Can you identify this revolver?

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A reader emailed me these photos of a revolver which belonged to his Grandfather during WWI. It looks to me like a fancy Webley. Does anyone know what model gun it is and who made it?


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Pavel

    Looks like shortened replica of S&W “Russian”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S%26W_New_Nodel_3_Frontier_1791.jpg

  • Jon Mac

    Definitely no Webley. Looks like a copy of a S&W DA .32 – the trigger and guard are wrong for all models of the actual S&W weapon. I don’t recognise the monogram on the grip top, but given the engraving – perhaps Belgian?

  • Aurélien

    I can be wrong, but that looks like a Smith & Wesson No3 simple action revolver to me.

  • Matt Groom

    Harrington Richardson, likely a .38 S&W caliber. Contrary to their later products, their top-break revolvers were very high quality and are very cool to boot! I’ve got a smokeless powder one in .32 S&W which shoots .32 ACP just fine. I’ll see if I can find the webpage that helped me identify mine.

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    Like Jon Mac, I suspect it is a knock-off of one of the S&W top-break double action revolvers in .32 or .38 S&W. The Spanish were rather prolific copiers of this design.

  • Al T.

    Probably not a S&W, but as Matt points out a copy by one of several makers – H&R being the most likely. :) Here’s a good link to a S&W.

    http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-smith-48-38-double-action-2nd.html

  • Bob

    Could be a harrison & richardson Top break a copy of the smith, but it is def a Smith Double action type.

    http://www.armchairgunshow.com/images/11-DAs.jpg

  • Jon Mac

    Matt is right – not only would an H&R explain the trigger guard, but also the lack of a join where the S&W’s sideplate would be. I think that’s the right monogram on the grip as well.

  • Matt Groom

    I’ve realized it wasn’t a website, it was the Blue Book of Gun Values that helped me identify my H&R Premier Police, Second Model, in .32 S&W. Paid $50 for it, and it was well worth that for the coolness factor alone. I often wonder why these aren’t more collectible.

    That gun is DEFINITELY an H&R. If it were an Iver Johnson, it would have that silly little owl, and check out that monogram! H, R, F, Co! Maybe I’m imagining it since most H&R’s have a little target symbol instead of the monogram, but the pattern is identical to my Premier Police, and maybe the extra fancy grips were special for engraved models.

    We need more info, caliber, patent dates, name of the manufacturer (mine is on the barrel rib), any additional info would help, but one thing is for sure, it’s very nice.

  • Kurby

    Definatly need more infor, but to me it the tigger and trigger gaurd looks more like a Hopkins and Allen than a H&R. Plus didnt H&R Primer revolvers have three pins on the frame? This only has two. There are lots of revolvers that look like this. That monogram does not look like a H&R. Could be U.S. Revolver Co., Hopkins and Allen, Thames Arms Company, or some other company. I just dont think it is an H&R do to the grips and frame pins.

  • Matt Groom

    Mine does have three pins on the frame, Kirby, but I think it’s a large frame like the “Automatic Ejecting Model”, which predates the Premier models. That trigger at the back of the trigger guard (actually the sear, but they sometimes referred to them as a trigger) is very emblematic of a H&R. The trigger guard is more rounded than on my Premier Police, but other than that it’s a dead ringer. It leads me to believe that it is a large frame model. If it’s a .32, it’s six shot, and if it’s a .38 it’s five.

    Just found this in the Blue Book of Gun Values:
    “Automatic Ejecting First Model (Black Powder) – .32 S&W or .38 S&W cal., 5 (.38 cal.) or 6 shot cylinder, hard rubber grip panels with floral design, 3/14 in. barrel, modified American Double Action mechanism and frame, nickel finish, First Variation marked on top of barrel with company name and address only and two guide rods for ejector (1885-1886), Second Variation patent date 10-4-87 marked on top of barrel along with company name and address, extractor does not have extra guide rods (1887-1889). Mfg. 1885-1889)”. This is a special model, so prices don’t correlate. If that’s not what it is, I’ll eat my hat.

    Later models (post 1889) have the Target logo on the grips that I’m more familiar with, so in any event, it seems to predate WWI by a far sight, (It even predates Wounded Knee Massacre!) but that’s not to say that Grandpa didn’t buy it or receive it as a gift when he was going “over there”.

  • Aedan

    It’s an “Andrew Fyrberg & Co.” revolver, the monogram is actually a stylized A F Co. Probably in .32 colt caliber.

