View Full Version : Hopkins and Allen Blue Jacket No. 1

August 27, 2008, 11:03 PM
Its a 7 shooter and fires the .22 Short. It will fully penetrate a 1/2 inch pine board from six feet away. I don't know much about them. It says patented 1871, but I have know idea when it was actually manufactured.






August 28, 2008, 08:14 AM
If it says "Hopkins and Allen Manufacturing Co., Norwich, Conn. Then it was made prior to 1896. The company began in 1868.
It it says "Hopkins and Allen Arms Co.", then it was made between 1902-1914 when they were taken over for WWI arms production.
I looked for the Bluejacket in The Blue Book but it was not listed.

August 28, 2008, 06:11 PM
Boy, now I would love to own that. There are plenty of those secondary brand little pistols from the late 19th and early 20th century around, but most I see of the nickel plated ones are really quite ate up. They did not sell for very much new and you know cheap guns, even if nice quality people did not respect them very much and they got abused. The gun might have an iron frame, not steel, and may not be of a steel meant for smokeless powders. So often you will be warned against shooting modern ammo in them. Well Aquila makes a target grade short that is not so hot, like CCI's hot shorts, and that might be OK to try in it. Also they make the Colibri I think, shorts that are only powered by the primer, no powder charge. If it were me and I was gonna shoot it alot for fun, I would get a box of those primer powered rounds for plinking. Would not consider it for any kind of serious purpose anyway, not even hunting rats. Not with modern ammo. A little nicer than a basic model with the simple engraving and the fancy grips. Not seen too often by me. Adds a premium I think. They say those are not very collectable but minty specimens are a different matter than the rusted gunshow examples.

August 28, 2008, 07:48 PM
Would not consider it for any kind of serious purpose anyway, not even hunting rats.

Oh I don't consider it adequate for much of anything. I have only shot it a couple of times and had sort of forgotten about it. I also have not seen one as fancy, it was the top of the line of inexpensive, anemically powered pocket pistols.:)

I suppose though that back in the days before antibiotics, the threat of being punctured by a bullet, any bullet, was a lethal one.

August 28, 2008, 08:22 PM
As my wife said, "Thats a pretty pistol."

Sometimes a gun doesn't have to have a purpose to enjoy owning it.

James K
August 31, 2008, 07:46 PM
That Blue Jacket falls into the category known as "suicide specials" (not to be confused with the later cheap imports known as "Saturday night specials"). It is not clear whether the term meant that the gun was good for only one shot, or if using it against a better armed man was equivalent to suicide.

The guns were usually cast iron, though they are reasonably safe to fire with modern ammunition (standard or low speed in .22 short).

They generally sold in the price range from $.50 to $3, depending on make and caliber as well as on the general economy. They were so common that major makers like H&A, as well as Colt and others, jumped on the band wagon. Engraving generally cost $.25 or $.50 more. What the guns lacked in power, they made up for in advertising hype and fanciful names. Other colorful names in the same category were: Bull Dozer, Avenger, Aristocrat, Bismark [sic], Blood Hound, Blue Whistler, Bonanza, Clipper, Chieftain, Conqueror, Czar, Defiance, Dreadnought, Governor, Monarch, and so on.

Who could possibly want something called a "Colt Single Action Army" when one could have a Tramp's Terror, a Swamp Angel, or a True Blue. Besides the Colt was $17. (Multiply by about 40 for an equivalent price today.)

H&A went out of business during WWI when they made thousands of Model 1891 Mausers for Belgium then never got paid as the country was conquered by Germany and German submarines sank at least one ship carrying those rifles.


August 31, 2008, 10:06 PM
I have a little I.J. Defender .22 revolver in nickel with rosewood grips. Looks unfired and the nickel is about 99.9 percent at least. I had thought of firing the little colibri rounds in it just for fun. But have never gotten round to it. NO rust or flaking on it, but it is probably an iron frame. Saw one in a Sears catalog repro from 1890-something. Sold for a buck in there.

August 31, 2008, 10:56 PM
That is a seriously cool little pistol.

thanks for showing it off.... dxr


Dave Gafvert
September 29, 2008, 01:29 PM
Howdy gents. I do alot of work on these little gems and I can assure you that if you use modern ammo in them they WILL sooner or later blow up :eek:
If you want to shoot it use the CCI CB caps, They make them in longs and shorts. I've been a antique gun gunsmith since 1951 and I have seen a good number of fine collectable guns like this turned into junk by folks using modren ammo in them. You have a really nice piece, treat it right as you are
after all only a temporary guardian. ;) Dave

September 30, 2008, 08:37 PM
I grew up with that type of gun,and shot hundreds of times.Jim is right on they had many names and that H&A was one I had.never had one blow and I had quite a few in the 50s,and shot them.32 rim was 30 cents a box of 50.and 22 shot 15 cents.many people thaought of them as perfect for defense.many police carried 38 S&Ws in H&R and IVERs.:rolleyes::confused:

James K
October 1, 2008, 02:29 PM
Dave, if you do work on those guns, please provide your name and address as most gunsmiths won't touch them. Just too much trouble for too little reward. The same is true for the old DA revolvers (H&R, IJ, H&A, M&H), so if you work on those you should have plenty of work.

In my experience, blowing up is not a common problem with the old guns; broken springs and worn parts are the real problems that usually result in the guns being tossed in the junk pile or kept for a turn in program.


Dave Gafvert
October 3, 2008, 12:28 PM
Hi Jim. I retired from Sturm Ruger in 2000, as the supervisor of the quality assurance dept, I've been doing repair work on antique handguns since 1951.
Yes I do keep busy, I make lock parts, springs from scratch. And heat treat them (not color case), My email address is [email protected] and
and address is 1629 S. Papago Dr Chino Valley AZ 86323. When I receive a job I let the customer know approximately what it will cost to do the work.
If the customer decides not to have it done it is reassembled and returned with NO charge except postage. I charge by the job not by the hour. As I don't have to put beans on the table, I love what I do and it keeps my mind and bod busy. If you have a Dixie Gun Works catalog read what ol Turner has to say about the use of modren ammo in these pieces of history, I met turner in Agusta GA in 1954 when I was stationed there. I shoot ALL of my antique guns (some date to 1760) as if they are in good condition they are fun to shoot with light loads. Cheers Dave
PS I do alot of work for three big CA dealers, check out "1898and B-4. com"
Jimmy sends me boxes of pistols at a time.

James K
October 3, 2008, 01:15 PM
Thanks, Dave. I hope a lot of the folks will note that e-mail address.

I worked on a lot of those old guns. I found it easy to spend hours making parts, filing and fitting, running up hours of time trying to fix a gun that would be worth $25 in perfect condition.

I finally gave up after too many instances of giving a customer the bill and having him tell me to keep the old POS as it was not worth what I charged to fix it. This after I had told him what it would cost and been assured that he wanted the gun fixed with "price no object" for a family heirloom, or some such. I am out of the business now, but I would have to give the same advise to any gunsmith. Even if the money is not important, IMHO the frustration factor is just too high.

Lots of luck.


October 3, 2008, 01:19 PM
One common problem with these guns is that the cylinder does not always index properly.

Dave Gafvert
October 3, 2008, 08:33 PM
Zounds like a worn ratchet, broken index arm/spring, bolt problems OR all of the above:o I have also found that some of the time the cylinder pin was replaced with a smaller one and that will also make it malfunction as the index
arm lifts the cylinder up and the bolt will not engage the detents.

Dave Gafvert
October 3, 2008, 08:46 PM
There are a number of reasons for sloppy cylinder lockups, I have found the
most problems to be broken springs. and shade tree black smiths.