Help Restoring/Repairing .38 Unmarked Top Break.

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by JasonW, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. JasonW

    JasonW New Member

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    Hello from the new guy!
    I have been working on restoring my grandfather's Harrington & Richardson unmarked 38 auto ejecting top break pistol. The gun was in horrible shape when he past away and my dad has held on to it as a keep sake for ever. I finally pried it from his hands with promises of restoration. I have researched as much as I can on my own but have hit 2 road blocks now that I've gathered what I believe to be all the needed pieces to put this back together.
    1st: the lever doesn't seem to remain correctly engaged with the lifter. I can put it together and install it in the frame, it will function as desired about 2-3 pulls of the trigger but then jumps off the pin on the side of the lifter. I have examined it and even gotten a replacement lifter with a nice pin but the lever seems extremely loose fitting around this small pin off the lifter. Does anybody know how tight this union is supposed to be?
    2nd: the replacement sear spring I purchased doesn't seem to want to stay in the up right position between the trigger guard and the sear. Is there a trick to getting this spring to stay in place properly? 20170110_174634c.jpg 20170110_174709c.jpg 20170110_174725c.jpg
     
  2. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    Post pictures of the whole gun and parts so we can identify a model.

    Here is a link for a schematic on Numrich for the large frame which has a similar trigger guard.

    http://www.gunpartscorp.com/Manufac...odelLargeFrameAutomatic-38145.htm?results=All

    I collect Iver Johnson's, but the mechanisms on the top breaks is similar. It looks like you have the wrong trigger. Typically the lever is held in place by the lifter pin, and there is a recess in the side of the trigger for the lever so it fits flush in the frame. The pin on the side of the lifter is actually for the lever spring to rest on. Item 25 Nickel Trigger will show you what I am talking about.

    Sears and the notches on the hammers of these old guns are often worn out. They were not cheap guns, but not of the highest quality and years of use are a testament to their popularity. Yours has probably been repaired several times over the course of its life and may need some replacement parts.
     
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  3. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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    The design of the flat hand spring sitting in a groove was a very poor design by H&R. PM me and I'll send you a tutorial on how to rectify this situation.
    Old Gun Guy
     
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  4. 2A-Jay

    2A-Jay Well-Known Member

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    BTW Welcome to TFF
     
  5. JasonW

    JasonW New Member

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    20170111_191558.jpg Hey thanks for the welcome.
    Here's a picture of everything I have minus the grips which where originally the "Target tops" style. I have repos on the way
     
  6. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    Send a PM to old gun guy and he will be able to help you.

    You may want to consider finding original grips. Replacements never look right on a gun that is 100 years old.
     
  7. JasonW

    JasonW New Member

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    PM sent, Old Guy is on it.
    I have been looking for OG grips for a year and no luck. I picked up some repo black and repo rose wood. I will probably make the rose wood work. it's a lot easier to shape and fit wood than molded plastic.

    So this gun was nickel plated. I am thinking of bluing it or maybe doing a Cerakote in like a Stainless or Gun Metal Grey. They have so many color options now it's a difficult choice.
    Opinions?
     
  8. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    I am a traditionalist, and would prefer to keep it in its original condition as much as possible. There are ways to remove the nickel, but I have never tried it. I would use a cold blue rather than cerakote to give it a classic finish. You can save a search on eBay for the grips and receive email notifications when new items that you are watching are listed.
     
  9. Dave_H

    Dave_H Member

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    Hi Jason, I am working on one too. Before you do anything else, you might want to electrolyze it to remove the rust. There is an outside chance the nickel may be better than you think. If you could save the nickel, it would be pretty. If my nickel is too far gone, I am going to blue mine. There is something about a nice, deep, hot blue that has always seemed really beautiful to me. Good luck with your piece :)

    EDIT: Search YouTube: Rust, Electrolysis
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
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  10. JasonW

    JasonW New Member

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    I know how electroplate works, and have tried a crude setup on a few trinket type things in the past but how do you electrolyze it to remove the rust?
    Hot bluing or parkerizing processes are more risk than I want to deal with on my own so I would have to send it off to be done. I have a connection to spray Cerakote... I do airbrush work and a local shop that does Cerakote calls me from time to time to come in and do some artwork for them, so... it would be easier for me to Cerakote it if I can find the right color and finish.
    But I agree I like a deep blue gun
     
  11. Dave_H

    Dave_H Member

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    Hi Jason, If you do a search on YouTube with the search term "Rust Electrolysis" a blue million videos turn up but this one is one of the best. Remove Rust With Electrolysis In this one a guy electrolyzes an old rusty lockset. The results are amazing. Actually, hot bluing is a simple, easy process, both easier and simpler than Cerakote. Again, the source is YouTube. This video is pretty good, DIY Reblue Your Gun At Home For $50. However, if you can get a pro Cerakote finish cheap.... that's hard to knock ;)

    EDIT: BTW, if you blue a revolver, don't forget to drive a hardwood plug into both ends of the barrel.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  12. JasonW

    JasonW New Member

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    Hey anybody have advice on fitting a replacement wire trigger spring for this thing?
     
  13. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    Electrolysis will remove the nickel with the rust.Both of you speak of being "traditionalists."
    Ceracoat and cold blue are far from traditional finishes. Most guns of this type were nickel plated. Why not replate it?
     
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  14. Dave_H

    Dave_H Member

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    Electrolysis in soda water will not remove the nickel, only the rust. Removing nickel with electrolysis requires an acid bath. If left in the soda bath too long, electrolysis might remove some of the nickel, but it would be a very slow process. All rust will be removed long before the nickel is harmed.
     
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  15. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Why does it require an acid bath?
     
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