinder pin which again both of mine have. Does anyone know the significance of these? Jim also stated that the Pat # appears on the left side of SHDA hammers on MOST of the early !st Models which might indicate that my 32 was made near the begining of the 1888-1897 production run after the 1887 Patent was awarded. It is my understanding that SNs started anew each year and without letters being included it is almost impossible to identify anything beyond a span of years in production for SHDA/ADA revolvers.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum connecticut valley arms black powder May 3, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Help with black powder shotgun Jan 10, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Old Browning and black powder pistol Dec 25, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Belgium, Double Barrel Side x Side-black powder Jul 9, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Double barrel black powder pistol Apr 2, 2013

Share This Page