H&R Handy Gun

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by piski, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. piski

    piski New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    Can someone please help me find an approx. age and value of an H&R Handy Gun 28 ga. Barrel length is 12 3/16", both barrel and receiver are stamped with 10371. Firearm is smooth bore and in perfect condition with what I've read is referred to as "tiger bluing". Any help would be very much appreciated.
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    a h&r handy gun in 28 gauge with all the proper registration papers (in U.S.A.) could be worth considerable money as not to many have survived in this gauge. the handy gun was manufacured between 1924 and 1934 when the government rulled they were not a shotgun but a smooth bore handgun which was declared illegal, unless registrated, by the 1932 firearms revenue act. actually the handy gun has several strikes against it and H&Rs fight to get it approved never stood a chance.

    if it does not have the proper paper work it is worthless as it cannot be legally sold and is subject to confiscation by the BATF

  3. johnston3407

    johnston3407 New Member

    Let us see a photo of it anyway.
  4. piski

    piski New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    It's registered...up here in Canada, and i'll get a pic up in the next couple of days. Any ideas on an exact manufacture date ??
  5. SGVictor

    SGVictor Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Eric M. Larson's booklet on the variations of the smooth Bore H&R Handy-Gun lists three models with three types for each model. The 28 Ga. has been observed inn only a few of the variations. You would need to provide photos and exace markings and the locations of the markings for a proper identification.

    Based on the little information provided, I would guess 1924-1925.
  6. piski

    piski New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    as promised.......here's the pics of the 28ga Handy-Gun. Again, s/n is 10371.....can ya's better approximate a value now ? Barrel s/n is stamped on the "locking tab" visible once action is opened and receiver s/n is on top of handle where latch is to break it open. If anymore info is necessary....just chime in.

    Attached Files:

  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    since this is a hard gun to get ahold of here in the U.S. they are hard to study. my own research has not turned up ay more than already reported. they were serial numbered in their own series with about 40,000 manufactured serial numbers in the 25,000/ 30,000 range seem to be in the 1929/1930 era so i would guess your is fairly early. also those manufactured in 1929/30 era are choke bored and so marked on the top of the barrel. ned schwing's 'standard catalog of firearms' has some good information on the handy gun
  8. johnston3407

    johnston3407 New Member

    Why would that be any different than a T.C. Contender? ( legal ) I think you can shoot 410 ga. in a Contender.
  9. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    the contenders and other modern handguns that will fire the 410 shells have rifled barrels with either an internal or external choke tube that inhiblits the spin of the 410 shot sabot. the early contender i had was a 44 magnum and fired all the 44 mag loads better than i could hold it but the 410 shot had large holes in the pattern. only good for very short ranges.
  10. johnston3407

    johnston3407 New Member

    I was just curious, so it's the rifling that would make the H&R not legal?
  11. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    a better answer is the lack of rifling in the barrel is what made the handy gun illegal. the government ruled early on that any handgun with a smooth bore was a shotgun and to be legal a shotgun must have a barrel length of 18 inches and a overall legth on 26 1/2 inches. the H&R handy gun and several other handguns with smooth bores had to be discontinued. however the H&R handy gun was still offered for sale in canada until at least 1941 where it was not outlawed until sometime after wwII.

    there were some handy guns chambered for the 22 rimfire and 32-20 centerfire cartridges that have a rifled barrel. they proved unpopular and didn't last any longer than the smooth bore models.

    the handy gun made its last appearence in the U.S.A. H&R catalog number 20 (1933/34 era). the illustration of the handy gun is overstamped in large letters "this model withdrawn, a ruling by the internal revenue dept. classes the handy gun under the new federal machine gun law".

    the standard catalog of firearms list the 28 gauge handy gun as having a value of up to $1200.00 depending on condition.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2007
  12. vidman

    vidman New Member

    Feb 9, 2011
    I was going thru a box of my grandfathers things and found a .410 version of the H&R Handy Gun. I remember as a kid he told me that he traded it for some work he did around a guys house in upstate New York, back in the 30's. I dont know if he or the original owner ever had any papers for it, I did not find any for it. Is this a worthless relic? It is in NEAR perfect condition and doesnt look like it has been ever fired. Any info is greatly appreciated.
  13. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    vidman -
    Read Bill Goforth's comments concerning the legality of the SMOOTHBORE Handy Guns in the previous postings. This will give you all the info you need to know about yours. IF you have no papers (registration and tax stamp) it is considered CONTRABAND by the ATF.
    Here's a reference for your viewing pleasure.

    "Section 2.5 Removal of firearms from the scope of the NFA by modification/elimination of components.

    Firearms, except machineguns and silencers, that are subject to the NFA fall within the various definitions due to specific features. If the particular feature that causes a firearm to be regulated by the NFA is eliminated or modified, the resulting weapon is no longer an NFA weapon.

    For example, a shotgun with a barrel length of 15 inches is an NFA weapon. If the 15- inch barrel is removed and disposed of, the remaining firearm is not subject to the NFA because it has no barrel.
    Likewise, if the 15 inch barrel is modified by permanently attaching an extension such that the barrel length is at least 18 inches and the overall length of the weapon is at least 26 inches, the modified
    firearm is not subject to the NFA. NOTE: an acceptable method for permanently installing a barrel extension is by gas or electric steel seam welding or the use of high temperature silver solder having a
    flow point of 1100 degrees Fahrenheit."
  14. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    A Handy gun without a barrel is not an NFA weapon.
    The receiver can be converted to a SBS by getting a tax stamp. Then, a short barrel can be added.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  15. PeteM

    PeteM New Member

    Nov 8, 2010
    That has to be in the best condition I have ever seen for one of these. The "tiger bluing" is referring to the cyanide case colors on the frame. I can't remember the year of this ad...


    As the ad states, they were also chambered for the 44XL, an early form of the .410 in this country.



    The NFA coincides with the John Dillinger, Melvin Purvis activity that was capturing the headlines then.
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