Who makes new Top-Break revolvers?


May 3, 2004, 01:34 PM
I want one. Smith & Wesson probably won't bring them back for a while. Are they as reliable and safe as a more modern revolver with a swing out cylinder?

I know Navy arms imports Schofield replicas in .38 special (Why not .357 magnum?), .45 long colt, and .44 russian (interchangable with .44 magnum?). Also I could get a Webley converted to .45 acp with moon clips, though I have no idea where to start looking for one of those. I'd rather not have to get a Curio & Relic license to get a Webley though. Any other Top-Break revolvers out there? Oh and under $1000 if possible, money is kinda tight.

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May 3, 2004, 03:25 PM
I haven't seen any but I wonder if the replica Schofields in 45 Colt could be converted to use 45 acp with moonclips. That would be sweet.

Jim Watson
May 3, 2004, 03:59 PM
A top break revolver is reliable but is not as strong as a hand ejector (swing-out.) A Webley converted from .455 to .45 ACP is being shot at proof test pressures for the model. Just a good sturdy design and lack of volume shooting is all that makes the alteration at all feasible.

.44 Russian is a black powder cartridge of about 1880 and is sure as hell not interchangeable with .44 Magnum, except that you could shoot Russians in a Magnum for light target loading. The .45 Colt "Schofields" are meant only for the light Cowboy ammo up to standard loads for old Colts. They would not hold up well with Ruger or even heavy Colt loads. Nor would the .38 "Schofield" be strong enough for .357 Magnum.

There is no incentive for the companies to come out with a modern top break.

May 3, 2004, 04:04 PM
I've heard that a modern break-top is "impossible". I think that's nonsense. If a company really invested the R&D effort, time, and money, I'm sure they could design a top-break revolver with a latch strong enough to hold up to .44 Magnum power, even. Especially with modern materials and metallurgy.

Problem is, the gun companies don't see the monetary investment needed as worthwhile.

The Russians (Baikail) have made a top break .357 Magnum, but it's not being imported as per the US's trade agreement with Russia (even though the rules of the agreement have recently been loosened, I still don't think any centerfire handguns are coming in..)

May 4, 2004, 01:59 AM
Yeah, they are neat, and there's gotta be a way to build a modern sturdy one with todays technology. The reason there is no .357 version is because the .357 operates at quite high pressure (46 000 cup), too much for the top break design as it exists at the moment. All the other chamberings you mentioned are low pressure rounds from the days of yore. And if you decide to try the .44 mag in a .44 Russian chambered gun (let alone a top break), let me know so I can be sure to be at least 100 miles away.


May 4, 2004, 08:39 AM
The very first commercially successful centerfire pistol cartridge was the .44 Russian by S&W, made in 1871 for their top-break revolvers filling a Russian order. The round was actually 0.44" OD at the case, with the 246 gr bullet sized .429-.430" to fit inside, and over 26 gr of fff blackpowder. The case was lengthened from ~ .955" to 1.150" in 1907 to hold more of the new smokeless powder and became the .44 Special. It was once again lengthened (~1.265") and strengthened in 1955 to become the .44 Magnum. These are all S&W rounds, although only the .44 Magnum is still offered by them (... and the 396 'Mountain Lite' in .44 Special). The Russians will fit and fire fine from a Special - and both will fit and fire from a Magnum. Shorter rounds in a longer cylinder bore will leave a residue ring that must be cleaned prior to insertion of longer cased rounds. The pressures increased, of course, with the use of smokeless powder, so only use modern .44 Russian loads/reloads in modern firearms. I doubt many folks would use an antique S&W 3rd Model .44 Russian to plink with anyway - the cheapest one I have seen at a show was $2,000.

I bought several hundred Starline .44 Russian cases and loaded them some time back in anticipation of buying the .44 Russian Navy Arms (Uberti) revolver my dealer has. It, and a .45 Colt version of the Schofield, are still on the shelf there - that $649 will buy some nice current S&W's! I have shot and reloaded those cases several times since then. The rounds are very mild, whether in a 3" 696 or 6.5" 24. I still look at that .44 Russian when I visit that dealer...

