Modern Top-Break Revolver!?


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iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
February 25, 2012, 07:06 PM
A friend and I were just talking wheel-guns, and he raised a good question. Is there a modern-day top-break revolver that I am unaware of?? If there is or hypothetically were, I would totally buy it! (long as the quality was decent of course)

Even if there is one that I've been missing out on, why so few since the early 20th century?? Can they not take the strain / pressure from firing, as well as the conventional swing-out design can? I would especially like one in .44 mag, to mostly shoot .44 special out of.

Granted there's the modern day S&W 'classic' series which features the Schofield, but I'm talking about a rugged, modern-technology, DA/SA top-break that could take a beating and keep on truckin. Wouldn't that be awesome?? What am I missing here?

...and an additional thought, what about combining the 6 o'clock barrel design of the Rhino, with the top-break design? I'd probably buy that up in a heartbeat.

Maybe I'm just under-informed and over-imaginative at the moment, but I'd love to hear everyone's feedback and opinions on this. 'Specially the knowledgeable gunsmith guys.

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Jim K
February 25, 2012, 07:25 PM
We go through this every few months. Basically, a top break gun has its latch just at the point of maximum strain in a revolver. If there is any gap at all - and there has to be to allow the gun to open - every shot will result in the two surfaces pounding each other with the result that the latch will eventually loosen up. There is no magic formula to prevent this. The old time designers tried about every type of latch and locking system they could think of, but never solved the problem. Eventually, every revolver maker either went to a solid frame or resigned itself to making low power revolvers.

Many people, usually Anglophiles (lovers of things English) will tout the Webley revolvers as super strong, mainly because cartridges like the .455 Revolver have been described in hundreds of (British) books as having "smashing power", capable of breaking all the bones in a body with one shot, and similar nonsense. The Webleys are really not very strong and survived through WWII only because the low pressure cartridge is one step up in power from throwing stones.

Another serious problem is extraction. Usually described as one of the major benefits of a top break revolver, "automatic" simultaneous extraction depends on a cam mechanism that is limited to relatively short cases; few would handle even .38 Special, let alone .357 Magnum. The only extraction system capable of working with long cases was the old S&W cogwheel system, and it is over complex, heavy, and unsuitable to short barrels.

Jim

iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
February 25, 2012, 07:37 PM
That all makes a lot of sense. I still really hope that somehow there's a technological design break-through that allows for a stronger latch....:D

also, I just found this...

http://world.guns.ru/handguns/double-action-revolvers/rus/izhmeh-mp-412-e.html The MP-412 aka REX. Looks like it never made it to full production. If it had, I'd buy one of these just for kicks and to try it out, but would MUCH prefer something made in the USA.


In regards to extraction being limited to short casings, I'd love a top-break in .45acp! Guess I gotta win the lottery so I can properly bribe S&W to make this gun...

RX-178
February 25, 2012, 09:01 PM
Careful about that link.

world.guns.ru has been a breeding ground for viruses for a while now, and I don't know if it's been fixed yet. Here's another image of the weapon in question.

http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_luagwbANOS1r19vkpo1_400.jpg

BCRider
February 25, 2012, 09:06 PM
The only bigger one worth mentioning these days is the Uberti Schofield replica chambered in the old cowboy calibers. Even then I seem to recall hearing that while they won't blow up if shot with stout full power .45Colt rounds they'll soon shoot themselves loose from a steady diet of full power rounds. They are intended for shooting relatively soft hitting cowboy action loads if you expect them to live a long time. Around the same original pressure and muzzle velocity as the old .44S&W and .44Russian that they came chambered in originally.

As it happens I just finished putting a stronger, but still lighter than stock, mainspring into my H&R 922 Sportsman top break 9 shot break open revolver. I'll get to try it on Monday night to see if the light strikes issue is gone. I'd originally wound up a spring for it to lighten the trigger. But I got greedy and it caused light strikes once or twice a cylinder.

I do agree though that when they are suitable they are very nice to work with.

olafhardtB
February 26, 2012, 08:10 AM
IOF an Indian company, is making a 32 cal copy of the Webly which they sell for a lot of money over there

Samari Jack
March 1, 2012, 06:46 PM
This was an interesting video. I put one of these on my like to have list, along with my other 20 or so like to haves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYLeTqmLFpE&feature=uploademail

Dnaltrop
March 1, 2012, 08:07 PM
I own a Taylor's model Uberti Schofield .45 Colt ( #0855 in their lineup) http://www.taylorsfirearmsstore.com/russian.htm

Have a few thousand rounds through mine, action is smooth, not one misfire. I reload mostly 225 berry's , currently with a load of 5.6 grains of Titegroup underneath. (Best accuracy I've had out of the thing of any load yet)

They aren't tack drivers, they're designed for ease and speed of reloading in combat. Harden, James, few other notables that escape my distracted mind used them here and there.

