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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Newly joined, long-time lurker. Terrific website. Lots and lots of good info.
Sometime ago I acquired a really nice little H&R 5 shot .32 caliber revolver and I would like to know if someone could tell me when it was made and about what it's worth. I've owned a lot of handguns over the years, but nothing quite like this one. I think it's always been a "sock drawer queen".

Except for very faint powder burns around the front of each chamber of the cylinder I can find no other indication whatsoever that it has ever been fired.
I presume these burns could be the result of proof firing at time of mfg. The patch I ran down the barrel and through the cylinder chambers only had house dust on it, no indication of powder fouling. To further support the "never been fired" theory is the stiffness of both the action and the ejection mechanism. The very smooth break open action has absolutely NO slack and the ejector mechanism is the same. The hammer and trigger have no slack whether the gun is cocked or not. Also, when cocked, the cylinder is locked as tight as those on any gun I've ever handled, new or old. It obviously has not even been "broken-in".

The blued finish looks as good as the finish on the new Taurus I just received from the factory. I can see no holster nor pocket wear.

Imprinted on the top of the 3 inch barrel is
"HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON ARMS COMPANY" and
"WORCHESTER, MASS. U.S.A. PAT OCT. 8 1895".

On the left side of the barrel is "PREMIER 32 S.&W. CTGE." . The serial number on the bottom of the butt and under the top-break latch is 240636. Stamped on the back of the cylinder and on the ejector is 636.

The grips have the 5 shot target at the top and are also in like-new condition.

When I got this gun I intended to use it as a shooter. But after I saw the condition it's in, and maybe 100 years old, I just couldn't bring myself to shoot it. It's designed to handle the smokeless powder cartridge in .32 caliber S&W, so that's no problem. I like .32's and have several of them.

I'm going to try to include some pics. Don't know if this will work out, but I'll try.

Anyway, any info about this little sweetie would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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WOW.....I have no idea what it’s worth on the market but that is a nice ol H&R. I’ve run across MANY of these pistols through the years but never one in anywhere near that condition. Most look like they were rairly cleaned are loose and index......what’s that? Sweet pistol, I’d want to shoot it but probably wouldn’t either.
 

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Very nice pistol! The experts will eventually be along.
 

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I'm not even a suspect of an expert but have to agree with ral and tucker, that is a remarkable old H&R.
 
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I'm not even a suspect of an expert but have to agree with ral and tucker, that is a remarkable old H&R.
Thank you guys for responding so quickly. Your agreements make me feel like maybe I have a good eye after all. Now if somebody can give a valuation, I'll have a starting place. Thanks again.
 

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This example is pretty close currently listed on a gun classified board. Supposed to be made in 1919 nickel plate 97% .In very good condition but yours is better from what I see. They are asking $525.

9327D209-AC08-49F6-AB6F-6B47E15D16C9.jpeg
 

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That's a very nice little Premier you have. I would call it a second model, variation 3, but the names collectors use is all over the place. It was made sometime between 1909 and 1913, per Bill Goforths research. It really has no great collector value, perhaps $200.00, and I would shoot it if I were so inclined.
With best regards,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This example is pretty close currently listed on a gun classified board. Supposed to be made in 1919 nickel plate 97% .In very good condition but yours is better from what I see. They are asking $525.

View attachment 241133
Thanks rai357, I saw in one place that if it were blue to add 10% (I think). That makes it a little better, but still... I'll keep watching, see if anything else turns up. It needs to be in a long term private collection so that the care it's had so far will continue. I'm not a collector so I don't know if thats the way they think or not. Lets see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's a very nice little Premier you have. I would call it a second model, variation 3, but the names collectors use is all over the place. It was made sometime between 1909 and 1913, per Bill Goforths research. It really has no great collector value, perhaps $200.00, and I would shoot it if I were so inclined.
With best regards,
Jeff
Thanks Jeff. I had looked at Bill Goforths info but the closest thing I could find in there seemed to be about the hammerless model. And like you said, it could be one of several variations. In any case would this be classified as an "antique"? And is there any benefit to being one?

Thanks Jeff. I had looked at Bill Goforths info but the closest thing I could find in there seemed to be about the hammerless model. And like you said, it could be one of several variations. In any case would this be classified as an "antique"? And is there any benefit to being one?
 

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Thanks Jeff. I had looked at Bill Goforths info but the closest thing I could find in there seemed to be about the hammerless model. And like you said, it could be one of several variations. In any case would this be classified as an "antique"? And is there any benefit to being one?
The only benefit to being an antique is that it can be sold on-line without any FFL needed. The term "antique firearm", according to the BATF, is a bit ambiguous so I'll just leave that alone. It does, however, qualify as a "curio and relic" firearm and can be sold and shipped to a C&R FFL or type 01 FFL.

