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Old May 10, 2019, 03:31 PM   #1
TruthTellers
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Does a modern top break have a place in today's concealed carry world?

I was thinking about the venerable J frame/LCR snub revolver and how they're still an effective option for concealed carry, but it got me to thinking if a modern design top break wouldn't be a bad alternative option. Top breaks may not be as strong, but I think the opinion among experts is that shooting whatever you shoot best with, even if it's a weaker ammo (like .22 LR, .32 Long, .38 S&W) because it's shot placement that matters and faster follow up shots is always good.

The swing out revolvers can shoot weaker ammo too, but my thinking is that if a top break can be made very small (think NAA Ranger but a bit larger, yet still smaller than a J frame) and still be faster to reload and have a more positive extraction/ejection of cases. Since there's no clearance issues with the grips, all the cases would be ejected and using a speedloader wouldn't have space issues either.

Clearly most of my thinking is about reloading a revolver and making it faster and better. Reloading isn't common in a defensive gun use, but then it becomes a question of the size of the revolver. If a top break smaller than a J frame can be done using modern metals and manufacturing, would it have an appeal? What if the price of such a top break was considerably less than today's J frames and LCR's?

What do you people think?
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Old May 10, 2019, 03:38 PM   #2
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Top break, swing out, whatever... something in 32 H+R magnum between the J frame and NAA ranger - five shot is fine. Designed from ground up as a 32 not some converted 38 with an extra shot.
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Old May 10, 2019, 05:18 PM   #3
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I have a British Enfield top break in 38/200. With the longer barrel, its not hard to get it open and the empties out, not sure how it would be with a short barrel, especially if you might have sticky cases. The shorter you go with the barrel, the less leverage youre going to have. (I keep looking for a 2" Enfield. If I find one, Ill let you know how it goes )

The cases dont always all come out when you open the gun, especially if you dont invert the gun when you do it.

I can load my S&W revolvers pretty quick using a speed loader. The same speed loaders work with the Enfield, but I dont get the job done as quickly.

To be fair, I really havent put much time and effort into figuring it out either. The Enfield is fun to shoot, but basically a range toy.

The S&W's just seem more fluid getting them reloaded compared to the top break.

If you practice the reload, revolvers really arent all that slow to get reloaded and going again. Might even be quicker than trying to get one of the "little" autos reloaded.

Personally, I still think the speedloaders are your best bet, and the Safariland's are my choice as long as you can find them for your gun.
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Old May 10, 2019, 05:22 PM   #4
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I frame????Bring back the I-frame!
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Old May 10, 2019, 06:42 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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The .32 H&R magnum requires the cylinder to be too long.
I have always said, that if a major manufacturer came out with a double action stainless 5 shot top break, or even swing out that is sized for the .32 acp cartridge, they could sell a million of them.
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Old May 10, 2019, 07:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs View Post
The .32 H&R magnum requires the cylinder to be too long.
I have always said, that if a major manufacturer came out with a double action stainless 5 shot top break, or even swing out that is sized for the .32 acp cartridge, they could sell a million of them.
I agree, but you likely know as well as I do that the industry has no interest in the .32 caliber at all when it comes to concealed carry guns.
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Old May 10, 2019, 08:24 PM   #7
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If you want to go small (.22 Magnum), there is the North American Ranger II.
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Old May 10, 2019, 08:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
but you likely know as well as I do that the industry has no interest in the .32 caliber at all when it comes to concealed carry guns.

Lucky Gunner likes the .32 in a snubby:
https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/w...caliber-is-32/
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Old May 10, 2019, 09:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Armybrat View Post
If you want to go small (.22 Magnum), there is the North American Ranger II.
That's not exactly an easy gun to shoot and it's a single action only.
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Old May 10, 2019, 09:59 PM   #10
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A modern Top-Break has been a dream of mine for years.
I wish I could get Ruger interested. With modern steels and heat-treatment, there is no reason a top break can not be made to hold any modern cartridge and not beat or wear out. My dream guns (and from tec-drawings I have done ) would be for 22 in the small frame 327 Fed Mag, 38 and 357 mag for the mid frame and a heavy frame for 41 44 and 45.
Such guns today can be used for concealed carry, but the true market is the outdoorsman and sportsman. In the last 20 years it seems all the guns are being made for the police and CCW market, but there are still LOTS of hunters, hikers, fishermen and timber men who I believer would just love a good modern well made break-top.
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Old May 10, 2019, 10:40 PM   #11
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I've always thought that a top-break revolver in a decent self-defense chambering would be a good choice for self-defense for folks who like revolvers.

