Info desired about Hopkins & Allen revolver

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Pistol Liberty, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Pistol Liberty

    Pistol Liberty New Member

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    Hello you to you all! This is my first post here and I sure hope someone would be willing to tell me about an old revolver.

    The crew I work with know I like handguns. One of the guys asked me if I could get some idea about how old a revolver is. I said yes because, well, I belong to a forum.

    Here are the particulars--The name on the top strap is Hopkins and Allen Arms Co. Norwich, CT USA.

    The serial number is found on the front strap: 60XX

    I couldn't find a caliber marking anywhere on it's frame or barrel, but my friend says it'll shoot .22 longs and shorts, but not long rifle.

    Seven shot cylinder that is easily removed via a lever in front of the trigger guard, just below the barrel. Pull the cylinder pin and the cylinder just falls out.

    Speaking of the trigger guard, it appeared to be attached to the frame via two pins, one fore and aft.

    It has a spur hammer and where the firing pin would normally be on the face of the hammer, it's more of a fin or ridge.

    It has an hexagonal barrel about 2" long. I looked down the bore, but it was so filthy that I couldn't say what it's condition was or if there were any lands and grooves at all.

    It has some kind of silvery finish, but it's in really poor shape. I'd say nickel plated, but I honestly don't know. It is a plating of some kind.

    Also on the top strap is written: X.L.Double Action.

    The grip panels seem like hard rubber.

    Overall, this gun is in very rough condition and I'm surprised he shoots it!

    If you good folks could give me some idea of what I could tell my coworker about his revolver, I sure would appreciate it. Thank you
     
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i can't give you an exact year of manufacture but i can give you an era. the original H&A XL series of double action revolvers were manufactured between about 1880 and 1899. they were reintroduced in 1910 until 1917.

    this one with out patent date markings on the top strap is most likely one of the late one 1910 until 1917. all H&A handguns should be considered as safe with black powder cartridges only, even the 22 rimfires, sooner or later (most likely sooner if it is continued to be fired) somthing is going to break and there are no new parts available for repair.
    bill
     

  3. Pistol Liberty

    Pistol Liberty New Member

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    Thank you!

    I am certain the top strap lacked a patent date. Won't the owner be surprised when I tell him about the time frame?

    I'm kind of surprised that the pistol might not be safe with modern smokeless cartridges given the time frame of its manufacture. I thought smokeless was mainstream by then. I will pass along your heads up.
     
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    true, the smokeless powder loads were first manufactured about 1898 but most manufacturers were reluctant to make the change until the demand was there. H&R made the change in 1905 and iver johnson in 1909. the process of trying to manufacture smokelless powder military arms for the belgium government is one of the reasons H&A went bankrupt in 1917 and could not complete that contract. it was after WWI the last of the american shooting public (shotgunners) accepted smokeless loads. black powder loaded cartridges were still available up until WWII.
    bill
     
  5. hopkins&allen

    hopkins&allen New Member

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    I am looking for some of the same info 'Pistol Liberty' has asked. I inherited some old guns and this H&A HL double action 32 cal center fire six shot is one of them. Like the mfg dating, value, and current ammo that can be used(if any)? Would appreciate any info I can get. Serial number is 8xxx (more on that later as I have another question or twist) because I want to know if the cylinder and barrel were designed to be interchangeable on this gun to shoot different size calibers as well. A new H&A owner... & thanks for any info you can provide. Will 'try' to send a pic too!

    NOTE: Late edit. Forgot to add under the H&A mfg on the top is - Pat. Mar 28. 71 Jan. 5, 86 and it has folding hammer.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  6. hopkins&allen

    hopkins&allen New Member

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    For Pistol Liberty>>

    I have another post you can see on the 32 cal I have, Could you look on the cylinder where you load the ammo, there should be four numbers imprinted in between where the individual shells are loaded as you spin it. At least that is where mine are. Also below the barrel but you need to take out the cylinder pin to see it the same serial number, and finally, take off the hard rubber grips. Below the (left) one is also the serial number. Then, would you also look at the underside of the right grip to see if the number is also etched by hand with the serial number because that is where mine show up (4 locations). Thanks, and looking forward to your findings. H&A
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  7. Pistol Liberty

    Pistol Liberty New Member

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    I do not own the pistol I asked about and it is not in my possession. I did not look at the cylinder, but I examined the pistol once the cylinder had been removed by the owner. The only place I remember seeing a serial number was on the front strap.

    I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.:(
     
  8. hopkins&allen

    hopkins&allen New Member

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    Thanks, trying to get as much info as I am new to the site and the H&A pistol, so trying to get whatever info I can as this is new to me with a gun this old. rg
     
  9. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is a pre1899 XL double action. the best date i can give you is sometime between 1886 and 1899. the folding hammer is an option found only on H&A revolvers. this is definately a black powder only revolver.

    there are two books available on H&A one by charles carder and one by joe vorisek. both were written several years ago but are available online in reprint as both gentelmen have passed away.
    bill
     
  10. hopkins&allen

    hopkins&allen New Member

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    There is another twist to this as I had mentioned. The serial number on the cylinder and bottom of barrel were the same 8xxx, However, below the left butt plate the same last three number appears, but the first digit was not an 8 but a 2. Neatly etched (and looks like from the factory) on the inside of the right butt plate was the 2xxx number, same as the number on the pistol metal portion a 2xxx with the last three numbers the same as the 8xxx. That is why I wondered if the barrel and cylinder maybe had interchangeable calibers? Is that possible? or why would these be different on the same gun with the only difference being the first digit?
     
  11. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the problem with H&A serial number is no one has done much research into them. joe vorsiek's book does have some information on serial number but his research was based on a very small sampling and is not reliable. carder's book only mentions serial numbers of pictured revolvers. even with the limited serial number information any one interested in H&A firearms should have a copy of these two books plus carder's other two books on H&A's langarms.

    if this was an iver johnson or H&R i would say the barrel and cylinder have been replaced, but since i don't have a lot of information on H&A i can not say. on all top break revolvers barrel & cylinders are easy to interchange within the same manufacturer and the same frame size. i have often wondered why manufacturers did not offer this option but the only one who did (to the best of my knowledge) was S&W who offered a single shot target barrel in 22 rimfire as an option for their Model 1891 single action revolver. H&A offered a single shot 22 rimfire target pistol based on their large frame top break revolver frame as did H&R (many years later),but these were stand alone models.
    bill
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  12. toomanyideas

    toomanyideas New Member

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    These are quite interesting. I had a question, and am glad to have found this thread. I was wondering if anyone had the schematics, or instructions on how to disassemble the following piece. Also, if the trigger does not return to position and stays depressed after firing, how would a part be replaced if needed ? Information would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

    Hopkins & Allen MFG Co
    Pat March 28 1871

    XL Bull Dog
    38 Cal. Centre Fire

    5 Shot cylinder