View Full Version : Hubley cap revolver viability to become a real revolver design?

Bill Akins
February 24, 2011, 05:27 PM
This is something I have been thinking about for several years now but this is the first time I have written about the viability of seeing if a real revolver can be made from the basic design of a toy revolver.

For Christmas in 1960, my parents bought me a double buscadero set of turquoise handled (plastic) top break Hubley cap revolvers.

March 1960. My Dad at left rear, my sister standing next to me in green pants, Granny and Granddaddy behind me, (Gramps is the one who met Buffalo Bill & shook his hand, he was 62 here in 1960), uncle Bob, cousin Margie and me with my tongue sticking out holding one of my Hubley's with my arm around cousin Bobby.

Same group, only my Mom is on the left now while Dad took the picture.
Me sticking my tongue out again. Everyone in the pics is gone now except for cousin Margie, cousin Bobby, sis and me.

Those Hubley cap revolvers had quite an influence on me. They were very realistic in many ways. The cylinder turned and the hammer would fall against the solid fake cartridges and you could put "greenie stickem caps" on them just like the Mattel cap guns. They were metal not plastic, double action and well made and my twin revolvers and holster set were exactly like these below photos I found online right down to the turquoise embellishments on the holsters and belt and the turquoise handles. Same identical set I had you see me wearing in the photos.


Now look carefully at the above photo. Notice how the hammers had a large smooth cocking area very suitable for fanning. Notice especially how the grip frame area looks very Colt like while the topbreak system is reminiscent of S&W, H&R, Iver Johnson, Webley and other top break 19th century revolvers. The ejector rod was fake and fixed to the barrel and was just for looks. Notice also how the Hubley's recoil shield is bigger and more Colt like than on the real revolvers. My Hubley's ejected the shells just like any topbreak revolver would upon opening. But I'll get back to that fake ejector rod in a moment.

Compare the closeup pic of the Hubleys with these below pics.
.38 S&W

S&W .44 Frontier.

Continued next post due to 6 pics per post limit.....

Bill Akins
February 24, 2011, 05:28 PM
Continued from previous post.....

Posting that pic of my Hubley's again for you to compare to the real revolvers.

"Hubley Colt .38" cap revolvers.

continue to compare the Hubley's with these real revolvers....

S&W .44 Russian.

S&W model 3.

Like I said previously, the Hubleys look a lot like the S&W's, H&R's, Iver Johnsons, Webleys, etc, with the exception that the Hubleys had a more colt like main frame, grip frame, more Colt like recoil shield and a fake ejector rod Which are the main areas of deviance from the other real top break revolvers.

Now....perhaps it's just me wanting to recapture my childhood and perhaps it's because I happen to really like the looks of the Hubley design, but I have been wondering if it might be possible to take the barrel and frame of an old beater top break revolver and modify its frame to use a Colt style grip, Colt style recoil shield, and then modify the top break ejector system so that when it is opened it does not automatically eject the cartridges, and make the ejector rod be real so that when you broke it open, to eject the cases, you would use the ejector rod. (Remember, the Hubley's ejector rod was fake). I used to own a birds head grip Webley topbreak that I had modified from .455 to use .45 acp. Yes the automatic ejection system is fast, but it is also a pain sometimes because it will eject the cases when you open the revolver even if you didn't want to eject them. So I like the idea of a top break that uses a real Hubley style ejection rod so if you want to reload a round or two you can without all of them ejecting upon opening. It is easy enough to push the ejection rod then when I do want to eject the cases. I like having that choice.

The Hubleys were also double action and I could keep the real revolver double action too or make it single action. Either way would be fine with me just as long as it looked exactly like my old Hubleys.

I've been looking around a bit on gunbroker for topbreak revolver parts but no luck yet. I'd prefer a frame, cylinder and barrel in .44 or .45 caliber, but would take a .38.

What I'm asking you fellas here is, what do you think of the viability and possibility of success of doing a modification to an old beater topbreak that I would use a Colt style frame on to re-create my old Hubley but this time as a real revolver? I think it is possible to do and I really like the grip design and recoil shield design on the Hubley better than I do the other real topbreak revolver's grip and recoil shield designs.

I've been looking at the antique (makes me feel old) Hubley cap revolvers on e bay for awhile and I'm going to pick one up to have as a pattern since my original Hubleys are long gone. Of course since the Hubley's were made for kids, I'd have to scale a real one up in size.

Of course if I was successful, I'd have to have turquoise grips and a nickel version. :D Engraved like my Hubley's? Well, we'll see.

What do you think of this idea? Any helpful suggestions? I have the mill and a welding rig to do the work. Anyone have any old beater topbreaks or topbreak barrels and frames and cylinders in .44 or .45? I'd prefer the larger calibers, but I'd accept doing it in .38 because my Hubley's were called "Hubley Colt .38" as you can see embossed on the holster belt in the closeup Hubley pics.

Or do you just think I'm nuts? Well we know that, but what else do you think?

How about you Doc? What do you think? Any suggestions?

I don't care about the time or labor because I would be doing all the work myself. It would be a labor of love.


February 24, 2011, 07:00 PM
I love to work with pictures Bill, I tried to improve them a little, Hope you
don't mind.



February 24, 2011, 07:49 PM
I can't knowledgedly(?) comment on the gunsmithing problem as I still have my Mattel Fanner 50 but i really like the look of the women's pants. When my daughter (now 25) wore a similar pair I said "Wow, pedal pushers are back in style again I see." I was quickly informed that they were called "Capris". Still pedalpushers to me. My mom, aunts and cousins used to were them in the 50s-early 60s.

February 24, 2011, 10:28 PM
Hey Bill I have a feeling that toungue had a few run-ins with some bar soap back in your childhood days, lol, what say you? flathead

Mike Irwin
February 25, 2011, 01:35 AM
Damn, your Mom was tall!

Bill Akins
February 25, 2011, 01:58 AM
Thanks for improving my old pictures kwhi43
I'm going to save your improved ones in my picture folder next to my original scanned copies. Thanks again. :)


Bill Akins
February 25, 2011, 02:00 AM
Hellgate, my mom and sis always called them "pedal pushers" too, and like you, that's what I always knew them as too. My wife tells me that they were also known as "clam diggers".


Bill Akins
February 25, 2011, 02:01 AM
FlatheadSal wrote:
Hey Bill I have a feeling that toungue had a few run-ins with some bar soap back in your childhood days, lol, what say you? flathead



Bill Akins
February 25, 2011, 02:06 AM
Mike Irwin wrote:
Damn, your Mom was tall!

She wasn't really tall for a woman. About 5'7", it's just that everyone else in the picture who were on my Dad's side of the family weren't very tall Lol. Dad was only 5'8". I took after my mother's side of the family and grew to a tad over 6'.


Bill Akins
February 25, 2011, 02:12 AM
Any suggestions on scaling up the Hubley design to a real one?

I was thinking the Hubley's are kind of square framed and their frame around where the cylinder goes kind of reminds me of a Spiller and Burr. It's very square like that. I was thinking of finding a square frame like that in steel and by cutting it and welding in components of a steel top break I might be able to replicate the Hubley frame. That would be the hardest part. Then after doing that, I could use a Colt style steel grip frame. Any ideas fellas?


February 25, 2011, 01:26 PM
There were Spanish made copies of the Webley revolver in .455 that look like the top photo on Page 19 and are relatively less expensive.


February 25, 2011, 05:16 PM
Hey Bill, those great photos took me down memory lane. Thanks for posting them.