H&R topbreak- identity & parts crisis

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Oct 24, 2008
I have this top break revolver from h&r. the serial number is only found on the cylinder and is numbered 882. I have no plans to shoot it. However I do wish to clean it and restore it. Then put it in a case. Many of you may not find any value in it but I do. This Revolver has been there since I first had an interest in guns. Its been at the same pawnshop never being touched for damn near 10 years. probably longer.


The latch is gone and the barrel pitted. the latch more than likley went away when some idiot decided to put smokless powder inside. Can't say why the barrel is pitted. Other than maybe due to black powder and no cleaning.


The ejector worked flawlessly. for giggles I loaded it up with spent 38 shells
and ejected just to see how well it would work. It worked a little too well lol.


Now look at the bottom of the ejector system

There is a switch there. It is serrated. no idea why but it is. I actually never seen that in any top break hinge design. Usually all of that is internal.

And finally I get to the part where I ask for help. I wish to take this apart, for the internal cleaning. But I need to find blow up drawings.Can't find Any on this model.

Can find one on damn near every gun on the planet but this one.....

thank you for any imput.
That "switch" allows the gun to be opened to check it without ejecting the cartridges/shells. You might be able to find the latch at www.gunpartscorp.com, but don't get your hopes up.

There are parts drawings of those (or similar) guns, but not much to help in a full dis/re-assembly. I strongly advise against just starting to unscrew screws and punch out pins; those guns are easy to take apart and very tricky to get together again. Since you don't plan to shoot it, give it a good cleaning in a solvent, oil it good, then hang it on the wall.

I'm sorry, but your pictures are for all practical purposes nothing but silhouettes that can't help when it comes to making identification. Take your camera outside into better lighting conditions and try again.

You may also find a more complete serial number stamped on the frame, underneath the grips. Once it’s identified you can probably find an exploded-view drawing at www.gunpartscorp.com
What you have is an H&R Automatic Eject and the serial numbr is under the left grip.
You can tell if your revolver was an Old Model or a New model made after 1907 by the Quill end ( Cylinder Pivot stem) The new model has the threads that hold the cylinder on on the end of the Quill.
Gun parts corp , does have some parts for these models.
I just recently rebuilt one I bought in pieces, and got it firing again.
It shoots the 38 S&W cartridge.
Mine was missing the Mainspring, and the hand lever was really worn and the firing pin was filed short for a display gun on someones wall.
Made the Hand Lever and spring, plus the Mainspring, and drilled the firing pin shank and made a new firing pin tip out of piano wire soldered in.
Getting mine to time up correctly was really hard, because the ejector ratchet star was really worn too, and the Lever had to be made oversized in width as well as length.
But It Shoots Now.
If i could find some blow up diagrams to know how everything sets in place.

Once I find those i know taking it apart will be easy....Puting together....not so much

It actually functions well. The trigger pull is smooth...but heavy. Just need a latch for it. But the barrel is pitted.

Thankfully I plan on it just being a display gun.
The gun is really simple to put back together.
The sear is the hardest part to put back on with the trigger guard.
But you just use a Shortened toothpick as a drift to hold the sear in the trigger guard, and the pin installation pushes the toothpick out.
PM me if you run into problems.
Pictures of the parts are shown on the Gun Parts Inc. website.

Also there is a Pictorial chapter on this gun model in " Firearms , Assembly / disassembly" , part 2 by J. B. Wood
looks like i'm buying that book lol

So to all who have shot these guns. How reliable were they?

I mean if you were in the age of when 38 s&w was considered a good cartrige would you be willing to use them for self defense?
Personally myself?

NO, not if I could afford a better .38 S&W revolver.
Like a real S&W, or Colt.

The H&R's were a step above the really cheap Saturday Night Special's of the time.

But a definite step below the better guns of the day like the S&W & Colt.

@ X9balx
I found the book at a used book store a few years back.
In fact, I stop in when ever I am by the store just to see what old gun and gunsmithing books that they have.
Remember the Old Gunsmith in the movie "Shooter " with Mark Wahlberg.
I am like that, I have a closet full of old books that I use for referance.
And I know what is in every one of them and where the book is at.

And , " I still Got the Shovel "

The H&R revolvers were Cheap guns when New, and most people bought one, and a box of ammo and then when they ran out of ammo they put it in the sock drawer where their kids or grandkids found it and played cowboys and indians with it.
( Wonder how I know that ??? )
The gun was never cleaned, and they wore or broke easily.
I pick them up at yard sales for like $5.00 in non working condition, missing parts like yours, and get them firing again, even with hand made parts, and Pitted barrels.
What better gun could you use to practice the old art of hand making parts for guns, and true Gunsmithing , not just replacing parts with new ones.
I have owned over 30 of these top break guns of different makers, and so far, only one is not in shootable condition to this day. But it will be someday, I guarantee that.
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@ X9ballX
Just to be clear.
I never said I " Restore" these guns.
They are put back into functioning order, but Not what I would call restored.
I never said my guns are Reliable, or accurate, but they will fire ammo safely within limits.
I make them into shadow Boxes for display on my walls with some kind of theme , like a gamblers Gun or Pimp gun.
But I do take them out and shoot them from time to time.
I don't call myself a Gunsmith, but More of a " Firearms recycler ".
Trash into treasures.
Vintage H&R top-break revolvers are roughly classified as either Old Models or New Models. The latter have a positive cylinder bolt that locks the cylinder so that it can't be turned in either direction. The earlier ones (such as you apparently have) position the cylinder by having the hand rotate the cylinder until it is blocked by a lug on the trigger. While this may (or may not) work, you frequently find that the chamber doesn't end up being concentric with the bore.

These revolvers were intended to be used with cartridges loaded with black powder, and they're is some risk in shooting them with modern ammunition.

Restoring one for display is not objectionable; although the effort may be more costly then it's worth. If shooting is what you have in mind, save your money and buy something else. Even in new condition they aren’t especially accurate beyond point-blank range.
Shooting these old revolvers with Black Powder is the way to go.
A lot More BOOM, and the flash followed by all the smoke.
it sure beats firing Whimpy " Mouse Fart Loads" using the Minimum charge of smokeless powder.
I load the .38 S&W with 6 gr of fff black powder using a 158 cast bullet.
Or 7gr fff with the 125 gr cast bullet
In the .34 British bulldog, I use 6 gr fff with a 125 gr 9mm cast bullet sizes down to .340 and a .38 S&W case roll crimped for the smaller bullet.
I bought an Old Model very similar to yours not long ago for a winter project. After check in Numrish and reading up on these guns, I quickly offloaded it, for a $10 loss. It could have been worse, I could have easily dump a hundred dollars or more into getting it firing, and still have nothing to say for its reliability.

Neat old guns as a display piece. Good luck finding that latch.
@ USAF Vet
Unless you have the skills to make your own Parts like Springs, pins, Levers and even sometimes hammers and triggers, they can run you into the Poor House real quick.
And If you can find the parts you need, they are very expensive in relation to the value of the gun.
But If I can not get them functioning again, I can always sell them for $50.00 each at the next Gun Buy Back and still make a profit.
But some of the guns had really bad barrels and cylinders, so I just put in a barrel and cylinder liner and turn them into 22's
Or like a Belgian 44/40 that I have, I am sleeving it to .38 Long Colt, and modifying the damaged Birdshead grip to something more modern looking.
It is a fun hobby, and I am not in it for the money.
But it lets me practice my gunsmithing abilities and make something work again , and not have any fear that I might ruin the gun.
It also challenges me to come up with somereally unconventual methods of getting damaged parts to work without buying new parts.
Like welding and machining, or other methods to get things working again.
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