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  #51  
Old 07-16-2023, 10:04 AM
4BODIDDLEY 4BODIDDLEY is offline
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Default Another 999

Hereís my Sportsman. Iíve not fired it but I didnít buy it new. Itís really clean for a 1972 gun. Havenít decided whether to keep it or not. I donít like upside down cell pics!
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  #52  
Old 07-16-2023, 11:31 AM
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Lots of knowledgeable H&R guys here. What are thoughts on the 929 Sidekick? I’ve got my eye on one at a LGS. Very nice shooter. Which is what I’d do with it. 4” black plastic grips. I haven’t handled it yet but probably will this week.
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  #53  
Old 07-16-2023, 11:45 AM
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Here ya go.......

The Harrington & Richardson Sportsman-img_3028-jpeg
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Old 07-16-2023, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for this illuminating discussion. Only have one .22 H & R, from 1969 with F prefix. That is a 4 inch 926, an accurate item with a decent trigger.
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  #55  
Old 07-16-2023, 09:58 PM
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Just checked! Mine was made in 1968! Thanks for the chart, OP! Grandson loves to shoot it!
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Old 07-19-2023, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bald1 View Post
Lots of knowledgeable H&R guys here. What are thoughts on the 929 Sidekick? Iíve got my eye on one at a LGS. Very nice shooter. Which is what Iíd do with it. 4Ē black plastic grips. I havenít handled it yet but probably will this week.
I was first taught to shoot a handgun by my Dad with the Sidekick below. It's from the late 50's, and still going strong. They don't garner a lot of attention in the collecting world, but they supplied "the workingman" with a lower cost, dependable revolver providing years of use.

The 926 round barrel is more common, with the 929 Slabside Sidekick being a bit harder to find. H&R also made a 4" companion 32 Long Slabside. I lost out on an auction last month one one, also with the "Tennessee Ivory" (plastic 🙂 ) grips as I didn't want to drop the $450 that it eventually closed at. Would have made a nice pairing with Pops Sidekick though.

When I was a kid I thought these grips were ivory. Man, I was in high style when Dad allowed me to carry it on our plinking walks. 🙂
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Old 07-25-2023, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for posting Goony.

I do have a H&R model 926 in .38 s&w. I wonder why it is in that caliber. Even in 1974 when this revolver was build it was not a populair caliber. Or I am wrong. But because it is a topbreak revolver it was probebly the best choice. It is well made and I love it. The condition is great. Before I did take the pictures I could better whipe the spots off.
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  #58  
Old 10-06-2023, 08:25 PM
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Not a Sportsman, but rather a Model 939 Ultra "Side-Kick" made in 1958 (the first year of production). The closeup shot shows the spring loaded button at the rear of the hammer which when pushed in releases the swing out cylinder. This button is a feature not found on any other H&R.

Other details include an aluminum ventilated rib and machine turning on the sides of the hammer (albeit subdued). The action is silky smooth. Like the Sportsman, clearly this was intended to be a a revolver that would appeal to a more sophisticated customer than did the company's generally more utilitarian offerings.

As illustrated by the advertisement, an integral key operated safety lock became available the year following this model's introduction. Some examples will be found with a "VU" serial number prefix which has been interpreted to indicate guns originally manufactured in 1958 but retrofitted with the new safety lock prior to their distribution in 1959.

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  #59  
Old 10-06-2023, 09:07 PM
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Default 22 Special

It would seem that this "22 Special" made around 1935 could be part of this conversation. For a Depression era, budget priced gun, the fit and finish are amazing. The sights leave a lot to be desired, but it's a really fun shooter. The barrel to frame lock-up is bank vault tight. The hourglass shaped rib is a nice detail.
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  #60  
Old 10-10-2023, 12:15 AM
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A very special (and pricey) Sportsman.

See: Engraved Harrington & Richardson Sportsman Revolver | Rock Island Auction
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Old 10-10-2023, 01:29 AM
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I still have my H&R SPORTSMAN 999 that my parents gave me as a Christmas present in 74' or 75'?
I was 10 years old, shot a lot of rabbits and squirrels with the
H&R 999

http://smith-wessonforum.com/attachm...1&d=1696915638
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Old 10-15-2023, 11:08 AM
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I recently inherited my H&R 999 from my neighbor who was a WW2 Veteran. My neighbor had inherited this from his father in 1973 and it hadn't been fired since. It came with box, paperwork andthe original purchase permit dated from 1958, the gun is a July 1957 production. This gun was fired very little and I'll treasure it for many years to come.
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  #63  
Old 10-15-2023, 12:20 PM
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In the first post of this thread I mentioned that my 1981 vintage Sportsman had a fluted rather than a ventilated barrel rib.

