Hamilton 027 Oddball - ANY INFO?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by FloridaFialaFan, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Most gun nuts are familiar with the little Hamilton .22rf rifles, a huge number of which were given as premiums to kids in the '20s and '30s for selling Cloverleaf Salve and other household items door to door. Hamilton is reputed to have sold more than a million of the little guys before selling their assets to Hoban and ending a successful and long-running business.

    The Hamilton 027 was an "improved" model of their hugely successful No. 27 rifle. NOTE that all Hamilton rifles were designated by No. rather than MODEL.


    If you have a Hamilton look at the information stamped into the left side of the receiver. It should be designated by a No. and NOT marked MODEL.

    Below is an 027 I've been unable to find any info about. I've checked with Jim who has the Hamilton website, and also with Wes who was the long-time collector who furnished the photos for that site. Both recall seeing an 027 stamped in this manner but neither man had any info on its origin, time frame, or why the change.

    Here are the stampings on this rifle - I have two like this, by the way, it is not an isolated case.


    Note that in front of the large Takedown Bolt head their is a set of 3 initials stamped there. The other gun has a different set of 3. I assume these were "inspectors' stamps."

    Anyone have any knowledge about these little oddballs? I'd like to learn their scarcity and value.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  2. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Can't get in on this, as I'm away from home and my references aren't available. I'll chime in when I get back. Meanwhile, just one little correction: It was Cloverine Salve, not Cloverleaf. I know, as I sold some to get a Hamilton rifle. I also sold Liberty magazine subscriptions to get a second Hamilton.
    gvw3 likes this.

  3. You're correct, wonderwhippet, it was Cloverine. I look forward to hearing what you might be able to find out about this unusual variation. Even the guys who were best suspects for knowing this gun, have seen one with these markings, but neither has any idea how it came about.

    I've got two of them now, and it's possible those other two gents saw two different guns, making a total of four, so we know it was not just some kind of "one-shot"' deal altered in someone's home workshop.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  4. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Well, I finally got my hands on my copy of "American Boys' Rifles 1890-1945" by Jim Perkins, and a fascinating book it is. There's a lot of information on the Hamilton Company, but unfortunately, the photos are not sharp enough to see if there are any letter markings similar to yours. According to the book, total production of the model 027 from 6/30/1908 to 4/30/1911 was 35,855 rifles. No figures are available after 1911.

    "The Model 027 is the more expensive version of the Model 27. The butt stock is oval shaped instead of the flat board which was found on the 27. Instead of stained birch, the stock is made of walnut. Early rifle barrels had a brass liner, but later this was changed to a thin steel liner. Both 14 7/8" and 16" barrels, as well as brass and steel liners are found in this model. The markings are the same as the 27, with the exception of being stamped "027."

    Incidentally, in 1965 athe American Import Company of San Francisco brought in about 250 Japanese copies of the Hamilton 27 rifle. These rifles were sold to area jobbers for just under $10. Sales were exceptionally poor, and many jobbers couldn't get rid of the few rifles they had on hand. Gun shops and sporting goods stores were afraid of the safety of these rifles, especially since they were chambered for the long rifle cartridge. Realizing they had a real dud on their hands, the importer stopped all imports of this rifle. The Japanese version is close to the original Hamilton. The same brass liner is in the barrel, the frame is made of stampings, and the small "bolt" action is identical in every aspect. However, the Japanese copy has a "stepped" barrel; the stock is of the Monte Carlo shape with a rubber butt pad, and the trigger tguard is of brass. It is actually better made than the Hamilton rifle it copied.

    All the aformentioned information is derived from Jim Perkins' book.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  5. Hi wonderwhippet. The two guys I mentioned in the last post above were the: 1) owner of the the Hamilton website, and 2) the gentleman who furnished the many Hamilton items furnished for use in that article.

    I've only emailed with the site owner, but have talked with the Hamilton owner this particular variation.

    As for the Japanese-made clone, it was a clone of the 027, NOT the 27. I saw one come up for sale on *********, but for some reason I bypassed it and let it get away. No idea how much it sold for. However, I did buy the Hoban German-made clone from United Arms of Chicago.

    I should mention that in Perkins' book he refers to ALL Hamiltons by a MODEL designation rather than a number. However, none of the rifles were marked MODEL, only No..


    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2009
  6. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    My mistake, I miscopied. the Japanese copy was indeed the 027.
  7. jack123

    jack123 Former Guest

    Nov 12, 2005
    how to detect online work from home scams

    before signing up for any stay at home work plan, check the history of the site.
    If the website require you to give them your bank acount number then you should think again.
    A legal paid survey does not request for financial information.
  8. wonderwhippet, since last post have obtained one of the SIERRA marked Jap clones of the Hamilton 027. There are two other importers, but all told it's believed only about 200 were imported before all decided it was a non-seller.

    Was fortunate enough to get this one with original box.


    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  9. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Unbelievable! You have an amazingly rare piece. Congratulations.
  10. wonderwhippet, if you check your Perkins book, pages 37-38, we now have FIVE known variations of the Hamilton 027. Starting with the most commonly known.

    1) Regular stamping of No. 027.
    2) Unknown stamping of MODEL 027
    3) Japanese-made clone of 027 approximately 250 imported by American Import Co. of San Francisco 1965.
    4) Cascade Firearms Corp. of Pasadena, CA, unknown quantity imported, est. to be few.
    5) Sierra Arms Co. of Los Angeles, CA, unknown quantity imported, est. to be few.

    It's my OPINION - not a known fact - that the stamping MODEL 027 preceded the No. 027. And, that both Cascade and Sierra imported their Japanese-made clones in the same year as American Import Co.: 1965.

    Who knows? Maybe we'll even run into a SIXTH variation of the little 027 one of these days!

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  11. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    I am in complete agreement with your conclusions. I will be on the alert for any additional information that turns up on this interesting little firearm.
  12. When I last contacted Wes Powers, the collector who furnished the photos for the Hamilton website, he was astonished that I had found one of the Japanese-made guns WITH a box.

    Be sure to look for those marked as CASCADE, and I THINK the ones imported by AMERICAN only had a serial number and MADE IN JAPAN stamped on them... not too sure about that. But it would be interesting to know. So, especially keep an eye open for them.

    If I learn any more I'll get back here to post it.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  13. Forgot to mention, I now have THREE of the "MODEL" variation and ran across one for sale on one of the big online gun auctions. I believe he has sold that one, at a very reasonable price I might mention.

    So, just proves there must be some more of them out there.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  14. jack123, I must have missed the meeting! My curiosity is killing me. What does your list have to do with the subject at hand?

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  15. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    It's called "SPAM"
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