I only have one functional shoulder and one good hand... and not on the same arms, :banghead: My main hand was crushed in a press in '96.

the Schofield I can dump the shells, tuck under my arm and reload with a speedloader in seconds. Note. ONLY carry 5 rounds in this gun! The full hammer can discharge a round beneath it... Full hammer guns require that extra bit of attention. Load 6 only if you're emptying the gun immediately.

You are best advised to keep them under 900 fps, but my frame is still solid as a rock on the diet of lighter 225s. My current SD round is the Winchester 225 silvertip, and it shoots more softly than an off the shelf, average Cowboy action round.

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/IMAG0127-1.jpg

50' 2 hands, 20 rounds, point of aim is the large grouping. MUCH tighter than past runs.

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/IMAG1864-1.jpg

It's probably the best Conversation starter I've had at the range too, most people don't see guns like these. :D

barnbwt
March 1, 2012, 08:23 PM
what about combining the 6 o'clock barrel design of the Rhino, with the top-break design? I'd probably buy that up in a heartbeat.


Been watching Trigun again, Eh? ;)

The real question to ask is how much you'd be willing to spend for such a gun. I've been toying with this exact concept (only .357 and auto-cycling) on paper for idle fun, and it's remarkable how complicated these two criteria make a design.

It's also scary to run the numbers on what kinds of impulse loads are put on a top latch (or solid frame, for that matter) during fire; north of 2000lb at proof levels! No wonder that featherweight .44 hurts your hand!

TCB

barnbwt
March 1, 2012, 08:27 PM
Nice Schofield, Dnaltrop!

I've never had a chance to try one of those. Is the frame pivot/hinge very stiff, like on a break action shotgun, or do they come a bit looser?

TCB

Wil Terry
March 1, 2012, 10:20 PM
ABOUT 20 years ago[+-] the DETONICS folks had a beautiful prototype of a SS top break revolver in 45COLT. If memory serves it was a 7-shot pistol.

Dnaltrop
March 2, 2012, 12:25 AM
Very smooth, and if you hit the latch with the gun level, the barrel swings down rapidly, and the centrifugal force spews the shells forward partially, dumping some in front of you, and dropping some underneath the Extractor star :D Literally it can jump over the rims and pin the shells down, making them a minor pain to extract, just a few seconds for us, but we don't have someone shooting at us.

Lots of fun when you get a smart-alek who wants to try fanning the hammer. They tend to nail the release.

When you actually WANT to extract the rounds, you just have to remember to angle the gun so it points DOWN when the star extends.

Also snapping the gun closed gets the same centrifugal reaction, spewing your shells.

It really is a gun built for someone who needs to shoot, and reload... but they were beaten soundly by the simplicity of the SAA design.

I'm loathe to reproduce any images from David Chicoine's book, (Are you a Member Mr C? Helooooo out there???) But it's a marvel of gears and precision. Exactly what you don't want to be trying to fix in battlefield conditions.

If you don't want to lay down the scratch, your local library may have a copy of his book "Smith and Wesson Sixguns of the Old West", and I recommend it for anyone who buys a Top Break.

Repairs, Loads, history, schematic drawings... It's a beautiful work.

PS- think about every Hand-ejector model revolver today... If S&W had gotten over their hissy-fit over not chambering the gun in .45 colt to start, the top-break might be the standard revolver of today! The Colts could fire Both the .45 Long Colt, AND the .45 Schofield rounds, making it the more usable firearm. (And the winner of those crucial military contracts)

We've stepped backwards in technology!!! :D

Also, There has apparently been ONE top break found at Custer's Last stand, though they have been unable to connect it to the battle itself. Some historians believe if his troops had been fully outfitted with the Schofield, we might have a different tale of the battle today.

Sad after-note, (not related, but should be noted) After the death of his wife, Lt. Col. George W. Schofield took his life (reportedly with his namesake gun) at Fort Apache Arizona, on Dec 31, 1882.

CraigC
March 2, 2012, 09:08 AM
To muddy the waters a bit, Jeff Quinn has had one of the newer S&W reissues converted for using moonclips and the .45ACP cartridge.

http://www.gunblast.com/TK-Schofield.htm

Dnaltrop
March 2, 2012, 12:00 PM
Ahhhh... The Modern S&W ones are a different monster entirely!

So jealous :D

Such good timing too with the review coming out a few days ago...

"I have an unnatural affection for the S&W Schofield, and the many replicas thereof. The Schofield is a truly ambidextrous design, working perfectly well for shooters using either hand." (or those of us with "issues" to start with... ;) )

Makes me really happy that with all of the guns he tests, He still loves his Top Break enough to modify it for even MORE shooting. Especially to modify it in such a a way that the Extractor star's Quirky behavior is excised from the formula.