You'd need something other than one of the common revolver calibers available today because the cartridges are too long to be ideal.

Something like .38Spl but in a redesigned case no longer than is really required. .38Spl is very long because it was originally a black powder cartridge and that case volume was needed for performance.
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Old May 10, 2019, 10:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
The .32 H&R magnum requires the cylinder to be too long.
I have always said, that if a major manufacturer came out with a double action stainless 5 shot top break, or even swing out that is sized for the .32 acp cartridge, they could sell a million of them.
Can I get an AMEN?! I have a couple of those old H&R Bicycle Top Breaks (one completely rebuilt and others in near mint condition) and those little guys are smaller than an I-Frame. I really wish NAA would pick it up. I would gladly pay $500 to $700 for something similar in stainless steel chambered for 32 ACP. Heck of a lot more effective than NAA's in 22 LR & Mag.
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Old May 10, 2019, 11:02 PM   #13
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In .38 or 32 it would probably work.
I think it would be expensive, due to machine work and fitting.

I'd pay for one just to play with it..
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Old May 11, 2019, 09:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
I was thinking about the venerable J frame/LCR snub revolver and how they're still an effective option for concealed carry, but it got me to thinking if a modern design top break wouldn't be a bad alternative option. Top breaks may not be as strong, but I think the opinion among experts is that shooting whatever you shoot best with, even if it's a weaker ammo (like .22 LR, .32 Long, .38 S&W) because it's shot placement that matters and faster follow up shots is always good.

The swing out revolvers can shoot weaker ammo too, but my thinking is that if a top break can be made very small (think NAA Ranger but a bit larger, yet still smaller than a J frame) and still be faster to reload and have a more positive extraction/ejection of cases. Since there's no clearance issues with the grips, all the cases would be ejected and using a speedloader wouldn't have space issues either.

Clearly most of my thinking is about reloading a revolver and making it faster and better. Reloading isn't common in a defensive gun use, but then it becomes a question of the size of the revolver. If a top break smaller than a J frame can be done using modern metals and manufacturing, would it have an appeal? What if the price of such a top break was considerably less than today's J frames and LCR's?

What do you people think?
The Internet Gunsphere buzz I'm seeing right now has folks saying smaller caliber snubbies (.22, .22 Magnum and .32) have a place in self defensive use, as long as the smaller diameter bullets is getting you commensurately more of them, and penetration is good.

So, in that sense, yeah, a modern top break might work.

Could an equivalent quality top break be made as inexpensively as a swing out cylinder one?

How much would it get you, in terms of speed, over a (now) conventional swing out cylinder gun? You still have a lot of 2 handed manipulation you need to do.

Assuming there's much difference in reload speed, is it even needful?
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Old May 11, 2019, 10:53 AM   #15
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Most of the top breaks I have have a lug of some sort machined into the frame. The locking mechanism is a separate piece that moves. Why can’t the lug be hardened with the frame and the locking mechanism be hardened somewhat softer and the lock be a ‘maintenance ‘ piece? I do realize that maintenance of a critical locking mechanism is outside of the current paradigm regarding firearms.
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Old May 11, 2019, 11:12 AM   #16
Jim Watson
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I think a "tool steel" Safety Hammerless would be a worthwhile hideout gun.
There are a lot of people advocating .38 Special Midrange Wadcutters, which would fit a .38 S&W length cylinder.
A .32 ACP revolver with stronger materials than .32 S&W would work, too. Lots of people improvising with ACPs in revolvers, even though an overload in the old guns.
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Old May 11, 2019, 11:50 AM   #17
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If Kimber can already fit 6 .357into the cylinder size of a LCR or J frame, then I am sure that someone can find a way to fit 7 .32 into the same size cylinder. 7 shot j frame size revolver would be on my want list.
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Old May 11, 2019, 11:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
The .32 H&R magnum requires the cylinder to be too long.
I have always said, that if a major manufacturer came out with a double action stainless 5 shot top break, or even swing out that is sized for the .32 acp cartridge, they could sell a million of them.
I am in full agreement with Bill (rare occurrence LOL).
Something in the line of the Taurus 380 revolver, but even a bit smaller.
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Old May 11, 2019, 12:29 PM   #19
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The type of action makes no difference of any kind. Nor does the cartridge.
Used to buy you could buy a 4 shot .357 Mag called a "COP"(COP stood for Compact Off-Duty Police). It was a break action. 5.6" long with a 3.25" barrel and weighed 1.75 pounds empty. It didn't sell.
https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/20...ringer-pistol/
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Old May 11, 2019, 12:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
I've always thought that a top-break revolver in a decent self-defense chambering would be a good choice for self-defense for folks who like revolvers.

