Forehand and Wadsworth and Hopkins and Allen

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Old Wheelgun, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. Old Wheelgun

    Old Wheelgun New Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Hello. About 21 years I inherited from my mother in law 2 revolvers that have been in her family since they were bought new. They belonged to her grandfather who bought them new, then to her father, her brother, then her and now to me since she no longer wanted them in the house. The first is a Forehand and Wadsworth top break revolver in 32 s&w 6 shot. The second is a Hopkins and Allen Ranger No. 2 in 32 rim fire 5 shot. Since I acquired them in 1988, I haven't fired either of them. They have been wrapped up and put in the back of my safe. I just brought them out for the first time since 1995. The Forehand and Wadsworth came with 6 rounds of old Peters 32 S&W cartridges in the cylinder. They stuck when I first opened the revolver and the bullet heads are corroded to a white powder almost. She said it had been loaded since about 1950 right before her father died but she didn't know how to unload it and was scared it would go off. She knows that it has been loaded since then because she saw her father load it one time and put in back on top of the kitchen cabinet and was there ever since. One week later her father died and the guns were forgotten about till 1988. She also said that he used to carry the same gun in his vest pocket or in the car glove box. The Hopkins and Allen 32 rim fire was always loaded in his closet. She figured out how to unload that one and misplaced the 4 cartridges that were in it. (Smart man and only loaded 4 and left the hammer down on an empty chamber even though it was a 5 shot. He knew his guns very well!) To her knowledge those were the only cartridges that she knew of for that gun. The was an old box of Winchesters that he had for the rim fire but those are long gone to god only knows where. He also carried that revolver from time to time. I brought them out about a week ago and gave them both a good cleaning. They shined up pretty nice and both have visible rifling in both bores. I was going to fire the forehand and wadsworth...not the rounds that came with the gun. I was going to try some new Winchester 32 s&w's. I also was lucky enought to come across a full box of Navy Arms 32 Long Rim Fire cartridges the other day. My question is will the forehand and wadsworth shoot 32 s&w longs or 32 Colt new police since they fit into all the chambers? or was that gun made for 32 s&w's only?...I have pictures below to show you. The forehand and wadsworth also has a tight hammer...kinda hard to pull. Is that going to break? because I have heard of these gun's main springs breaking before from other people. It's a V shape spring. What is the chances of that breaking. Does it need a lot of use to to that? I know that these were made for 32 s&w's but were they also made for longs at the time? And the Hopkins and Allen. Is that one ok to shoot with those navy arms cartridges? Help would be very appreciated. Thank you Billy

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    i can not give ou an exact manufacture date on either gun but both were made and designed for black powder cartridge pressures only.

    the forehand and wadsworth company was in business between 1871 and 1890. they manufactured the top break revolvers late mid 1880's to 1890. the F&W is chambered for the 32 S&W or the 32 M&H (very obselete) not the 32 S&W Long.

    the H&A ranger was manufactured as early as 1871 to as late as 1899 and a lot of them were made.

    do not fire either of these revolvers the chances are very great that the springs or other parts will break or do even more harm to the revolvers or yourself. i have heard that the navy arms 32 rimfire ammo is loaded with smokeless powder.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009

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