unmarked 32cal revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by bryte, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. bryte

    bryte New Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I bought this 'antique' wheel gun at a show from a private party. He knew nothing about it. I examined it and found the only markings on the whole gun are the words Safety Hammer (which it has) and Double Action. These are located on top of the barrel. There are no other marks on it at all. It has an octagonal barrel with a low eliptical site. The grips are black bakelite or maybe plastic but it looks too old for plastic.
    It has its original though worn finish and it's obvious it has not been corrupted. As near as I and several friends can determine, came from the manufacturer with no additional markings.

    It fires 32 cal Long ammo. There is no safety for the action. The cylinder is rotated to the notch on the right side to load the chambers. Maintenance is via removing the axle and pushing the cylinder out the side.

    I'd like to include the picture I took of it but when I click to insert the picture, nothing happens.

    Can anyone tell me anything about this gun? I'm just curious.
    Give me an email address and I'll gladly send the picture.
  2. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    Knoxville Tennessee
    In order to place a pic you have to go the manage atachements Icon below your post

  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    this sounds like one of the H&R Safety Hammer Double Action revolvers to me. in fact a early first model. check the left side of the hammer for a patent date. this revolver is a variation of the H&R American Double Action revolver and its variations follow that model closely. below is some information of booth models.

    (BLACK POWDER MODEL):----------------------------------- 1884-1904
    32 caliber 6 shot, 38 caliber 5 shot, 44 caliber 5 shot, pull pin cylinder release, barrel length 2½, 4½ & 6 inches nickel finish standard, blue considered rare
    Marked on top strap “AMERICAN DOUBLE ACTION”,
    first variation will have a round barrel---------------------1884-1887
    second variation will have a octagon barrel & nickel trigger guard------1888-1897
    third variation will have a octagon barrel , blue trigger guard and company name and address on left side of barrel---------1898-1904
    100%=$225 60%=$95, 1st Variation rarely seen, add 50% premium., for all American Double Actions variations and variants: add 15% premium
    for blue finish, add 10% premium for 4 ½ “ or 6” barrel, add 5%-10% premium for nickel trigger guard (pre 1898)

    BULLDOG FIRST MODEL LARGE FRAME Rimfire Calibers)------------1888-1904
    32 Rimfire 6 shot, 38 Rimfire 5 shot (Variation of American Double Action First Model Marked on top strap “H&R BULL DOG”
    100%=$235 60%=$95

    SAFETY HAMMER DOUBLE ACTION FIRST MODEL------------------1888-1904
    Same as American Double Action First Model except has patented Spurless Hammer, patent date will be marked on Hammer
    Marked on top strap “SAFETY HAMMER DOUBLE ACTION”
    100%=$235 60%=$95

    this revolver was continued to manufactured up until 1941 although only these made before 1905 are made for blackpowder only which this revolver is one it is most likely a first model 2nd variation manufactured between 1888-1897.

    the caliber is 32 S&W or 32 H&R not 32 S&W Long. the 32 S&W Long chambering did noot come along until after the the second model was introduced in 1905. do not fire this revolver with any smokeless load.

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  4. bryte

    bryte New Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Thanks for the quick and accurate reply. You hit it on the head my friend. When I looked at the left side of the hammer, there, plain as day it says PATENTED APRIL 5 1887

    The seller said it was over 100 yrs old but since he knew nothing else about it, I dismissed that as fiction.

    I'm going to try again with the picture.
    Thanks again.

    Attached Files:

  5. bryte

    bryte New Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    After a more careful reading of your email, I have a few more questions:
    What distinguishes smokeless from 'smoky'(?) ammo and how do I tell the diffference?
    Why should I not use the smokeless? Will it damage the gun or me?
    One more question if you don't mind:
    The ammo I've been using is Winchester part# X32SWLP which is labeled as 32 S&W LONG. I remember that when I bought it, I also purchased two boxes of ammo but they were too long. Fortunatly the show was open the next day so I went back and exchanged it for the X32SWLP. Does this mean its a later model?
    Thanks again for your help.
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    the only way to tell if this is smokeless or not is the caliber marking on the side of the barrel. if there is a caliber marked on the left side of the barrel then it is smokeless and if there are no caliber markings then it is blackpowder. these are strong revolvers and firing smokeless loads in a black powder model will do more harm to the revolver than you. you will strech the frame and this will cause the revolver to be out of time and unsafe to fire.

    any revolver that has the patent date on the left side of the hammer will be a first model manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures.
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