Thanks for the Link Craig! You 'da man. :D

Driftwood Johnson
March 2, 2012, 12:40 PM
Howdy

I am extremely fortunate to own a New Model Number Three, chambered for 44 Russian. This one was made in 1882, then sent back to the factory to be reconditioned and refinished in 1965. Today it still looks like it just left the factory. The New Model #3 was the culmination of the S&W large frame Top Break designs, similar to the Schofield model, but with a few added improvements.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/My%20New%20Model%20Number%20Three/NewModel302.jpg



I actually do shoot this gun, although not too often because of its age and condition. But I do shoot it, although with Black Powder only.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/My%20New%20Model%20Number%20Three/040.jpg


I also have an old S&W Double Action 44, made in 1881 and also chambered for 44 Russian. When it's Cowboy S&W day for me, I will usually shoot both of these old revolvers.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/NewFrontSight02.jpg

I also have a growing collection of old S&W Top Break pocket pistols. Regarding how tight the hinges are, I can tell you that they vary. My New Model Number Three is tight and I have to pull the barrel down when I unlatch it, it does not fall by gravity alone. The old 44 DA on the other hand is loose as a goose and I have to be sure to grab the barrel when I unlatch it or it will flop open by itself. I don't like the barrel slamming to the stop, so I try not to let it do that. As for the little pocket pistols, they vary too. Most are still fairly tight at the hinge. As a matter of fact I just picked up a No. 1 1/2 Tip Up that was made in 1873, and it's hinge is still quite tight.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Tip%20Ups/ModelOneandOneHalfNewModel02.jpg


I agree with Dnaltrop, I'm not too crazy about the idea of using speed loaders with these revolvers. If you load six in them you have to be very careful, they are no safer than the old SAA was, drop it on the hammer and the sear will probably shear off and the gun will probably fire. That's with the originals or with the modern replicas.

I am not sure about S&W's recent Schofield model, I do know the firing pin was moved to the frame, I do not know if they have any sort of reliable hammer block inside.

Jim K is spot on about the strength of Top Break revolvers. They are simply not strong enough for modern high powered revolver rounds. As a matter of fact, when ASM first brought out their version of the Schofield, before Uberti produced theirs, there were problems with the latch opening when the gun fired. Top Breaks are very cool old guns, but the latch design is simply not strong enough to put up with the constant pounding of modern high pressure rounds like 357 Magnum or 44 Magnum. I really don't think it can be made strong enough, without making the gun totally unwieldy, to fire high powered modern stuff.

CraigC
March 2, 2012, 01:43 PM
Makes me really happy that with all of the guns he tests, He still loves his Top Break enough to modify it for even MORE shooting.
Did you see the carved leather he had made for his Navy Arms Schofield? Rick Gittlein carved it, I think he works in conjunction with Simply Rugged.

http://www.gunblast.com/images/~Jeff/DSC00043.jpg


I'm not too crazy about the idea of using speed loaders with these revolvers.
Nothing keeping you from loading five rounds in your speedloader or moon clip.

Dnaltrop
March 2, 2012, 03:55 PM
Lovely work!

Nothing so fancy in my future atm though, Have a Lifeline Vertical shoulder rig on order with Ted Blocker right now, (the one worn in Miami Vice, http://www.tedblockerholsters.com/products.cfm?ci=F9A54845-0DEA-67E6-B012052F916E8452 ) but a 2 gun SASS rig (Specifically their "Drifter" model) is in the back of my head once I collect a second Schofield replica (or the real deal! )

Mercy, I could look at top breaks all day... ;) Thanks for the pics Driftwood :D Always glad to see others with the same tastes in guns.

Note- What coin is that you're using for a front sight? I love the effect already from the instant I noticed that detail, might have to ask my gunsmith to steal that idea blatantly :D

Driftwood Johnson
March 2, 2012, 04:49 PM
Howdy Again

It's a Barber Dime from 1914.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/NewFrontSight04.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/NewFrontSight03.jpg

Not my idea, it's really an old idea, so you are not stealing anything.

A lot of these old Top Breaks tend to shoot high. My New Model Number Three shoots really high. When I bought the old Double Action, somebody had already substituted an ugly slab of metal for the front sight to lower the point of impact. A good friend was doing some work to tighten up the latch, and he has replaced front sights on his own Schofields with dimes, so I brought a dime along when I dropped off the gun. We measured the height of the makeshift front sight, and he cut and installed the dime to the same height. Shoots right to point of aim now with my BP 44 Russian loads at Cowboy distances.

The only problem is, the old dimes had the faces reversed. Not like modern coins where the image is right side up no matter which side you view the dime from. The photos demonstrate what I mean. I had to choose which side way to install the dime so that the side I wanted to see was right side up.



