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Thread: H&R topper- handi-rifle barrels?

  1. #1
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    H&R topper- handi-rifle barrels?

    I'm looking at getting into the singleshot rifle game (mostly for $$$$$$$ savings, I really like my bolts and levers).
    just picked up a 99% (ding in stock) H&R topper in 12ga, with a 20ga barrel, drilled and tapped, at auction for 85 bucks. don't know if that was a "deal" or not, but then started thinking "could I use this for handgun calibers".

    guess what I'm wondering is, is the shotgun receiver the SB1 as I have seen stated on here, and if so, how high pressure a cartridge should I dare to shoot off a shotgun receiver. (I'm thinking .357/38, .44 mag/spl, 30-30?)

    don't want to get myself hurt here, just looking for lower cost caliber expansion units

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    Yes, you have it right cartridge-wise, although I don't know if whoever owns H&R now will actually fit a barrel to a shotgun frame other than another shotgun barrel. So, even though your frame may handle the pressure of those cartridges, you may be SOL unless you can find a used one to fit yourself. Maybe one of the other handi owners on-site here will comment on their recent experience.

    lathesmith

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    Boolit Master bubba.50's Avatar
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    another problem is the fat shotgun firing pin sometimes causes pistol primers to blow out. for what it's worth, bubba.

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    Boolit Master

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    Even though the H&R Topper was offered in several pistol calibers and a couple of rifle calibers, the current owners of H&R will not touch the older guns for any reason.
    Your only hope would be to find a spare barrel somewhere and a gunsmith that would work on it.
    Considering the relatively low cost of a new H&R, a conversion probably just wouldn't be worth the cost.

    Jack

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    what kind of fitting needs to happen with these? is it just forearm tension etc...? or something bigger?

    I can handle the little stuff, and am more than willing to swap firing pins when swapping barrels.
    (I'm sitting on a spare topper right now as it is, went through a fire, just got it cleaned up, gonna clean it, reblue it, strap it to a sawhorse and pull the trigger REMOTELY to see if it's alright. if it's alright, I'll have a shotty, and can dedicate the other.)

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by xd-40 View Post
    ...
    (I'm sitting on a spare topper right now as it is, went through a fire, ...
    A cast iron receiver that has been through a fire could have some very interesting, and potentially fatal, internal stress cracks.
    I wouldn't fire that thing for any amount of money.
    If it doesn't blow the first shot, it may at any time later, or maybe not.
    Too much to loose....

    Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhrosier View Post
    A cast iron receiver that has been through a fire could have some very interesting, and potentially fatal, internal stress cracks.
    I wouldn't fire that thing for any amount of money.
    If it doesn't blow the first shot, it may at any time later, or maybe not.
    Too much to loose....

    Jack


    u figger that if I "proof" it with a 3.5in magnum (from a remote location and it holds up it would be unsafe with the 2 3/4 it's chambered for? what if I "proofed" it multiple times?

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    Boolit Master doubs43's Avatar
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    They make inserts to convert 12 gauge shotguns to smaller shells. Maybe you can have an insert made to convert to a pistol caliber?

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    Quote Originally Posted by xd-40 View Post
    u figger that if I "proof" it with a 3.5in magnum (from a remote location and it holds up it would be unsafe with the 2 3/4 it's chambered for? what if I "proofed" it multiple times?
    If there are unseen problems, any single "proof" shot could be pushing the receiver just a little closer to failing.
    Might happen, might not happen.

    I have been in the metalworking trades for a long time and have seen enough issues with cast iron to make me very cautious.

    You are trying to salvage a piece of hardware that is probably worth a few bucks, very few. If it were a $10,000 dollar gun, getting it professionally re-proofed might be worth the money.

    You should do what you feel is sensible. I'm just saying that I wouldn't take the chance.

    Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhrosier View Post
    If there are unseen problems, any single "proof" shot could be pushing the receiver just a little closer to failing.
    Might happen, might not happen.

    I have been in the metalworking trades for a long time and have seen enough issues with cast iron to make me very cautious.

    You are trying to salvage a piece of hardware that is probably worth a few bucks, very few. If it were a $10,000 dollar gun, getting it professionally re-proofed might be worth the money.

    You should do what you feel is sensible. I'm just saying that I wouldn't take the chance.

    Jack

    if I said that it was in a trailer next to the house that caught fire, the stock was lightly charred on one side, and the trigger guard did not completely melt, springs did not lose their temper. would that change your opinion?

    (I do not want to injure myself, just hate to waste a piece of hardware, whether it's worth 2 bucks, or 10,000) you've got the metalworking experience.

    also, if it matters (might not, they're steel), a marlin and a winchester both in 30-30 were closer to the blaze, and have been in use for over 600 rounds each since.(not by me)

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    back to the original topic.

    what do I have to do to put barrels in handgun calibers, and MAYBE low power rifle cartridges (like .223 or 30-30) on the new receiver(not the burned one).

    is it safe?
    will handi-rifle barrels(I've never owned one) fit on a shotgun receiver?
    etc....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by xd-40 View Post
    if I said that it was in a trailer next to the house that caught fire, the stock was lightly charred on one side, and the trigger guard did not completely melt, springs did not lose their temper. would that change your opinion?....
    Yes, that would be much different than a gun with the wood burnt off.
    The gun has likely seen less than 500 degrees if the stock is only lightly charred. It is hard to judge by the condition of the plastic as some will melt around 300 degrees and others are good for over a thousand degrees. You would have to know the type of plastic to make a judgement. The springs are a good indicator of the temperature that the gun was subject to. I would trust the condition of the springs to indicate if the receiver was gotten too hot.
    In any case, I think that you would be wise to test fire the gun with a normal load. There is no need to go beyond that and risk loosening the fit of the barrel and it is just a "sanity check" in case there is some problem that is not apparent.
    The receiver should be good for any cartridge that the gun was originally chambered in. The ones that I remember are .357 maxi, .44 magnum, 45-70, 30-30, .22 hornet. I don't recall about the .223 . You might check over at GBO, I think that there is a H&R/NEF forum over there.

    Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhrosier View Post
    Yes, that would be much different than a gun with the wood burnt off.
    The gun has likely seen less than 500 degrees if the stock is only lightly charred. It is hard to judge by the condition of the plastic as some will melt around 300 degrees and others are good for over a thousand degrees. You would have to know the type of plastic to make a judgement. The springs are a good indicator of the temperature that the gun was subject to. I would trust the condition of the springs to indicate if the receiver was gotten too hot.
    In any case, I think that you would be wise to test fire the gun with a normal load. There is no need to go beyond that and risk loosening the fit of the barrel and it is just a "sanity check" in case there is some problem that is not apparent.
    The receiver should be good for any cartridge that the gun was originally chambered in. The ones that I remember are .357 maxi, .44 magnum, 45-70, 30-30, .22 hornet. I don't recall about the .223 . You might check over at GBO, I think that there is a H&R/NEF forum over there.

    Jack
    so the topper receivers ARE the same as the handi-rifle, it's just a fitting thing.

    is there a way to tell which receiver it is? (sb1 or sb2), or should I just assume that it's the sb1 (I gather that that's the weaker one).

    and what is GBO, sorry, but don't know that one.

  14. #14
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    The greybeard sight has lots of info on working on handy rifles. Basically you take a barrel and put it on your frame. Close it and see if it locks up solid or not. If it is loose you can shim around the pin that the front of the barrel lug butts against. The other issue is if it locks up solid or not. The rear of the under lug engages a wedge in the reciever that should make good contact with the locking ledge of the barrel lug. If it does not you can stone the barrel ledge to increase engagement or correct uneven engagement. There are lots more instructions and details on how to in the stickies of the gray beard sight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickSS View Post
    The greybeard sight has lots of info on working on handy rifles. Basically you take a barrel and put it on your frame. Close it and see if it locks up solid or not. If it is loose you can shim around the pin that the front of the barrel lug butts against. The other issue is if it locks up solid or not. The rear of the under lug engages a wedge in the reciever that should make good contact with the locking ledge of the barrel lug. If it does not you can stone the barrel ledge to increase engagement or correct uneven engagement. There are lots more instructions and details on how to in the stickies of the gray beard sight.

    GBO = greybeard?

    Topper shotgun receiver = handi-rifle receiver?????????????? (the big question here)

    I'm goingto look at greybeards now, if I can find it (googling greybeard)

  16. #16
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    S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman Accumulator

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    Boolit Master peter nap's Avatar
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    Look in the faq at Greybeards. They cover most anything including fitting barrels. I've gotten so it takes about 15 minutes/

    H&R will fit barrels to most of the Toppers, but only barrels that the gun was originally chambered for.

    There is a world of difference between an SB1 and an SB@ strength wise.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    There are the "old" Harrington & Richardson guns that were pre SB1 & SB2. These were all cast iron recievers and had shotgun barrels, 45-70, 30-30, 44mag, 357 mag, 22 Hornet. I can't remember any other calibers.
    When the went out of business and NEF & H&R came to be, the lug for the barrels was changed I believe at this time. So the old barrels do not physically attach to the New frames and vice versa.
    You can not send an SB1 receiver to the current company for fitting of a cartridge barrel.
    An SB2 reciever is o.k. for all the barrels except for the 10 gauge (?) I'm thinking.

    The is a good forum on Greybeard Outdoors as stated. Their is also alot of info on the H&R website.

    If you can find a pistol caliber barrel that the lug matches what you have you would just have to make sure it is fitted properly. This is your choice to do or not.

  19. #19
    Boolit Mold
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    Hi, it would make more sense to get a rifle barrel blank and use it to make an insert for one of the shotgun barrels. That way you have not changed the gun and can have as many different calibers as you can afford that are ok pressure wise for the frame. You could sweat the barrel in or cut the shotgun barrel down and use a nut on the muzzle end, I have seen it done both ways if you don't mind altering the gun. If it was me with access to a lathe i would make the insert from a numrich blank and use o rings to center it in the shotgun bore. Need more info just say so.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I have seen a couple of numbers tossed around here. first 223 is not a low pressure round. it may distroy an iron reciver. toppers were made before the steel recivers. the toppers are safe to put rifle barrels on as long as you keep to the original chamberings.they came in 22 hornet, 357m, 44m, and 3030. you could probably get away with 45 colt altho they didnt come originaly. I have a couple of toppers and they shoot great but think in terms of black power type chamberings. my toppers use the same size firing pins as the shotguns do. but if you hotload one of them the primers tend to push out into the pin hole and make opening it a pain. so I stick to factory levels with no problems. the current H&R will not fit barrels to your reciver, so you will have to find one used and fit it yourself. most of the barrels will fit but be carefull to fit only thos that are correct for your low pressure reciver and you should have no problems. DR

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