H&R 939 revolver

Lesliet

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Just got a new toy/ training aid to mess with, it is a 1968 Harrington and Richards 939, a .22LR 9 shot revolver. This is one I got off Gunbroker, wasn't a terribly expensive or valuable thing. I was mildly disappointed when I got done with the transfer, to find the hammer seemed kind of jammed and would not pull back smoothly. On disassembly, I found that there is a plastic part on the top of the mainspring, which had broken. Pretty common issue from what I'm reading, and the replacement ( already ordered) from Numrich has a metal head, so shouldn't fail the same way again. Anyway, it cleaned up fairly well, and feels like it's going to have a very nice DA trigger pull, which is what I was hoping for. Probably going to have to fabricate my own left handed wood grips for it, as the only replacements I'm seeing are plastic. Rifling looks ok-ish, we'll see how it shoots after the new mainspring assembly gets here.

939 right side.jpg 939 left side.jpg 939 exploded.jpg
 

gmerkt

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I've seen H&R revolvers around over the years, never owned one. Don't know that I've noticed the Model 939 like this; what I remember more are the top-break Model 999's.

You have to wonder what the manufacturer was thinking, making a critical action part like that out of plastic. I just looked at the metal replacements offered at Numrich. Makes you wonder why this wasn't done originally. Aside from frugality. Maybe someone thought plastic would make for a smoother action>

I had a Stevens rifle once that had a bronze extractor. That failed. Another why do that.
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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You have to wonder what the manufacturer was thinking, making a critical action part like that out of plastic. I just looked at the metal replacements offered at Numrich. Makes you wonder why this wasn't done originally. Aside from frugality. Maybe someone thought plastic would make for a smoother action>
I expect that was a combination of both! The plastic stirrup rubs on the back part of the hammer, a sliding motion, as it supplies motive force. Hopefully I can smooth the metal one so that it doesn't add too much friction to the action. I expect the plastic one would have slightly less friction as supplied, as well as being cheap to produce.

I have a couple of things in mind for this project; First, I need to make up stocks that fit my hand better. If I can find a nice chunk of walnut, I'll see if I am able to make something that doesn't look TOO awful, and fills my left hand a bit better. The second, is that the vent rib on this is a die-cast part and does not really please my sense of function or form. I would like to fabricate a new rib that has a replaceable, pinned front sight, so I can run a fiber in it, and which incorporates the possibility to mount a small red dot sight. The cylinder lockup is looser than I'd like, mainly due to either wear or poor fit in the cylinder crane. These only have the single lockup point at the rear of the cylinder, so this allows the front of the cylinder to move ( in my opinion) excessively. I expect fabbing a slightly oversize crane screw will correct a lot of this, and possibly adding a spring loaded ball and detent at the top of the yoke front will also help. Doubtless, someone will comment "Why do all that work, when you could have just bought a NEW gun, and saved the trouble?" The answer being that I wouldn't learn anything that way, and this will be fun!

I'm curious about the rear sight, it seems to have been made to flip up or back by about 30 degrees, does anyone know if this was done to allow elevation changes? Not sure I really understand the concept, there.
 

gmerkt

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The cylinder lockup is looser than I'd like, mainly due to either wear or poor fit in the cylinder crane. These only have the single lockup point at the rear of the cylinder, so this allows the front of the cylinder to move ( in my opinion) excessively.
I think that's pretty normal for this design. Some time ago, I had a New England Firearms (successor company to H&R) revolver and it had the same design. This one was in .32 H&R Mag. They will never be as tight as say, a Smith & Wesson, it's just not there. A little wiggly is the norm.

I can't be any help re. the question about the rear sight. Perhaps you could show us a 3/4 view close-up of the rear sight?

That left side grip panel with the thumb rest, I can see how that wouldn't be suitable to a left handed shooter. An easy quick fix for that would be to get a "normal" (like the right side grip) one originally intended for a different 900 series model. The thumb rest design is less common than the ordinary, kinda flat one.
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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Here are some closeups of the sight arrangement. Kind of an interesting thing, I should hunt for the user instructions for this gun online, might give some insights.

On the grip thing, I COULD buy resin ones, easy/cheap fix, but I'd like to mess with grip fabrication in wood. The stock grips are pretty small in my hands, my pinky has to curl under the butt. Thinking I can make some decent ones that add a bit more length, and cover the back of the frame; many years ago I did a Colt Walker kit that had unfinished grips, which came out really nice.

On the lockup issue, it is probably shootable, as/is, but I want to try out the detent mod. It's something Ron Power came up with many years ago, at least I THINK it was his idea. You can get a kit with the punch to capture the ball and spring, and 10 sets of balls and springs for under $20. Having the chambers line up more closely with the forcing cone can't be a bad thing.

