Harrington & Richardson top break 32 revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by char819, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. char819

    char819 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    We have a Harrington & Richardson top break 32 revolver 6 shot, patent dated April 7, 1898. Mass. USA. Trying to get an idea of how old this gun may be. Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  2. GunHugger

    GunHugger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,472
    Location:
    SW PA
    It's hard to tell exactly what you have from the info that you provided.

    There are about 3-4 possible variations of a Top Break H&R revolvers in 32 caliber that it could be. They can be difficult to figure out.

    If you can post some good pictures of it or list everything you can find stamped on it, barrel length, finish (blued or nickel) and anything else worth a mention.

    I tried to pin it down by the Patent Date but that didn't work.

    They made about 30 different models of top break revolvers between 1885 and 1952. Within the different models are also variations in them that's why it so hard to tell what you have with the info given.

    Here's one model it might be.

    AUTOMATIC EJECTING SECOND MODEL (BLACK POWDER)
    32 S&W or .38 S&W cal., 5 (.38 S&W cal.) or 6 (.32 S&W cal.) shot, new frame shape and new hard rubber grip panels with target logo, nickel or blue finish, 2½ (rare), 3¼ (standard), 4, 5, or 6 in. barrel, if there is no caliber marking on the left side of the barrel, then it was manufactured for black powder, top of barrel markings include company name and address and patent dates. Mfg. 1890-1904

    First Variation; one patent date OCT-4-87 only (1890-1892).
    Second Variation one patent date marked OCT-4-1887 (year marked in full) (1890-1892*).
    Third Variation three patent dates, Oct-4-1887, May 14 & Aug-6-89 (1893-Only*).
    Fourth Variation three patent dates Oct-4-87, May-14 & Aug-6-89 (note 87 date does not have full year markings) (1894-1896*).
    Fifth Variation five patent dates Oct-4-87, May 14 & Aug-6-89, April-2-95, April-7-96 (1897-1904*).
    *Serial numbers found on the bottom side of the top strap will have letter codes.
  3. char819

    char819 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    I will get it out and check. The gun is not a black powder. It has 32 shells with it that my brotherinlaw used. It is not in the best shape. I have to get the jewelry glass to read the numbers and cannot find a serial number anywhere.
  4. GunHugger

    GunHugger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,472
    Location:
    SW PA
    The black powder versions use "shells" also. They are loaded with black rather than smokeless powder. If it is BP, do not fire smokeless powder shells in it.

    The serial number won't help me much since I can't locate early numbers for H&R, from 1940 up but nothing below.
  5. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,989
    The .32 rounds should be marked .32 S&W:

    (Mentioned because .32 Auto (.32ACP) ammo will also chamber nicely, but are way too hot for the old top-breaks)
  6. ZoeBear

    ZoeBear New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ohio
    Speaking about age? Mine only has the manufacture and location on top of barrel with no patent or dates, no markinging on side of barrel...
    What makes it strange is that of all the reading I've been doing,,,No One has discussed anything about a "Maual Eject" , all I've seen has been auto eject.
    Can't look under the cylinder for a serial number because of the manual eject shaft. Cylinder does'nt unscrew like a "auto".

    My father had this gun and I know that it hasn't been fired for over 40 years, at least. Came with a box of bullets that were marked " 32 S&W black powder"
    I've fired it with those, but only about 1 in every 4 or 5 would fire.

    Do I have something odd, with this manual eject???
  7. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,989
    Welcome to TFF; you have an antique:

    According to Flayderman's Guide, it was H&R's first top-break model, advertised as the "Shell Extracting Revolver," approximately 6000 made ca. 1886-88, value in Very Good condition $175.
  8. ZoeBear

    ZoeBear New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ohio
    Thank you very much hrf for your information. Thought i'd send along a picture for all to see[​IMG].
    Assuming I can figure out how to upload pics..
  9. ZoeBear

    ZoeBear New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ohio
    Just found a Thread " First post & H&R Top Break help" back in 2011 that gives info that mine is a 1st Model- 1st Variation. With a serial number of 4042, best I can fiqure that dates it to around 1886-87 ?

    Thanks again for the help.

    I'm not realy a collector. Never have been a seller. Any sugestions best place to "unload" something this old?
  10. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,989
    Try one of the larger online gun auctions. U.S. federal regulations classify guns made before 1899 as antiques, and they can be shipped by ordinary mail to most states.
  11. w3nrl

    w3nrl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    I have this little 32 H&R it's been in my family many years, i collect guns of all types and i put this little guy aside for along time until one of the guys asked if i had one. I don't have much info on it so if any one can give some insight i appreciate it.
    Top Harrington and Richardson Arms Co
    Worcester, Mass U.S.A. Pat. Apr 2/95 Apr7,96
    Left side barrel: Premier 32

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Harrington and Richardson .32 Oct 3, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Harrington & Richardson Plainsman Model 865 22-ga. bolt action Sep 10, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Harrington & Richardson? Greener? Double Barrel Shotgun Sep 10, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Harrington & Richardson .32 break top revolver ID question...and firing Jul 18, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Please date this Harrington & Richardson .38 Apr 22, 2014

Share This Page