Hopkins and allen XL 32 double action
I was recently cleaning my grandfathers house when I came across this gun. I was wondering if anyone has any information on the company and when this gun might have been manufactured?
I can't be too specific, but do know Hopkins & Allen were old time gunmakers who made many different models and under different names. They made good, inexpensive solid revolvers somewhere between Iver Johnson and Colt. Dates run around 1870s to 1900 or so.
A very quick look at Google got me this: hopkins & allen xl bulldog 32 cal - Google Search
Look at the fifth item down from the top, a PDF monograph from a gun-collectors' society on the subject.
There are many good, informative leads among these Google listings. Check 'em out.
Everything I'm finding on the internet is saying 32 rimfire but the shells that were with it are centerfire so I'm assuming that's what it is, but I don't like experimenting with gunpowder in my hand. Is there any way to tell for sure?
Look at where the firing pin centers, in relation to one of the cylinder's (empty) chambers.
You could use a mirror placed at 45° to the pistol's muzzle, to look down the barrel and chamber, to see the firing pin. (We never look directly down a barrel: Bad habit to develop!)
Or, you could just look in from the side, since there should be enough rim-gap to allow observation.
Or, you could drop a (long) dowel down the barrel from the muzzle, and "fire" the pistol, which will leave an imprint of the firing pin on the end of the dowel.
You probably will have to dry-fire the pistol, and then hold the trigger in that "fired" position, to get the firing pin to protrude far enough to allow observation.
If you want to have less-than-perfectly-safe fun, you could carefully pull a bullet from one cartridge, using pliers on the bullet only, dump out the powder, take the gun outside, and fire the primer.
Then examine the fired cartridge to see where the firing pin hit.
But beware: A primer (all by itself) makes a very loud BANG! Neighbors, and dogs, will complain.
(Point the pistol in a safe direction—maybe down into the dirt—when you set it off, just to develop a safe habit.)
Thanks Steve I will try that tomorrow after work now I just need to talk my grandma into giving it to me instead of one of my cousins
Took a few more pics while checking to see if it was centerfire or rimfire. Needs a little cleaning, but should shine up pretty good
Use a brass or bronze brush in its bore and in its cylinder chambers. Hoppe's #9 is the appropriate solvent, or you can use Ballistol. Soak the bores first, then scrub.
I believe that you can load it through its open loading port, but that you have to remove its cylinder pin and cylinder, to punch-out the empty cases.
It's what the gun grabbers call a "Saturday-Night Special": A cheap, effective defense weapon.
It seems to be in quite nice condition, at least on the outside.
Is there no marking at all, to indicate its caliber? It could be either .32 S&W or .38 S&W.
Because of the way its cylinder is caused to turn, the cylinder rotates somewhat freely when the gun isn't cocked and ready to fire. Thus, the user must remove the fired cases immediately and reload their chambers, so that if the cylinder rotates unnoticed while the gun is being carried, any chamber which ends up under the hammer will fire.
Yes, you could fire it, because the cartridges which fit it are loaded weakly nowadays. But don't fire it: It really isn't completely safe to shoot.
If you clean it very gently and carefully, and if it cleans-up into a well-preserved piece, it might be worth as much as $250.00 or $275.00.
Don't sell it. Keep it for its family-history associations.
No there isn't any marks indicating what caliber it is, I just assumed .32 from the few shells it had with it. I found the serial number on it but I'm not sure how to use that to search to see what it is?
Well, if the cartridges you found with it are a close slip-fit into the cylinder, it's a .32; but if they're at all loose and rattly, it may be a .38 S&W.
The bore of the barrel should measure between 0.315 and 0.320, if it's a .32; and if it's a .38, the bore will be between 0.355 and 0.380.
Its serial number won't tell you much—maybe the approximate year in which it was made.
I didn't figure it would be much help. They are tight fit inside the cylinder. I would like to figure out what year it was made just to know
Use Google to find a Hopkins & Allen historical source.
First look under "Hopkins & Allen."
If that doesn't work, there probably is a "Saturday-Night Special" forum out there somewhere.
If the bullets that came with the gun are .32 S&W, .32 auto will not work correct? I read on another forum that the diameter is a little different
The .32 S&W cartridge is a rimmed shell, while the .32 ACP (.32 Auto) is rimless.
This revolver requires a shell with a rim, to hold things in place while shooting is going on. If you put a rimless shell into it, the cartridge will slide too deeply into its chamber, the pistol's firing pin won't reach it, and it won't go "BANG!"
You can still buy .32 S&W cartridges, but they may be difficult to find.
Look, for instance, here: .32 S&W Ammo | .32 Pistol Ammo | .32 S&W Ammunition At Sportsman's Guide
Were it me, I wouldn't try to shoot this pistol. Its mechanism is not the best, safest design.
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