I think a .32 top break, much more common, albeit smaller, would be a decent example of a top-break to plink with. Good luck!


May 4, 2004, 09:40 AM
Smith & Wesson made their Model 3 Frontier hinged frame revolver in both .38/40 and .44/40 which were the magnum cartridges of their day.

I feel with modern metals a hinged frame could be made in a heavier caliber. In .45 Colt, for instance, it should be able to handle anything a Colt Single Action Army can.

However, I think a five shot lemon squeezer type of revolver in either .32acp which would not need clips or in .380 which would, would be a viable enterprise.

Just my Tuppence, Hapenny (2½¢)

May 4, 2004, 09:23 PM
I used to have a Cimmaron/ASM breaktop S&W clone in 44-40. The problem was, it would fly open!! Cock it and pull the trigger and your knuckles would get a NASTY rap, the cartridges would be ejected and you would think it had KB'd. I just don't trust breaktops in a large caliber. A CAS 38 Special might be just fine. RUMOUR ALERT!! Cimmaron IS in R&D with a Merwin Hulbert Pocket clone.

May 4, 2004, 09:53 PM
Cimmaron IS in R&D with a Merwin Hulbert Pocket clone. Halleflippinlujah!
If they do a round butt, double action with the folding hammer spur I'll be standing in line for one!

May 4, 2004, 11:56 PM
Baikal (http://www.baikalinc.ru/eng/prod/hguns/) was offering a 357 break top a couple years ago, nothing about them on their website now though. That's the newest, most modern break top I know of.

May 5, 2004, 08:04 AM
If a company really invested the R&D effort, time, and money, I'm sure they could design a top-break revolver with a latch strong enough to hold up to .44 Magnum power, even.

...and they'd probably sell five of them.

In ten years of working in gun shops I have never once had someone come in and ask if anyone makes a modern-top break. :uhoh:

May 5, 2004, 05:30 PM
I agree with stainz ; get an oldie and live with is for awhile. I like to shoot top breaks, Currently have 2 Iver Johnsons, a .38 S&W from 1922, and a .32 S&W from 1921. They are interesting, different to shoot, and cheap ( except for the ammo) - Paid $150 for both
I have owned and shot old Smith and Wesson top breaks, back about 30 years ago when I could buy them cheap. ( bought a Baby Russian for $120)

I don't think anyone will be making a "real" top break revolver ever again - there is not enough strength inherent in the design and everyone is lawsuit crazy.
Find an oldie, see if you really like it. If you do, buy a reproduction import in an old large caliber...That's probably the best you can do.


cleve land
May 6, 2004, 05:20 PM
Both old Detonics and High Standard had contemporary designs for top-breaks in the late 80s early 90s. The protype Detonics could not be manufactured at an affordable price.

May 13, 2004, 08:07 PM
Any new news on this topic?

Jim K
May 13, 2004, 08:25 PM
I doubt anyone will ever again make a top-break revolver for serious use (the nostalgia/repro market doesn't count). Everytime this subject comes up, five or six people say they would buy one. If they can get maybe 2,000,000 more folks lined up with deposit money, some maker might be interested.

But here is why it is a bad idea. On a cartridge revolver, the top strap takes a lot of the strain of firing. With a top-break revolver, there has to be some play in the latch to allow the gun to open, and with each shot that play increases a very tiny amount. Eventually, the latch loosens, and the gun becomes unshootable and unrepairable. (Yes, I know someone has a miracle metal that will stand up forever, but they are keeping it a secret.)

I know someone is going to cite both Colt percussion revolvers and the "super strong" Webley revolvers. The latter is nonsense. The Webley revolvers stood up only because the loads were so weak; a Webley Mk VI converted to .45 ACP and shot very much will loosen up, guaranteed! (The British warned repeatedly against firing .455 Webley Auto ammunition in revolvers.)

As to the percussion revolver, the recoil on those guns was not high on the standing breech, it was in the middle because the whole cylinder recoiled; the force was into the frame and downward, where in a cartridge revolver the force is at the top of the breech and attempts to tear the top strap.