Allow me to recap the progression in this regard. The prewar and early postwar Sportsman had a solid rib. This style persisted even through the move away from the birdshead grip frame to the modern square butt one in the early 1950's. Sometime in the mid to late 1960's, the ventilated rib was introduced (note that this remained integral to the barrel, unlike the screwed on one of the 939 shown above). Then around 1980, the vents became merely flutes.

In the 29th Edition of Guns Illustrated (1997) there was published an article by Gary M. Brown discussing the history of the Sportsman in which he details the reason for the move away from a ventilated barrel rib to a fluted one. I'll quote him here:

"A long-time H&R employee states that there was a very pragmatic reason for this subtle change, Due to the 1100-degree hot-bluing process used by the 'old' Harrington & Richardson, combined with a slight loss of structural integrity caused by the removal of metal necessary to create a true ventilated rib, considerable barrel warping had been experienced. Rather than simply returning to the unadorned plain rib, the current fluted effect was adopted."

I'd not heard this before. It leaves open the question of, if such difficulties had been encountered with the production of the ventilated barrel (accompanied by the wastage this would've entailed), then why did H&R continue making the Sportsman in that configuration all the way through the 1970's?
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  #64  
Old 10-15-2023, 02:54 PM
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I have a single action Sportsman I believe is one of those from the 30s. The SN is S12187. Is there any way to nail that down to a specific year?
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Old 10-15-2023, 03:20 PM
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I bought a bunch of H&Rs when they were circling the bowl back in 80s. Distributors close outs on some models were 2/$99 and 3/$99. I bought several 3Ē or4Ē .32mags, wish I had tucked them away- for later sale.
I never liked H&R or IJ revolvers since a wee kid. My old man had a Sealed 8 and Uncle a 999. The 1st handguns I ever shot. A lot of Boomers are jacking the market on H&Rs out of nostalgia. Gramps had one, type deal.
A friend of mine just bought a couple on line. Correction, he said he ďWonĒ them at auction. They are bringing the money of a good shooter grade 34 or Ruger S-6. When you are talking $400 for a H&R, I fold.
I think the design of lockwork was joint effort between Rube Goldberg and the Count deíSade.
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  #66  
Old 10-15-2023, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikpolcrack View Post
I have a single action Sportsman I believe is one of those from the 30s. The SN is S12187. Is there any way to nail that down to a specific year?
H&R's records from this era haven't survived, so the best estimate for your single action Sportsman would be that it was made sometime after mid-1933 but prior to 1937.
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Old 10-15-2023, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
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H&R's records from this era haven't survived, so the best estimate for your single action Sportsman would be that it was made sometime after mid-1933 but prior to 1937.
Thanks for the info!
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  #68  
Old 10-15-2023, 07:40 PM
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You could(will) develop some strong fingers from pulling the DA on H&R revolvers.
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  #69  
Old 10-16-2023, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drm50 View Post
When you are talking $400 for a H&R, I fold.
That $400+ price point does seem to be where the Sportsman is currently coming in at. Some recent documented sales can be viewed here: 999 Sportsman
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Old 10-19-2023, 05:28 PM
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Goony, just thought I 'd let you know that I've already used your chart twice to give someone in other forums the manufactured date of their H&R's. Thanks again for posting it.
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Old 10-20-2023, 07:16 AM
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Thanks for starting this thread, Goony, that is a great looking 999 revolver.
I inherited my father's 949, which he bought new. It is in nice shape, I doubt that my father fired any more than 100 rounds through it before he passed on.
It works well in single action, but gets out of time in double action. It probably left the factory that way, I am fairly sure my father only fired it single action.
My wife really likes it, and has pretty much taken it over!
Thanks for the chart, Goony, my father's revolver was made in 1966.

