H&R/I-J top breaks + 1

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by AndyUSMC1107, May 3, 2021.

  1. AndyUSMC1107

    AndyUSMC1107 Member

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    313966FF-8AE4-48C2-A521-8D22901ED626.jpeg B8143CEC-8DF7-44E0-964C-524571A22CB0.jpeg Good Morning! How about 3 H&R/I-J top breaks + an H&R octagon barrel solid frame Safety Hammerless Dbl. Action. All in 32 S&W (except the solid frame H&R [38 S&W]). All were inexpensive from the get-go, but rather neat little revolvers. The set w/the black sheepskin Case lining has a little 2” “bicycle barrel” and cylinder nestled into the Case on the right side. I’m sure a lot of you wheelgun guys have a few laying around. Interesting Historical old pieces. I, at one time, shot & carried from time to time.
     
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  2. golden

    golden Member

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    I bought an H&R 732 and COLT Police Positive, both in .32 S&W Long. The H&R had the smoother trigger and I eventually sold the COLT. This is not always so, but H&R could make a good, reliable gun with a smooth trigger when they wanted too.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    That's a neat collection you have there. I always have my eyes peeled lately for a serviceable top break.
     
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  4. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I really like those American Bulldog frame revolvers. I have a late 60's I-J Cadet in .38S&W - with the loading gate - it's about a tough and business-like as a gun can get. Five shots, then it's hammers and tongs time but, for those five, it's a sure bet to put them where you want them. ;)
     
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  5. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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  6. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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  7. golden

    golden Member

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    It would be interesting to see if a top break revolver could be successfully made and marketed again.
    There would be problems. All of the H&R and similar revolvers were made in calibers generally considered inadequate for self defense, like the .32 S&W and .38 S&W. You can still get a large frame break open revolver clone of the old S&W break top single actions, so larger calibers can be made. Could a compact, under 28 ounce (an arbitrary, but reasonable average weight for a steel framed ccw) 6 shot revolver with a 3 inch barrel in at least .38 Special be a possibility. Perhaps a 5 shot .44 Special, like a break top version of the CHARTER ARMS Bulldog?

    Any thoughts?

    Jim
     
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  8. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    32 break top 2.jpg I have had a love affair with top breaks since I was a pup.
    I finally got my hands on a really decent shootable and still purty one in .32
    AND lucky for me I save ammo,I have enough rounds to enjoy shooting this baby for the rest of my life.
    Your collection made me drool,they are THE BEST that I have ever seen.
     

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  9. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Modern materials could make for interesting top breaks. I suspect that modern cartridges are too peppy for the old style frame dimensions but with slightly increased size and modern materials it could be done. 38 spl may not take much of a bump in size over the old 38sw guns. I would like to see it happen, but the hand ejector took over for a reason and I don’t expect many companies will want to backtrack on technology to see what can be innovated in a different way.
     
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  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Just from a marketing perspective, start with .32ACP and .380ACP, then bump up to a 9mm. Any of those are perfectly viable in a top-break design using modern materials and Webley-pattern lock-works. Consider how many black powder era Mk.I/II/III Webleys have been shaved to .45ACP and fed a steady diet of factory ammo. It's a strong design. I can easily see a 6-shot 9mm about the size of a Smith & Wesson Second Model Medium-framed Safety Hammerless, 2- or 3-inch barrel, made from a chrome-moly stamped-frame and polymer overlay selling pretty well. I think the "1-1/2" frame size in a 6-shot .32ACP and/or .380ACP would be very popular. If Springfield Armory can build the Hellcat in 9mm, I don't see why "somebody" can't build a top-break in at least .380ACP.
     
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  11. golden

    golden Member

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    GEO,

    I would not try to size the gun to ones that have been out of production for a century. When talking guns, we usually talk about the J-frame, K-frame or something else that is familiar to most shooters. Please don't take this as a criticism, it is not meant to be. Just a suggestion.

    While, the WEBLEY design was strong enough for the .38 S&W, we would need at least a gun large enough for the .38 Special. The large frame WEBLEY'S would do, but they would probably be expensive, heavy and way to large for CCW.
    A six shot .38 Special, sized similar to the COLT D frame used by the Detective Special and Police Positive might be a good seller, if the trigger is smooth and the frame solid enough for reasonable accuracy.

    A medium frame gun, fitting the S&W K-frame might also sell, but the price would be the determining factor after it passes the quality and accuracy milestones. I love the RUGER Security Six series, but I just cannot see a medium size, break top revolver in .357 magnum and based on problems with the .357 magnum use in S&W K-frames, I would want a stronger design or larger frame.
    Of course, RUGER went the 5 shot route in .357, with the SP-101 and has had great success.