May 13, 2004, 09:55 PM
I haven't been to your shop yet, Tamara:D

They aren't exactly modern, but I do want a Navy Arms Russian, just because I think that spur triggerguard is cool, and because I would like to work with a gun chambered for the .44 Russian. Shootable Smiths and Colts in the caliber are ahem, a bit pricey.

I have played around in the past with extra low powered round ball loads in the .44 mag, and they were a bust despite following the Speer manual loads. I had a couple squibs that I had to beat out of my 629:fire: The smaller Rusky case I think would be good for such gallery-type loads.

S&W did have a replica of the Schofield themselves, in .45 Schofield, which I guess is sorta an amputated .45 Colt. Odds are they used that caliber to keep people from trying "Ruger only" .45 Colt loads in it.:D

I have heard(and you know what that's worth) that Uberti fired some "Ruger Only" 30,000psi loads in their .45 Colt breaktop, before releasing it. They found the gun held together fine, though wear was accelerated. The original guns held together with 15,000 psi loads, using parts made of very mild steel - the same parts made from modern heat treated alloy steel are much stronger. That said, if you try it, don't blame me if I'm wrong!

I have no interest in hot rodding one, as I own several magnums up to a .480 Ruger, but I think they would be fine for plinking, and a lot of fun to shoot:)

(edited for clarity)

May 14, 2004, 10:49 PM
I have the picture of Detonics revolver from one of old magazines. It was designed as 7-shooter in 44 and other calibers, but suppose to be used also as top break single shot for cartridges from 30-30 family. I don’t see market for it in North America, but this design will be interesting in some countries where shooters are permitted to have one or two handguns only. With top break design they could have number different calibers legally. Regards, Onty.

May 15, 2004, 02:06 PM
I've seen and shot several Webleys converted to 45 acp. As I recall, the acp bullet is a bit undersized resulting in only fair to poor accuracy. Seems like the chambers looked a bit strange also, like you can see a couple of steps in it from the original chambering and the acp chambering. The back of the cylinder is cut to shorten it for use with the acp round and moon clips. All in all it's not exactly a spectacular conversion. Just a way to sell the old guns that we can't get the original ammo for in this country. About on a par with the WW2 Smith & Wesson guns in 38 S&W cal converted to 38 spl.

If you want a shootable and reasonably affordable top break, track down a Webly or Enfield in 38 S&W cal. They can often be had for $125 to $175 in decent shape.

January 20, 2005, 11:29 PM
I'm tempted to get a .38 special one but want to know if it's a good, reliable pistol. They are a bit pricy but quite unique as it seems nobody else makes a new top break revolver these days. Any reviews?

January 21, 2005, 01:02 AM
Navy Arms has several listed in their Website Catalog, but very pricey!



January 21, 2005, 11:06 AM
That hideout model looks pretty neat. I wonder if the butt could be rounded off to a bird's head style. It might make a interesting, if obsolecent carry piece.

January 21, 2005, 11:07 AM

MP412 "REX" (Russia)

Type: Double Action
Chamber: .357 magnum
Weight unloaded: 0.9 kg
Length: 232mm (4" barrel)
Barrel length: 102mm (4"), also available 152mm BBL (6")
Capacity: 6 rounds

Newest Russian development - MP412 REX (Revolver for EXport) has some almost unique (for today) features - break-top design and polymer lower frame and buttstock. Revolver has ejector that could be switched off by pressing the button on the bottom of the frame near the "break point".
This revolver is still in "pre-production" form - according to the manufacturer, the final decision will be made after the IWA-2001.

Bart Noir
January 21, 2005, 07:10 PM
The .44 S&W cartridge was the original load for the first big-bore S&W revolver, the Model 3 in the late 1860's. This was later called the .44 American once the Russian officers asked for a redesigned .44 cartridge, which we all call the .44 Russian.

So there was some level of commercial success with the .44 American, in almost the same time frame as the Russian. But the Russian was, in the end, more popular, accurate, and our first modern centerfire pistol cartridge.