  • Matt Groom

    Andrew Fryberg?! WTF?! I’ve seen H&R’s, Iver Johnson’s, Thames, S&W’s and various Spanish clones, but I ain’t ne’er hearda’ no Andy Fryberg! Apparently, all one needed to do to make one of these revolvers back in the day was figure out how to build it. No wonder none of these companies are in business anymore! Rabble!!! Rabble-Rabble-Rabble!!!

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

    Thomas emailed me this pick of his dads S&W. Looks like the same thing.

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/sw5rd_01-tfb.jpg

  • Kurby

    I think Aedan is right. The monogram is on the grip is the Andrew Fyrberg & Co monogram that appears on their revolver grips. There are two pins in the frame as are on the Andrew Fyrberg & Co .32 cal revolvers. Its funny how there is over a dozen companies that make a top break revolver that looks exactly the same.

  • Kurby

    Check out the Andrew Fyrberg & Co .32 revolver revolver on this page.

    http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?products_id=6248

    Although the one on this page has large cylinder gap you can clearly see the two pins and grips. I did see other photos of a Andrew Fyrberg & Co .32 revolver where the cylinder was more flush, but these are the clearest photos I found.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Yep it looks exactly like the ANDREW FYRBERG & CO TOP BREAK REVOLVER; 32 cal

  • Spiff

    I think that this “suicide special” was made by Hood Firearms Co, circa. 1897.
    Spiff

  • Mike

    Thanks to all of you for your help in identifying this revolver. I compared the print out of the monogram of the ANDREW FYRBERG & CO TOP BREAK REVOLVER, that Kurby suggested, under a high powered magnifyer and it is identical. I can definitely make out the Large Scrolled A with the intertwined Large scrolled F and the smaller “c” on the left of the A and the “o” on the right side of the AF. The rest of the gun is identical except for the top of the barrel. Mine is ribbed with no markings at all. Any ideas about that? It is a 6 shot revolver. Other than the monogram I’ve checked the entire gun under the magnifyer and can’t find any other markings. I have one more question. How do you open the top break. I don’t know if it is rusted shut or I’m not doing it right. I’ve tried pushing anything that moves??
    Thanks again for all your help especially to Kurby. Sorry Matt, Although,I’ve heard that beer goes well with “hat” :)

  • Flashman

    Try pulling the catch to the rear.

    These affordable Fanny by Gaslight “pocket pistols” were all the rage in the last couple of decades of the 19th C. – the very thing in the hands of a gentleman for putting a lip quiver on a footpad or vagrant.

  • Roninspoon

    Looks nearly exactly like an H&R Auto Eject. I just recently received one from a relative and mine is identical to this one with the exception that mine has no scroll work and the grip stocks has the H&R target logo, not the stylized lettering. The catch is operated by squeezing in the round detents on each side and lifting up and away from the cylinder to break it open.

    Mine is a 6 shot .32 although I understand they came in 5 shot .38 as well.

  • Bud Beeler

    My H&R Premier is a 5-shot .32 S&W top-break with the “target” logo on the grip. It has the exposed sear at the rear of the trigger guard, and three side plate pins along the bottom of the plate. Left side of the barrel is marked H&R “Premier”, right side is marked 32 S&W CTGE. Serial number is on the butt (492758). 758 is engraved on the face of the cylinder.
    Bbl length is 3″, and overall length is 6 and three quarters. Weight is 16 ounces.

  • http://firearmblog joe

    at back of gun ot top of it is a handle pull up on it and it will open the piece you will pull om resembles a rearsight

  • Spikey614

    Andrew Fryberg Co. held the Patent for this type of pistol and for a time licensed it out to Iver Johnson and other companies. Around 1903-1912 Andrew decided to market the design himself along with his new “Automatic Ejector” design. So your revolver should be dated around 1903-1912.

    Also if you look on the top of the rib you should be able to see Andrew Fryberg Co. and patent dates. If you put some LPC or WD40 that should losen up tyhe parts for cleaning.

    Spikey614

  • Spikey614

    I really mean SOAK the revolver in it and then work it lose then you’ll be able to clean it. Mine works fine but I’ll never shoot it. Also we have a photo of my Great Grand Uncle with the revolver in his waist from back in 1911 San Francisco CA. I have the 38 S&W 5 shot nickle version.

  • josh

    check out numrich gun parts they have ifo on everything from a-z

  • Mike Day

    I have an identical pistol and it is an Andrew Fyrberg, 32 cal, five shot, revolver.

