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Question... H&R Revolver...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Keith_Alva, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Keith_Alva

    Keith_Alva Member

    I was at a gun show this weekend and found a snub nosed revolver chambered in .38 S&W. The guy selling the item thought it was an Iver Johnson from the 1940's. That didn't sound right, but the pistol is in great shape so I did buy it, he was only asking for a small amount. When I got home I looked at the gun, and then looked around on the internet to see what i could find.

    Apparently this gun is a Harrington and Richardson .38, "the american double action". It has no serial number, not even under the grip plates. Does anyone know how many of these were made?
  2. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Well-Known Member

    Tons. They aren't worth much. But, they're cool shooters.
  3. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I have one of these. I need a couple of springs and a set of original grips to put it into operation. Nice little gun.
  4. weekender823

    weekender823 Active Member

    I also have one of these, and I like it. There is a fellow online named B. Goforth who is the expert on top break revolvers. From his advice, I learned that one of the main keys to the old H&Rs is to verify that the caliber is listed on the side of the barrel. Guns that do not have that are older models that were designed for black powder and are not safe to shoot.

    I load my own ammo for the top breaks, because they are not too strong. I like a lead Suter's Choice 125 grain RNFP with 2.2 grains of Bullseye. The pressure is not published, but I presume it is lower than the same powder load with a 145 grain RN bullet that is near to the standard .38 S&W load.

    Hope you like yours as much as I like mine!
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The American Double Action is not a top break, it is a solid frame revolver with a pull type cylinder pin. There were two series, the first from 1884 to 1904 (black powder only) and the second from 1904-1941. Most were .32 S&W caliber, but .38 S&W was popular; less common was .44 Webley. The .32 was 6 shot, the others 5.

    There is a mild collector interest in H&R and new in the box guns will go for $225+. Average condition, but functional will bring $75-125, depending on condition. Many of them are in poor condition, having been fired with corrosive primers and not cleaned, and many are broken. Peeling nickel is common and unsightly even if the gun works.

    Those guns have flat springs and broken springs are common, especially trigger return springs, hand/lifter springs, and center pin latch springs. Wolff has some, but they require fitting.

    The big drawback is that if anything breaks, few gunsmiths want to touch the guns, since repair will almost always run more in labor than the gun is worth.

    I would not care to carry one for serious purposes because of reliability problems.

  6. Keith_Alva

    Keith_Alva Member

    The trigger return spring on mine is broken, and I am going to be dropping it off at a gunsmith soon, does anyone know how much that might run?
  7. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    Ask him to give an eyes-on estimate -- a big, fat ballpark price.

    Then ask him to call you once he opens it up.

    Worse comes to worse, you now own a piece of non-functioning firearms history.


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