View Full Version : Top Break hand ejector 38 :)

Magnum Wheel Man
September 20, 2010, 03:16 PM
Couldn't help myself... bought another top break...

this one a manual eject ( as opposed to the auto ejecting ) H&R with the nice filigreed grips, in 38 S&W... this is still a black powder revolver, though not technically an antique... I think it was listed poorly, as they are kinda rare, & the last one I saw listed, sold for around $250.00... ( I did much, much better on this one )... can't wait for it to get here...


... as an aside... I finally ( after watching & looking actively, for over a year ) found a H&A 22 Safety Police... unfortunately, top strap was broken, & repaired, & the gun is not in good shape... but like quoted in the M&M's commercial "they do exist" now I have to just find one worth owning :(

September 21, 2010, 10:06 AM
Nice one! I don't know what it is about those revolvers that makes me like them, but I do.

Magnum Wheel Man
September 21, 2010, 10:19 AM
ya... something about this style of grips too...


September 21, 2010, 04:52 PM
Queen Victoria had her effect on a ton of stuff! My H&R American isn't quite as fancy, but you can see the Victorian influence.

September 22, 2010, 09:33 AM

You know, I don't believe I've ever handled one of those. Are those grips as thin as they look? It seems a miracle they don't crack if you look at them crosseyed.

Magnum Wheel Man
September 22, 2010, 09:54 AM
I've personally never handled a hand ejector, been limited to "internet study", but I have handled this style of grips before... I don't think they are much more fragile than the other brittle hard rubber grips, but they do look classy...

I think these are the early grips, & coupled with the hand ejector, I believe this is actually antique, even though the seller wants it to go through an FFL, which is fine I guess...

both grips are supposed to be perfect, little wear, & no pin cracks or chips...

it should get here early next week, as it's coming from the east coast...

the right side grip


I'll post some better ( or atleast different ) pics when it gets here...

September 22, 2010, 10:04 AM
Yeah, now that you point it out, a lot of that "thinness" is just an optical illusion caused by the pattern.

They sure are pretty, though; very evocative of the time.

Magnum Wheel Man
September 22, 2010, 10:07 AM
thanks... can't wait for that one to get here... it'll fit nicely in my top break collection

James K
September 22, 2010, 07:23 PM
Just FWIW, that material is called gutta percha, or hard rubber. It is a natural product that was used like today's plastic for a wide variety of purposes. But it has the characteristic of becoming very brittle as it ages, so extreme care should be used in removing/replacing pistol grips, knife scales, or other items made from it. An example is the grips on the early Savage auto pistols which have to be bent up in the middle for removal. Many have been broken by prying on them too hard.


September 23, 2010, 09:21 AM
+1 to Jim about the gutta percha grips. I've got great grandpa's Colt Police Positive Target in .22wrf that has those grips. Sometime in the distant past, something happened that caused one of the grips to break. It looks like he broke out the rubber cement and put all five or six pieces back together, then wrapped the whole butt of the gun in two layers of white cloth tape.

The shards of that grip are very interesting. They fractured almost like a piece of really thick glass, just not as sharp. I've replaced the grips with some nice reproductions, but the new plastic or urethane or whatever it is definitely does not have the feel of the the originals (although maybe when the originals were new they had a little "squishiness" to them.)

Magnum Wheel Man
September 23, 2010, 09:28 AM
I think I'll order some replica grips for this one also, if the gun is solid enough to be a shooter... I've had to get pretty good at pulling alot of these off, as most are stuck pretty good on the pins...

Magnum Wheel Man
October 5, 2010, 05:10 PM
Finally picked up the gun from my local FFL today... the action is tight & function pristine... the top strap says Harington & Richardson, Worchester, Mass. U.S.A. ( no patents as listed on other guns ) I carefully removed the grips, which are perfect... there is a 4 digit serial on the left side grip panel ( under the grip ) 106X ( no prefex ) grips are serialed to match the gun... bore & chambers are pretty dirty, will have to see how / if they'll clean up ( there was a lot of lint around the cylinder & small parts so ??? ) the cylinder removes much differently than the auto eject models, I think I'd have to unscrew the ejector rod, as there is a screwdriver slot in the tip of that... there are a few spots of "rust" that I may or may not try to clean up ( could have been from blood ??? ) My retired local builder buddy looked it over, & it's definately shootable, he had never seen a manual eject model, so I wanted him to get a chance to look at it... good case color on the hammer, & the trigger gaurd & trigger are both nickel ( most I've seen have been blued ) I think this may have been one of my better on line deals this year

here are a few more pics...


note the screw driver slot in the end of the ejector rod, which is also checkered as well...


