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Hopkins & Allen .38S&W Identification

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by StormCloud601, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. StormCloud601

    StormCloud601 Member

    Well guys,
    I'm still new to this site so if I screw up just be patient. I think I'm finally at the right place for this post.

    I have a Hopkins & Allen Arms Co., top break, five shot, small frame, .38S&W, revolver with a Pat. date Dec. 8 98. Five digit Ser.#. It has a round barrel and is auto eject. I understand H&A burned and began the Forehand in 1899. I read that the H&A .38S&W Police Safety had a "unique" feature of the trigger having to be pulled all the way back for the hammer to strike the cartridge, same as our modern guns do, and that it came into production in 1899. My revolver has this "unique" feature yet it is H&A not Forehand MFG. by H&A. Can anyone tell me any more about this beautiful little weapon?

    About me & my guns. I have a Husqvara 30.06, Henry .357/.38Spl Big Boy, Marlin 20ga mod 44 4 digits in ser#, Taurus J frame .38Spl that I carry, and of course the H&A .38S&W. I also have an Aguirre & Aranzabal Matador 12ga, but it doesn't shoot.
    I have been shooting since I was about 4 under Dads' supervision and started going into the woods alone about 6 or 7 for squirrels. I'm not a big hunter, but I do love to shoot.
    Happy Trails, God Bless. John
  2. dogngun

    dogngun Well-Known Member

    Very basic information: I am giving you a link to the best site going for information on H&A firearms : http://armscollectors.com/faq.htm

    There are various makes besides H&A, so you will have to do some searching to find the right forum, but you will have the best info available.

    All I can tell you is that there is some collector interest in all H&A firearms.

  3. StormCloud601

    StormCloud601 Member

    Thanks, man. I'm trying to learn all I can about it. Happy Trails, God Bless. John
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The H&A Triple Action Safety Police has a unique feature in that the hammer is on an eccentric and moves up and down as the hammer is cocked or the trigger is pulled. In the rest (up) position, it misses the frame mounted firing pin and is totally safe. As the hammer is cocked, it moves down and will contact the firing pin when released. A neat idea; too bad the company was not able to hold on in a financial crisis.

    Some 8000 were made from 1908 to 1915; mine is E7418. I don't know the significance of the letter prefix but I doubt it indicates a series since the guns are fairly scarce.

    The only patent date is Aug. 21, 1908.

  5. StormCloud601

    StormCloud601 Member

    Yesterday, I said my gun has the triple action, but it doesn't work as the action you describe. On my gun, the firing pin is attached, in fact a part of, the hammer. Hammer & pin are all one piece. The pin goes through a hole in the frame just large enough to accept it. The firing safety is accomplished by a piece of metal sliding up as the trigger goes forward, much the same as a modern S&W. You can see the hammer move rearward as you release the trigger, after the hammer is in striking position, back to a point the firing pin is recessed into the frame. NOTHING on my little revolver seems to match what is known about them. I can't even find a reference to the "Dec. 8 98" patent stamp. Ya think I may have stumbled onto a rarity???:confused:
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Hi, John,

    I was corrected on the patent date by Bill Goforth on The Firearms Forum; it is 1906, not 1908.

    I would like to continue this either here or on TFF, but not both. What say you?

    Maybe TFF would be better as Bill doesn't come on here that I know of and his knowledge is very great.

    BTW, what makes you so sure the revolver you have is the Safety Police and what is the "unique feature" it has that you associate with that term?

  7. StormCloud601

    StormCloud601 Member

    Hello Jim,
    Continuing here will be fine with me. I'm totally new to these sites and still feeling my way around.
    The "unique" feature, I read about in an old advertisement (I can't find it now) for the Safety Police in that it didn't allow the hammer to strike the primer unless the trigger is all the way to the rearward position. I don't know when this feature started on handguns, and since it was advertised as the only handgun with this "unique" feature I assumed (and we all know what that gets us) that this was the the first instance of it. I do know that it was not a feature on earlier guns, hence only loading 5 shots into a six shooter so the hammer wouldn't be resting on a live round. It wasn't until your explanation of the feature that I understood that my safety feature is different from the Police. I'm certain that mine is not a Safety Police, because it looks different from the pictures I've seen.


    The above picture is almost identical to my weapon, but the one in the picture is a Forehand and is stamped as such with Forehand grips. Mine has no Forehand markings and has H&A on the grips. The screw below the hammer is the hammer screw and goes straight through the frame and the hammer. There is no eccentric. Also I found a site that listed patent dates found on the H&A and Forehand revolvers. "Dec. 8 98" is not listed. And yes I've double, triple and multi checked the date with a high power magnifying glass. I guess it's not important, I'm just curios as to what it is.
    Below I've reviewed what information I know about it.

    1. My gun looks just like the above picture.
    2. There is no "Forehand" anywhere on it.
    3. The grips say "H&A".
    4. It is stamped "Hopkins & Allen Arms Co."
    "Norwich, Ct. U.S.A. Pat. Dec. 8, 98"
    5. The serial # is "I9208"
    6. It has the triple action safety feature, but it
    doesn't look like any of the pictures of the "Safety
    Police" I've seen and the safety feature works differently than the Safety Police.
    7. I saw a picture of one that looked just like mine
    the person posting said it was a Mod. # 1411.
    8. It is a five shot, chambered for .38S&W
    I think I may have found it! Look at this! (below) The Hopkins & Allen Hinge Revolver. Now... Ya think maybe "Dec. 8 98"?


    And this (below) IS identical to my gun though mine is in considerably better shape. However in the photo, the firing pin is forward, which mine doesn't do..."Safety Feature".


    Thanks for all your patience.

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