Rare H&R revolver find

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Ken W, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Ken W

    Ken W Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    I stumbled upon this a few days ago. It's a H&R "The American" in .44 Webley. It's missing the main spring and who knows what else but could not pass it up. It has a round barrel which is indicative of the first models. The hard rubber grips are in mint condition and, unlike any of my other old H&R revolvers I own, actually still feel like rubber. The one thing that really surprised me is when I removed the grips to document the serial number for my records and discovered it to be #18! :eek: First early serial number firearm for me for certain. With the different serial system they utilized for the original ones I know that this doesn't necessarily mean it was the 18th ever made but it is a possibility, right? Out of curiosity, what might these large frame ones like this be worth? No plans on ever selling it. Very happy to have one of them. Since these were more on the rare side is it going to be mission impossible getting any parts for it?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,976
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Hi Ken,
    Another H&R!!!
    I can confirm that you have a 1st MODEL AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION (XL frame, .44 Webley/.44 Bulldog) - round barrel, flat head hammer "screw" (both ends), flat recoil shield; loading gate seems to have been standard on the .44s. It is a 2nd Variation of that model - due to the vertical alignment of the trigger guard/SA sear pin with the hammer screw. I can't see from the pics - but is the front of the trigger guard held to the frame with a screw? 1st Variation pin was offset slightly towards the grip - mechanicals were changed around 1885-86. This variational difference was discovered right here on this forum by one of our mechanically inclined members (memory has faded, don't mean to forget who - but ..........I think it was 45 AUTO.)
    I don't have an XL from that early so the only examples I have to compare are 2nd and 3rd later examples.
    If there is no screw holding front of the trigger guard - it doesn't fit my current patterns and could be one of those "transitional models."
    In any case - it is a very early example and looks to be in physically v.good or better condition - making it a good collectible. While not exactly rare, the .44 XLs are definitely scarcely seen. Frame size between the .44 and the "standard size" AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION revolvers will most likely not allow direct replacement of the main leaf spring. I suggest you contact our member STONECHIMNEY for parts and reference.
    As to serial number '18', it is pretty well established that H&R "batched" the early guns and ran numbers up to a certain point (maybe 9999) and then started over. It is POSSIBLE that you have the 18th gun made of that model, but.....can't confirm.
    I have a 1st Model 2nd Var. ADA with s/n '14' - although I'd like to think it is the 14th gun - I realize that is a wish, unconfirmable by fact. See attached pics for reference.

    IMG_0780_2.jpg

    IMG_0767_2.jpg
  3. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,255
    Hello Ken and Jim,

    Yes, I was the one who posted the first images regarding the extra internal sear pin found inside of the early American Double Action first model revolvers. I'm not sure if the earliest of the .44 frame size used the same internal sear pin or not because I have only seen them within the mid-sized .38 frame models.

    BTW, if my memory serves me, you can use the same hammer spring in the .44 as the .38. If you have a .38 H&R (solid frame or top brake) try the main spring from it in your .44 to be sure that's true.

    Nice old revolver. Congratulations.
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,866
  5. Ken W

    Ken W Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Welcome back, Jim. There is indeed a screw holding the front of the trigger guard in place. There's a bit of oxidation going on inside the gun. You can see it a little in the pic with the grips off above. How might I get at all of that, assuming there's more That I have not seen as of yet. Really not looking forward to completely dissembling it. They aren't the easiest to get back together. Don't have much of a choice though. Sadly need to with the 22 as well since the hammer won't stay back in SA.
    Thanks for the info 45auto. I unfortunately do not have on in 38 yet. I bought my father a 32 but my folks don't live exactly close by. As you can see below it's only other family member at home is the 22, with a visiting Russian Mararov. :D Once I get my own 32 and 38 they'll all be placed there together. The Mak will get to stay underneath then. :p
    My other two H&R revolvers are both 22's as well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  6. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    1,086
    The gun is missing the sear, main spring and trigger spring. The sear and trigger spring from a .38 should work. The .44 main spring had a different curvature at the bottom than the .38 spring, but the .38 spring might work. If all else fails, we can certainly make and fit a new main spring to the revolver for around $45 plus return shipping. We should also be able to source/remanufacture a sear and can certainly handle the trigger spring problem.

    Thanks for the shout, Jim, and Ken let us know. You can PM us on this forum or contact us from our website linked in the signature.
  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,976
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Look at all that support - is this a great forum?