    I do not see .32ACP revolvers selling, unless they are significantly smaller and easier to conceal, than the S&W J-frame size revolvers. A plastic framed, 10 ounce gun splitting the size difference between the NAA mini revolvers and the S&W J-frame might be a winner! Taurus already makes a .380ACP revolver and I have not heard that it is selling well.

    As a rule, I am against revolvers chambered for rimless, semi auto cartridges. I have had 5 of them in 9m.m., 10m.m. and .45ACP and none were completely satisfactory to me. However, that could just be me.

    I know that a lot of WW One era WEBLEY'S were converted to .45ACP, but that is a large frame gun to begin with. Also, would a large frame gun be able to hold up to a diet of +P ammo. I guarantee you, someone and probably, a lot of someone's would blast away with +P ammo and even hotter handloads.

    S&W could probably make this work, but they are not that innovative, lately.
    DAN WESSON is out of the REVOLVER business.
    RUGER is fairly innovative, but seems to be able to sell everything they make now and is not likely to jump into an unknown market, without a big payoff in sight.
    COLT has only just returned to the revolver market with overhauls of earlier guns and unless CZ decides to pay for it, probably could not afford a totally new design.
    CHARTER ARMS could probably do it, but the triggers on the UNDERCOVER'S, that they are turning out now are not acceptable to me. I have a pair of Undercover revolvers and a Bulldog and all of them have had action jobs to smooth the trigger pull, while the last two Undercover revolvers that I shot had a trigger as gritty as sandpaper. If CHARTER does introduce a gun like this, they need to put the effort into the trigger or it will sell only as a novelty gun!

    The most important thing in a producing a new revolver design, at least to me would be making it useful (NEEDS A SMOOTH, DOUBLE ACTION TRIGGER) and practically accurate. It does not have to beat of PYTHON or S&W 686 in accuracy or smoothness of trigger, but does need to be reasonably close to the level of a S&W model 10 or 36, depending on the size of the design. It would also have to be durable with the chosen caliber. A .38 Special that is not rated for continuous +P is going to fail, in my opinion, unless it has another really good selling point.
    A .44 Special, should be fine with a continuous diet of .44 Special ammo, like the WINCHESTER Silvertip, CCI BLAZER 200 grain jhp or HORNADY 165 grain Critical Defense, at the very least. If limited to cowboy loads, their is no point in making it.

    Just my opinion,

    Jim
     
  12. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Marketing is about doing what's never been done before the same way it's always been done. Why think in terms of a ".38 J-Frame" at all? Think in terms of rimless and semi-rimmed cartridges in moon clips. Think about the ergonomics of a "cat's paw" grip (aka new style bird’s head grip, aka witness protection grip, aka chicken head grip, aka border patrol grip, aka entry-style grip, etc.) Think in terms of new materials and new manufacturing techniques. Why does the cylinder have to be exposed at all in a top-break design? As long as it is removable for cleaning, it can be fully enclosed by the top-frame.

    It's not a question of reintroducing the top-break in .38Spl; the question is, can we reinvent the top-break for modern munitions capable of real-world knock-down energies?

    Sure, some closed-minded traditionalists will reject a "plastic," lever-latching, DAO top-break revolver the size of a "Lemon-Squeezer" in 9mm (or .32ACP or .380ACP, etc.) loaded with moon clips. Which means they're not the target market. But to new shooters and people looking something fast and practical who are pure pragmatists and pure consumers, people who aren't clinging to the S&W model of sized frames and side-swing cylinders - the group who are willing to accept that moon clips can be multiple factors of time faster than speed-loaders - they're approachable and they are a large market with lots of money.
     
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  13. golden

    golden Member

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    GEO,

    Good points, but marketing can only carry you so far. Realistically, marketing is to let you know there is a product and to get you interested. To keep selling it, you must deliver the goods. The U.S. auto industry did not believe in this rule and lost out to the Japanese (can you say TOYOTA) and now the Koreans.

    For me, however, as I got older, I became more conservative and less interested in the NEWEST and TRENDIEST. I would love a new COLT Python, but it has to justify the price. Until then, I will keep shooting my RUGERS, DAN WESSON and S&W .357 revolvers. The Python would have to be priced at or below the MSRP for me to buy it. It is not about price alone, but "bang for the buck".

    I used to carry an COLT Commander (lightweight) in .45ACP. It was great, but now it recoils more than I want and cannot match the reliability of my GLOCK, SIG or BERETTA. Guess which one I sold off.

    I also owned quite a few J-frames. Now I recommend against them for woman and inexperienced shooters. Everyone told my wife to "GET A J-FRAME", I cautioned to try mine first. Afterwards, she took my GLOCK 42 away from me (oh well) and I trained her to shoot my BERETTA 92 compact. She will never use a J-frame.

