Harrington & Richardson 32 Cal Break Top Revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by chabanais, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. chabanais

    chabanais New Member

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    I've been trying to track down the name. I think it's a 'Premier' model but can't find it for sure. I looked in the BATF's C&R list and couldn't find it there. This pistol is in like-new condition. Has a little pitting but besides this works great. Does not have an original box.

    The serial number is in the 400,000 range. Any idea if it is a 'Premier' and, if so, if it is a C&R?

    Thanks so much.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    your revolver is actually the larger frame H&R AUTO-EJECTING. this revolver was manufactured for a long time 1885 thru 1941. there were three models with only the third model (1905-1941) being suitable for smokeless powder. yours with a serial number in the 400,000 range was namufactured during the late 1920s. which puts it in the smokeless powder era. the over size hard rubber grips were an extra cost option available after 1905. they were popular in the 1920s because they turned what is considered a pocket revolver into a belt and holster revolver. its hard to tell from the pictures but it looks like it may also have a 4 inch barrel also an extra cost option.

    for your information the premier is a small frame revolver and in 32 caliber is only chambered for 5 rounds or 7 rounds in 22 rimfire. the larger frame auto-ejecting model was chambered for 5 round 38 s&w or 6 rounds 32 s&w. the third model auto-ejector is the only one of the three models advertized as also accepting the 32 s&w long cartridge.
    bill
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  3. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    and yes it is C&R (Over 50 years old)
  4. chabanais

    chabanais New Member

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    Thank you so much. California can be tough if it's not a C&R (drop test and all). I really appreciate it. I've had a difficult time tracking down exactly what model this pistol is! I assume from all I've read that it is worth about $125.00. I can't wait to get it. It might not be a Colt but to me it is gorgeous!
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i think any H&R collector would be happy to only pay $125 for this one.
    bill
  6. Michelle

    Michelle New Member

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    Good Afternoon,

    I'm not terribly familiar with revolvers and was hoping for some information on a Harrington and Richardson break-top revolver I was recently given.

    The gun has no hammer visible, has a 3" barrel and is about 6inches in total length.

    The top of the barrel is stamped, "Harrington and Richardson Arms Company. Worcester MASS U.S.A. Pat Oct. 4 '87. Apr 2 '95. Apr 7 '96"(although all in capital letters)

    There is no stamp marks on the side of the barrel on either side (after reading through the several pages of posts, I think that might help answer one of my questions) and there is no stamp on the bottom of the grip.

    It holds 5 rounds, and on the revolver part that holds the rounds (there must be a name for this part, and I clearly don't know what it might be) it is stamped 992 on both the center ring and outer ring.

    The serial number (?) that appears on the top part of the barrel once the revolver "magazine" is removed is 30411.

    The grip is the original (or so I think from reading earlier posts) black (plastic?) grip that has a circle with a diamond target inside.

    It doesn't appear to ever had any blueing finish on it, and it seems to be in nice shape.

    It was given to me with a box of modern 32 S&W ammo (Winchester Super X85 grain lead-round nose) and I was told it shoots very accurately and was from the turn of the century.

    My biggest question is after reading the posts here is whether I can safely fire modern ammo with this? I realize there have been many posts about determing what series of the gun each is to determine whether you can fire smokeless ammo or not, so I was hoping for a bit of help on this one.

    Also, I'd love to know (if possible) what year it was made and anyone's guess on its value. Not that I have any plans to sell it, but I think it would be nice to know some kind of range.

    Any other information is also great!

    Thanks so much for any information any one can provide!

    Sincerely,

    Michelle

    PS- I had a bit of trouble attaching pictures, so I just attached one of the overall gun. THANKS!!

