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Harrington and Richardson Top Break Info Needed

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Old Wheelgun, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. Old Wheelgun

    Old Wheelgun New Member

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    Hello. I inherited a Harrington and Richardson top break 32 which has been in my family since new. It belonged to my Great Grandfather. I was looking to see what information this guns hold that I do not know of. I also have another top break pistol which is a Forehand and Wadsworth 32 which also belonged to him That gun has a kind of smaller hammer which is wide on top with an internal firing pin mounted in the frame. The Harrington and Richardson has "Auto Ejecting 32 S&W CTGE marked on the left side of the barrel. On the top of the barrel it's marked HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON ARMS CO. WORCESTER, MASS.USA PATTENTED AUGUST 6, 1889 OCTOBER 8, 1895 The Forehand and Wadsworth has nothing marked beside the top of the barrel. On the top of the Forehand and Wadsworth it's marked FOREHAND & WADSWORTH ARMS CO. PAT'D DEC. 7, 86 & JAN. 11, 87. Any info on these guns is greatly appreciated. Thank You
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  2. Old Wheelgun

    Old Wheelgun New Member

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    Help needed
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the F&W revolver was manufactured between 1887 and 1890 or possibly 1891. F&W name was changed to forehand arms co. in 1890 when h. wadsworth retired. but s. forehand just continued the same products and it is unknown for now when a new barrel marking stamp was frist used. this revolver was designed for black powder cartridge pressures only.

    the h&R is a Auto-Ejecting third model 2nd variation.

    AUTOMATIC EJECTING THIRD MODEL
    (SMOKELESS POWDER)--------------------------------------1905-1940
    Auto-ejecting mechanism, Calibers 32 S&W Long, 6 shot cylinder capacity, 38 S&W caliber 5 shot cylinder capacity, hard rubber grip panels with Target Logo, nickel finish (blue optional), barrel lengths of 2½ (rare), 3¼ (standard), 4, 5 & 6 inches available, top of barrel markings include company name and address and early production has patent dates, the one recognizable difference in the Second and Third Models is the caliber is marked on the left side of the barrel on the Third Model. “IF IT HAS A CALIBER MARKED ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BARREL THEN IT WAS MANUFACTURED FOR SMOKELESS POWDER”
    First Variation 4 patent dates (5-14 & 8-6-89, 4-2-95, 4-7-97) model name and caliber on left side of barrel------1905-1908
    Second Variation 2 patent dates (8-6-89 and 10-8-95) model name and caliber on left side of barrel---1909-1912
    Third Variation no patent dates the name of the state is marked as MASS-----1913-1915
    Fourth Variation no patent dates the state name of Massachusetts is spelled---1916-1924
    Fifth Variation new grip frame, it is now the same size as the rest of the frame with no step down for the grip panel—1925-1941
    After 1931 listed in Catalogs as: AUTOMATIC EJECTING No. 10 .32 S&W LONG CALIBER 6 shots
    After 1931 listed in Catalogs as; AUTOMATIC EJECTING No. 25 .38 S&W CALIBER 5 shots
    After 1932 the 38's were listed in Catalogs as: AUTOMATIC EJECTING No. 20..38 S&W CALIBER 5 shots.
    VALUE: 100%=$235 60%=$85 For all Auto-Ejecting 3rd Models; add 75% premium for 2½” barrel; add 25% for 4”, 5” & 6” barrels; add 15% for blue finish;

    bill
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  4. Old Wheelgun

    Old Wheelgun New Member

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    Bill, Thank you very much for you help. I knew some about these revolvers but not as much info as you gave me. It was very helpful. I do not intend on selling these revolvers due to my family history behind them. One last revolver that I inherited that I forgot to mention was a Hopkins and Allen Ranger No. 2 with ivory grips. It is a rim fire 32 with a button trigger with no trigger guard. If you could tell me some info on the gun that would be helpful. One last question I had is would it be okay to fire the H&R because it is for smokeless powder? That gun has the caliber marked on the left side of the barrel. The gun's latch is very tight with no play except for the little bit in the cylinder when it's cocked. Every top break revolver that I have ever looked at all have that bit of play in them. Id that normal? The H&R that I have has a very good bore with absolutely no pitting or rust. Not even in the chambers in the cylinder. I'm not sure about the F&W. It locks up tight with no play in the latch. Just a little bit in the cylinder when cocked. Maybe that would work with 32 S&W shorts?

