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  1. #1

    Default COMEBACK: H&R breaktop and other old designs

    When were the H&R breaktop .22's made?

    Are they any good?

    Are they still made anywhere?

    What happened to that part of H&R? Who owns the patents/blueprints?

    If they are any good, does anyone think it might make sense to bring them back?

    Look how well the Ruger Single Six .22's do. Imagine if the old H&R or other designs could come back, using modern methods and materials, and keep the costs down?


    Viable?

    If not this one, any other designs? Or did it fail for a good reason?

    Are there any other designs besides the 1911 which are "in the public domain"? That would be worth doing?

  2. #2
    Road Warrior Zappa's Avatar
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    I really like these old break-tops, I have a single action H&R Sportsman 199 and it's double action brother the Sportsman 999.
    The 999 is a two tone variant.
    I think they were well made, accurate and fun to shoot.
    They were also relatively inexpensive in their day.
    Not sure when they went out of production in Gardner.
    The company had a succession of owners and name changes,
    IIRC, first it was H&R, then H&R 1871, then NEF.
    I believe Marlin was the last owner so they probably hold the rights to the design plans.
    I'd like to see these top-breaks make a comeback, but not at the prices of the current S&W Schofields and Ubertis.

    "Politicians Are Like Diapers, They Should Be Changed Often, And For The Same Reason"

  3. #3

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    That's just it. They were all around good, and at a good price. I know there is an Italian company making some reproductions, as well as EAA.

    S&W has come out with their "classic" line, and Ruger has a bunch of their older styles and designs still cooking.

    Ideally, I'd love to see a Massachusetts company making guns which were originally made here to begin with.

    Kahr?

  4. #4
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    I always liked the H&R 999. I saw one on the classifieds here at one point (I think?) and immediately did the Mister Burns finger thing I do when I see a gun I didn't realize I have to have. Unfortunately my gun $ is earmarked for a shotgun that I want just an incrementally tiny bit more. I like most of the H$R .22 revolvers. Even the solid frame ones that needed the cylinders removed to load/unload. They always seemed simple, reliable, tough, and they didn't cost a ton of $. The 999 and what ever the "SAA" style one was are the two I would love to see put back into production. I wanted both when I was a kid, so if I come across either and have the dough, I'll probably pick it up. I'd be willing to bet that part of H&R, along with the patents, blueprints etc are owned by Marlin just like the rest of H&R/NEF.

  5. #5
    NES Member Monadnock's Avatar
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    I have dealt with H&R .32S&W and .38S&W top-breaks ...the .22s are not my bag, but here is some info ...I'll look, I have some old advertisements saved somewhere ...found it, it's a box cover:



    And to try and answer a part of your question, the H&R top-break firearms (including the .22s) were of good quality. Though, realistically, there were a ton of guns built on nearly identical designs. They all look like the Smith & Wesson designs from that period (turn of the century ...and the ots). I may be wrong, but examining the top-break models of that period reveal a lot more machine work necessary as compared to a conventional modern-style revolver. Perhaps that's the reason that they disappeared.

    H&R PREMIER SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME TOP BREAK R.F. & C.F. ----------1905-1941
    Small fame double action top break revolver with double top post barrel latch; calibers and cylinder capacity, 22 rimfire-7 rounds,

    There has not been enough data gathered on serial number to try to come up with a serial number range for the different variations.
    First Variation, model name & caliber marked on left side of barrel, patent dates 5-14-89, 4-2-95, 4-7-96---------------1905-Only

    Second Variation, model name & caliber marked on left side of barrel, patent dates 4-2-95, 4-7-96-------------------1906-1908
    Third Variation, caliber only marked on left side of barrel, patent date 10-8-95-------1909-1913
    Fourth Variation, caliber only marked on left side of barrel, no patent date, state not spelled out in address (MASS)---------1914-1915
    Fifth Variation, caliber only marked on left side of barrel same as 4th except different font used in barrel markings----------1914-1915
    Sixth Variation, caliber only marked on left side of barrel. State name in barrel marking spelled out (MASSACHUSETTS)-----1916-1924
    Seventh Variation, new grip frame, there is no step down for the grip panels to fit into-----1925-1942
    After 1930 listed in catalogs as; PREMIER No. 30 .22 Rimfire 7 shot & PREMIER No. 35.32 S&W 5 shot
    VALUE: 100%=$265 60%=$75 Add 10% premium for blue finish; 20% premium 4”, 5” or 6” barrel; 20% premium for 22 rimfire caliber; 10% premium
    for 7th variation

    ================================================== ================
    HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON, INC.
    Top Break Revolvers: 1885-1952

