View Full Version : Hopkins & Allen .32 rimfire?

October 28, 2007, 11:32 AM
Found in a box 50 years after my grandfathers demise among some other small revolvers. Hopkins & Allen .32 rimfire revolver bore measures .295, cylinder measures .316. 6 shot, nickel finish, spur trigger. Only number found is 420 on bottom of barrel and on some parts inside. Perhaps 60% original finish.
Estimated mfg about 1870?? I could not find any information on line. Where might I look? What have I here?


Mike Irwin
October 28, 2007, 12:50 PM
Generically known as a "Suicide Special."

There have been a couple of books done on the subject over the years, but I think all are now out of print.

It's most likely chambered for .32 Short rimfire.

October 28, 2007, 01:40 PM
The "Hopkins & Allen Mfg. Co." marking dates this revolver to after 1878, when Merwin & Hulbert gained control of H&A, and the marking was changed from simply "Hopkins & Allen Arms Co.".

October 28, 2007, 02:04 PM
I'm going to take a wild guess and say it's a #3 with the half round half octogonal barrel and being a rimfire. If you get a copy of Flaydermans it'll probably tell you all you want to know about it. All my books are in storage.

James K
October 28, 2007, 09:29 PM
Hi, SDC, the Hopkins & Allen Mfg Co. marking came first. Flayderman puts that gun as limited production in the late 1860's. He says parts may have been acquired from Bacon Mfg. Co., which went out of business in 1868. Hopkins and Allen were Bacon stockholders; they set up their own company and bought the assets of the Bacon company. Flayderman says it is the first cartridge revolver made by H&A, the beginning of a long line.

There is some collector interest and my Flayderman's gives a top of about $300, with an average good about $135.

BTW, I THINK that the cylinder pin may be removed by PUSHING UP on that button, not pulling it down. I could be wrong, but that looks like the same idea used on the Plant revolver, and a lot of those have been broken by people using pliers on the button, trying to pull on it.


October 29, 2007, 12:17 PM
You are correct Jim, the cylinder pin is secured by a lock which is disengaged by pressing UP on it.
All the pieces are in the revolver and it actually seems to work as intended. A wall hanger for sure but I like to have a small plaque with some information about the piece alongside of where it hangs. This information is much appreciated.


James K
October 29, 2007, 02:59 PM
I doubt you would want to shoot it, but every once in a while someone persuades an ammo company to run off some .32 rimfire, short and long. I don't know of any being made now, but some of the gun stores have a small stock and it can be found at some gun shows.


October 30, 2007, 04:27 PM
I did have some Navy Arms 32 rimfire ammo around here that was made perhaps 10 years ago. Actually I think they have it made somewhere in South America limited runs. I would only consider test firing it with that ammo if the bore and chambers are decent, or get some old rounds for display purposes. Actually whatever Flaydermans says seems outdated as something like that would probably sell for more than you would want to pay, at a gunshow. Not a Colt or anything but must have some interesting 19th century history. The big problem is lack of records on those secondary brands like H&A. If they were as well documented as the Colts and the like the collectors would pay more attention to them, probably.

James K
October 30, 2007, 05:01 PM
I honestly don't think that gun would bring much money, even today. There just is not the interest in those "off brand" guns that there is in Colts, and even most of the small Colts don't bring much unless in near-new condition.

But value and interest are two different things. It is possible to build a fairly decent collection of old guns without spending more than maybe $150 each. As an example, I bought a Maltby-Henley at a show for $65 last year. But it is a fascinating gun. Usually described as a break-top, it is not; it is a two piece frame, made of brass (originally silver plated), the only brass frame cartridge gun I am aware of. The internal mechanism is unique. Worth the price? Not to some, but to me it was an experience.