A patient in my practice was astounded to learn of my interest in guns recently.
Today he came by with his wife and he had a package that he thought I would enjoy. It is a 5-shot revolver, break open top with birds head style grip. Caliber is 38 S&W. The rib over the barrel says Harrington & Richardson Arms Company, Worchester, Mass. USA.
Pat Oct 4 87, May 14 & Aug 6 89, April 2 95, APril 7 98.
Anybody ID this by the description, give me a date of production or something.
Also This appears to have be a 'stainless' sort of finish at one time. It is now a brownish/rust color. Any ideas on how to start out cleaning it up and how far to take it.
In case its not obvious, I don't own any revolvers. Ge gentle.
This is any one of several early H&R top break revolvers made around the turn of the century.
Without a picture, it will difficult to ID exactly which model.
These were cheap revolvers, often called "Suicide Specials" or "Saturday Night Specials" to denote inexpensive handguns.
These were typically sold in hardware stores, grocery stores, drug stores, pawn shops, and by mail order from catalog companies like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Wards.
Cost was only a few dollars.
Many of these type guns were nickel plated, and thats probably what yours was originally.
In order to plate steel, the metal is first plated with copper or iron, as a base coating, then plated with nickel.
Many cheap guns were plated first with iron due to the lesser cost. When the nickel deteriorates and wears off, what's left is the iron coating with also wears and rusts.
I'd suggest just wiping and brushing the gun as much as possible with rags and an old toothbrush to remove surface grim and powder fouling. The bore and chambers can be cleaned with standard cleaning rod, brushes, and patches with solvent.
I'd preserve the gun with either a rust-proofing lube like CLP Breakfree, or use a museum grade wax to coat it with a protective coating.
I DO NOT recommend shooting these old guns, since the quality of metal used and 100 years or wear usually make them unsafe to fire.
Depending on condition and exact model, these sell today for around $100.00 in excellent condition, with few takers.
Thanks for the input. I hadn't planned to fire it, not sure I could find 38 S&W anyway.
This weekend I used some BirchwoodCasey bluing and rust remover (highpriced toilet bowl cleaner) and a nylon brush. The metal came out a dull grey color. and it did not seem to be actively rusting in the open air. I still have a long way to go on cleanup, but its coming along. I haven't figured out how to get the trigger an hammer out yet.