Harrington & Richardson .38 Revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Brian Sherman, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    I recently acquired (free) a breaktop revolver in 38 S&W caliber, unlike any H & R I have seen, in that it is not hammerless, but does not have a spur on the hammer, making it double action only. It is in miserable condition, pitted, bluing gone, but I would not mind having it in firing condition as a backup. The trigger does not return all the way, and the cylinder locks on perhaps 3 out of five pulls. Ser. no. on the gripframe and above the cyl. is 334639, with 639 repeated on the cyl. and extractor. I would like a positive ID in order to find proper parts. A nearly full box of ammo was included, implying but not guarantying that it is a smokeless powder model. Help please.
    BBS
  2. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Brian,
    It's a 3rd Model 3rd Variation "AUTOMATIC EJECTING" revolver made between 1913 and 1924. It is a smokeless capable piece. H&R did make the "Auto Ejecting" revolvers with a factory bobbed hammer and called those models "POLICE AUTOMATICS". Can't tell if yours is original (it's kind of late in the series for that, but possible) or "home made".
    Numrich/GPC has many parts listed - look under their HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON, just start here: http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/Products.aspx?catid=7946

    Your gun should look something like this one:
    IMG_1877_2.jpg
  3. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    Thanks for the info and the fast reply. My gun does indeed look like the picture, except for the hammer. I have examined the hammer, and found no sign of grinding or filing, and have just managed to remove it (worked over a screwdriver bit on an oilstone to fit the screw); there are no numbers or ID marks on it. Of course, it could have been substituted from another gun.
    When I removed the trigger guard and trigger, two pieces fell out which I cannot identify in the schematics. One appears to be a nearly flat spring, 13/16 by 1/4 in., turned up at one end, BUT, the curved end feels rough as if part of it has broken off. The other is apparently some sort of fiber or phenolic material, 11/16 by 3/8, not exactly square at one end. I really can't believe it is a gun part, and wonder if someone added it as a shim.
    I guess it is obvious that my gumsmithing skills are very limited. In fact, I'm a retired auto mechanic, or technician, as they are now called. Many years ago I lived near a gun dealer in southern N.H., who often had me carve walnut grips for single action Rugers. Occasionally he would send me home with a Purdy or Parker shotgun, or a German drilling, with orders to steam the dings out of the stock, and refinish it with linseed oil. That's about it.
    One last question: Numrich lists "Old Type", "New Type", "Large Frame", and "Small Frame". Parts-wise, does my gun fit any of those categories?
    Thanks again.
    Brian
  4. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    It sounds like you have what H&R called the "safety hammer" a spireless hammer revolver. Not all that rare or unusual. Not all that valuable either.

    If you have a 38 then it's the large frame brake top model.

    I would guess that you need a hand spring for your revolver.
  5. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    As 45 Auto posted - it is the NEW LARGE frame auto ejector, no matter whether .32 or .38, you are interested in.
    I have no idea what the parts are - I don't believe the fiber mass is original to the gun.
    A broken trigger return spring is a typically broken part of these firearms. What doesn't work on your piece? That should tell us where the spring came from.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  6. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Deleted by poster.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  7. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Gamemaster, that type of insult is not allowed here.
    You, and anyone else, is certainly entitled to their opinion of anything, and they are free to express that opinion - provided they can manage to do so without insulting another member in the process.

    In regard to the quality of the H & R, I am certainly no expert, but I do have some experience with this brand. I bought a 929 when I was about 14, and my dad bought a model 939 at the same time. My buddy bought a used one that I do not remember the model number of, but when he reloaded it, he had to completely remove the cylinder.
    My buddy and I bought .22 ammo by the brick, and would shoot them all up in a weekend. We did this for YEARS, and the only problem either of us encountered was when I did a LOT of 'fanning', and managed to break the trigger spring on mine. It was easy to repair, and continued to give good service until my friend and I sold them upon entering the service when I was 18.
    Dad had his 939 loaded and in the holster several years later when their house burned.
    The holster burned OFF of the gun, and the wooden grips were charred, but after he cleaned and oiled it, it still shot quite well.

    The H & R is a low cost weapon, but a GOOD weapon.

    I drive a Nissan Sentra that was manufactured here in TN.
    It is a low cost car, but a GOOD car.
    The fact that it is not a Lamborghini does not mean it is a piece of junk.
  8. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    The spring in question is approx. the width and thickness of the hammer spring, but nearly flat and, as I mentioned, curved at one end, and rough at the curve as if something broke off. The trigger does not return completely, and the cylinder rotates but does not lock on maybe two out of five trigger pulls.
    I am ignoring the other guy.
    Brian
  9. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Sounds like part of the trigger group - maybe the cylinder "hand" lever is broken. Also sounds like the trigger return spring is broken or missing (very common) but that's a small 'v' spring found at the forward end of the trigger guard/frame attachment point.
  10. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    Bingo! I believe it is part of the trigger spring. The hand and it's spring seem to be OK. I have been studying Numrich's schematics; the models called Bulldog & Victor seem very similar to mine, and I am gradually getting a sense of how this thing is supposed to work. Two questions: 1. What exactly is the function of the lifter? 2. The projection on the top of the trigger which locks the cylinder is flat on the right side and beveled on the left. Is this correct or is it worn?
    Brian
  11. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Brian,
    I believe the lifter is the pivoting lever that disengages the single action sear???WRONG!
    The cylinder bolt should be "square" on both sides - sounds like your's is worn - left is the impact side.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  12. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    I noticed too that with the trigger all the way back, the bolt barely protrudes thru it's slot in the frame. Seems to me that the top must be worn down. I need to order a new trigger and spring.
    Brian
  13. hrf

    hrf Active Member

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    ?? - The lifter provides the double action function; back side of the trigger disengages the single action sear.
  14. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    I guess I guessed wrong on that one. Thanks for the back-up hrf. Just snuck a peek at the parts diagram - I can see how the thingee they call the lifter would engage the notch in the hammer, but I can't quite fathom the full function.
  15. hrf

    hrf Active Member

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    It just 'lifts' up front of hammer until near full cock, at which point the hammer rotates back far enough to force the lifter out of the notch. (Note that end of the hook that engages the hammer is slightly beveled to aid disengagement)
  16. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Got it! Thanks for the education.
  17. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    Lacking the appendage to cock the hammer, it seems the lifter is rather important to the working of this weapon.
    Brian
  18. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Brian -
    The "Safety Hammer" equipped pieces were "sculpted" at the rear of the of the top strap to allow thumbcocking of the knurled flat space on top of the spurless hammer.

    IMG_0902_2.jpg
  19. Brian Sherman

    Brian Sherman New Member

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    I see what you mean, but mine is a top break model. By the way, how do you add photos on this site? Oops I think I found it.
    Brian

    Attached Files:

  20. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Brian,
    Ooooops - to many balls in the air - forgot about your's being a hinged frame. I upload directly from my computer via DSL connection - that's why my pics come out BIG - and in many cases trimmed to keep byte size within ranges for the site.
    Your statement seems to me to be correct, lacking an appendage does present some challenges. I can't remember if my "POLICE" (that's what H&R called their hinged frame revolvers with the "Safety Hammer") will cock on single action or not. I need to dig into my treasure chests - but they're off site in a secure location - and I can't do that right now.
    I've not got much to offer when it comes to the internals on these - there's a couple guys with a lot of gunsmithing and tinkering experience that should be able to help.
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