So, in another direction, does having the .45 ACP or .45 Auto Rim launching an undersized bullet down the Webley bore reduce the pressure a mite?

Bart Noir

January 23, 2005, 01:54 PM
I have a question if anybody out there could answer:
In the Indianna Jones movies Indy also has a revolver. I think it is a top breakopen model, does anybody know what model and caliber ?

January 23, 2005, 10:06 PM
In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" he has a Webley revolver.

In the other movies he has a Smith and Wesson Hand Ejector in .45ACP. And he also has a Browning Hi Power in the bar fight scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

January 24, 2005, 09:17 PM
American Handgunner had an Cover article(and photo) on custom made one a few years back the starting gun was an enfirld *Mark II Da 38 S&W which was customized extemsively into a carry gun. chrome finish and everything.
The idea was neat but really it didnt give you anything you could not have gotten cheaper and better made in a 2.5" model 19. JMHO
Jim L

March 11, 2005, 01:19 AM
Any New thoughts on this topic? I'm still tempted but $800 bucks for a .38 is a bit much for my budget.

March 11, 2005, 02:51 AM
Beretta announced at the 2005 SHOT show that they were going to reproduce the old S&W Model 3. They call it the Laramie.

Hopefully they will produce it to the later Frontier specifications. The Frontier Model 3 has a slightly longer frame and cylinder from the original model so it could be chambered for .38WCF and .44WCF.

However, I suspect Beretta will initally release it in .45 Colt, a caliber never offered by S&W in any hinged frame model.

Since they are also going to produce the Ligntning rifle and carbine it looks like Beretta is taking Cowboy Action Shooting seriously.

March 15, 2005, 01:52 AM
Does anyone know if H&R made a break open in 32H&Rmag? Thanks

March 15, 2005, 06:40 AM
The H & R Sportsman 999. Neat little gun.

March 15, 2005, 12:54 PM
No, medmo, they only produced it with a swing out cylinder.
If they had made a top break I would have just had to buy one.

March 15, 2005, 01:04 PM
Same here BluesBear.... this conversation sparked the thought.

March 18, 2005, 03:00 PM
I hate to admit it, but I've always had a strange fascination with top-break revolvers. I've owned several, with varying degrees of disappointment over the years.

Four Webleys, an Enfield, a couple of H&R 999s, a 925, several S&W pocket guns and copies in from near-new to junk condition, a Navy Arms in .45 Colt, and a Performance Center-made S&W #3 Schofield.

Besides the various Italian Schofield and Russian replicas, the only example being made currently that I can think of is the 999.

My experiences have pretty much been in line with what's already been said. Converted .455 Webleys are only middlin' accurate at best, and use with .45 ACP hardball will loosen them up in fairly short order. The DAO Enfield has to have the worst trigger pull ever. The .380/200 (.38 S&W) Webleys are fun, but US factory loads will print so low that you might have to use two targets to keep them on paper. Or file the front sight down to a nub. Some of the little pocket guns will surprise you, but many of them are only safe to shoot with mild BP loads. Some of the Spanish, Belgian, and even American copies of the little Smiths probably shouldn't be fired at all, even in pristine shape.

The Uberti-made #3s are a hoot, but I'd stick to "Cowboy" loads in either .45 Colt or S&W. The Russian looks strange, but is capable of superb accuracy with the right load. H&R 999s with either 4 or 6" barrels make great utility/knock-around guns. Can be pretty accurate with ammo they like, but won't scare any K-22s or Rugers. The single-shot target pistols H&R made 'way back then are another thing altogether, but expensive and hard to find.

If you want a top-break primarily for nostalgia and fun, I'd go with a 999. Cheap to buy, lots of nice used ones even cheaper, cheap to shoot and hard to break or wear out. A Navy in .38 Spl. should be fun and quite safe with standard pressure loads. Might even surprise you with its accuracy with the right ammo. Expensive, but about the only CF made in any caliber. If you want a Webley, I'd look for a nice Mk. VI in .380/200. Lots of them still around so a good one won't bust your wallet.

March 18, 2005, 10:17 PM
I'd buy one.

