This week on Wheelgun Wednesday I am bringing the Hugo Hensel back for all you revolver lovers and appreciators. It has been a while since I was at the helm of a good old wheel gun article and I assure you I have been super excited and patient to share some more information I found on the H. Hensel revolver I previously posted about. Last time I talked about how I acquired the revolver, my research at the time, the specifications, and my cartridge speculation. Some new exciting information has popped up so let’s dive down the rabbit hole.
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Findings Since Original Article: Hugo Hensel Revolver
So after the initial post on the H. Hensel revolver, I happened to meet Armin Hensel whose great-great-great-great-grandfather Carl was the founder of the Hugo Hensel brand. Armin reached out to me all the way from Germany in hopes of sharing some background information on the Hugo Hensel gun factory and potentially learning some more information himself. I have gone very in-depth with this topic over at our sister blog AllOutdoor.com with the Curious Relics series but I wanted to make sure to share the updates with all of you wheelgunners!
Brief History: Hugo Hensel Revolver
As I mentioned, Armin filled me in on a lot of stuff but mostly the history of the factory and store. As the story goes Carl Hensel founded a small sporting rifle and shotgun shop in Breslau (now Wroclaw Poland) in 1846. Carl was a Buechsenmachermeister which roughly translates to Gunsmith at a master level. Carl’s son (Robert), grandson (Max), and great-grandson (Walter) all worked as gunsmiths in the family shop.
The shop itself had its best financial period from 1910 to 1918. As World War One ended, all sorts of restrictions were put on countries like Germany. With restrictions regarding not only firearms in general but also the manufacture of them, the factory portion of the business had to be closed down.
When the Great Depression hit in 1929, it did not just hit the USA, it affected everyone. Germany still dealing with the repercussions of World War One was also in stressful straights. Walter Hensel decided to move to the United States in hopes of making money for his family. He is said to have moved somewhere where firearm manufacturers were plentiful (most likely somewhere on the east coast). He got a job as a gunsmith and would not return to Germany until two years later.
During the later 1920s and into the 1930s, Walter’s father Hugo was still working at the family shop. He was allowed to tinker with the manufacturing of firearms so long as they were hunting-related (stuff like Drillings, double rifles, and shotguns). Hugo was also an engraver and many of these examples of rifles still used to this day have very nice engraving. Walter would later return to help his father at the shop.
As the world changed drastically in the 1930s in Germany, the shop had to close up for good in 1936. Later during World War Two, the Hensel family was scattered all throughout Europe and unfortunately, most information about the shop was lost. Documents tied to the shop and factory are presumed to have been burned, firearms were taken by soldiers as war trophies or destroyed, and the building that was the shop was torn down during the Soviet control of Breslau that would change into Wroclaw.
Walter Hensel and his son Lothar moved from northern Germany to the south and raised their families. Lothar (Armin’s grandfather) had three children. A daughter and two sons (one son also named Lothar). Lothar had Armin and they love to hunt, talk about older firearms, and also research their family’s history. They own a Hugo Hensel drilling which they affectionately refer to as “Grandfather”. Armin gave me his blessing to share this email ([email protected]) with you in hopes that if anyone out there owns a Hugo Hensel firearm or knows any information would share it with him. Please be kind and considerate.
Cartridge Speculation: Hugo Hensel Revolver
Regarding the cartridge speculation, I am fairly certain that it would be a .380 rimmed cartridge of some sort. Basically anything similar to the US’s .38 Short Colt which I have fired from this revolver. The big issue with looking at dimensions and chamber casts I have made is it is made somewhat irrelevant with the lack of cartridge specifications back in the day. The world did not have SAAMI specifications so one factory could make a .380 rimmed cartridge and the rim diameter would be different from the next factory and it would technically be the same cartridge. I have included a rough drawing from the averages of chamber casts I have made. Please keep in mind that the bore diameter is .355-.365ish.
Range Time: Hugo Hensel Revolver
Range time with this gun is always very special since it is really an unknown. Armin told me this is the only Hugo Hensel revolver he has ever seen. It is super pretty and you can imagine how it would have looked long ago. The groups this gun produces are super impressive to me. You will see by the target below my first three shots were hesitant ones and they all ended up upper right and my last three shots landed right above the bullseye. Recoil is extremely manageable and the sights are surprisingly pleasant.
Final Thoughts: Hugo Hensel Revolver
Well, folks that is all I got for you this time around. Who knows, maybe some new stuff will pop up and I will happily give out another update. Make sure to check out the other Wheelgun Hugo Hensel article as well as the Curious Relics articles that go super in-depth over at AllOutdoor.com. Thank you for taking the time to potentially helping solve mysteries with me!
I hope you guys enjoyed the findings and speculation. Big thank you to Armin for all the help. Please be considerate if you reach out to him. Till next time, what do you guys think? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.