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  #72  
Old 10-24-2023, 12:35 PM
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A 1967 advertisement.
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Old 10-30-2023, 06:33 PM
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In the company's waning years, as an alternative to the Sportsman H&R promoted their line of swing out cylinder models for competitive shooting. Pictured is a Model 904 from 1980, fitted with a bull barrel and chambered in .22 WMR (note the unfluted cylinder).
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Old 11-01-2023, 09:07 PM
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Aside from the company's target and more utilitarian models, H&R also vied to capture a share of the market for western styled .22 revolvers (albeit in double rather than single action). Although not so highly regarded (either then or now) as the Ruger and Colt "cowboy" .22's, H&R nevertheless sold plenty of theirs, with the lineup including both 6 and 9 shot versions. Pictured below is a 1966 vintage "Forty-Niner" which falls into the latter category.
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Old 11-01-2023, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
I had one a few years back but just couldnít warm up to it. Not a bad gun in any way but just not up to S & W standards of finish and function.
These days, a mid-grade H&R of yore, exceeds the current S&W standards of fit and finish. Sad.
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Old 11-01-2023, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike, SC Hunter View Post
You could(will) develop some strong fingers from pulling the DA on H&R revolvers.
Like Colt DA revolvers, they were intended to be fired SA, "with DA capability".
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Old 11-04-2023, 07:16 PM
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A 1948 advertisement.
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Old 11-05-2023, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
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both 6 and 9 shot versions. Pictured below is a 1966 vintage "Forty-Niner" which falls into the latter category
Argh! Loading a 9-shot through a loading gate !?!?
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Old 11-10-2023, 11:33 AM
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An auction listing from a few years back: Two H&R Sportsman Double Action Revolvers | Rock Island Auction

Both are interesting, one being an example of the engraved "1 of 999" version, while the other dating from 1953 would represent one of the earliest post Rice frame guns. On this latter one, note the relief cut at the top of the left grip panel. I'd be inclined to think this to be a modification made by a previous owner rather than it having left the factory that way, but if so it was beautifully done.
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Old 11-10-2023, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Model 15-4ever View Post
Like Colt DA revolvers, they were intended to be fired SA, "with DA capability".
That's an interesting statement. If you believe it to be true, may I ask why?
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Old 11-22-2023, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
Argh! Loading a 9-shot through a loading gate !?!?
Well, the upside of that is that you have to load and unload only two-thirds as often....
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Old 11-25-2023, 11:47 AM
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My H&R M999 Sportsman that dates to c.1970. Beside it is an IJ 'Sealed Eight' I inherited.
I appreciate the fact that these were quality 'working man's' .22 revolvers and priced far below the big well known makers products.
And, nothing of their kind will ever be made again.
Affordable .22's now mean Zamak and/or plastic.
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Old 11-25-2023, 12:05 PM
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This H&R Sportsman 999 is a good shooting pistol. The top break makes it easy to unload and is very unique.
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Old 12-12-2023, 04:27 PM
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An advertisement that's a little over the top....
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Old 12-28-2023, 10:30 AM
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The link below is to an auction from several years ago for a late 1930's Sportsman. I'm bringing this up on account of its grip configuration, which I've not seen before and doesn't appear to match any of those shown in post #19 of this thread.

H&R Sportsman Revolver | Rock Island Auction
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Old 12-28-2023, 01:47 PM
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GOONY, THANK YOU SOO MUCH. I have my grandfathers 999 Sportsman with a 6" barrel. He was an avid hunter and ran a pair of grocery stores. Like many grocers of his era 1930s to 1970s, he often bartered and ran charge accounts. My first cousin and I were his shadows working in the stores and hunting with him. He hunted mostly small game but was not adverse to taking deer, turkey, boar, or bear if one was available and in season. He bartered for the Sportsman and carried it in a hip holster and had a bartered plain jane LC Smith 20 gauge. If the game was running or flying he deployed the shotgun and if it was small game and not moving, the Sportsman was deployed. I am sure he did on occasion, but I can not remember seeing him miss a shot. The Sportsman was the first handgun I ever fired. 22LR was 35 cents a box. We bought cases of 22LR and 20 & 12 gauge (cards of Barlow and Tree Brand pocket knives too) whole sale through one of distributors to his stores. We always carried a rifled slug or two in case we got a shot at large game. We lived in the NC mountains near Franklin. My Sportsman has an M prefix serial number. My cousin has the shotgun. We wondered how old they were as we had no history on them as they were bartered guns. I now know my 22 Sportsman is one year younger than I am.
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Old 01-09-2024, 10:10 AM
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An auction from last year that serves to confirm how pricey these have gotten. This particular gun is later production (1980) and as such nothing special: Lot Detail - (C) HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON MODEL 999 "SPORTSMAN" .22 LR DOUBLE ACTION TARGET REVOLVER.
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Old 01-14-2024, 12:18 PM
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Here's a prewar Sportsman pair that when auctioned about 18 months ago fetched way over the estimated price range. While both are in nice condition, I wouldn't consider either to be anything particularly out of the ordinary for the type.