    Attached Files:

  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Michelle,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Congratulations on posting an excellent pic and for providing ALL of the pertinent info to identify your revolver.
    It is a 1st Model HAMMERLESS SMALL FRAME 1st Variation (1899 - 1903). Your gun was made, from extrapolation of the serial number, most likely in the 1900-01 time frame and is ONLY capable of handling Black Powder loadings. It is chambered for the black powder .32 S&W cartridge. Previous research seems to indicate that this model was equipped with the same structural changes made by H&R on later models and variations of all their hinged frame guns to accomodate smokeless/Nitro cartridges. Never-the-less, EXTREME care should be taken if you decide to fire this with modern factory smokeless cartridges. If you do decide to shoot it - have it checked by someone who knows how to evaluate the piece for safety, usually a qualified gunsmith.
    Your piece is of the "standard" configuration: Nickel plated finish; 3" barrel, 5 shot .32 center fire short chambering; molded, black hard rubber grip panels, blued trigger guard.
    It appears from the excellent picture to be in about 85% finish on the side pictured. In that condition it would be worth in the $130 to $150 range - current, average RETAIL selling price. The 'real' serial number, as found under the top strap/latch, when the cylinder is removed is, as you noted: 30411. Since the three digits found on the back (breech) face of the cylinder and "extractor" star do not match the last three digits of the 'real' serial number, it indicates that at some time in the past the cylinder, extractor assembly was changed.
    Again, back to shooting this gun - open the action and look at the center of the "extractor" star - is there a "post" or stud in the center of that star that fits into a milled recess in the face of the standing breech? It will look like the pic attached.
    IMG_2037.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  8. Michelle

    Michelle New Member

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    Good Morning,

    Thank you so much for the reply with so much information!!!! What an amazing resource you are!

    The extractor star does have a center post - just like in the picture you attached.

    I don't think I know hardly anything about black powder rounds. I think I vaguely remember seeing a post that they are available at some specific vendors. Do they shoot anything like a modern round? Do they look similar and load the same way?

    Again Thank You so much for the help!

    Have a great day,

    Michelle
  9. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Michelle,
    "What an amazing resource you are!" is exactly what my ex-wife said during our divorce. LOL:D:(

    The black powder loads, in any cartridge, are difficult to find and expensive when found.
    The presence of the post/stud and recess arrangement, leads me to believe that your gun (as well as other 1st Model SMALL FRAME HAMMERLESS) would handle modern factory loaded .32 S&W ammo. THIS IS SPECULATION on my part and NOT CONFIRMED by any other source or actual testing.
    The black powder and smokeless powder cartridges, externally, look identical - except that you will not find black powder loads with jacketed bullets - they should all be round nose (some may be flat nosed) lead bullets. Either cartridge will load into the cylinder in the same manner. If you plan to shoot it, have it checked for SAFETY, including test firing by a gunsmith (he'll know how to test fire it safely) and then limit your shooting to just a few rounds. Your gun is 110 years old and should be allowed to retire in peace.
    Good luck.
    You're welcome and thanks for thanking.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  10. AllenBo

    AllenBo New Member

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    I have almost the identical gun as Michelle. Except mine is a six shot and has an added date on the end of the barrel - April 7, 1898. I cannot locate the serial number as I have looked all over for it. There is a 498 stamped inside the cylinder twice. I may can post a pic later. I also have a leather holster (looks homemade) with a name and street address on it. I really need to sell it for the money as the economy sucks. Any help will be appreciated.

    Allen

  11. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Allenbo,
    Welcome to the forum.
    With the addition of that 5th Patent date your H&R is: 1st Model LARGE FRAME HAMMERLESS (1899-1904) if there is no cartridge stamping on the left side of the barrel; or a 2nd Model 1st Variation (1905) if it is stamped. Need to know if the barrel is stamped or not to correctly ID your gun. 1st Models are black powder capable and 2nd Models (made after the H&R switch over in 1905) are smokeless/Nitro powder capable.
    The 'real' serial number will be found stamped under the top strap - you must remove the cylinder to see it. There, also, will be either the full serial number or a partial number stamped into the bottom strut of the grip frame under the left grip panel.
    Looking forward to hearing back and/or seeing some pics of your gun for confirmation.
  12. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Pics of Large Frame Hammerless:
    Top 1st Model - no stamp on left side of barrel
    Bottom - stamp on left side of barrel
    IMG_2124_2.jpg
    IMG_2136_2.jpg
    Last pic: location of serial number under top strap
    IMG_2122.jpg
  13. Blackhawk-77

    Blackhawk-77 New Member

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    Hello Mr. Hauff,

    I was hoping that you could comment on a Harrington and Richardson Top-Break revolver that I recently purchased as well.

    The gun is hammerless, has a 3" barrel and is about 6" in total length.

    The top of the barrel is stamped, "Harrington and Richardson Arms Co. Worcester Massachusetts U.S.A. (No Patent Info)

    The following is stamped on the left side of the barrel.