You'd need something other than one of the common revolver calibers available today because the cartridges are too long to be ideal.

Something like .38Spl but in a redesigned case no longer than is really required. .38Spl is very long because it was originally a black powder cartridge and that case volume was needed for performance.
I agree. I think something like .38 Short Colt would work fine loaded to .38 Special pressures. Not only would it be sufficient in power, but being able to shoot it in .38's and .357's would make it popular too as I'd imagine anyone buying a top break .38 Short Colt would already have some .38 or .357 revolvers.
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:05 PM   #21
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What if the price of such a top break was considerably less than today's J frames and LCR's?
For a new made top break? It won't be. At the very least it will be the same, and I doubt that. It will be MORE expensive than a swing out style.

Despite it' simple appearance, there is actually MORE machining and more fitting required in a top-break. And things wear differently, too. Plus there is the strength issue, and while YOU might be fine with light calibers, a lot of folks aren't.

Despite being waay cool, and classy, top breaks are less efficient than solid frame swing out revolvers, more complex, and more fragile. This also means more expensive.
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:24 PM   #22
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I would really like something like a late 1800's S&W top break, but modern steel and 6 shots of .32 ACP instead of five .38 S&W. I know no one will ever make a gun like that; maybe I'll commission one if I ever win the Powerball or MegaMillions lottery (I only play them when the jackpot approaches a billion dollars)
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:40 PM   #23
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Top breaks may not be as strong, but I think the opinion among experts is that shooting whatever you shoot best with, even if it's a weaker ammo (like .22 LR, .32 Long, .38 S&W) because it's shot placement that matters and faster follow up shots is always good.
As always, this is essentially nonsense noise. What it translates to is that anyone can carry a small and inefficient gun that isn't ordinarily considered adequate for combat as long as they can make a perfect shot without fail. A person can throw a shuriken and kill a dadburned steer as long as he tears out the carotid artery.

The answer to the unasked question "am I going to survive carrying a gun that has energy levels similar to a major league pitch or even a tennis ball?"

IMO, people should be saying "get used to a stronger round and carry that if it is at all possible. Carrying an inappropriately small round and expecting that you will rise to the occasion and perform well is a real risk."

But your question was whether or not a micro pistol could be made with the convenience of a pop up cylinder and still retain the energy of a suitable cartridge and the robustness of a solid top strapped revolver.

No, I doubt it. An LCR can use a plastic frame, but if we take the top strap off of some of these mini revolvers, we would be adding unusual stresses to the frame.

Then there is the question of cost. This would be an entirely unique design that would have to be created from the very concept on paper. Nothing could be carried over from stock parts. So, it will cost a fortune for the development costs that couldn't be passed on to the consumer until maybe even tens of thousands of units were sold.

Yes, I am a pessimist. There's nothing wrong with realistically assessing the potential for failure of what seems like a great idea "at the time". I don't believe that a break open revolver can be designed cheaply enough to provide units that will fly from the shelves. I find the .32 to be too far into the just barely adequate range to suggest it. If the major reason for wanting it is to be even more compact than available pieces, i'm not sure if there will be any added benefit from the extremely small improvement.

A .380 will be better able to tear a bleeding hole through a person's flesh than the other. if a person fails to hit the major vessels the speed of incapacitation of the bad guy is the only thing that matters. It's almost certain that a hit in the same spot will cause less damage if the shot was made with a .32 instead of a .380.

So, Gramma, put the stupid little raven .32 back in the desk. you can't shoot worth a hoot and think that just waving it or shooting it once will end the threat. carry pepper spray and a sharp knife. I'm sure that the stupid little raven can hurt or kill someone, but i won't let you carry it around believing that it will not fail to save your life.
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:40 PM   #24
Glenn E. Meyer
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1. Here's a picture of the NAA prototype 32 HR mag revolver. Never made it to production and it is ugly. https://naaminis.com/smf/index.php?topic=2715.0

2. Here's a modern Russian break top that didn't make it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP-412_REX


3. India has a 32 breaktop aimed at the women's self-defense market

https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-...t-indifference

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25727080 Check out the video

It's expensive but wonder if it would sell here for a cheaper price. Think it is a 32 SW Long though.
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:53 PM   #25
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For a new made top break? It won't be. At the very least it will be the same, and I doubt that. It will be MORE expensive than a swing out style.
I agree. I can't see it being cheaper than current revolvers and I would expect it to be more expensive, not just comparable in price.
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