Two Harrington & Richardson Model 999 Double Action Revolvers | Rock Island Auction
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Old 01-14-2024, 12:50 PM
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I bought one around 1977 . I foolishly sold it around 1981 or so . I would pay dearly to have that gun back . It was my first handgun . Oh well ...
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Old 01-14-2024, 08:41 PM
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I still have this one I bought new in 1974. I don't know how many thousands of rounds I put through it in my youth.

I have the box, but I don't recall if there was any paperwork in it. Does anyone know for sure if any paperwork would have been in the box?

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Old 01-15-2024, 02:16 AM
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I'm very pleased to see an active thread on the Sportsman series! You seem quite well informed on these Goony! I'd love to compare notes although I don't want to hijack your thread.

If you don't mind me tooting my own horn a little I think I've gathered a nice little collection of...Sportsmans? Sportsmen? and related H&Rs over the past few years.


https://i.imgur.com/E2CGT2u.jpg

196 Eureka Sportsman

https://i.imgur.com/87EsPF7.jpg

777 Ultra Sportsman

https://i.imgur.com/AtCJ1kE.jpg

Very early double action Sportsman serial #375

https://i.imgur.com/wh7UkFQ.jpg


Sorry for the poor photography, someday I'll buy a lightbox!
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Old 01-15-2024, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goony View Post
An auction listing from a few years back: Two H&R Sportsman Double Action Revolvers | Rock Island Auction

Both are interesting, one being an example of the engraved "1 of 999" version, while the other dating from 1953 would represent one of the earliest post Rice frame guns. On this latter one, note the relief cut at the top of the left grip panel. I'd be inclined to think this to be a modification made by a previous owner rather than it having left the factory that way, but if so it was beautifully done.

The cut on the top of the left grip was supposed to be a thumb rest and was standard on all Sportsmans from 1953-1965.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Goony View Post
The link below is to an auction from several years ago for a late 1930's Sportsman. I'm bringing this up on account of its grip configuration, which I've not seen before and doesn't appear to match any of those shown in post #19 of this thread.

H&R Sportsman Revolver | Rock Island Auction

And speaking of thumb rests this one was known as the No. 4TR and was included with most 777s and 196s but is pretty rarely seen otherwise. It's basically the regular No. 4 grip you see on most Sportsmans but with a thumb rest cut into it. You can actually see it in the advertisement you linked in post #19 although interestingly they seem to have made an error in the advertisement and swapped the pictures of the No. 2 and No. 4. If you check page 149 of Bill Goforth's H&R book the Eureka ad there has them shown correctly including the 4TR.


Quote:
Originally Posted by .357magger View Post
As a side note, look at the front strap on my 199. It's serrated and I've never seen another like it out of many examined. H&R did LOTS of changes on these models, but I'm thinking this was possibly available only in the 1st year?

One of my 199s (second from bottom in the left column) also has these serrations and odd serial number placement. Serial #S3902


This 199, SN S10228, from the collection of Richard Littlefield has the same "grooved front strap" and the description claims it was a special order feature. No clue what the source of that claim is although I imagine it was Littlefield himself who I understand to be a pretty significant collector. Heck he probably posts here
Rare Harrington & Richardson Sportsman Single Action Revolver With Box


It does seem to be a pretty rare feature as mine, yours, and the one in that link are the only ones I have ever seen. I have never seen a double action Sportsman with such grip serrations either.


edit: did a bit more searching and found another 199, also from Littlefield's collection, that has it too S3706
Scarce Harrington & Richardson Special Order Sportsman Single Action Revolver

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Old 01-15-2024, 10:41 AM
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Bring Guns - Your collection and knowledge are both far more advanced than mine. Thank you in particular for the additional information regarding grip configurations. Besides the Goforth book. perhaps this thread can serve as a future and additional authoritative resource for H&R aficionados.
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Old 01-15-2024, 04:33 PM
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With Goony's permission I'm gonna repost my huge Sportsman research post that I put up on The Highroad a few months ago, edited down and updated a bit. Quite of this will be a repeat of what Goony has already posted as well as stuff a lot of you already know, just remember it was originally the OP of a different thread.