There is not a big sense of urgency in this project, I'm just having fun, and hopefully gaining a few new skills.

tq sight view.jpg sight detail.jpg sight detail 2.jpg
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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Pretty sure the flip up or back rear sight is just a simple elevation adjustment. I played with the windage setting, and with it visually centered up, the sight catches on the notches as you flip it forward or back, so it should stay where you put it. Numrich shows they shipped my mainspring assembly. I'm thinking I'd like to shoot a couple of groups before I do anything else, to document where I started, accuracy-wise.

Kind of glad I got a new phone, it has a macro setting for pix! Definitely shows that the screw heads are a lot the worse for some 52 years of people adjusting screws with tools that didn't fit right, though.
 

Certaindeaf

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Pretty sure the flip up or back rear sight is just a simple elevation adjustment. I played with the windage setting, and with it visually centered up, the sight catches on the notches as you flip it forward or back, so it should stay where you put it. Numrich shows they shipped my mainspring assembly. I'm thinking I'd like to shoot a couple of groups before I do anything else, to document where I started, accuracy-wise.

Kind of glad I got a new phone, it has a macro setting for pix! Definitely shows that the screw heads are a lot the worse for some 52 years of people adjusting screws with tools that didn't fit right, though.
Put some paper either side of the barrel/cylinder gap to check for lead shearing, DA and SA.
 

DeanMk

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I think that's pretty normal for this design. Some time ago, I had a New England Firearms (successor company to H&R) revolver and it had the same design. This one was in .32 H&R Mag. They will never be as tight as say, a Smith & Wesson, it's just not there. A little wiggly is the norm.

I can't be any help re. the question about the rear sight. Perhaps you could show us a 3/4 view close-up of the rear sight?

That left side grip panel with the thumb rest, I can see how that wouldn't be suitable to a left handed shooter. An easy quick fix for that would be to get a "normal" (like the right side grip) one originally intended for a different 900 series model. The thumb rest design is less common than the ordinary, kinda flat one.
You had an R73.
NEF never replaced H&R....still not 100% sure what the NEF thing was all about, although my theory was how the parts, and/or partial assembly's, may have been sourced.
In the end, the more basic shotgun was an NEF but the fancier models were H&R.
Wasn't always like that, though.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lisliet,

Congrats on your latest grab.
I've heard those can be really nice shooters, with a little work.

Dean
 

gmerkt

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NEF never replaced H&R...
I disagree. The "original" H&R company changed hands several times. The one owned by the Rowe family that existed in the 1980's slowly went out of business and closed up circa 1986. James Garrison bought the remains of H&R in 1990 and renamed the company H&R 1871. This successor company made mostly products of the same design as those made under the previous H&R firm owned by the Rowes.

As we know, in 2000 Marlin bought H&R 1871; subsequently Remington bought Marlin in 2007. I seem to remember that manufacture of the centerfire revolvers stopped under NEF but these were essentially the same basic design of pre-1986. I believe the last revolvers made by NEF were blank-firing starter guns and these were in the catalog after the centerfire revolvers were dropped. Remington killed the NEF brand entirely when they acquired the company.

As to any commonality of parts between pre 1986 H&R and NEF revolvers. Of course H&R pre-1986 would change their designs from time to time. The NEF revolvers were basically unchanged during their life cycle at H&R 1871. But I've looked at the parts lists at Numrich and there are a number of internal parts that have the same numbers between the late H&R product and the NEF revolvers. Like hammer, trigger, sear, etc.

There is a book about H&R revolvers by Bill Goforth (very expensive) but it doesn't cover anything after 1986, nothing on NEF.

I know a bit about these developments. I've got some pre-1986 H&R's and NEF single barrel shotguns and rifles. The company of the moment used to sell a product line of accessory barrels. If you had the appropriate frame, you could buy quite a number of different shotgun and centerfire barrels in different gauges and calibers. Every time the factory would change hands, the process for obtaining these would change. So you had to stay on top of that. Some of these rifle barrels, depending upon caliber, have become quite valuable for what they are. Remington wasn't interested in continuing this business. The version of the company that made NEF products was fairly successful and the owner made good money when he sold out to Marlin. It's only my impression, but I think when the Freedom Group (Remington's parent) bought Marlin, they kind of got H&R 1871 by accident; part of a package deal thing. Once acquired, they didn't know what to do with it so it lingered and eventually they let it die. At one time, there was a surprising following of NEF single shot hunters and shooters. In the recent Remington bankruptcy sale, I seem to recall that the H&R 1871 assets were sold separately from Marlin but I don't remember who got them. Time will tell if anything comes of this.
 

DeanMk

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gmerkt,

You originally wrote that NEF was the successor to H&R.
I had a New England Firearms (successor company to H&R) revolver
It was not.
After H&R came out of receivership, as "H&R 1871", both brands existed right up until the end.
There were guns labeled as "H&R" and guns labeled as "NEF".
If NEF succeeded H&R, then why were there still guns being made under the H&R brand?
Because NEF never succeeded H&R.

