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Old December 17, 2012, 12:50 PM   #1
Contrast Man
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H&R Sportsman

A good friend of mine is looking to pick one of these up as her first firearm. When she mentioned it to me, I had never heard of it before so naturally I went off to do some research on it. So far I know its a 9 shot .22 top break, can either be DA or SA, and went out of production in the late 80's. Beyond that, I don't know much else. A search on gunbroker yielded a few examples priced from $260 to $500.

Does anyone own one of these that could shed some light on reliability, ease of use, trigger, etc.? Also, with it being out of production for some time and H&R no longer existing, are spare parts readily available? Is it worth the prices I've seen?
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Old December 17, 2012, 01:37 PM   #2
KenL
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I had an H&R 9-shot 22 revolver years ago. It wasn't the top break one though. It shot accurately enough in single action, double action was long and gritty. It wouldn't extract the shells though, and no amount of cleaning would change it. I didn't try polishing the chambers and ended up selling the revolver.

It would be better than nothing, but make sure that the trigger is something your friend can handle.
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Old December 17, 2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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I've had a couple of 999's in both 4 and 6 inch versions. Both were new or nearly so. As noted their actions are not butter smooth, but a committed individual can learn to do decent work shooting SA or DA with them.

Their primary drawback, in my opinion, is that they invariably have a large barrel/cylinder gap and both of mine were prone to spit unburnt powder/lead particles from that location.
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:23 PM   #4
Contrast Man
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Quote:
It wasn't the top break one though.
I wasn't aware they were made in a non top break model.
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:30 PM   #5
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They have proven to be fine plinkers, for me - but they're not "target" quality.

Care needs to be taken that the adjustable rear sight blades don't go walkabout, un-noticed, since it's easier to fashion a replacement than locate another.

The Model 999's & "Sportsman's" were H&R's "top-of-the-line", when they were in production, and much more care was taken with their fit/finish than the solid frame, less expensive (non-Model 999) revolvers.

Like many other brands, the visual finish appeal diminished toward later production, as the bean counters took their toll, so if an earlier specimen can be located, one in primo condition is easily worth $350-$400.

Numrich Arms, for one vendor, still has plenty of parts for them, if not H&R themselves.

.
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Old December 17, 2012, 07:09 PM   #6
Bob Wright
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When I was shooting bullseye target back in the 'Sixties, one of the better marksmen use a H&R 999 for smallbore matches. And the thing was handsomely engraved with target stocks. Did right well with that gun, as I recall.

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Old December 17, 2012, 08:27 PM   #7
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I bought a 999 H&R Sportsman new in the 70's. Still have it and shoot it on a pretty regular basis. though it has spent long periods in storage thru the years, it has seen considerable use and I have probably fired it at least monthly and sometimes more often in the last five years. Had 4 grandkids staying with us a couple of weekends ago and took them out to the gun club along with a variety of handguns, rifles and shotguns for a shootaround. the old Sportsman was a real popular piece! 11 year old grandson went home and told his mom he wanted a revolver. This thing has been almost trouble free, have replaced 1 spring. S/A trigger is pretty good and D/A seems good too. I've shot it so much maybe I'm way used to it, but I would buy another one of these in a heartbeat. Great choice if ya can find one!! HOOSIER
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:38 PM   #8
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They are "okay" guns. I would compare them overall to a Taurus DA revolver that does not have problems (as many do, especially in 22LR). There are better choices. I would not pay $400 for one; never, even though there are some collectors of certain variations that pay that much and more.

I bought one new years ago. It was in fact my very first revolver and I shot it a lot. The timing was off, the sights worked loose all the time, and the trigger was terrible. I shot it mostly single action, so I learned to adapt to the heavy trigger. I simply did not have the experience at that time to ever realize that my 999 was a problem and should have been sent back to the factory.

It spit hot lead fragments and powder and I frequently got burnt.

I loved the top break feature and wish more manufactures made 22 revolvers with that feature.

So my suggestion is to look at the new Ruger SP-101 (or a S&W DA revolver) unless you find a 999 in the $250 or less price range. The H&R 999 is an "okay" 22 revolver.

Last edited by 22-rimfire; December 17, 2012 at 09:43 PM.
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:01 PM   #9
Contrast Man
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Thanks for the responses everyone!

Quote:
unless you find a 999 in the $250 or less price range
Perhaps I should have mentioned it sooner, but I'm fairly certain my friend's interest is rooted in the cheap(er) price. I know there's really not a whole lot in the $250 area for .22 revolvers that I would feel confident in recommending.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:37 AM   #10
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I can't speak to the sportsman, but I've acquired a NEF R92 and a H&R 929. They are both decent little plinkers, and built fairly well considering the cost. At their price point they're hard to beat. Beware though that the DA pull is quite stout.