I won't claim to be anywhere as knowledgeable as the late Jim Hauff or the also-late Bill Goforth but between Goforth's book on H&R and my own observations while collecting the Sportsman series over the past few years I think I've become reasonably educated on the subject.


Basic info to remember: the single action version was the 199 Sportsman and the double action version was the 999 Sportsman. Other than the SA/DA mechanism they were pretty much identical. In 1953 the 999 Sportsman was redesigned and given a new frame with two piece wood grips. One or two piece grips are the easy way to tell the first and second model 999s apart. The second model was redesigned and given a transfer bar ignition system in 1974, although visually this "third" model is exactly the same from the outside aside from the hammer. After H&R was purchased by NEF the 999 frame dimensions were slightly changed and non-checkered two piece wood grips were used. Grip checkering or lack of grip checkering is the easy way to tell a 1990s NEF 999 from a 1953-1986 H&R.

Most importantly here's the full and accurate list of H&R date codes. I originally found this list somewhere on the internet but I have expanded it with my own observations and added the list of date codes used by New England Firearms after they restarted production of the Model 999. Some of these letter codes seem to be rare or nonexistant in the Sportsman population. Production of frames may have slowed or stopped in certain years while the company focused on producing other guns and selling the stock they had already accumulated.

POST-1939, H&R SERIAL NUMBER LETTER CODES AND THE YEAR OF THEIR USAGE:
A=1940 B=1941 C=1942 D=1943* E=1944 F=1945 G=1946 H=1947 I=1948 J=1949 K=1950
L=1951 M=1952 N=1953 P=1954 R=1955 S=1956** T=1957 U=1958 V=1959 W=1960 X=1961
Y=1962 Z=1963
AA=1964 AB=1965 AC=1966 AD=1967 AE=1968 AF=1969 AG=1970 AH=1971 AJ=1972
AL=1973 AM=1974 AN=1975 AP=1976 AR=1977 AS=1978 AT=1979 AU=1980 AX=1981
AY=1982 AZ=1983 BA=1984 BB=1985 BC=1986

Codes O, Q, AI, AO, AQ, AV, and AW were not used.

*I have NEVER seen a D prefixed 999 Sportsman with features indicating it was made in 1943. If they exist they are extremely rare. If you have a D prefixed 999 Sportsman it is almost certainly one of the first 30,000 made that were prefixed with D for Double action.
**S prefixed 999s DO exist, although it's an uncommon letter code. If you S prefixed Sportsman has a single piece wood grip it is a Model 199 and prefixed S for Single action. If it has two piece wood grip it is a second model (1953 onward) Model 999 produced in 1956.


The first 2-3 thousand single and double action Sportsmans had no prefix. It is unclear if the 199 had its own serial number range different from the 999 or if they were both in the same range. I am inclined to believe they shared the same range although it's pretty unclear. If you own or find a picture of a Sportsman in the 2000-3000 range please post the serial as it would be helpful to narrow down when exactly they started the S and D prefixes.


New England Firearms SERIAL NUMBER LETTER CODES - "SECOND LETTER" OF PREFIX STARTING WITH H OR N:
A=1987 B=1988 C=1989 D=1990 E=1991 F=1992 G=1993 H=1994 J=1995 K=1996
L=1997 M=1998 N=1999 P=2000 R=2001 S=2002 T=2003 U=2004 V=2005 W=2006
X=2007 Y=2008 Z=2009

Codes HO/NO and HQ/NQ were not used. H&R entered bankruptcy and ceased production in early 1986. New England Firearms purchased H&R and restarted production of some H&R guns including the 999 Sportsman. The H&R brand was not used from 1987-1990 so codes HA, HB, HC, HD were never used. Model 999s were produced by NEF only from 1991(?) to 1999 so codes HE through HN will be the only NEF codes found on Model 999s. I have never seen a N[x] prefixed NEF manufactured 999, I assume the N prefix was used only for non-H&R branded guns.