    Ken -
    I'm thinking the "oxidation" you're seeing on the grip frame with the panels removed is what dang near the same as every one of the OLDER H&Rs that I've "preserved". The "insides" were not polished and always show a degree of roughness from the casting. I've used "successfully" a paste polish (FLITZ, but now METAL GLOW" to remove surface oxidation and hardened grease - follow the directions. Followed by a light treatment of silicone - same as I use to preserve the finished parts - it works, but will not provide a shiny polished look - but who cares, right - it's inside the grips. One thing you don't want to do on those old vucanized latex/hard rubber grips is get gun solvent, penetrating oil or in some cases regular gun oil ON THEM. It will cause, at the very least, a browning discoloration of the rubber and in extreme cases will cause a shrinkage and severe cases a disintegration of the grip panel. I've learned by experience. Once you treat the inside of the frame - wipe any oil, solvent, etc. off of the rough parts. Nice gun! Something else for me to look for - and its presence helps extend the years of manufacture of the XL frame 44s back a bit in history. Learning new stuff on here all the time.
    Something a bit more esoteric - something I noticed back a few years back when researching heavily into the earliest solid frames - H&R used a variety of "crowning" effects on the muzzles. I seem to remember at least three "methods" - looks like they were experimenting with chamfering angles and techniques to get "barrel accuracy" (???) Here's a pic or two that I took back then - this research was obviously too in depth for the Bill G. and other "guides" but I found it interesting. I don't think I've posted any of this elsewhere - this seems like a good time and place - so indulge me - maybe someone can comment or provide more understanding. Ken, what does your piece look like at the muzzle?

    IMG_0782.jpg

    IMG_0803.jpg

    IMG_0829.jpg

    IMG_0878.jpg
  8. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,976
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Look at all that support - is this a great forum?

    Ken -
    I'm thinking the "oxidation" you're seeing on the grip frame with the panels removed is what dang near the same as every one of the OLDER H&Rs that I've "preserved". The "insides" were not polished and always show a degree of roughness from the casting. I've used "successfully" a paste polish (FLITZ, but now METAL GLOW) to remove surface oxidation and hardened grease - follow the directions. Followed by a light treatment of silicone - same as I use to preserve the finished parts - it works, but will not provide a shiny polished look - but who cares, right - it's inside the grips. One thing you don't want to do on those old vucanized latex/hard rubber grips is get gun solvent, penetrating oil or in some cases regular gun oil ON THEM. It will cause, at the very least, a browning discoloration of the rubber and in extreme cases will cause a shrinkage and severe cases a disintegration of the grip panel. I've learned by experience. Once you treat the inside of the frame - wipe any oil, solvent, etc. off of the rough parts. Nice gun! Something else for me to look for - and its presence helps extend the years of manufacture of the XL frame 44s back a bit in history. Learning new stuff on here all the time.
    Something a bit more esoteric - something I noticed a few years back when researching heavily into the earliest solid frames - H&R used a variety of "crowning" effects on the muzzles. I seem to remember at least three "methods" - looks like they were experimenting with chamfering angles and techniques to get "barrel accuracy" (???) Here's a pic or two that I took back then - this research was obviously too in depth for the Bill G. and other "guides" but I found it interesting. I don't think I've posted any of this elsewhere - this seems like a good time and place - so indulge me - maybe someone can comment or provide more understanding. Ken, what does your piece look like at the muzzle?

    IMG_0782.jpg

    IMG_0803.jpg

    IMG_0829.jpg

    IMG_0878.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    Double welcome back, Jim. Glad to see you here, again.

    Jim K.
  10. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,976
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Jim K.
    Thanks my friend - it's good to be back. Hope to stay around for a while longer.

    I just noticed I double tapped on the response above - perhaps one of the kind moderators could delete one of those - no sense wasting band width.
  11. Ken W

    Ken W Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Jim, I must apologize for completely missing your question above, two months ago. I was looking through this thread for the list of parts that was suggested I needed and noticed your question about the muzzle of the 44.
    I took a couple. Hope they are what you needed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  12. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,037
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    That gun definitely has a right end and a wrong end!
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Rare H&R Revolver Aug 2, 2012
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Is this as rare as i believe Iver John Revolver Feb 25, 2011
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Apparently rare marlin 22 Mar 28, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum IS THIS COLT RARE? Sep 19, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Rare Terni rifle? Need help W/ ID Jul 30, 2013

Share This Page