The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 4, 2012, 07:58 PM   #1
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Merwin Hulbert

Hi, I'm new here and new at reseaching guns. I have a Merwin Hulbert handgun that has been passed down through the family. It has .32 cal 7 shot on the side, under the cylinder. Just looking for some information and possible value on it. All help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Vicki is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 08:29 PM   #2
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,647
Please post some good pictures as no one can do an evalutation without them. The gun sounds lilke the medium frame DA pocket revolver. Those were made to the M-H patents by Hopkins and Allen. The guns are unusual in the way they load and have good collector value if in good shape.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is online now  
Old December 4, 2012, 10:06 PM   #3
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Hi Jim, I am by no means a photographer but hope these pics help.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 024.JPG (131.9 KB, 122 views)
File Type: jpg 025.JPG (131.1 KB, 93 views)
Vicki is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 11:12 PM   #4
Onward Allusion
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 2009
Location: IN
Posts: 1,761
Um, it's a bit rough looking. It was made by Hopkins & Allen.

Depending on bore condition and function, I'd place it between $300 to $500. Probably closer to $300. Kind of a wide range but it really depends on the innards and whether it still functions. The grips are chipped, too. Definitely closer to $300 if lucky.

Ones in un-fired to excellent condition will fetch between $700 to $900 if you find the right collector.
__________________
"With great power, there must also come great responsibility." - Stan Lee

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Last edited by Onward Allusion; December 4, 2012 at 11:21 PM.
Onward Allusion is offline  
Old December 5, 2012, 07:41 AM   #5
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
I collect guns of this era... I don't have one of these, but have several hopkins & allen guns ( along with all the others ) the folding hammer is a plus... not having the "skull cracker" grip frame a minus... the grips are pretty easy to find replacements... if the gun functions properly, & the nickel & grips are the only negitives, I'd say it would go $400.00 plus on the auction sites
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 5, 2012, 08:15 AM   #6
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Thank you for your replies. I know it was fired sometime pre 1969 by my mom to scare off a drunk at the front door, lol. True story. Dad always kept it and 7 shots together in a drawer, emergency protection I guess. Located serial numbers and all 3 match. Really like the folding hammer, that's neat! I would guess that someone in history pryed the grips off and snapped each one in the process. Don't know a thing about "bore" or how to check it out. Date on hammer is Jan. 27, 85. would that be production date?
Vicki is offline  
Old December 5, 2012, 08:26 AM   #7
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
that's likely just a patent date... ( funny how they just used 2 digits for the year in pre 1900 guns )

I have a Hopkins & Allen info book, that I think has the MH guns in it, the serial would be needed to tell you a date of manufacture
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 08:07 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,074
"not having the "skull cracker" grip frame a minus."

I thought only the large frame revolvers had the skull crusher?
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.

Last edited by Mike Irwin; December 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 08:36 AM   #9
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
I think you're probably right... don't remember if I've seen the small frame in the books like that or not... just know the "skull cracker" grip frame guns command a much higher price than the ones with "normal" grips
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 09:25 AM   #10
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
What in the world is a "skull cracker" grip? Not that it really matters, obviously, just curios.
Vicki is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 09:37 AM   #11
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
an extension of the grip frame ( purpose was for pistol whipping someone )

pics here...

http://www.ocyoung.com/Merwin2.htm

BTW... MIKE... I think they have a small frame pictured with the Skull Cracker... oops... sorry, spoke too soon... no pics of the small frame after I went back & looked more guns on page one in the link, but still no small frame, just shorter barrels
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...

Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; December 6, 2012 at 09:42 AM.
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 09:47 AM   #12
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Thank you for the info and the link. Interesting!! I may take mine to my local gun shop and have them look it over for me. Don't really have a use for it so may sell it. We'll see.
Vicki is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 10:00 AM   #13
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
keep me in mind, if you decide to sell... just an FYI... we could check the serial & see if it's pre 1898 ( I don't remember off the top of my head )( then it's an antique, & could ship right to the buyer ) if it's newer, & you sell it ( non face to face ) where you would have to ship it, it'll have to go to a local FFL for the buyer to pick up...
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 10:18 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,074
Well, the primary purpose was, as it was on the "military" revolvers, to provide a lanyard attachment point.

ETA: OK, apparently the company referred to it as the skull cracker. I thought that was something that was added later by popular usage. Other M&H revolvers had lanyard rings on a flat butt.

I don't believe military Colt 1873s or Smith & Wesson Schofields had lanyard attachments, which is odd, given that many went to cavalry, but it was a common feature on military handguns of the time.

The 1911 destined for cavalry use had a lanyard loop on the mainspring housing and on the magazine.

As for whether it's pre-1898 or not, I believe that M&H went belly up in 1896, and Hopkins and Allen ceased production of revolvers at that point, so all M&H revolvers should be antiques from a legal standpoint.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.

Last edited by Mike Irwin; December 6, 2012 at 10:23 AM.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 10:31 AM   #15
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,175
Flayderman gives all the M&H revolvers as "made ca 1880s".
The M&H association says in production through about 1991, on sale through 1894, so it is most likely an antique.