NEF ceased revolver production, including the 999 Sportsman, in 1999. NEF produced H&R guns are marked H&R GARDNER, MA. Original H&R guns produced 1986 and earlier are marked H&R INC. U.S.A. or H&R INC. GARDNER, MASS. U.S.A.

S=Single Action Sportsman (199), early guns have no prefix, prefix went up to approximately S20000 (so approximately 20,000 199s were made pre-WW2.) Small amounts of 199s were also made in 1949-1951 with the J, K, and L prefixes. (215 or 415 total, Goforth book unclear.) No more 199s were made after 1951. Update: J390 has been documented which slightly expands the numbers for post-WW2 199s:
New member, help with identification | The Firearms Forum

I have seen 999s with the 1958 S year code but these are easy to distinguish since they have the updated frame with two piece grips.

D=Double Action Sportsman (999), some early guns have no prefix, prefix went up to at least D29551, it is unclear how they reconciled this with the 1943 D date code, it is likely that no new frames were manufactured in 1943.

U=Ultra Sportsman 777 - Highest Ultra Sportsman serial I have observed is U968. May go over 1000? Serial range Probably started at U1 or U01. (I own U25.) There may also be U prefixed 999s from 1958?
R=Reserved on early prototypes or special guns, and there may be R prefixed 999s from 1955 (again these will have two piece grips), and
R=Eureka Sportsman 196 (Jim Hauff believed this was R for Walter F. Roper?) This prefix only seems to appear on later Eurekas (R258 [formerly owned by Jim Hauff], R262) and may just be the "Reserved" prefix. Highest Eureka Sportsman serial observed is R262. An uncompleted frame marked 288 (no prefix) was sold on Amoskeag Auction indicating that they probably did not manufacture more than that. I have never seen a two digit Eureka Sportsman, so they may have started the serial range at 100 or 101 (I own 102, no prefix.) This may just be due to very small sample size of guns I've been able to find pictures of, or it may help to explain why the Eureka seems to be so exceptionally rare.

X in the middle of or at the end of a serial denotes a prototype or experimental gun. X prefix at the beginning just denotes 1961 production.

Special engraved '1 of 999' Sportsman 999 series was serialized with a 999 prefix (999xxx). It is probably safe to assume they made 999 of these. Chrome finish.

CT=Chisholm Trail, special engraved commemorative 999 Sportsman series for the 1967 centennial. 300 made in their own CTxxx serial range. A prototype of this series in the normal 1967 AD prefix range was sold on Amoskeag Auction. Chrome finish.

AK=Abilene, Kansas, special engraved commemorative Model 926 series for the 1969 centennial.

"Silver Sportsman" were factory chrome finished 999s offered from 1964-1966. These had the option of having the owner's name engraved on the side of the barrel. They did not have special serial numbers. Chromed or nickel plated Sportsmans have been seen outside this range but these were either very special order or done by the owner after purchase. The Chisolm Trail and '1 of 999' editions also have factory chrome finishes.

H9994xxx/H9996xxx=Premier Edition guns made in 1994 by H&R 1871(NEF). 100 matched pairs of these guns were sold, each pair having a 4" and a 6" gun numbered, for example: H9994001 (4" barrel) and H9996001 (6" barrel)
If you own one of these please sell it to me


I have seen two third model H&R 999s with case hardened frames from (one of which I purchased, 1980 prefix.) Possibly just a factory experiment. Nothing has ever been written about the existence of these guns that I'm aware of so if you know anything or have another one please post!

Serial Number Notes:


1. H&R ceased operations in February of 1986; firearms with the letter codes "BC" are very rare. I have never seen one, though I have seen a few BBs from 1985.


2. Sportsman from approximately 30000 to approximately 90000 had no letter prefix. I have seen up to 90447. One seller stated a gun's serial was 95xxx but I could not make out the serial in the pictures.


3. Some Sportsman frames in the 30000 and 40000 serial ranges (no prefix) were manufactured in the mid 30s (35-36?) and stockpiled until final assembly during WWII which explains rarity of 1942-1945 (C/D/E/F) date prefixes. The only way to possibly correctly date these guns is to examine other features closely. WWII production H&R revolvers often had black plastic grips. A few had white plastic grips. The wartime guns made on stockpiled frames that have been documented with wartime inspection tags seem to mostly have regular wood grips. Multiple 999s just above 30000 (30127[police department gun?], 30288[Goforth]) have been documented with British(?) military(?) markings. C554 has been sold along with a matching inspection tag from 11/11/1948, indicating that Sportsman frames may not have been produced between 1942 and 1948. J marked frames are common so frame production was probably restarted in 1949.


