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Old March 22, 2020, 05:39 PM   #1
TruthTellers
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Question about H&R top break

Auction on gunbroker that I have a question about involving a .32 H&R top break.

There is no writing on the left of the barrel, but the cylinder is a 6 shot and has the length to chamber a .32 S&W Long. As we know lacking any cartridge writing on the left side of the barrel for an H&R means it's not rated for smokeless, but .32 S&W Long was mainly a smokeless cartridge for most of it's existence, so can I assume if any H&R revolver is chambered for .32 S&W Long that it's also meant for smokeless loads?

The gun looks fine, no pitting or rust, and the bore looks spotless. I would have a hard time believing the gun has only ever seen black powder shot through it, it looks like only smokeless ammo has been.

Still, I'm not sure, I'm leaning towards believing it's capable of shooting smokeless because it can chamber .32 SW Long.

Here's auction pics:



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Last edited by TruthTellers; March 22, 2020 at 06:39 PM.
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Old March 23, 2020, 08:26 AM   #2
jar
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Looking at the cylinder it is definitely a black power era revolver without the positive positioning locks. It was not meant for smokeless loads. Would it work? Likely. But certainly not advisable.
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Old March 23, 2020, 10:37 AM   #3
stinkeypete
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I had a very similar H&R in 22 LR.
What Jar is saying is... the revolver relies on the clockwise rotation of the cylinder to align the cylinder chamber to the throat of the barrel. There is no locking bolt to assure the alignment or maintain the alignment- you can most easily turn the cylinder counterclockwise with your finger and shave as much lead as you can before you no longer get a primer strike.

I shot mine loose with .22 LR, my first pistol in the 70s was my grandpa’s H&R .22 Special. They were not expensive or sturdy even in their day.

If you absolutely must shoot it, I would recommend Trail Boss powder and remember to check cylinder alignment on each shot.

I would not mind owning one as a collectors item, I would decline to shoot one. Let the old hoss rest.
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Old March 23, 2020, 10:41 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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There was such a thing as a black powder era .32 H&R Long about the same length as a .32 S&W Long.

When I looked it up 9 years ago, I posted on THR:
Flayderman makes mention of a .32 H&R Long in the H&R Shell Extracting Revolver of 1886-1888 and the Automatic Ejection DA Revolver of 1887 on.

The .32 S&W Long did not come out until 1896, so the .32 H&R Long was a distinct cartridge from ten years earlier. The late Bill Goforth says it was only made until 1905.
See post #3 at
http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=76520

It could not have been very popular, my 1901 Sears (reprint) catalog shows H&R revolvers only in .32 S&W (not Long) and no .32 H&r ammunition.

Note that he says not to use modern ammunition in those guns.
I think a sound one could be shot with black powder for a while, but these are not real sturdy guns.


Sorry to say, the firearms forum link does not deliver for me today.
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Old March 23, 2020, 11:54 PM   #5
TruthTellers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jar View Post
Looking at the cylinder it is definitely a black power era revolver without the positive positioning locks. It was not meant for smokeless loads. Would it work? Likely. But certainly not advisable.
I have an H&R top break like this only it's got a shorter barrel and the caliber/cartridge on the side of the barrel. Same style cylinder and I've run smokeless through it without issue, mostly Trail Boss, but some Unique.

So, I can't say that even with the cylinder stops being a BP design doesn't mean it can't handle shooting smokeless, it's the barrel and chambers that have to.

That said, if there is nothing on the side of the barrel and the cylinder doesn't have the right locking, then it probably is BP only.

Seller specifies it is sold "AS IS" and no refunds, so I think I'll pass on this one.
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