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Old December 18, 2012, 07:45 AM   #11
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My dad has one and we took it out earlier this year. Accuracy was horrible. We later noticed that the rear sight was loose(very loose), like PetahW mentioned. So I'm sure that's the cause of the accuracy problem. Other than that it seems to be a pretty solid and reliable gun.
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Old December 20, 2012, 11:38 AM   #12
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It sounds like your friend has a particular gun in mind (probably a friend or something). Have her take the gun to a gunsmith before purchasing it for a check out. The H&Rs are servicable guns, if a bit crude compared to a Smith or a Colt. She could probably find a Smith or a Colt at the $500 range but not not much less for a nice one. I personally would spend the extra YMMV
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Old December 20, 2012, 08:17 PM   #13
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I've got a Sportsman made in 36. Its very accurate and doesn't spit lead.
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Old December 20, 2012, 11:26 PM   #14
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The DA pull is stiff, but the SA is good. They are reliable and fast to reload. The shells automatically eject when you break open the weapon.



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Old December 21, 2012, 09:25 PM   #15
rrruger
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I own a 999 Sportsman that dates from the 1930's and it is as accurate as any gun that I have ever shot. Most recently I grouped nine shots in an area I could cover with a quarter at 21 feet. Not bad for a 70 year old gun...and 60 year old eyes.
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Old December 22, 2012, 10:09 AM   #16
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Years ago I took my M999 to a gunsmith in Texas and he refused to work on it saying his work would cost more than the gun is worth. That ended the M999 for me.... as my initial post indicated.

They are serviceable guns as are the Heritage Rough Riders. You just need to know what you are getting.
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Old April 14, 2013, 09:01 AM   #17
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I found this thread whilst searching for info on my latest purchase. Yesterday I bought an H&R Sportsman SAO. It's about 95% and from what I can tell it's about 1940 production. It's pictured with a JC Higgins I found lately.

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Old April 14, 2013, 09:14 AM   #18
Carmady
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Cool guns.

I believe the JC Higgins is a rebranded Hi Standard Sentinel.
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Old April 14, 2013, 03:17 PM   #19
popeye
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Yes it's a Sentinel made for Sears. Mine's a '50's mfg.. Not a looker but it's mechanically sound and accurate.
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Old April 14, 2013, 03:22 PM   #20
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I do not own a 999 Sportsman, but it is on the list of guns I want to own. I think they are neat little revolvers. I would want to buy one in good-excellent condition when I decide to get one.
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Old April 15, 2013, 08:42 AM   #21
BoomieMCT
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I have a H&R Sportsman 999 and it is one of the last guns I'd sell or trade. I shoot it at least as well as my Smith Model 17. When I work at my folk's farm it is what is usually on my hip (for groundhogs and other varmints).

What people have said about the rear sight is true though - without loctitle it will wander and possibly fall out. With loctite it is a non-issue. Not sure what some people's issue with the trigger is - mine is fine.
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:03 PM   #22
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IMO (and it's only my opinion as I do not claim expert status on anything) the Sportsman is a medium quality revolver that is a lot of fun to shoot. But I am staggered by the recent asking prices on these. When they start to exceed the K frame target grade S&W revolvers in selling price it makes no sense to me.

I wanted one for a long time but there was no way I could bring myself to pony up $450-$500 as most were tagged. I saw this one at a local show and it has some serious finish issues but works fine. Tagged at $165 I offered $150 and took it home. IMO a nice one is worth $200-$250. But I am alone in this thinking.





It shoots better than I do...

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Old April 17, 2013, 07:15 PM   #23
popeye
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It is crazy the way the .22's have gone up in price. I paid $110 for the mechanically sound but cosmetically challenged JC Higgens in my pic. The Sportsman is in much better shape and I paid $200 for it. I could not have justified in my gun budget paying much more for either one.
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Old April 18, 2013, 12:28 AM   #24
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I have a Model 199 Single Action Sportsmen from 1933. My 7 year old grandson loves to shoot it and he is a much better shot with it than I was at 7. I would never part with it.



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Old April 18, 2013, 09:17 AM   #25
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Quote:
IMO (and it's only my opinion as I do not claim expert status on anything) the Sportsman is a medium quality revolver that is a lot of fun to shoot. But I am staggered by the recent asking prices on these. When they start to exceed the K frame target grade S&W revolvers in selling price it makes no sense to me.
I'm a decent shot but I've found my 999 is every bit as accurate as my S&W Model 17. The fact that the 999 has a thinner front blade helps me shoot it well. I shoot both revolvers better than my heavy barrel Ruger Mk2 and my friend's Browning Supermatic Trophy.

Just my $0.02.
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