OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

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OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by longleaf on Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:46 am

I now find the old nickel-plated top-break revolvers (Iver Johnson, H&R, Imperial Arms ---) of the late 19th - early 20th century interesting. 32, 38 S&W short calibers. Unfortunately, most of them, with the exception of the latest versions, require blackpowder cartridges. Anybody else have these? The smokeless powder cartridges are as common as hen's teeth and you would have to reload for blackpowder. Any thoughts on this?

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by 22lrfan on Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:20 pm

I've had several old S&W's in .38 S&W over the years and they all shot ok.  They are all gone now.  The only one I currently have is a H&R Defender I pickup up at a pawn shop really cheap because the firing pin is broken.  I'll locate a firing pin some day and get it shooting.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by Haveme1 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:34 pm

I'd sure like to have one just for grins.
Reloading for them black powder would be kinda Iinteresting too.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by mascott on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:53 pm

I've got a S&W Safety Hammerless top break, aka lemon squeezer. Also have a Enfield No.2 MK1.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by 41 fan on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:37 pm

Just sold my lemon squeezer.nice looking S&W

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by glocksrus on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:45 pm

I have a Iver Johnson, I just load wax bullets and a primer. Kind of fun to still shoot it.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by longleaf on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:16 am

Thanks, guys for the info. Especially 22lrfan for the pics. One thing I noticed on the old breaktops on Gunbroker is what is obviously the effect of corrosive blackpowder around the forcing cone and vicinity. Those were obviously not meant for smokeless powder cartridges. I'd like to find out which of these pistols are safe to fire smokeless. Later ones were, but which ones?

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by Rw on Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:10 am

There is a company reproducing the old smith top breaks, hickock45 on youtube reviewed one not long ago.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by longleaf on Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:34 pm

Tried to find that new old S&W 44 1870 top break on Google without success. The top break I bought on Gunbroker is here.

http://pics.gunbroker.com/GB/379358000/379358143/pix988974580.jpg

I need to learn how to post pictures.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by BigDaddyQ on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:36 pm

I had a dang bag full of them 2 months ago. I sold them all off with the exception of 1. It is a H&R 38s&w. It shoots really well and does not require black powder. I was thinking of selling it so I could put that money towards a newer 38special or 357mag.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by ssanders224 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:47 pm

Don't have any center fires... But here's my break top H&R 999.  Like new in the box.  Really a great shooting little pistol.


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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by BigDaddyQ on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:33 am

http://s1135.photobucket.com/user/bigdaddyq1/media/2013-02-01_213841.jpg.html?sort=3&o=55

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by 22lrfan on Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:42 pm

BigDaddyQ wrote:http://s1135.photobucket.com/user/bigdaddyq1/media/2013-02-01_213841.jpg.html?sort=3&o=55
Nice collection!!! big thumb up

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by inthe10ring on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:23 am

Not to hijack this thread...but I've always wondered....why did this revolver design go away? Did it lack the durability, structural integrity of the solid frame revolvers?

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by Doug Bowser on Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:16 pm

By the way the pistol shooter should never eject the rounds with the barrel in the down position. Always with the barrel up.  The empties can fall under the star and jamb the revolver. The same goes for side swing revolvers as well.

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Re: OLD TOP BREAK REVOLVERS

Post by BigDaddyQ on Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:16 pm

inthe10ring wrote:Not to hijack this thread...but I've always wondered....why did this revolver design go away? Did it lack the durability, structural integrity of the solid frame revolvers?

Yes it is not a solid frame so modern higher pressure cartridges would cause frame cracking. Think about those old blackpowder revolvers with no top strap at all. Same principle.

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.455 Webley fired with .45ACP loads.

Post by Doug Bowser on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:20 pm


And this Webley was the strongest of the Models a Model VI. Full power US Ball is bad for them.

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