Dean
 

gmerkt

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If NEF succeeded H&R, then why were there still guns being made under the H&R brand?
1989 NEF catalog
nef catalog.PNG

1992 NEF catalog. Note company address, "Industrial Rowe, Gardner, Massachusetts" on cover. This is the same address used by H&R 1871 firm.

nef 1992 cat.PNG


I've read that after the Rowe family H&R business when into receivership, there were some people who for a time leased the factory equipment to produce firearms. This was in the period after 1986. Note the date on the first picture above, 1989. This may be the first time that the NEF brand was used. Note this catalog says "New England Firearms Company." When the H&R 1871 company was formed circa 1990, they bought the factory equipment from the receivers. I don't know but these two efforts might have involved the same people, the business status changing with the winding up of the receivership.

This is only from memory, but as I seem to remember, H&R 1871 only produced NEF branded guns for their first several years. It was only a bit later that they added the H&R 1871 branded line. Then both names were being used. I seem to recall the later catalogs had the H&R 1871 in the back and they were a little higher priced than the NEF.
 

DeanMk

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Ok, I think I'm starting to get a picture of what's going on now.
I know when I called H&R 1871 in 1991, they said they couldn't even acknowledge the existence of the old H&R company because of the legalities behind the type of receivership they went into....which means they couldn't help me with repairing my 088, but after a bit she did tell of a gunsmith who they contracted to do the warranty work on the older guns.
Looking back on it, I probably could've just sent the gun to a local gunsmith, but I bet on the guy's intimate knowledge of the older H&R guns and for what I ended up paying to have the gun repaired and the choke opened up, I figure I still came out ahead, considering what the guns were going for, used, back then.
Now I'm wondering why open "H&R 1871", when they were already "NEF"?....maybe as you said, they were using various smith's to make the guns during the "NEF" days, so when H&R 1871 came about, it heralded the reopening of the factory itself and everything could be make in-house again?


Dean
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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Ordered blanks of paduak and bloodwood to make grips from, thinking that the colors of these may look very good against the blue-black of the gun.

I've been reading about methods to capture fired bullets without damaging them, with the intent of being able to inspect the fired bullet for damage such as shaving lead or skidding on the rifling entry. It seems like the rubber crumbles in a box method would be easy to do, will need to check if I can get those at the local home improvement store when it's not a holiday. I'm not convinced that the paper test will show much more than shredded paper, even on a revolver that is in good shape; there was a video I saw on youtube demonstrating this as " why you shouldn't grip your revolver near the cylinder-barrel gap". Have you tried the paper thing yourself, @Certaindeaf ? If so, were you able to tell the difference between lead spitting and the usual gas leakage?
 

Certaindeaf

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Ordered blanks of paduak and bloodwood to make grips from, thinking that the colors of these may look very good against the blue-black of the gun.

I've been reading about methods to capture fired bullets without damaging them, with the intent of being able to inspect the fired bullet for damage such as shaving lead or skidding on the rifling entry. It seems like the rubber crumbles in a box method would be easy to do, will need to check if I can get those at the local home improvement store when it's not a holiday. I'm not convinced that the paper test will show much more than shredded paper, even on a revolver that is in good shape; there was a video I saw on youtube demonstrating this as " why you shouldn't grip your revolver near the cylinder-barrel gap". Have you tried the paper thing yourself, @Certaindeaf ? If so, were you able to tell the difference between lead spitting and the usual gas leakage?
No, not really but blood was let with different H&R models over the years due to shaving. Sometimes it was very bad and it's easy to tell if it's powder or lead if you have the latter embeded in your hide.
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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I could see how they could get that way, the crane design would tend to get sloppy after a lot of shooting, and probably isn't very resistant to damage from people slamming the cylinder closed.
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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I've been rather wishing this was the top-break version, may have to pick one of the 9 shot, top-break .22lr ones up, when one comes along at a decent price. Definitely an attractive design, I'd love to have something like a double action Schofield. New mainspring assembly should be here Monday. :D Grip wood is due in around the 3d. Going to spend some time today making sure my drill press is in good order, maybe making a shorter table for it.
 
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Lesliet

Lesliet

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Got the new mainspring, with a metal end on it, today and installed it. The new spring and guiderod assembly came with a very basic stamped steel plate, and after installing it as supplied, I wasn't real happy with how heavy the trigger was in DA. Switched out parts, using the old spring and the better quality baseplate, consulted pictures online to see that the orientation looked right, and put it in like that. Better, but not quite where I'd like it, yet. DA pull, average of 5, is 10 lb 3oz. It is smooth, but the pull increases slightly at the end. SA average of 5 is 4lb 15oz, which I don't really care that much about. I think I will shoot this a bit before I change anything, want to wear the parts together and get some witness marks, and see how much it improves after a few hundred rounds. I did put a wee bit of moly grease on the saddle where it contacts the base of the hammer.

changing mainspring.jpg mainspring detail 2.jpg mainspring detail 1.jpg mainspring installed.jpg
 

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