The automatic ejection and dramatically exposed cylinder face would really speed up reloads and the cool factor is way up there.

I agree that it's probably not practical to talk about a ..454 Casull top break, but I see no reason that, with modern manufacturing and metallurgy, a .38 special+P top break couldn't be made to be as durable as a swing-out revolver.

It's also worth remembering that most gun owners don't look at a gun and wonder how it's going to hold up to 10,000 rounds.

March 19, 2005, 01:37 PM
Ditto, John. With the proviso that they can bring it in for something less than a mortgage payment. It would help my rationalization process if it weighed something under 3# loaded, too.

IIRC, somebody made a prototype for a modern top-break with an ambidextrous stirrup latch that was supposed to be magnum-capable about twenty-five years ago. I remember seeing a couple of write-ups and some pictures in magazines c. mid-1970's/early '80's. Obviously, it never got anyone interested enough to finance manufacture. Whether that was due to some function/durability problem that showed up with the design or just not enough of a perceived market to be profitable, I don't know.

At least some part of my own interest in them has to stem from the fact that, as a southpaw, it's just as fast and convenient for me to use as it is for a RHder with a conventional swing-out revolver. I don't have to switch my grip to my 'weak' hand and back or be a contortionist when ejecting/reloading.

March 19, 2005, 07:51 PM
I hate to burst your bubble but they stopped making the 999 in 1998.

And the cheapest I have seen one go for in the past few years is $250.

Very few were produced those last few years and Marlin has firmly stated that they will NOT be prodicing ANY handguns.

I absolutely love the 6" 999. It is my all time favorite plinking revolver. The only real detriment to accuracy is their horrid trigger pull and often loose sights. In single action, a 999 with a good bore, can be almost as accurate as a Ruger Single-Six.

March 20, 2005, 03:22 PM
And to add insult to injury...

or is that ignorance to stupidity?

This appears on Gunbroker;

Ain't it amazing what happens when you combine a single digit IQ and a Flayderman's?

H & R commemorative sportsman model 999 No Reser

Current Bid $100.00 Reserve Not Met
Started at $0.01
Buy it Now for $950.00 <<<<<<<< :what:

Quantity 1 # of bids 1 Bid History
Time left 5 Days, 3 Hours +
15 minute rule Location PARADISE, CA 95969
BUTTE County
Started 3/18/2005 7:00:09 PM ET (This is a 7 day auction)
Ends On or After 3/25/2005 7:00:09 PM ET (Official Auction Time)

Seller bzr45 A(120)

ommemorative H R Sportsman Model 999 (9) shots 22 L. S/N # am19062 gun is in very good condition barrel is clean and shiny comes as seen in the photos We are a pawnshop so all guns should be cleaned and checked out by a licensed gunsmith before using we try to describe the condition as accurately as possible. WE ONLY SHIPPED TO SIGNED INK FFL'S. Guns only ship when signed ink ffl gets to us. If you have any problems or questions please call eric or brian at 530-872-2956 m-f 9:30-5:00. Flat shipping fee of $20 for long guns, $30 for pistols to the lower 48. (((PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT SHIP TO P.O. BOXES ))))))). We only ship inside the US . We use UPS ground insured! We accept Paypal, money order, and personal checks. GOOD LUCK BIDDING PAYMENT MUST BE MADE WITHIN 7 DAYS OF AUCTION CLOSE OR DON'T BID. BUYER PAYS SHIPPING. NO REFUNDS ON SHIPPING. MONEY ORDERS AND PAYPAL SHIP IMMEDIATELY, ALL OTHERS WHEN THEY CLEAR. WE DO NOT ANSWER EMAILS AFTER 5:00 PM FRIDAY


March 20, 2005, 04:26 PM
Uberti (http://www.uberti.com/firearms/top-break.tpl) is now making replicas of the S&W No. 3 top-break revolvers. .44/40, .45 Colt, and .44 Russian. $775 MSRP.

March 20, 2005, 04:55 PM
Well... Uberti is calling them Number 3s but they're really just a lengthened Schofield.
And while the Scofield was technically a Number 3 it was too short to chamber anything longer than .45S&W and had a totally different barrel latch system and grip frame.