I am an serious early H&R revolver collector/researcher. I buy a lot of these little gems. If you still have the Goforth book, look on page 125 at the heading 2nd Variation 1907-1909. This is your revolver. Bill Goforth was a friend of mine and used a lot of my factory catalogs in his book. I sure miss him.

With best regards,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The only benefit to being an antique is that it can be sold on-line without any FFL needed. The term "antique firearm", according to the BATF, is a bit ambiguous so I'll just leave that alone. It does, however, qualify as a "curio and relic" firearm and can be sold and shipped to a C&R FFL or type 01 FFL.

I am an serious early H&R revolver collector/researcher. I buy a lot of these little gems. If you still have the Goforth book, look on page 125 at the heading 2nd Variation 1907-1909. This is your revolver. Bill Goforth was a friend of mine and used a lot of my factory catalogs in his book. I sure miss him.

With best regards,
Jeff
Hi Jeff, sorry about the delay in responding. I've been trying to decide what to do with the little gun. It's apparently in shootable condition and I've been told by a former H&A small frame .32 owner that his was very accurate. The only thing he didn't like about shooting it was the hard trigger pull and hard to cock hammer. This one is like that and if I were to keep it and use as a shooter that would have to be corrected. I spent some time yesterday cocking the hammer to see if it would ease off a bit or if I could get used to it. Unsuccessfully, of course. The only thing that changed was my thumb which will be alright in a couple of days, I hope.

Do you know if there is a way to lessen the hammer spring pressure? That would at least be a start. I couldn't find anything on the internet about it. I considered trying to remove the flat hammer spring and perhaps shortening it a 16th or so but that's a pretty risky business for me and might require replacing a ruined spring (they are available on the internet, but still...). The frame is quite small and the grip would probably be better suited to a small-handed person. But the hard trigger pull/cocking would take a pretty strong hand.

I'm not inclined to just stash a gun in a drawer somewhere, I like to shoot my guns. So, my dilemma is I either find a way to make it fun shootable or trade or sell it. In searching the internet I have found several that were very close or the same model as this one and priced (according to condition) variously up to $525 as ral357 pointed out. Maybe this isn't the way to come up with a price, but apparently this one is about 10 years older than that, in better condition and is blued rather than nickled, it probably is worth more. Perhaps ask $600 and see what happens? After the FFl,s get their piece I might still have enough to justify the purchase of a .32 revolver fun shooter.

You indicated that you are a collector, any thoughts or advice would be most welcome.
 

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Good morning kalecocat. As to pricing of your little H&R, people can ask whatever they want for their guns. Selling it is quite another story. Part of the fun of collecting and researching early H&R revolvers is their relative low cost when compared to more mainstream collectables. I have around 100 or so of these and have never paid anywhere close to $500.00 for one, not even the rarest variant.

Re: improving the trigger pull. This is out of my league, and despite collecting early H&R revolvers for about 35 years, I cannot recollect ever shooting one. If I were going to alter the hammer spring, I would order a replacement and modify it, keeping the original intact.

Should you look for another .32 as a shooter, I recommend the S&W model 31. I have 3" version of this and it is my favorite shooter. I reload cast bullets at pedestrian velocities for plinking and the occasional rattle snake that shows up in the yard.

With best regards and wishing you a Merry Christmas.
Jeff
 

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I'll agree with Jeff's post above.
Asking price and selling price are two different animals. Typically if I'm not sure of a value I'll check the Blue Book of Gun Values and The Standard Catalog of Firearms to get a feel for "book prices" and then I'll search completed auctions to get a feel for "real world" pricing. Of course with auctions being auctions, you have to kind of weed out the crazy high and crazy lows. I've seen plenty of listings where people end up butting heads and bid way over what something is really worth.

As for modifying the hammer spring, get another one and experiment with the replacement. Sometimes shortening the spring a little will work, sometimes it can cause other issues. The better bet is to try and find a spring that's the same length but narrower and or thinner. If you have a set of calipers or a micrometer post up the measurements and I'll check my parts stash to see if I've got anything that might work better for you.

The other thing that will help is to do a tear down and give all the parts a good cleaning and a fresh coat of oil. It's amazing how much old gummed up oil can stiffen an action at times.
 

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I'll agree with Jeff's post above.
Asking price and selling price are two different animals. Typically if I'm not sure of a value I'll check the Blue Book of Gun Values and The Standard Catalog of Firearms to get a feel for "book prices" and then I'll search completed auctions to get a feel for "real world" pricing. Of course with auctions being auctions, you have to kind of weed out the crazy high and crazy lows. I've seen plenty of listings where people end up butting heads and bid way over what something is really worth.