& the additional support for the extractor star, & how far it comes out ( I've heard these manual ejects were prefered by those who often had to quickly reload, to the auto ejects, because they came out far enough to positively eject the empty cases, without having to "dump" them out, & provided more control ( I've had the auto eject snap back over an un-ejected case, & that is a pain to recitify at the range, I can't imagine having to do it while under fire ) also the gun does not open up as far as the auto ejects


Magnum Wheel Man
October 5, 2010, 05:13 PM

Magnum Wheel Man
October 6, 2010, 06:12 AM
chambers & barrel cleaned up nicely last night... bore has "some" pitting, but strong lands & grooves, & is definately shootable... chambers suprised me most, as they looked pretty bad before cleaning & lube, but there is narry a pit in them, now they are nice & shiney... I did scuff up the rusty spots with my silver plastic "miracle scrubbie" ( don't remember the brand, but it works pretty good on rust, without damaging the nickel or blueing ) & those spots cleaned up reasonably... all in all a very nice gun that I bought too cheaply :)

October 6, 2010, 06:20 AM
I got one sum'n like that.....




and yes the grips are brittle, my right one is broken and miss'n a piece. This was my great Grandfathers .38.... Still all in the family and I did shoot it 17 years or so ago. I don't care to ever shoot it again as it is a family relic...

Magnum Wheel Man
October 6, 2010, 06:26 AM
yep... that's a traditional auto eject ( yours is an Iver Johnson... unless the grips were changed out ) BTW, the blued guns of that era are more rare than the nickel ones ( it required more finish work to blue them, than to have them nickel plated back then ) ... I have several both 32 & 38 S&W guns like this in several brands ( all auto eject ) though none of my top breaks belonged to family members, which to me would make them worth much more... I'm just now finishing out that area of my collection with a few "odds & ends" & this manual eject is quite a bit more rare, & one I had been looking for for a while

October 6, 2010, 06:32 AM

lol :D I did mention it's been in my family for long time didn't I?? Just kid'n man. So what would mine be worth? Keep in mind there is a piece of the right side grip missing.

Thanks for the history too man! awesome, I always thought it was a POS, and been hang'n on to it cuz of the sentimental value...

October 6, 2010, 06:35 AM
That ejector is fascinating!

How much spring tension is on it? About as much as on a regular swing-out cylinder?

October 6, 2010, 06:38 AM
Yeah, quite a bit of tension. I always thought it would be a fast reloader of it's time.

Hey Mag Wheel Man, what year ya reckon mine is from?

Magnum Wheel Man
October 6, 2010, 06:42 AM
in the last pic, the cylinder is partially out... is it unscrewed, or are the threads damaged, so that the cylinder raises when the ejector pushes up ???

if the grips are original ( most likely ) the owl gives you some info... ( I think, I don't have too many Ivers ) that if the owl is facing you, it's older, if it's looking at your target ( like your grips ) it's "newer" I think they switched sometime around the break between black powder & smokeless cartridges, making yours safe for light smokeless cartridge use, provided the rest of the gun is OK...

The blueing looks pretty goodfrom what I can see

I've seen guns like this sell on line over the last year for between $75.00 & $200.00, depending on condition

Magnum Wheel Man
October 6, 2010, 06:43 AM
TAMARA... the ejector on mine is similar in tension to a "regular" swing out cylinder

October 6, 2010, 06:45 AM

I was referring to Magnum Wheel Man's gun.

In order to get the best answers regarding yours, you should start a separate thread.

October 6, 2010, 06:46 AM
As you open the pistol it raises the cylinder up and then it's sitting on a spring. Just a little push down it lifts them out. Instead of, like yours, having to push the front pin to push out spent cartridges.

Thanks again for the info. I'm not at home or I would get it out of the safe and take some real close ups. The owl deal is kewl and I'll look further into that. Neat'O man!

October 17, 2010, 10:17 AM
I now have two similar guns. I inherited a Smith & Wesson .32 S&W Double Action, which is technically a single action only in that you cannot cock the hammer to single action, and also an Iver Johnson Firearm & Cycle Works .32 Safety Hammerless in .32 S&W.

Both are five-shot, and the cylinders are practically identical. Both are almost the same size, have Gutta Percha grips, and 3.5" barrels.

I'll get photos up here in a day or so.

There is a new collectors impetus in these guns due to a new segment of Cowboy Action Shooting using them. They still work, and current .32 ammo is made low pressure just because there are so many .32 S&W guns out there.

One thing Psychobilly and MagnumWheelMan photos do not show is just how tiny these guns are.

The Doc is out now. :cool:

James K
October 17, 2010, 08:41 PM
I am not sure what to call that type of ejection since the term "hand ejector" is usually associated with S&W, who used it to describe their swing out cylinder revolvers. Iver Johnson called it just manual ejection, which is about as good a term as any.

There were two reasons for it. The first is that it is simply cheaper, eliminating several parts and the associated fitting. The second is that the conventional cam type ejector used on top break revolvers has its limits due to limits on the length of the cam. If the cartridge is short, it works OK, but at some case length the cam won't fully extract, one of the reasons top break revolvers are not made for long cartridges (strength, or lack of it, of the top break frame is the other).

There are ways around that in a topbreak. The old S&W Russian and Baby Russian used a cogwheel system that was more complex than necessary but they soon went to a cam system.


Magnum Wheel Man
October 18, 2010, 07:41 AM
I found another... a match to the 1st one I posted only in 32 S&W long... it appears to be in good shape, ( same grips & everything ) unfortunately, they are asking over $250.00 more than I paid for my 38... I had to put it on my watch list, & see if it comes down in price over the next couple weeks ??? it would be kinda cool to have a match in 32... but not at the current starting price :(