Only the Uberti Number 3 Russian is actually a real Number 3.

The Beretta Laramie will be a real Model 3. I only hope they make it just like the actual S&W New Model Number 3 Frontier.

March 21, 2005, 11:53 AM
"Pop!" Somehow missed that NEF had gone under. RIP. If, as you say, its assets were sold to Marlin I suppose that the SS rifles, shotguns and combo packages will be the only survivors. Unless Taurus/Rossi finishes them off.

FWIW, I see 999's at shows and shops around here all the time going begging for $175 in VG or better condition. They might ask $200-225 for a minty one with the box et al. A dealer at the "1500" had a 925 in EX condition at $185. No takers as of 4 PM Sunday. IMO, they're out there, and still worth looking for.

When I was a kid, my stepmother's father had a pre-999 "Sportsman" that lived on a nail in the feed storage room of his barn. It was loaded with crimped 'rat shot' and HP shorts and I doubt that it ever got more than a quick wipe with an oily rag in the course of a year. It looked like a relic from some archeological site, but it went 'bang' whenever asked and accounted for bushels of marauding rats, mice, pigeons and starlings. The first 'real' handgun I was ever allowed to fire. Probably why I've got a 4 and a 6" in my safe even though they seldom see daylight :o

March 21, 2005, 03:44 PM
H&R1871 Corp/New England Firearms Inc. didn't really go under. They were just bought out by Marlin.
Marlin was looking for a line of shotguns with name recognition.
Of course, now all of the NEF line is made in China.

I haven't seen a VG 6" 999 around here for less than $250.
I paid $100 for an EX one over ten years ago in Kentucky and thought it was a high price then. I guess I should have kept it.

March 22, 2005, 02:09 PM
Made in China?!! Sheesh! Kinduva sad commentary on our vanishing industrial base, isn't it?

IMO, a big part of why H&Rs and Iver Johnsons don't bring prices more in line with their actual quality and usefullness around here is that they seem to be perceived by many as being arms for people who couldn't afford anything better, rather than as having been the Rugers of their time.

They were designed and marketed to be working tools for folks who needed to get the most in terms of utility and reliable function for their hard-earned dollar. Simple, robust machines, arguably 'overbuilt', that were well-made of high quality materials and able to deliver good service despite hard use or less-than-optimal maintenance. Something that you could forget about until you needed to use it. Hang it on a nail, throw it in the tackle box, bang it around on the tractor or just leave it in your bureau drawer for years and be pretty damn certain that it'll work when you need it.

It's a pity, but to a lot of folks they're lumped into the same catagory as the Belgian and Spanish S&W copies, the so-called "Suicide Specials", and dismissed as being 'weak' or 'cheap' - unsuited for 'real' uses just on account of their top-break design.

On the plus side, it keeps them affordable for those of us who know better.

June 21, 2008, 01:56 AM
I need to find someone who can work on it and get it into good shape. it's in fireing shape now, but there is some play in the cylinder. i want to get it fixed and refinished. it's a pre WWII firearm and i love it. i've always liked the break top designs. it's sad to get one in this day and age in a larger caliber your going to pay upward of 800$.

if yall know someone who can get my sportsman back to good condition let me know.

Joe Gunns
June 21, 2008, 06:49 PM
Ya know mrwiggens, seein' as this thread is dang old, you might have a better chance for a response by posting your inquiry as a new post.

June 22, 2008, 06:14 PM
Hugo said:
Anyone have a Navy Arms Top Break Revolver?
I'm tempted to get a .38 special one but want to know if it's a good, reliable pistol. They are a bit pricy but quite unique as it seems nobody else makes a new top break revolver these days. Any reviews?
I have not shot a Navy Arms model, but did handle one at a gun show and was impressed with it. I believe they have a very good reputation. Like you, I believed that .38 Special is the most desirable caliber (unless you were only interested in historical authenticity). The only thing I didn't like about the Navy Arms was the very long, front-heavy barrel. What I ended up buying was a Uberti replica of the 1875 Schofield Wells Fargo model. This is a .38 Special with a 5" barrel, for which I paid $730 a few months ago. At the range I was a bit disappointed with the accuracy, since I had to use some "Kentucky windage" to hit the target using the fixed sights. In hindsight I should have delayed my purchase, because now Beretta is offering their Laramie model, which has adjustable sights. None of these alternatives come cheap, of course, because there isn't much of a market for top-break.

