26 October 2010

H&R Arms: "The American" Double Action Revolver

My friend Dana let me take a look at his mother's pistol, which she received from her dad, IIRC.

It's an H&R Arms "The American" double-action six-shot revolver with a 4.5-inch barrel, chambered for the .32 S&W center-fire round (loaded to black powder pressures, I understand). I couldn't get a picture of the bore, given the circumstances, but the rifling appeared to be a very slow twist - perhaps one turn in 12 inches.

There were six rounds in the box when she first showed it to him, so he and she fired those six rounds. The total number of rounds known to be fired through it now totals six. It's unknown whether it had been fired prior to her father's purchase of the pistol, but I could find no visible signs of wear or usage. The bluing is 100%, with no scratches of any kind. The bore looked so pristine that I'd have believed it was never fired, if Dana hadn't said he had.

From the research he's done, it seems the pistol is not particularly rare; they were manufactured in the hundreds of thousands. It's a first model, third variation, which was manufactured between 1898 and 1904, meaning the pistol is between 106 and 112 years old.

The neatest thing (to me) is that it's in the original box and waxed-paper wrapper. It was nice to handle that pistol, and to consider the times in which it was made ... and all that has transpired since.

The original box
Unwrapping carefully

The company name, address and caliber marked on the left side of the barrel makes it a first model, third variation. It reads "H&R Arms Company, Worcester, MASS. U.S.A., 32 S.&W. CTGE".

"The American" Double Action
(Oleg Volk is in no danger from my mad photo skillz. This impromptu shot was on their dining table, under the overhead light, and with a hand-held digital camera.)


Bob said...

Nice old revolver!

The Farmer said...

The good thing about that one is that it isn't a top break. Many of those style(I have one in .38 S&W)were. The real value in these pistols is the stories behind them. I hope she enjoys that treasure. Although some later models had been built for smokeless powders, loading to black powder pressures still provide a gun that is a real treat to shoot.

Lawyer said...

Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the caliber markings on the left side of the barrel, (the first models didn't have the caliber listed there) your american looks to be a second model, which were produced 1904 to 1941 and can chamber smokeless powder rounds and will even fire .32 acp for a cheaper alternative. i have never seen one in mint condition. nice.

Anonymous said...

Hi I hope someone can help me or at least point me in the direction. I have a gun from (the American double action) I'm trying to age the gun and determine the cal. Of the gun the only other marking on the gun besides the seareal # is "the American double action" and I've looked all over and haven't found any info on the gun. Please help!

Rev. Paul said...

You can go to Smith & Wesson's website to look up the info on your revolver. That's what I did.

KCT said...

I was looking for the age on this particular weapon, and wow, you have the same one that I have! Only difference is that I don't have the box & paper it originally came in. Thanks so much for posting this, now I have the information I was looking for!!