    32 S.&W. CTGE

    It holds 5 rounds, and on the cylinder it is stamped 586 on both the star ejector and outer edge of the cylinder.

    Stamped on the bottom end of the grip is the number 273586.

    I do not know how to remove the cylinder at this point to look under the strap.

    The grip is the original black grip that has a circle with a diamond target inside.

    The blueing is in really good shape, but there is some wear and scratches on the outside of the cylinder like it slid around in a glove box or something.

    By the information that I have seen you previously post, I'm pretty sure that is smokeless by the stamping on the left side of the barrel, but I'm not real sure if it is a
    3rd revision (1915? - 1924) or 4th revision (1925 - 1941) Going off memory here and maybe mixing it up with other models.

    Like Michelle and Allenbo, I would like to know (if possible) what year it was made and your best estimate on the value.

    I tried to post a picture, but the Insert Image is prompting me with the same link that is shown for inserting a URL, so I cannot browse to the picture folder.

    Any other information that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Blachawk-77
  14. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Blackhawk,
    Welcome to the forum.
    With the barrel rib stamping including the full spelling out of MASSACHUSETTS - it is a 4th Variation (circa 1916 - 1925).
    Blue finish was an option, standard being Nickel plate, and adds collector value to your piece. As to the scratches on the side of the cylinder - this is often seen and usually derives from someone attempting to install or remove the cylinder WITHOUT holding the barrel latch lever in a upright position. The is a small, hooked projection at the rear end of the latch which holds the cylinder in place when the action is broken open. This hook will also act as an "engraving" tool if you attempt to thread the cylinder back on to the arbor with the latch/hook in the downward position. The "real" serial number will be found under the top strap - to remove the cylinder lift the latch and hold it UP while turning the cylinder off the arbor. See above caution to prevent damage.
    Your serial number is one of the highest noted with the barrel rib inscription you posted. FROM MY EXPERIENCE with quite a few of these, the serial number sequence is mixed up and confusing. It looks as though a bunch of frames were made and then numbered, but not used with any regard to sequencing. The best I can guess, is that you gun was probably made late in the variation, so figure 1923 -'24 era. There should be a capital 'H' stamped some where under the top strap, in addition to the serial number. 'H' seems to indicate the upper barrel assembly was made for the HAMMERLESS Small Frame models (as opposed to the small frame PREMIER hammer gun) - indicating to me that many were stored after production until needed and then drawn from a box or crate where they were stored.
    RETAIL valuation is of course dependent upon condition (the scratches in the cylinder will not help) and barrel length (3" standard, 4", 5" and 6" being options). TOP CONDITION pieces are currently selling in the $250 to $265 range; average condition pieces (80% to 90% finish) sell in the $130 to $160 range. Chambering in .32 S&W (the short one) is standard, 7 shot .22 rimfire is seen less and commands a premium of about 15%. Blue finish also adds about $10 - $20 of collector interest.
    To post pics (directly up load) from your computer: hit the "GO ADVANCED" button; next screen comes up and you hit the shaded "MANAGE ATTACHMENTS" button which opens a dialogue box, hit the BROWSE button and it will allow you to go through your pics to the proper one - double click on that pic to get its address in the box and then hit upload. If it fits the parameters set for pics by this site, it should upload and then you can display it in your message box by clicking on the "paper clip" icon and then clicking on the ATTACH FILE listing. You can place your pic anywhere in your message by clicking your cursor at that spot, before attaching the pic file.
  15. krafty

    krafty New Member

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    I also have a question on identifing an H&R top breaking revolver. I've searched a lot on this forum and elswhere and although I've learned a lot here, I can't seem to find a match to what I have. Two of the reasons I'm having trouble are; there are no Patent Dates on the top and everything I've seen has these guns being either Nickel Plated or Blued and as you can see in the pictures (hopefully :) the barrel, cylinder and hammer are blued but the frame is a bronze/copperish and the trigger is a bit of both. Other details: no stampings on the sides of the barrel, serial number is 298914 on the srap and bottom of the grip and it does have an extractor with a nipple in the middle. Please let me know if I need to provide larger or different photos or if I can provide any other information



    Thanks in advance for any information you can share!

    Attached Files:

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