June 23, 2008, 03:50 PM
If a 12ga can be made to top eject, I'm sure a revolver can. The problem is making it small enough to be usefull. I bet it can be done though, if some company wanted to bad enough.

June 24, 2008, 01:24 AM

June 24, 2008, 05:20 AM
I so sincerely hope this doesn't turn out to be vaporware....



June 24, 2008, 06:02 PM
Merwin & Hulberts aren't break tops. They actually unlatch the barrel assembly, which moves forward far enough to allow the spent cartriges to fall out, leaving the unexpended cartriges in the cylinder. Then you reload using a "loading gate" on the right side of the frame.

June 24, 2008, 10:25 PM
Possibley the weirdest top break in current production is a Webley pocket model copy in .32 S&W which is being manufactured in India. I would love to have a modern design top break in a potent caliber or a rplica MkVI.


February 8, 2009, 03:33 PM
Interesting looking revolvers, but the Merwin and Hulbert website is pretty crappy. No good photos or product descriptions, just an order form. ***?!

February 9, 2009, 11:12 AM
My Merwin & Hulbert:http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y218/90north/MerwinHulbert002.jpg

And 3 of my Webleys: http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y218/90north/3Webleys.jpg

February 13, 2009, 12:11 AM
Webley's can shoot .45 ACP using moon clips right? How much do those go for? Are they getting pretty rare?

Also I think I saw Dr. Moffet use one in the pilot tv movie for Airwolf.

February 13, 2009, 10:21 AM
Many Webleys were "converted" to .45 ACP by shaving the rear of the cylinder to allow clearance for half or full moon clips. Factory .45 ACP loads approach "proof loads" for thes pistols. The 2 lower ones are in .38 S&W. Yes Webleys are increasing in value, but they are still around.

February 13, 2009, 01:12 PM
Anyone for a new Beretta in .38 Spec.? The seller DID have a longer version in both .38 Spl. and .45 Colt, nickel or blued, but I guess he sold the rest of them.http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=122496138

I have a converted Webley MK VI that I love to shoot target reloads through. Although the chamber is slightly large and the bore a thou or two over what my bullets are used to the Webley does pretty good accracy. It shoots better than one of my S&W 1917's, but not the other.

completely fun experience to shoot this, wouldn't trade it for a new 1911 Colt...http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p263/twagger/guns/WEbLEy.jpg

February 13, 2009, 03:17 PM
The stress on a top break revolver is typically on the top strap, correct?

Would then producing a revolver that had a replaceable top strap be the answer?

February 13, 2009, 10:32 PM
Would then producing a revolver that had a replaceable top strap be the answer?I think the answer is that if you use a smart design, good metallurgy and don't try to make it in one of the heavy magnums then there's not a problem.

My guess is that the gun companies don't think that there's a market for a modern-design top-break.

Old Fuff
February 14, 2009, 12:10 AM
I see that CDNN Sports has Beretta Laramie .38 Special revolvers for sale in blue (5 or 6 1/2 inch barrels) or nickel plate (6 1/2 inch only). Both are priced at $699.99. I believe the listed retail was $1,000 plus.

The Laramie is an accurate copy of Smith & Wesson's No. 3 New Model Russian, which was the last of the big-bore Smith & Wesson top-breaks. In my view the .38 Special cartridge is a good choice in a revolver of this kind. If you are a fan of Russian Model Smith & Wesson's you might give them a look while they're available at an attractive price.

Jim K
February 14, 2009, 04:20 PM
I strongly recommend against shooting standard or high velocity .45 ACP ammunition in a converted .455 Webley. I have seen a couple with chambers blown out from shooting standard GI ball.