Flayderman lists a "birds head" butt .38 pocket, but the .32 was apparently made only with square butt. The folding hammer adds a bit of interest and value.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 10:58 AM   #16
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Serial # 281xx. There's also a 4 digit # under left grip. If a revolver came factory with a lanyard ring, wouldn't there be evidence of some sort on butt of grip?
Vicki is offline  
Old December 6, 2012, 11:35 AM   #17
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,343
that size ( small frame ) didn't typically come with a lanyard ring, they were pocket guns... the larger frames ( side or chest holster guns ) often had lanyard rings if used with horse mounted soldiers, or Navy men also often used a lanyard
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old December 7, 2012, 02:12 PM   #18
RJay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,665
Vicki, if you sell it to a gun shop, be aware that you will. only receive about 50 to 60 percent of the value. The gun shop has to pay rent, pay it's employees, pay the insurance, feed momma and the kiddies and so forth, that gun might set in a display case for a year with out moving. Your best bet is through a private sale. In the rough shape your firearm is in, the value would be under a hundred dollars ( being old, does not automatically mean gold ), it would probably be more value as a heirloom than any monetary value. JMHO
__________________
Ron James
RJay is offline  
Old December 8, 2012, 10:09 AM   #19
Vicki
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2012
Posts: 7
Thanks RJay, but you don't know a complete story. I live in a very small, remote area where everyone knows everyone. Right now my situation with being caregiver for my father forbids me from being away from home much, and the internet is really my own way of getting information until my relief comes. In other words, this was just a starting point. As far as our local gun shop, well I grew up with these people and I know they will give absolute top dollar. Not all places are this lucky I realize, but we have some advantages here.
Vicki is offline  
Old December 8, 2012, 11:55 AM   #20
Winchester_73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 2,859
Quote:
As far as our local gun shop, well I grew up with these people and I know they will give absolute top dollar. Not all places are this lucky I realize, but we have some advantages here.
"Top dollar" here would mean that they would most likely give you the upper end of 40% to 60% but an actual gunshop is not going to give you $600 for a gun that they think they can get $600 for. This is what Rjay was trying to say as well. Its just how the business works. I'm only saying this in case you don't understand as I could not tell if you do or not. If you are interested in selling, I bet I would give you more for it than they would. If you want, you can PM me. I like Merwins.
__________________
Winchester 73, the TFL user that won the west
Winchester_73 is offline  
Old December 8, 2012, 12:31 PM   #21
Winchester_73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 2,859
Quote:
The M&H association says in production through about 1991, on sale through 1894, so it is most likely an antique.
**In production through about 1891**. Flayderman's says that the company stopped referring to itself as "Merwin Hulbert & Co" by early 1892 and reverted to "Hulbert Brothers & Co" afterwards. For it to be a modern firearm it would have to be 1899 or later, and the company was long gone by then. All M&Hs are therefor antique.

Quote:
Flayderman's lists a "birds head" butt .38 pocket, but the .32 was apparently made only with square butt. The folding hammer adds a bit of interest and value
Hertz - not exactly. Everything that you said is true about a small frame M&H DA but this gun is not a small frame M&H. You have to judge the frame size by cal and capacity. Since its 32, one would think its small frame BUT its also 7 shot. So its on a 38 frame, where a 38 cal version would chamber 5, but that same frame would hold 7 rds of 32, which is the gun's capacity. The gun is actually a medium frame double action M&H. These M&H medium DA guns had either a flat butt (OP's gun) or a birds head butt aka "skull crusher". The folding hammer was optional. I have observed quite a few folding hammer M&Hs.

Quote:
"not having the "skull cracker" grip frame a minus."

I thought only the large frame revolvers had the skull crusher?
Per Flaydermans 9th ed, many large AND medium frame M&Hs had the skull crusher butt. The small frame 5 shot 32s, the solid frame revolvers, and the 22 tipup S&W copy they made did not have skull crushers. I believe the skull crusher was an extra cost option. It had a hole through it so one could attach a lanyard if desired.

As far as these guns having a lanyard, per Flaydermans, only the early large frame SA and DA Merwins (44 cal) had a traditional lanyard. As others have said, the gun of this thread would not have had a lanyard. It was not intended to be a main sidearm where a lanyard could prove useful (horseback riding). The OP is correct that if the gun had a lanyard but was later removed, it would have a plug fill most likely in the butt. It would be a shame if this gun had a metal plug in the butt, because that modification would almost surely be non-factory.

Its also not really a "minus" in the way that the broken grips or finish wear is, but rather the skull crusher is a PLUS.

Here is my Merwin. Its a 38 medium frame spur trigger version with flat/square butt. Below it are two period S&Ws, a 38 SA first model "baby Russian" and a 38 SA 2nd model below. In the photo below that, despite their similiarities in the first photo, we see how different they really are. The S&W had a better mechanism but the Merwin was quicker than many other designs of the period.


__________________
Winchester 73, the TFL user that won the west
Winchester_73 is offline  
Old December 10, 2012, 09:01 PM   #22
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,647
The folding hammer spur was an option with the Hopkins and Allen revolvers as well. (H&A made the M&H revolvers.)

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is online now  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11669 seconds with 10 queries