    As far as rimless and semi-rimmed cartridges, I will pass. I have had 5 revolvers chambered for rimless cartridges and was never satisfied with any of them. I now own a S&W in .45ACP but use .45 Auto Rim ammo in it. I much prefer that arrangement.

    I used the J-frame/K-frame as an example of a reference system. You can go in between with the COLT D-frame and the even smaller than J-frame models like the shorter I-frame, but I find it easier to use a widely understood reference.

    I have never fired a breaktop, .32 S&W revolver and probably never will. Almost all of the ones I have examined are out of time on their trigger mechanisms. Even so, the .32 S&W is not a defensive round. It works great in .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R chambered revolvers as the equivalent of the .22 short in a .22 long rifle revolver. It is quite, with very little recoil, but that is about it.

    In a defensive situation, it will not be much better than a .22LR or .25ACP. No expansion and limited penetration. It might work for head shots, but none of these revolvers impressed me as being that accurate. Also, all of them are very, very old.
    If chambered in .32ACP, it would be a little better or equal to the .32 S&W Long, but still not a match to my WALTHER PPK for speed, accuracy, firepower and overall capability.


    Their have been many grip types, but the surviving ones, generally a squarebutt on service size guns and roundbutt on concealment guns works best. I have an old H&R Defender with a bird's head grip. It feels fine, but I do not think it conceals as well as my round butt S&W model 36 or CHARTER ARMS Undercovers.

    I do not see the Lemon-Squeezer as being a real seller. Sure, you can make them small, but would a 9m.m Parabellum be controllable. Would it be safe if someone loaded +P or worse, +P+ ammo? You know that someone will!

    Grip size is fixed by the hand size of the user. You really cannot go smaller that the round butt grip on the S&W J-frame, CHARTER ARMS Undercover or TAURUS model 85. If you do, then you restrict yourself to shooters with smaller than average size.
    I know this sounds like a joke, but it is a real problem for some people. I worked with two female officers who were just under 5 feet tall. They could qualify with the .38 Special ammo, but just missed qualifying score. They said that the guns they were issued were to large. So the acting Chief ordered the firearms officer to get them guns they could handle. He obtained and issued a pair of RUGER SP-101's in .357 magnum and they then qualified with .357 ammo.

    I worry that a small plastic revolver might not be strong enough. Of course, RUGER and S&W have done well with their plastic revolvers, so this may be a non-issue. Recoil, however, will be an issue. How many people have bought the S&W J-frame .357 magnum revolvers and only shot them once with .357 ammo, then switched to .38 Special? I even see well known gun writers admitted to this.

    Over to you GEO,

    Jim
     
  14. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    No, I get it. You disagree because you disagree. Nuff said. :)
     
  15. AndyUSMC1107

    AndyUSMC1107 Member

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    189BCBBB-EB59-43AE-B888-7BA684421306.jpeg Jim, I have a Taurus 380UL snubby wheelgun in .380ACP that is my almost daily ankle holster back-up carry piece. Moon clips, alloy frame 5-round capacity. Very handy and accurate enough at 5-7 yards. With the proper fodder would get the job done! But, Re: the intent of your original post, I too would love to have a modern top break revolver in a “man-size caliber!
    mm
     
  16. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Here 'ya go, the caliber is man-size, the only limitation may be the size of your wallet....

    http://andersonwheeler.co.uk/the-gun-room/revolver/
     
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  17. golden

    golden Member

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    Andy,

    I have seen ads for the TAURUS .380 revolver, but is it really any more concealable than say an aluminum framed J-frame like the model 37 or 38? I doubt it could be more concealable than my GLOCK 42.

    My question is whether you can REALLY get a usefully smaller gun than a J-frame size .38 Special. If it is in 9m.m., .357 magnum or .32 H&R magnum, will it be smaller? I do not see that as likely with .32 H&R, which is the smallest of the rounds mentioned which might have an effective defense load and the .32 S&W Long does not have an effective defense load that I am aware of. I also think the .32 H&R as it is now loaded, is also marginal, at best. when fired from a 2 inch barrel.

    On your .380ACP, how much velocity do you lose, compared to the GLOCK 42, which has a 3.3 inch barrel without a cylinder/barrel gap to vent some of the gas?

    Maybe, if enough people wrote to North American Arms (NAA), they might make a double action, .32 H&R version of their mini-revolvers. They even make break top models now, the only American manufacture to do it anymore. I would still demand a "GOOD, USEFULL" double action trigger to even consider it.

    Jim
     
  18. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Maybe that's the reason that the only NiB top-break revolvers I ever come across are the Schofield (or other old S&W) reproductions.

    I'm not sure that smaller top-break revolvers for CC would actually sell, but apparently people will buy larger ones as range toys.
     
