H&R's THE AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by 45Auto, May 27, 2008.

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  1. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    Regarding the mid-sized solid frame H&R. "THE AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION" series of revolvers. With the same basic frame some are in .38 S&W five-shot and others are chambered for the 32 S&W Long with six-shot cylinders.

    Some have hex barrels others round. Some of them are marked SAFETY HAMMER in place of AMERICAN and have the spirless hammer. A few of the AMERICAN marked revolvers have two and three digit serial numbers on the left side of the grip frame, under the grips.

    How were these revolvers serial numbered? Was it from #1 on up? From when to when was this series made?


    Thank you.

    Greg
  2. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    A lot of firearms were not serial numbered before the GCA '68 mandated it for all firearms.

    MOST major manufacturers were using serial numbers as standard practice long before then, but a surprising number of well known ones didn't.

    I learned this just the other day researching my JC Higgins .22 rifle made for Sears in the late '50s by Marlin, that I was given by a relative, that had no serial number, and it turned out Marlin usually DIDN'T put serial numbers on their .22 rifles until 1968, and many other manufacturers didn't either.

    I don't know about H&R revolvers though....
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    greg,
    all H&R handguns will have a serial number (batch number) usually found as you stated under the grip panel or on the bottom of the butt.

    the american double action revolvers take a several chapters in the up coming H&R book. without going into a lot of detail there are two models and several variation of each model. the two model are first 1884-1904 and second model 1905-1942.

    first model first varialition 1884-1887 round barrel
    first model second variation 1888-1897 octagon barrel
    first model third variation 1898-1904 octagon barrel with company name and address on left side of barrel.
    serial numbers for the first model are in at least two different series each starting a 01 and going up to 99,999. there are strong possiblities that there are as many serial number series as the first model was manufactured. could be one per year. not enough information has been gather to make any decisions on the number of serial number series yet so it is best just to identify them by variation. all first models a designed for black powder cartridge pressures

    the second model 1905-1942 octagon barrel with company name and address and caliber marked on left side of barrel. one serial number series starting at 01 and going to over 700,000. all second models were desighed for smokeless powder cartridge pressures

    the safety hammer models were treated by the catalogs as a seperate model even though they were serial numbered in the same series as the regular america double action revolvers. the H&R bulldog (chambered for rimfire cartridges) is treated the same way. both will be found in the first and second models

    there is also a larger frame chambered for the 44 webley cartridge that may have a completely different serial number series. as there are no known serial number records available for this model and other pre1940 models an exact serial number record may never be possible.

    you are just going to have to wait for the book for a full explaination of the serial numbers and even that will not be considered 100%, only my interturpation of known serial numbered revolvers.
    bill
  4. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    Thank you Bill. The above was exactly what I was looking for.

    I will try to be patient for the day I can buy a copy of your H&R book. With everyting you have to cover it has to be a big job.
  5. targetback

    targetback New Member

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    It sure looks like I have the Black powder 32. Where can I find ammo for this pistol , Or reload ?
  6. charlie12

    charlie12 New Member

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    Hello I just found your forum and I have one of those guns. Thanks for the info on the serial number I took the grip off and it has 149 stamped on the gun.

    The only other thing on it is on the top that says The American Double Action. He also has to octagon barrel.

    How can I find out how old it is?

    Thanks
  7. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    targetback for old obsolete ammo check old western scrounger . ows.com they may have what you need or will know where to get it. yes that includes BP loads
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    charlie12,
    your is a first model see below on how to identify variation. the era is the only date that can be given on these revolver for now.

    AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION FIRST MODEL
    (BLACK POWDER MODEL):-------------------------- 1884-1904
    32 caliber 6 shot, 38 caliber 5 shot, 44 caliber 5 shot, pull pin cylinder release, barrel length 2½, 4½ & 6 inches nickel finish standard, blue considered rare
    Marked on top strap “AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION”,
    first variation will have a round barrel & nickel trigger guard------------1884-1887
    second variation will have a octagon barrel & nickel trigger guard------ 1888-1897
    third variation will have a octagon barrel , blue trigger guard and company name and address on left side of barrel--------------1898-1904
    100%=$225 60%=$95, 1st Variation rarely seen, add 50% premium., for all American Double Actions variations and variants: add 15% premium for blue finish, add 10% premium for 4 ½ “ or 6” barrel, add 5%-10% premium for nickel trigger guard (pre 1898)

    bill
  9. charlie12

    charlie12 New Member

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    Thanks mine is a 5 shot 38 and has the octagon barrel and nickel trigger guard. I had no idea it was that old. I would like to know who in my family had it, I'm the last one and I have no idea.
  10. joe2015

    joe2015 New Member

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    I also have one of these guns, it is all nickle, the serial number is 3903 under grip it has an octagonal barrel2 1/2 inch and that is all the markings it also has the firing pin on the hammer I believe that it is one of the late 1800/s early 1900's guns but I am not sure can you help pinpoint a date for me
  11. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i will need a picture showing all the markings on top strap and left side of the barrel and then it would be to an era as there are no factory serial number records for this model and several serial number series were used. each going up to 99,999 before starting over again.
    bill
  12. William B

    William B New Member

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    I found this through a Google search. I have my dad's old revolver from his Border Patrol days in the late 40s and I was looking for info on it. Reading the posts I am not sure which one I have and how old it is. I don't know if he bought it in the 1940s or got it from someone else.

    It is an H&R Arms Company .38 S&W CTGE, that is on the left side of the barrel. On the top it says THE AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION It is nickel plated, 2 1/2 " octagonal barrel. blue trigger guard, 5 shot .38. The serial number on the butt of the gun is 897 17
  13. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is an early second model most likely manufactured before 1910.

    AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION SECOND MODEL
    (SMOKELESS POWDER) -------------------------------------1905-1941
    32 caliber 6 shot, 38 caliber 5 shot, 44 caliber 5 shot, pull pin cylinder release, calibers and barrel lengths are the same as first model, 44 Webley caliber discontinued in 1921, nickel finish, blue optional. Difference between First Model and Second Model is the caliber Markings on the left side of the barrel. After 1930 this model was listed in catalogs as; AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION No. 60 .32 Caliber 6 shot and AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION No. 65 .38 Caliber 5 shot
    100%=$225 60%= $75 For all American Double Action Second Models add 15% premium for blue finish and 10% for 4 ½” or 6” barrel

    bill
  14. William B

    William B New Member

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    Thanks Bill from another Bill in Houston. I had no idea it was that old. All I knew was that my dad had it when he was in the Border Patrol in the 40s. Since he passed away 1993, I don't have any way to determine its history. He might have got it from someone else. I have 5 Winchester 38 S&W bullets that were in it, they must be at least at 50 years old.
  15. jtavner

    jtavner New Member

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    I am trying to find out more about a H & R "the american double action" that my grandmother gave to me today. She received it back in 1974 when her great aunt passed away. It does have the round barrel and I did take the grip off to find the number 653 on it. Was this really built between 1884-1887. If any one knows anymore, Please let me know about it. It appears to be in great condition except for some minor rusting on the gun.

    Jason
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