As for modifying the hammer spring, get another one and experiment with the replacement. Sometimes shortening the spring a little will work, sometimes it can cause other issues. The better bet is to try and find a spring that's the same length but narrower and or thinner. If you have a set of calipers or a micrometer post up the measurements and I'll check my parts stash to see if I've got anything that might work better for you.

The other thing that will help is to do a tear down and give all the parts a good cleaning and a fresh coat of oil. It's amazing how much old gummed up oil can stiffen an action at times.
Hi Johnsxj thanks for the timely response and the offer. I'll take you up on that! The measurements of the hammer spring are: length when standing on a ruler with the curved side up is 2 3/4". The width is 1/4". The thickness is about .043. I've been looking on Bob's Gun Parts as they have a ton or two of springs listed but it's a bit confusing. I had just sent them an email with the spec's and a request for assistance. Let's see what happens. I appreciate the suggestion to not work on the original, that's what I'll do. Let me know what you come up with and I'll post here any new developments. Mike
 

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I'll agree with Jeff's post above.
Asking price and selling price are two different animals. Typically if I'm not sure of a value I'll check the Blue Book of Gun Values and The Standard Catalog of Firearms to get a feel for "book prices" and then I'll search completed auctions to get a feel for "real world" pricing. Of course with auctions being auctions, you have to kind of weed out the crazy high and crazy lows. I've seen plenty of listings where people end up butting heads and bid way over what something is really worth.

As for modifying the hammer spring, get another one and experiment with the replacement. Sometimes shortening the spring a little will work, sometimes it can cause other issues. The better bet is to try and find a spring that's the same length but narrower and or thinner. If you have a set of calipers or a micrometer post up the measurements and I'll check my parts stash to see if I've got anything that might work better for you.

The other thing that will help is to do a tear down and give all the parts a good cleaning and a fresh coat of oil. It's amazing how much old gummed up oil can stiffen an action at times.
Hi again Johnsxj, I forgot to say that when I first examined the little gun several years ago (and then put it away), it appeared that it had never been oiled (nor otherwise handled) so i put a drop or two in key spots and I think that's all it's ever had. I sure would like to know the history (or non-history) of it. Such as: Who would put such a fine piece away for so long?? How and why did it re-appear when it did? Wow, wouldn't that be something. Thanks again.
 

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kalecocat,

Sent you a PM about the spring.
Hi Johnsxj
I've been expecting the little spring to arrive just any day now, but i guess it got lost in the Christmas rush. I'll keep watching for it, it might still show up. In the meantime I think i'll try to order something on-line to experiment with. Due to all the excitement in DC this week-end and all the shenanigans from the media, I rather suspect the cries of the anti-gunners are going to overcome all the common-sense objections (and objectors) and will be taking away our tools of self defense as fast as they can.
One benefit for me that it's happened when it has, in that it has persuaded me to keep the little .32 and use it for my carry piece. Several reasons convinced me. First, I couldn't replace it with a brand new gun for the (maybe) price of $200 or even $400. Second, when they come after our goodies they'll probably start with the semi-autos and big-bore stuff. I've always preferred revolvers over semi-autos and at the gun shows that I last attended very few revolvers, if any, were avallable, It was almost all semi-autos.
I'm 85 and bit too old to try and handle the recoil from my .380 Browning BDA or even my .38 Smith. I have an INA .32 revolver in S&W Long that I can handle pretty good but It's a bit heavier than I like for carrying (and besides it's the front door gun!).
Some say a .32 S&W cartridge isn't a good enough stopper. Maybe so, I've never been hit with one, but I think three of them, well-placed even at 20 feet, in less than a second and a half will get anybodys attention! Especially when they know theres more available! I've been able to do that since I was just a kid. I was taught to shoot from a very early age and have greatly enjoyed it all my life.
Well, there I go ramblin' again, sorry about that. Anyway, I'll keep watching for the hammer spring you so thoughtfully sent, I'm sure it will show up, I'll keep you posted as things develop.
Thanks to all for your suggestions and comments, I've greatly appreciated sharing with you all.
 

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Sorry to hear the spring hasn't shown up yet.
USPS has shown some real talent lately delivering mail.
I always say "Carry what you're comfortable with!" Hits with a .32 are better than misses with a .45. And I've yet to meet anybody during a "caliber wars" conversation willing to even stand in front of a .22 short.
Hope the spring shows up soon and does the trick for you!
 
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