  19. AndyUSMC1107

    AndyUSMC1107 Member

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    3175EAE2-0E75-4D4E-88D7-8C2548C43811.jpeg 99747756-F7AF-4571-A8DE-1FBE9AE9CE0A.jpeg
    Golden, no longer have a S&W J-frame. Never had a Glock 42. Haven’t chronographed the Taurus. Years ago I bought 2 boxes of 380 Firequest RIP that expand to 1 1/4.” Since they feed into the Taurus via full moon clips (1 in the cylinder and 3 in my pocket), tho haven’t had to “deploy in defense, the Taurus is in-noticed in an ankle holster. Better yet is my concealable Taurus 357 Magnum “Fitz Special.”
     
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  20. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I have the last of the Iver Johnson Top Break Trailsman .38 S&W top break snubby , it is pretty beefy and Cold D frame size wise. I traded Tinker for one of the two, as almost new I had. His promptly "blew up", exploding the cylinder , which we found a new one and new top latch pieces to replace !
    I still have mine which I still shoot with factory ammo . It is a hide in my man cave chair piece (I keep man cave locked nd alarmed) . I also have an NEF 732 .32 H&R magnum 5 shot snub which is built like a tank but could be easily modified to the old H&R top latch and beefed accordingly to .327Mag , how ever it is extra crazy beefy D frame size withe heavy top strap and bull barrel and a thick walled cylinder . All pinned frames suck pretty bad on a quality gun and H&R and the follow on company NEF went down with Remington , probably won't ever return . :(
    Here is a picture of both the .38 S&W H&R top break and the last NEF .32 Mag so you can speculate what if !
    26868045_1.jpg EW-ENGLAND-FIREARMS-R73-REVOLVER-RARE-SATIN-NICKEL-32-HandR-MAG_101047933_87566_3D25C9C4FFD65512.jpg
     
  21. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    And that size NEF revolver could probably be rigged for a .44spl top break, and THAT would greatly interest me !
     
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  22. golden

    golden Member

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    GORDON,

    My H&R Defender is identical to yours. I have yet to fire it because of the difficulty getting ammo that costs lest than a brick of gold! I want to try it out for curiosity's sake. It will not be a defense gun, as my steel framed snubby .38 Specials are loaded with FEDERAL HST ammo. That is one of the reasons I am doubtful of the .32 H&R as a defense round. There is a limited supply of ammo and nothing that I have seen is even close to the effectiveness of that round. You could probably substitute a GOLD DOT or GOLDEN SABRE to get similar results.

    I like my H&R's, but I really do not see that 732 being up to a "HOT" .44 Special. Mas AYOOB relates that the much larger cylinders of the RUGER Security Six, when converted to a 5 shot .44 Special configuration blew up at one of his courses.

    The basic Defender cylinder and frame could be lengthened to handle a .38 Special, but would it be any better than a J-frame or Undercover? Would it be more concealable?

    Jim
     
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  23. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    The Model 73 NEF is no IJ 732 trust me I have both , the top strap is almost twice as thick as are other key areas . The cylinders are close to K frame diameter, very close to Colt D frame cylinders . I think the basic size could be Cad-cam designed to have a stronger design top latch, the pivot pins being the usual weak link of the stirrup system an need a redesign. Then .357 mag should be no problem , 9mm very easy to fit at the present cylinder length .
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  24. golden

    golden Member

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    Gordon,

    Maybe H&R made a mistake by bringing out the 5 shot .32 H&R instead of a 5 shot .38 Special?

    Jim
     
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  25. Monac

    Monac Member

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    At the time, I thought it was a mistake to bring out 5-shot 32 Magnums instead of 6-shot ones. As it was, the H&R 32 Magnums had no advantages over a Taurus Model 85 except a slightly lower price. On the other hand, they used hard-to-find, expensive ammo with no track record and didn't even offer an extra shot compared to the Taurus, which is usually an advantage of going to a smaller caliber. In hindsight, if H&R couldn't offer a six-shot 32 Magnum, they probably shouldn't have bothered. I'm glad they went ahead, because 32 Magnum is a good thing, but I would be surprised if it actually paid off for them.

    (I assume H&R would have made 6-shot 32 Magnums if they could have. Certainly Taurus and S&W could with the same cylinder diameter. I don't know why H&R couldn't, and I would be curious to know,)

    For some reason, 38 Special was never an option for H&R. I don't know why. I think it might have been a good idea for them to have offered their revolvers (including the top-break Model 999) in 38 Special Wadcutter ONLY, because that stuff used to be all over the place and it's lower-pressure than standard velocity 38 Special. But that's probably a dumb idea for reasons I don't even know.

    If the cylinder was short enough, it would have been impossible to insert a full-length 38 Special round with a normal bullet and fire it, but there are probably many other considerations. H&R must have considered it themselves and rejected the idea, I suppose.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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