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H&R top break .38

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Joined: February 2020
Posts: 0
Posted: February 24, 2020 08:32 AM

My son has an h&r .38 top break pistol. I'm trying to find as much information as possible. 

I believe it to be a second model, first variation made between 1887 -1892.

The last pat. date is pat Oct 4 '87.         

Serial number: 1281 is snowblower on the left side under grip. 031281 is on the top strap. It has the more rounded butt and no caliber stamping on the side. I was wondering if anyone could narrow the date of manufacture. 

Joined: August 2011
Posts: 7475
Posted: February 24, 2020 09:56 AM

First things first...Since I don't know what your knowledge level is...I'll start at the bottom

.38 is not 38 S&W is a cartridge developed before that and the chambering is for the 38 S&W and the dates you give for the manufacture says that it is a BLACKPOWDER only revolver.It is not safe with smokeless powder......Milder steels were used back then and time has done it no favors......and you do not know if it has been abused in any fashion....Assume the worst.......Example.... the firing of a single round of blackpowder ammo can spread corrosive agents onto any part the smoke contacts,,,the results...unless cleaned with special blackpowder  agents and methods.....that singl shot can damage the gun and make unsafe to fire under any conditions

The 38 S&W is a Shorter and FATTER round than the 38 spec they do not interchange. There are merchants  that can supply BP ammo along with the special cleaning agents. I use        At a minimum...inspect the chambers..each one for corrosion damage...pitting is the prime suspect...ditto the barrel........pitting can acyually redice the Inside Diameter of the barrel...often enough to impede bullet entry and travel...resulting in hot gases and shaved metal being pushed reaward and to the side.......this is vary hot and traveling at high speed and can cause serious injury or death

Your info pretty much covers it.......H&R made such guns up until the time it closed in 1986...they started in 1871 amd they were in the entry level, utility grade revolver business the entire time,you took note of that in your posting

The late Bill Goforth was an acknowledge leader  in this type of handgun...specializing in the Iver Johnson brand and compile the definitve book on all things IJ...When he passed...he left the partially completed manuscript doing the same thing for all things H& is titled H&R Arms Co. 1871-1986       A Historical Reference for the Modern Collector......After his death, the folks ay Gun Show Books undertook the task of organizing and completing Bill's work...I have a copy...they did Bill justice.......When I purchased my copy it was only in hard cover and drew a premium price......but since Bill and I had interacted on several occasions in the past...enough to be on a first name basis...I wanted to pay tribute and I purchased a copy......It is complex and one can noy yell if it is complete or one will ever know that..Bill would...using all sources...compile company records on production and all the factory numbers..He also compared Factory markings to each run of guns...showing those in the book....while that one knows if that is all there was......record keeping of firearms production was all that picky back in 1886 or so......You may be able to access a copy of Bill's book at your local library....he book works better that on

There was a historian in Conneticut....Joe Vorisek...who compliled booklets of company records   from th making of screws to the selling at retail...Joe's books are considerable cheaper...I purchased all of his books...about a dozen for about the same price as the 2 GoForth books......You can consult "ABBY" at on Joe's works..She owns the rights to them and will run you off a photo copy for a very reasonable price....her webpage has several features you may find useful...including a a forum where you can post this same question.....If disassembly for cleaning and inspection is in your plans.......Al Spina runs a page on Facebook(it's free).......Firearms disassembly/Assembly  where he compiles every piece of data he finds on any gun...he may very well have the biggest and best file on firearms maintenance...

Lastly...a "FEE" service....... 

Even if you don't want to spend the money for will find a form that asks for certain firearms information. It is handy to replicat the form and fill it out...and use it when you seek info on any other forum

I hope this helps some..........Zeke

Joined: August 2022
Posts: 5
Posted: August 23, 2022 04:08 PM (This post was removed on August 30, 2022 04:51 AM)
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Joined: August 2022
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Posted: August 30, 2022 04:51 AM (This post was last edited September 12, 2022 06:25 PM)

Thank you for being so detailed about this book. I will definitely read this. But for now I want to finish everything that is necessary in my studies. I was recently preparing for an important written article, but I lacked the necessary knowledge and experience. I used ghost writing services to help me finish my work. I believe there is nothing wrong with seeking assistance if you are unsure of your abilities.