What make of revolver is this?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Ladyhawk, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Ladyhawk

    Ladyhawk New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
    North Carolina
    Hi guys, I have inherited a little pistol which was carried by my 86 year old dad's mom "back in the day". It has not been taken care of and has been just sitting in my dad's attic forever. It has a 2 in. barrel and is a 7 shot revolver with a dog's head on the upper grip. It also has a kind of flower pattern on the lower grip. It is not operational. It looks to be a .22 or smaller. I am sending 2 pictures and am just hoping someone can tell me the make and or model. Many thanks.

    Grandmas gun 2.jpg
    Grandmass gun 1.jpg
  2. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    The Dog's Head grips are Hopkins & Allen. This gun was probably made in the late 1880-1900 period.

  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    It looks like a starter pistol. Used to signal the start of dog and horse races from back in the day.

    Is the barrel plugged?
  4. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    This was once an extremely common type of revolver. They were made in vast quantities by innumerable makers after Smith & Wesson's Rollin White patent expired about 1870. The cheapest ones sold for about a dollar. Smith & Wesson made a more advanced type with a break-open frame, and Colt made a high-quality version. They were made for black-powder 22 shorts, and I would not want to fire one myself. The generic name for this whole class of gun is "Suicide Special", the idea being that was the only thing they were really accurate enough for.

    They began dying out at some point, in the late 1880's I think, replaced first by double action pull-pin revolvers, and then by top-break revolvers with automatic ejectors. But because these could be made so cheaply they held on a very long time. Toward the end they were sold as Fourth of July noisemakers, with the virtue of safety because they were a real gun and not some cast novelty that might blow up with blanks!

    It's a remnant of a distant era in America, and it is almost certainly an antique under the current laws (i.e., it was made before 1898).

    Just my ramblings.

    PS - This thread might be better off in the "Ask the Experts" subforum. Curio and Relic has a specific legal meaning under current Federal law, which is irrelevant to this gun because it is an antique. (I think.) Oh, and welcome to the Forum, Ladyhawk. Thanks for putting up photos - it is frustrating to try and help someone without them.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  5. Ladyhawk

    Ladyhawk New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the replies! Sorry if I posted on the wrong subforum, I'm not used to this yet.:) I thought the grip might not be original to the gun but didn't have anyway of knowing. For JLA, the barrel is not plugged. Lanrezac,it did have it's original price tag with it which listed it as $35.00. That makes me smile! Yeah, I bet they weren't too accurate, luckily grandmom lived to be 96 so she probably never had to use it in self defence. Wonderful information from you all, I really appreciate the forum. Gun, horse and dog people rule!
  6. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    No way that's an "original" price. I found a similar gun in a 1897 Sears catalog.
    It was listed at $1.20 (or 85 cents if you would take wood grips....)

    I would guess the $35.00 tag came from some antique shop that had stars in it's eyes. (That may be about what it's worth today..)
  7. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Yes, a Hopkins & Allen but you can bet $35 was not the original price, in 1884 they sold for two dollars!

    (Yours is an earlier example than below, and probably dates from late 1870s)

    Attached Files:

    • H&A.jpg
      File size:
      32.9 KB
  8. Ladyhawk

    Ladyhawk New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
    North Carolina
    Wow. Ok, so grandmom probably paid a couple of dollars at best! I hope she never fired it! Thanks y'll
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    FWIW, yes it is a Hopkins & Allen. Similar guns were sold (and marked) with the names "Ranger No.1", "Blue Jacket No.1", "Dictator" and (believe it or not) "Fashion Model", made 1879-1900). No. 1 in H&A's nomenclature meant .22 short; No. 1 1/2 meant .22 Long; No. 2 was .32 rimfire, No. 3 was .38 rimfire.

    In general, H&A guns were not the cheapest, and they made some good quality products, but all of that type were on the low end of the price scale, selling for $2 to $4 when a Colt Single Action Army was $14-$15.

  10. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    As noted above, this gun predates your 86-year-old grandmother by several decades, so she may have paid $35 for it somewhere along the way. Or perhaps someone tried to unload it at a yard sale in the not too distant past.
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