With my New Model Number Three I splurged and had a nice new holster made by El Paso Saddlery.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/My%20New%20Model%20Number%20Three/NewModel3andHolster.jpg

Dnaltrop
March 2, 2012, 05:14 PM
I know I heard about folks doing that somewhere in my youth, but it didn't come back till you just said it. Great touch :D

My Schofield is in a much less suitable holster at the moment, It's in a slightly-too-short Clamshell Retention holster from A.E Nelson.. Dad found a grocery bag full of holsters at an estate sale, this little guy was at the bottom, and fit the gun shockingly well. (I mean very nearly like it was built for it in the first place)

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/IMAG1087.jpg
http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/IMAG1088-1.jpg
http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/IMAG1095.jpg

I've got ONE ding on the very tip of the barrel, so for it's own protection the Schofield doesn't get out much until I have an appropriate SASS rig for two of them, but I've used it as a Carry revolver whenever the mood suits me.

Thankfully most folks just see the shirts and their bleeding eyes block the gun from view.:evil:

Kaeto
March 2, 2012, 05:42 PM
For a Top Break Revolver I have this:

A .455 Mk VI Webley. Cylinder has been cut for .45 ACP with moon clips, but I also use .45 Auto Rim.

evan price
March 3, 2012, 01:17 PM
North American Arms made a break-top version of their 22-magnum rimfire mini revolver called "The Ranger".

Unfortunately, the costs of production were too high and they were unable to make them in any quantity. A limited run of them was made and sold to NAA forum members a couple years ago and NAA announced they were not going to continue production.

The break-top Rangers are now rare and going for a high collector price IF you can find one...

olafhardtB
March 4, 2012, 02:55 PM
My TOPBREAK Handyrifle is in 500 S&W and set me back only 200 bucks. I don't think that manufacturers have looked all that many locking methods. I have seen no dolls heads etc. In fact the break tops I have looked at are strikeingly similar. Mine can be carried safely carried with full cylinders by parking the firing pen between the rims of two cartridges. I think slamming the barrel down is as likely to stretch the frame as is shooting. I have break action hammer shotguns that I suspect had been slamed open to often. The old Stevens whose opening is cushioned by the main springs seem somewhat resistant to tnis. I installed an extra spring in my Savage 24 to prevent this.

newfalguy101
March 4, 2012, 03:21 PM
In regards to extraction being limited to short casings, I'd love a top-break in .45acp! Guess I gotta win the lottery so I can properly bribe S&W to make this gun...


Or find a Webley .455 that has been cut for full moon clips....

Guillermo
March 4, 2012, 03:31 PM
Okay

Crazy Idea Alert!!

if you want to swing the entire cylinder out (not sure why you would want to) why not swing it to the side.

The crane would have a piano hinge on the front.

Not sure how you would handle the ejection rod.

That way the frame can be solid.

(it is a solution looking for a problem, but fun to think about)

Kaeto
March 4, 2012, 04:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns View Post

In regards to extraction being limited to short casings, I'd love a top-break in .45acp! Guess I gotta win the lottery so I can properly bribe S&W to make this gun...

Or find a Webley .455 that has been cut for full moon clips....

Like mine.

Dnaltrop
March 4, 2012, 05:59 PM
Nice Webley Kaeto, How does it handle?

Kaeto
March 4, 2012, 06:42 PM
Beautifully. In the pic it's loaded with .45 ACP JHP.

barnbwt
March 4, 2012, 10:32 PM
I don't think that manufacturers have looked all that many locking methods.

I kinda suspect this as well, I think manufacturers just couldn't afford to produce a strong top-break. Several of the (black powder) top breaks I've seen have a lock that works similar to a dang trunk latch, just a loop that slides over a boss on the moving frame half. The MP412 *sighs, knowing I'll he'll never see one* has a more novel latch that is released by squeezing together buttons on either side of frame, but I don't think this allows one-handed reloads (the whole purpose of the top break action). Which latch seems more expensive to produce?

The real trick to a gun latch is to find a mechanism that will self-tighten its grip as the action wears in, just like how a break-action shotgun toplever never quite returns to center unless the action is quite worn. Pretty much any solution will require more parts, and more complicated parts than today's single or double action designs. That said, I still believe it can be done.

TCB

Flechette
March 7, 2012, 05:32 PM
Okay

Crazy Idea Alert!!

if you want to swing the entire cylinder out (not sure why you would want to) why not swing it to the side.

The crane would have a piano hinge on the front.

Not sure how you would handle the ejection rod.

That way the frame can be solid.

(it is a solution looking for a problem, but fun to think about)
I had a similiar thought too. I think that the hinge mechanism could contain the extraction rod cam, just like traditional break open revolvers. It would not be any wider than the cylinder.

You could also design it to brake open both ways (southpaw friendly!). You could also eject towards the ground.

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