    *
    .22 SPECIAL LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - .22 rimfire or .22 WRF cal., 6 in. barrel, 7 or 9 shot, blue finish, two-piece walnut grips (after 1932 one-piece grips). Mfg. 1925-1941.
    *
    22 EXPERT LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - similar to .22 Special Large Frame Top Break, except has 10 in. barrel. Mfg. 1927-1941.
    *
    AUTOMATIC EJECTING KNIFE MODEL
    - similar to regular Auto-Ejector Model except 4 in. barrel with a 2¼ inch double edge knife attached under the barrel, only finish listed in catalogs was nickel but some blue finish examples have been observed, Second Model Black Powder mfg. 1901-1904, Third Model Smokeless Powder mfg. 1905-1917.
    *
    AUTOMATIC EJECTING POLICE SECOND MODEL (BLACK POWDER)
    - similar to Auto-Ejecting Second model except has a patented spurless Hammer, the Police Model will be found in all variations and calibers of the Second Model. Mfg. 1890-1904.
    *
    AUTOMATIC EJECTING POLICE THIRD MODEL (SMOKELESS POWDER)
    - similar to Auto-Ejecting Third Model except has a patented spurless hammer, Police Model will be found in all variations and calibers of the Third Model until 1939. Mfg. 1905-1939.
    *
    EUREKA SPORTSMAN MODEL 196
    - .22 rimfire cal., 6 shot, large frame single action top break, cylinder chambers individually recessed, 6 in. flat top oval (same as late production Sportsman) barrel, adj. front and rear sight (has a different configuration than found on any other H&R adj. rear sight), oversized one-piece checkered walnut grips (eleven different styles available), trigger guard is heaver and wider than Model 777, trigger pull factory set 2 ½ to 3 pounds, with over travel adjustment, curved trigger and heavy straight hammer spur, hammer mounted firing pin, birds-head shaped grip frame, top of barrel markings in two lines: "HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON ARMS CO., WORCESTER, MASS U.S.A.", left side of barrel in three lines: "H&R NO. 196 EUREKA SPORTSMAN", right side of barrel, one line: "22 LONG RIFLE CTGE", overall length approx. 10 ¾ inches, 30-32 oz. Mfg. 1940 only.
    *
    H&R HAMMERLESS BICYCLE SECOND MODEL
    - .22 rimfire or .32 S&W cal., 5 or 7 shot, similar to H&R Hammerless Second Model, except has 2 in. barrel only, not listed as a separate model after 1920 but 2 inch barrel was still available. Mfg. 1905-1920.
    *
    H&R HAMMERLESS SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME TOP BREAK (SMOKELESS POWDER)
    - .22 rimfire or .32 S&W cal., 5 (.32 cal.) or 7 (.22 cal.) shot, double top post barrel latch, nickel or blue finish, hard rubber grips with target logo at the top, 3¼ (standard), 4, 5, or 6 in. barrel, rebounding hammer, automatic cylinder stop, caliber marking on left side of barrel, designed for smokeless powder cartridge pressures only. Mfg. 1905-1941.
    *
    H&R PREMIER BICYCLE MODEL FIRST MODEL TOP BREAK (BLACK POWDER)
    - similar to Premier First Model, except has 2 in. barrel only. Mfg. 1895-1904.
    *
    H&R PREMIER BICYCLE SECOND MODEL (SMOKELESS POWDER)
    - similar to Premier Second Model, except has 2 in. barrel, not listed as a separate model after 1919. Mfg. 1905-1920.
    *
    H&R PREMIER FIRST MODEL SMALL FRAME TOP BREAK (BLACK POWDER)
    - .22 rimfire or .32 centerfire cal., 5 or 7 shot, double top post barrel latch, free wheeling cylinder (no automatic cylinder stop), nickel with case harden hammer and barrel latch, 3 (standard), 4, 5, or 6 in. barrel, features a scaled down version of the new frame and double action mechanism introduced in 1890 on the Auto-Ejecting Second Model, does not have caliber marking on left, manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures. Mfg. 1895-1904.
    *
    H&R PREMIER POLICE (SPURLESS HAMMER, BLACK POWDER)
    - similar to Premier First Model, except has patented spurless hammer. Mfg. 1895-1904.
    *
    H&R PREMIER POLICE BICYCLE FIRST MODEL (BLACK POWDER)
    - similar to Premier First Model, except has 2 in. barrel and patented spurless hammer. Mfg. 1895-1904.
    *
    H&R PREMIER POLICE BICYCLE SECOND MODEL (SMOKELESS POWDER)
    - similar to Premier Second Model, except has 2 in. barrel and patented spurless hammer, not listed as a separate model after 1919. Mfg. 1905-1920.
    *
    H&R PREMIER POLICE SECOND MODEL (SMOKELESS POWDER)
    - similar to Premier Second Model, except has spurless hammer, not listed as a separate model after 1938. Mfg. 1905-1939.
