December 4, 2012, 08:54 PM
Hi, I'm new here and new at reseaching guns. I have a Merwin Hulbert handgun that has been passed down through the family. It has .32 cal 7 shot on the side, under the cylinder. Just looking for some information and possible value on it. All help would be appreciated. Thank you.
December 4, 2012, 11:16 PM
Here's a couple of pics I took, not professional but decent I guess.
December 5, 2012, 12:48 AM
That is the medium frame .32. The condition is not very good and that, I'm afraid, reduces value to the $400 range. In like-new condition, those can bring over $1000 but there are very few that good. The guns were made in the 1880s.
Merwin and Hulbert were neither the inventors nor the manufacturers of those revolvers; they seem to have run a retail arms store and to have bought the patents for the gun; the actual inventor seems to be obscure, though maybe someone else has better information. The guns were made by Hopkins and Allen, a company in which Merwin and Hulbert had an interest. They are well made guns, but the design never really caught on.
The major feature of the M-H revolvers was that when the gun was opened, fired cases were extracted and fell free (it was hoped) while unfired cartridges remained in the gun. When the gun was closed up, the empty chambers could be loaded from the back through the loading gate. The system was neither especially fast nor especially strong, but it apparently appealed to some folks, possibly simply because it was different.
To make the extraction system work as intended, the cartridge cases had to be of a specific length. Your revolver will fire either .32 S&W or .32 S&W Long, but the cases will be too short or long to use the extraction feature. The .32 M&H cartridge, intended specifically for those revolvers, is no longer made.
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