    Thank You, Will
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the H&R third model was designed for smokeless powder the F&W was not.

    the H&A ranger was manufactured in the 1870's thru the 1890's also a black powder model. ranger was just one of about 50 different names H&A used on these revolvers. all were made for rimfire cartridges and often show up with fancy grips and crude engraving. value will vary greatly depending on where yor are but generally will be between $250+ for 100% condition to about $50 or less in very poor condition.
    bill
    bill
  6. BILLBO1

    BILLBO1 New Member

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    I have a top brake Harrington & Richardson 32 revolver, Pat'n date Oct 4th 1887 (or "1889" hard to see) Number under black plastic handle w/ target logo reads 2028, Number on cylinder and auto eject both are 28. My Father passed in March (84 yrs. young) and this one of many fine weapons in his collection, one passion's we shared. I found 32 S & W, 88 grain lead ammo for this weapon? 1, is this ammo suitable to fire?, 2. I do not see me selling this weapon however what would be the worth in fair condition? 3, estimated date of manufacturing? 4, So sad to hear of B. Goforth's passing. A fine Gentlemen who will be missed. I have always enjoyed reading his outstanding knowledge. Its time we try and carry the torch, as our loved ones and mentors would will us to do well. Thank you. (Bill)Bo1.
  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    BILLBO1,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Your gun is a 2nd Model 2nd Variation (with the single Patent date of Oct 4th, 1887. NOTE year is marked as 1887, not '87. It was made between 1890 and 1892 for use with .32 S&W or .32 H&R LONG BLACK POWDER loaded cartridges only. If the ammo you have is not marked as STAYNLESS, SMOKELESS or LESSMOK - it is probably black powder (it may say so on the box - depending upon when made.) Value in FAIR condition is right around $100. As it is a heritage piece - the value to you, as you stated, is limitless.
    I and several others are doing our best to fill Bill G's shoes and continue the H&R research and information dissemination.
    Check the pics to confirm my ID.

    IMG_1771.jpg

    IMG_1790.jpg
  8. BILLBO1

    BILLBO1 New Member

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    Thank you very much Jim, Your illustration and pix are spot on. RE: condition of the weapon in my passion closely marrows A7649 of your illustration, I would say fair~good? For a weapon 120 years old I'm pleased/proud to own such weapon. RE: Ammo, I have modern smokeless, lead projectile cartridges and upon further investigation I have "old" Black powder cartridges as well. I can't wait to send a few rounds down range, field strip and clean. I have fallowed your writings as well Jim and do enjoy the read, flawless performance once again. My next investigation will be on a "Fabrica De Armas, Oviedo"(1925?) Bolt action rifle. Thanks again Comrade.
  9. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    BILLBO1,
    You're welcome, amigo. Glad to help out and, yes, I occasionally get one right.
    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for thanking.
  10. Jwood

    Jwood New Member

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    Looking for help to identify the year and model of an H&R left to me by my grandfather. The serial number is B8291. Chamber number is 231. Dates are Oct 4,87,May 14 & Aug 6,89. Thanks
  11. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Jwood,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Just barely enough info to go by, but it appears you have a 2nd Model AUTOMATIC EJECTING 4th Variation - made between 1894 and 1896. It appears that the 'B' letter code used with this variation was used only in 1896.
    Standard issue for this Model series: 3 1/4" barrel; Nickel finish; 6 x .32 S&W or .32 H&R Long; 5 x .38 S&W - all BLACK POWDER loads; grip panels: molded, black hard rubber with "TARGET LOGO" at top.
    The "chamber" (cylinder breech face?) number should match the last three digits of the serial number - found under the top strap.
    Any other questions, please ask.
    Your gun may look like the one pictured:
    View attachment 53585

    View attachment 53586
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  12. Jwood

    Jwood New Member

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    Thanks a bunch for the help I have been trying to find this info for years! One more question if you dont mind. If a gunsmith claimed that the pistol was safe to shoot mechanically and I had the correct size .38 blackpowder rounds what would be the possible drawbacks of firing the weapon at the range every so often? Of course i would clean it thouroughly after every use.
  13. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Jwood,
    You're welcome - glad to help out.

    If you clean (wash the entire gun with soapy water, dry and oil) after firing black powder - I can see no drawbacks. I've seen MANY of these that have lost their finish (Nickel and blueing) at the breech end of the barrel (both sides), the muzzle of the barrel, the muzzle end of the cylinder and the top and bottom of the cylinder window, not to mention pitting in the barrel and cylinder bores from delayed or improper cleaning after shooting black powder loads. Good luck. Thanks for thanking!
  14. DrJeffDrJeff

    DrJeffDrJeff New Member

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    Going by some of your excellent descriptions, I'm pretty sure I've got a H&R Third Model, 3rd variation. After firing, the hammer stays in the fully down, fired position, protruding through the recoil shield. I see the same in some of the pics in this forum. When loading and closing the action (or any other time) has anyone had an issue with an accidental discharge? I've also notice that there is a sturdy feeling half cock and it's also easy to lower the hammer in between the rounds in the cylinder.
  15. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    DrJeffsquared,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Your gun is working as it was designed. Later models variations have an automatic/rebounding hammer. With yours, you should always "half-cock" the hammer when opening and closing the action. Carrying the model loaded - H&R recommended exactly as you say above - allow the firing pin to rest on the cylinder face between two cartridge rims - the cylinders on these gun is "free-wheeling" - that technique kept the cylinder from wandering around in the holster, etc.
    To be sure of ID of your H&R - post a couple pics and/or post the stampings (exactly) found on the top of the barrel rib.
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