4. 999 Sportsman serials probably started at 1 or 01. I have not visually confirmed a 2 digit serial number (Update: Goony has #22!) but have seen an old forum discussion of one, so presumably 1 and 2 digit serials do exist. Lowest frame I have seen a picture of is 119.
#22 here: An H&R Resurrected

5. Highest NEF 999 serial observed for HM is HM003344, highest for HN is HN001xxx. NEF seems to have manufactured far fewer guns per year than H&R did.


Pre-1953 factory 3" barrels and 7 round .22 WRF cylinders are very rare, please post if you have one! Other factory barrel lengths may exist but are extremely rare I have seen a picture of what seems to be a factory 4" barrel on a pre-1953 gun. 4" barrels are common in 3rd model Sportsmans made in the 1970s-1990s. 3" 199s also exist and are extremely rare. The one I've seen sold for $3,600!

1979 (AT prefix) 999s may possibly be chambered in .32 S&W Long according to that year's catalog, although no one has ever reported actually seeing one. If you do in fact have a 999 in this caliber you've got the holy grail, please post!

I am also interested in H&R Model 195 USRA single shot target guns, and the Defender 38/Defender Special (.38 S&W Short), as well as the New Defender (.22LR). If you have any of those models please post pictures!


Highest Model 195 USRA serial I have observed is 3326. Lowest is my own #21, though it appears to have been renumbered in the factory.


If you see any errors I have made or things you are sure I am wrong about please point them out. And definitely post if you have a gun that is outside known serial number ranges or has an unusual prefix etc.

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Old 01-16-2024, 06:11 PM
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Default A Sportsman...Not!

Model 929, made in 1956 (the first year of production). This represented the company's first swing out cylinder design. I think you'd have to look a long time to find another one this pristine.

Here's a link to an article on this model: Harrington & Richardson's Model 929 Sidekick - Shooting Times

And one more: A Hikerís Sidekick: Momís H&R Model 929 | An NRA Shooting Sports Journal
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Old 01-17-2024, 10:27 AM
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This relates to post #34 from earlier in this thread. It appeared in the February 1956 issue of Guns magazine, and shows Governor Allan Shivers of Texas holding the silver-plated and personalized Sportsman with which he'd been presented at the governors conference the previous year.
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Old 01-27-2024, 07:32 PM
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Here's a quartet of H&R's that sold at auction just this past week, averaging only about $175 each. The most interesting and scarce of this lot may be the Model 923 which is identical to the very common 922 save for having a chromed finish. These were made only from 1949 to 1952.

See: Four Harrington & Richardson Double Action Revolvers | Rock Island Auction
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Old 01-28-2024, 07:20 PM
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A 1997 NEF manufactured sportsman just sold for a truly baffling $1,375 on Gunbroker.


Also for anyone interested in buying a 777 Ultra Sportsman there's one ending in 3 hours that's still quite low at $864 as of this writing. It has the unusual plum discoloration on the frame that you occasionally see on pre-WW2 Sportsmans. Only 777 I've ever seen like that although I think most people would consider it a defect. 777 Ultra Sportsman

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Old 01-30-2024, 05:56 PM
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I saw that Ultra Sportsman auction and assumed that the plum discoloration was indicative of a refinish (which it often is).

I said No Thanks as it passed the $1100 mark, Ultra or no.

What I personally would like to find is the 3" Sportsman Defender. I just think they're plain cool. 🙂 And they'd have been a nasty little surprise to have been under the store counter in pre penicillin days.

And another note- Thanks Bring Guns for the info about the serrated front strap on my 199. I knew there couldn't have been many, because I've looked at LOTS over the years, and I was pretty sure it was a factory mod as well for the reasons previously stated.

So thanks for some confirmation there.

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Old 01-30-2024, 06:25 PM
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I was at a local gun show on Saturday, saw 2 1/2" 929's for $499. I remember toting a milk crate of 'em out of RSR Guns when they were on East Hwy 50. I think I paid $59/ea, give or take. S&W Model 10's were "only" $100-$200 more. Joe
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