    *
    H&R PREMIER SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME TOP BREAK R.F. & C.F.
    - .22 rimfire or .32 S&W cal., double top post barrel latch, 5 or 7 shot, automatic cylinder stop, nickel finish with case hardened hammer and barrel latch, 2, 3 (standard), 4, 5, and 6 in. barrel, caliber markings on left side of barrel, manufactured for smokeless powder cartridge pressures. Mfg. 1905-1941.
    *
    H&R TARGET SMALL FRAME TOP BREAK (AKA MODEL 766)
    - .22 rimfire cal., 7 shot, blue finish, 6 in. barrel, double action, oversized two-piece walnut grips, marked on left side of barrel "H&R TARGET", 22 rimfire on the right side of the barrel,company name and address on the top of the barrel rib. Mfg. 1925-1934.
    *
    MODEL 299 NEW DEFENDER LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - .22 rimfire cal., 9 shot, 2 in. barrel, large frame top break revolver, adj. sights, one piece walnut grips, pocket size, marked on right side of barrel with model name and caliber, modified "Rice Frame", automatic cylinder stop, finger rest trigger guard, overall length only 6¼ inches, serial number range unknown, but believed to be in the same series as the Model 999 Sportsman. Mfg. 1935-1939.
    *
    SPORTSMAN DOUBLE ACTION MODEL 999 LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - .22 LR or .22 WRF cal., 7 (.22 WRF cal.) or 9 shot, blue finish, 6 in. ribbed barrel, safety rim cylinder, automatic cylinder stop, adj. rear sight, three different front sights - fixed full blade, Partridge type, and Partridge type pinned to barrel top rib, finger rest trigger guard, one-piece oversized checkered walnut grips, birds-head grip frame (Rice frame), frame mounted firing pin, hammer face is flat, cylinder release is long pivoting lever on right side of frame (there are two different version of this), serial numbered in its own series from 01 up to at least 89761 by the end of 1939, starting in 1940 letter codes were used. Mfg. 1932-1952.
    *
    SPORTSMAN SINGLE ACTION MODEL 199 LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - .22 LR cal., 9 shot, safety rim cylinder, blue finish, 6 in. round heavy rib barrel, automatic cylinder stop, adj. front and rear sights, finger rest trigger guard, one-piece oversized checkered walnut grips, birds-head grip frame, top of barrel marked with company name and address, left side of barrel marked in two lines: "H & R SPORTSMAN SINGLE ACTION", right side of barrel marked: "22 LONG RIFLE CTGE", serial numbered in series from 01 up and early production will have S letter code denoting single action. Mfg. 1932-1951.
    *
    ULTRA SPORTSMAN MODEL 777 LARGE FRAME TOP BREAK
    - .22 rimfire cal., 9 shot, large frame single action top break, 6 in. flat top oval shaped barrel (same as the Model 199), adj. front and rear sight, elevation screw on front of barrel just above muzzle, oversized one-piece checkered walnut grips (eleven different styles available), straight trigger, arched hammer spur, cylinder release is a vertical lever on the right side of barrel lug, rear of cylinder has the patented H&R safety rim, finger rest trigger guard, trigger pull factory set 2 ½ to 3 pounds, hammer mounted firing pin, serial numbered in its own series U01 to at least U900, top of barrel markings in two lines: "HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON ARMS CO. WORCESTER, MASS. U.S.A.", left side of barrel in three lines: "H&R NO. 777 ULTRA SPORTSMAN", right side of barrel, one line: ".22 LONG RIFLE CTCG." Mfg. 1938-1939.
    Last edited by Monadnock; 11-20-2011 at 08:59 PM. Reason: added info
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  6. #6
    Road Warrior Zappa's Avatar
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    HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON, INC.
    Top Break Revolvers: 1885-1952
    Actually, many of the .22LR top-break models were made up until January of 1986.
    More info about these can be found in the Fjestad Blue Book.

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  7. #7
    NES Member noddaduma's Avatar
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    Not a revolver, but I learned to shoot on my grandad's Remington Rolling Block action .22 rifle (Think it's a No. 5?) which he had since he was a kid. Kind of the turn-of-the-century version of the cricket .22s you see in stores. Anybody still make those?
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