Top strap aside, those guns are just not strong enough to handle anything of much greater pressure than the orginal rounds.

(The British Army warned against using the .455 Webley Auto in revolvers, and it is not as powerful as the .45 ACP.)


February 14, 2009, 07:10 PM
A few points of order re the Webley:
most of the Webley top breaks left the factory loose as the proverbial goose. It was a military servicability requirement that leaves one in the same boat as contrasting a GI issue 1911A1 to a Series 70 or earlier Colt Gold Cup No comparison right?
and so it is with Webley top break products
At the close of the 19th century Webley once produced their Greene model. The Webley Greene was developed mainly for officers drawn from the landed gentry who provided their own side arms. Handle a Greene model and everything tends toward early Colt Python in fit, finish as well as action. Have had a couple of Greene models that some twit cut for .45acp in 1/2 moons, between the pair I am certain I ran at least several thousand rounds of military hard ball as well as snotty hand loads thru with nary a bit of looseness ever developing. It really doesnt take much to trash a Mk 1 or even a Mk IV tho as they simply were not built to anywhere close to the same standard as the Greene.
As to S&W #3's, they are somewhat weaker, mostly due to the poor quality of American steel. While they will take the stress of black powder loadings anything past that usually results in a stretched frame which affects both latch lock up and cylinder end shake. That said, used within their limitations the New Model number three was with little question the most used revolver for target use within the period easily printing ragged one hole groups in the right hands in its .44 Russian chambering.
Now on the reproductions
In my opinion they are mostly garbage and this includes the Thompson Center manufactured for S&W, Schofield clone. Why anyone would pay a grand or more for a fake when you can still purchase solid original arms in the same range has long been beyond me.
and yes, I am stating that one can still find decent #3 NM for the $1000.00 range. Usually they do require work. For example 100s of NM #3s were relined to .22. Converted pistols which are usually in great shape sell cheaply
If the work was done to a .32 or 38-44 target model often you can remove the sweated in liners and have the piece rebored to either .44 Russian or .45 S&W. Otherwise there are still new old stock barrels around in the couple hundred and up range as well as new old stock hammers and triggers.
If you are real lucky maybe you can even find a factory cut for shoulder stock model, of course the stocks tend to run more than the revolvers.
The main proviso on S&W #3s is if they are already loose there is not much you can do to greatly improve them and when you get a decent one don't play magnumitus as the gun wont cooperate, stay inside the original pressure range.
1000s were put down dead with these loading ranges and the guns themselves remain among the most accurate ever made
its bad form to judge these weapons based on burned out relics or crudely fitted reproductions in my opinion

February 14, 2009, 07:24 PM
under $900.00 and yes folks, that is original carbona/charcoal S&W blue
.44 Russian target model and tight as the day it was made
took some work to obtain all the right pieces tho

March 31, 2009, 05:04 AM
As a fan of the old top-breaks, and a mechanical engineer, maybe I can help explain why there is still no .460 S&W Magnum, or any high pressure cartridge, in a top-break revolver.

Yes, you are right, it CANbe done.
A few things, though:
The gun will cost as much as an AutoMag, yet not outperform the current revolvers on the market - not to mention the T/C Contender.
It will be much more massive (bulky) than the simple and strong frames of these revolvers.

The key in mechanism design - keeping it solid and simple gives you strength and reliability. I just tried a box of Buffalo Bore +P+ loads in my .44 Ruger Super Blackhawk. AWESOME!!! THAT was fun. The solid simple design makes the Blackhawk the only one of the "big three" 44 revolvers (Ruger, S&W, Colt) to handle this load.

But, hey, I love to shoot those hammerless S&W 38's too.


Keep America safe - teach a friend to shoot.

April 16, 2010, 01:43 PM
I think what most people want is a modern design in top break, not in the mammoth calibers. (500 S&W, 454 Cassul, etc) The fans of top breaks were just drooling over the 412 REX because it was modern and awesome looking. It shot a popular caliber, and was unique in form and function.

I had hoped that they would license the design to Ruger to make the 412 REX available to the US, but, alas, like so may things, it was not to be. Guess the market just isn't there.

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