  • eric shull

    I have a .32 5 shot revolver identicle to this one. theres a match to it somwhere. it may be yours Mike.

  • eric shull

    i’m wondering how much it’s worth.

  • Mike Day

    It is absolutly and Andrew Fryberg. I have an identical piece.
    Mike

  • eric shull

    yap it says it on top of barrel.

  • eric shull

    It was given to me on a trade for stuff and former owner said 1 just sold for $450 on gun collectors.com. I’m not in to collectables and willing to sell it. just don’t know actual value or where to find out.

  • Bud Beeler

    The Meriden Firearms Company of Meriden, Connecticut, USA manufactured small arms from 1905 to 1918. Meriden manufactured twenty varieties of hammer and hammerless revolvers with an output of 100 guns a day in 1906. In addition to pistols the company manufactured several types of shotguns and rifles.
    The Meriden Firearms Company was formed when Sears, Roebuck & Co. purchased the Andrew Fyrberg & Sons firearms manufacturing plant and moved the plant and machinery to Meriden, Connecticut. The company started manufacturing firearms mid 1905. They sold their guns through the Sears catalog as well as via other retailers (using different tradenames). Around 1906 Sears acquired a Savage-held patent for the Model 15 slide-action .22 rifle that was not introduced until 1913. In 1918 Sears announced that the Meriden Firearms Company would discontinue the manufacture of sporting firearms.

    Meriden Firearms represented a selection of good-quality, relatively low-cost firearms of which many survive in operational condition more than 100 years later.

    Meriden manufactured double-action top-break revolvers in various barrel lengths and finishes. Calibers were either .32 S&W or .38 S&W with either an exposed or enclosed hammer. The barrels were marked “Meriden Firearms Co. Meriden, Conn USA”. These guns were referred to as “pocket pistols” and were made between 1905 and 1915. Meriden manufactured twenty varieties of hammer and hammerless revolvers with an output of 100 guns a day in 1906.

  • eric shull

    mine was made in 1903

  • Mike Day

    Andrew Fyerberg & Co Hopkinton, Mass. Pat Aug 4, 1903. And mine is exactly the twin to yours.

  • Mike Day

    Actually, my fron site blade is a tiny bit different than yours. But, they are still the same gun. 32 cal 5 shot revolver. Mine was my grandmothers purse gun.

    • Brad

      I have one also, mine has an internal hammer w/ pin, but the same pistol, it was kept under my grandmothers pillow…

  • eric shull

    mine was given to me in a trade. do you know how much its worth? mine also has 4 single engraved dots and 1 double engraved tots on both sides of barrel. he said there was a mate to the gun that has same dots. i’m interested in selling it but don’t know how to find out its value. if anybody knows how or where i can get this info, i’d like to know.

  • Bud Beeler

    Here’s one with only 30% blue that sold for $115:
    http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?products_id=6248

    But I saw another one in the same condition that sold for only $50.
    Condition is the key. But even then, a gun is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Try taking it to your local gun shop and see what they’d be willing to pay you for it. You might be surprised. It could be a good surprise or a bad surprise.

  • eric shull

    mine looks like its in same condition as pic Bud.

  • eric shull

    took gun to shop and they said it was only worth $10 it needs firing pin, which i knew that but thought it would atleast bring $50 to $100. now guess i’m stuck with a piece of junk.

  • Bud Beeler

    It will make a nice paper weight and a great conversation piece.
    Ya know, you might be able to find a firing pin, etc. – clean it up and turn it into a shooter. .32 S&W ammo is still available. And if you reload, .32 H&R mag dies will work just fine. Give it some thought.
    Either way, it’s a nice keepsake.

    • eric shull

      yea I kinda been wanting a small hand gun like this 1 to carry for protection. but not really into hand guns much. I like rifles for hunting. I posted it on craigslist yesterday and have already had few people looking.

  • Topper

    Andrews Fryberg made millions of these, literally, they were a cheap pocket gun. Sold for six dollars new. I have my Grandfathers that he bought new, cylander is to sloppy to ever shoot but has sentimental value. These were made around 1903.

    • JamesFrmSC

      Topper, 10-4 my Great Grandfather in 1903 was a Doctor in Covington, KY and had a circuit he did throughout the area, There were hiwaymen and so he carried it with him. When he passed on, he gave it to my Grandfather who gave it to my mother and now I have it. I have the Pat Aug 4,1903 3″ .32 with the exact same scrolling pattern as in this picture. Nice to know its history . Thanks…. JB