Hamilton 027 Oddball - ANY INFO?

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

  1. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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.
  3. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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

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    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. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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..

    [​IMG]

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

    wonderwhippet Active Member

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

    jack123 Former Guest

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    how to detect online work from home scams

    before signing up for any stay at home work plan, check the history of the site.
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    A legal paid survey does not request for financial information.
  8. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  9. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

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    Unbelievable! You have an amazingly rare piece. Congratulations.
  10. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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

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    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. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    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

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    It's called "SPAM"
  16. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

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    I deleted his little spam post and sent him a message not to do it again
    Y'all have a nice day
  17. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    Many thanks, 358 Winchester. SO.... they're not ALL in padded cells, eh?

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF

    Proving once again - There's a thin line between "hobby" and "insanity."
  18. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    Good morning Florida: As to the Hamilton rifles. Interesting things. I'm restoring one right as we write (speak?). They originally sold for $1.50 (Mod 27), $1.75 for the Mod 027, and were also the thing kids sold the Cloverine Salve for. They would get the Mod 27, not the 'expensive' one . Later there was a variation with nickle plate available. They were also called 'punch' guns in some areas. When your dad bought the grain for your chickens at the mill or feed store, he got a 'punch' on a card....enough punches, a new Hamilton. Some were even stuffed down in 100# sacks of grain......you had a 1 in 10 chance (or so) of a free rifle when you bought your chicken scratch. Merchandising, you know. An interesting side line. Hamilton started out manufacturing iron windmills, saw no future in that after a while and sold out. Started making air rifles, but didn't think there was too much of a future there either, and sold out. Started making the Hamilton rifles (a number of models) and fell into obscurity. OH, the outfit he sold the air rifle business to is now.......Daisy Air Rifles. The guns are an exercise in bare basics and simplicity........here is a pic of one...stripped, and one of their sales posters. Mike

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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  19. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    Thanks for the added info, grampawmike. It's things like this that make collecting the "little boys' rifles" so fascinating to me. We're still trying to figure out miniscule points of interest about these little guys.

    Example: why the three initials in front of the takedown bolt? Are they like "inspector's initials" everyong looks for on the old Colts? Or, was each gun assembled by only one person and those are their initials? No factory records so looks like we'll never know.

    I've got a copy of the 1902 Sears catalog. Will look up what the Hamilton's sold for. As I recall, a box of 50 long rifle cartridges was offered fo 14-cents back then.

    I've got a bunch of the little guys around here and I've gotta' start letting go of the extras.

    Thanks again.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  20. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    For collectors interested in the recently discovered Variation #2 of the Hamilton 027, I've handed my surplus copies of this little oddball to an auction house just 20 miles down the coast here to sell off. They will be offered, along with a couple of other duplicate Hams I've got, in his July 8 auction. Anyone interested, please PM me with an email for info on the seller.

    If you get a chance, check out the Hamilton No. 43 (1924-1932). It too is a one-of-a-kind oddball for the Hamilton Rifle Company. I hadn't given it a thought until I ran into one at online auction that was reasonable. Neat little weirdo.

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    This thing has been "checkered" by some jackknife-wielding kid, and he cut EIGHT notches in the comb of the stock!!! How's that for a TYPICAL "little boys' rifle?" My first thought was to restore it, but I've decided to leave it "as-is." Much more interesting this way.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
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