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Thread: Hopkins and Allen .25-20 Single Shot problem?

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy Xringshooter's Avatar
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    Although the rifling looks pretty good I just couldn't get a repeatable twist reading. I'll try again though.

    Looking at the dimensions in my Lyman #49 for the .25-20 WCF and comparing them to my chamber cast, the theory that someone ran a .25-20 through seems to be plausible. I'm going to ask around to see if anyone has a fired .25 WCF case they could loan me to see how it fits.

    All this said, any thoughts/recommendations on what to do? Ream (correctly) for another cartridge? Ream, line and cut for the original cartridge?
    Ron
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    If it was mine, Iíd bush the chamber as above and recut the original .25-20 SS chamber. The rifle would be more interesting to me in the original caliber, and the SS shell looks much cooler to me than the stubby Repeater shell. Also, it would be a strictly handloading proposition, to black powder pressures, reducing the chance of bunging the action up with Hi-Speed factory ammo for the Winchester 92.

    A guy on the old Shooterís site once took his readers on a long sojourn of relining and rechambering one of those little H&As to .22 Rimfire Magnum. The block design is solid enough, and he calculated pressures and backthrusts to a decimal place, but he only fired eight shots through the thing before the poor metallurgy of the parts had set the block back far enough to allow the shell rims to burst in his face. Not a happy ending.

    The reamer rental places may have .25-20 SS reamers (some claim to have every possible reamer there is), or you could send the bushed barrel out to a smith that has one, or buy one yourself. Each choice more expensive than the last, and then there would be the hunt for brass, which, ironically, was momentarily easier to find than .25-20 WCF brass a few years back. Then Jamison/Captech went out of business, and now the SS is, at least marginally, again harder to find than the Repeater brass. But it appears that neither are routine items of commerce now.

    Probably the cheapest option would be to cut a quarter-inch or so off the barrel breech, extend the barrel stub the same amount, rechamber to .25 WCF (this time cleaning up the original chamber completely), recut the extractor slot, redrill the set screw hole, and slightly shorten the rear of the forend to fit again. I have a Stevens 44 that was done this way, and it works and shoots very well. I donít fire Hi-Speed ammo in it, and I load for it moderately, but Iíve still had to beef up the action to keep it from shooting loose.

    Unless your barrel is pitted or otherwise ruined, it shouldnít need a reline. If itís frosty, or doesnít shoot the way Iíd expect, Iíd fire-lap it, but kidsí rifles (or any small bore barrels from that era) that are still in good condition are worth preserving, just to have.

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy Xringshooter's Avatar
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    Well, I finally got some so-so repeatable readings and it looks like the twist is 1:14 or 1:15. The rifling is just ok so that may have lead to the not so accurate twist readings. It would probably be an ok shooter if it was worked on by someone with that kind of experience (I don't do any barrel work, no room for a lathe). I'll talk to the guy who brought it and explain what I have learned here - THANK YOU VERY MUCH - and he can explain to his dad and they can go from there.

    Again, thank all who responed for giving a good lesson.
    Ron
    USAF Ret (E-8) (1971-1997)
    NRA Benefactor

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy
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    A model 3925. The DST's I've not seen but H&A offered what they called a 'set trigger on the 900 series. It was actually more of a set screw that you could use to decreased the sear engagement to the point of an extremely light let off.

    The 922 action as high shoulders behind the breech block and if carefully fitted, the block can make made to take advantage of those and make for a quite stong breeching.The bbl is only held in the frame with the set screw in the bottom of the front of the action. That limits the strength.
    The lever and breech block are attached with a simple link. The screws become worn and even thought the very strong V spring in the front cut out in the frame snaps the lever shut with a lot of authority, those worn linkage pins can leave the block with some shake.

    They are easy to work on, come apart and go together easily. That lever tension V spring is probably the toughest part to get back in place.

    The forend on this one is a replacement, the orig was a very slim profile to a small schnoble tip. Some checkering to match the butt stock.
    Small Swiss type cast steel butt plate.

    The top tang is D&T's for a tang sight. The same sight that fits a Matlin 97/39 lever action fits these actions.

    They were call a 'Junior Schuetzen Model' 3922 in .22rf & Model 3925 in 25-20SS

    These Models were made after 1900 (after the 'new H&A plant was up and running) & probably didn't make them much later than 1913/14.
    H&A went bankrupt in 1915.
    They had stopped production all sporting arms around '14 and then failed on a Mauser contract w/ Belgium.


    I think all of the 3922/3925 rifles will have what's called the 'late style' underlever as shown on this rifle as well.
    The tip of the lever arm starts to sweep upward just a bit at the very end.
    Earlier 900 series actions used an underlever that had a very tight downward arc.

    The late style actions used the 6 o'clock extractor as seen here.
    Early 900 series used a 9 o'clock extractor.

    There was also a 1922, 1932 & 1925(?) Model. These were not the fancy target Schuetzens of the 39xx series but rather just the plain 922/932 round bbl boys rifles then fitted with full octagon bbls. The '19' series Model names reflected the oct bbl.

    I've seen these small 9oo series in 38 caliber as well as a 938. These have the linkage pin changability like the 32cal rilfes to be able to fire both CF and RF rounds. It just pushes the breech block to a slightly different level position so the same firing pin either strikes at a CF or a RF position at the chamber.

    I'll see if I can locate some pics of my restoration project Model 3922. Came out pretty nice.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Just for the record - can you point me to any imagery that shows a 9xx receiver with a 9:00 extractor? H&As have been one of my hobby-horses for almost 20 years now, and I've never come across one, or seen any source that showed one such.

    Thanks!
    Eleutheromaniac

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    I can get a picture tonight for one or two that I have.
    Truthfully I don't like them as part of the chamber is gone for having it. The extractor fills the space.

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy
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    Here's a 9 o'clock extractor Phil. and also has the early lever on a 3922. I think it was a pre-fire gun. I have also seen an early 3932, .32rf, with a 1/2 round barrel that I thought was a legit gun. Wish now I'd bought that one.
    Dennis

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  8. #28
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I have a Merwin & Hulbert small action in 22 rf that has the 9 O clock extractor also, itís just like a H&A M 922.

    Jedman
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  9. #29
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Those both have the crazy taper-pin barrel retainer coming in from the side, making them pre-fire Juniors or medium frames, not x9xx series... Charlie Carder was pretty clear on this.

    And M&H marked rifle would have to pre-date the x9xx design by several years.
    Eleutheromaniac

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mine has the threaded screw to retain the barrel, not the cross pin. The only barrel marking is, "THE HOPKINS AND ALLEN ARMS CO. NORWICH, CONN. U.S.A."
    I always thought the 9 o'clock extractors were pre-fire but I have no idea at this point in time when or where I came to that belief. I notice that my extractor configuration is different than JEDMANS. Click on my first picture and it will enlarge, you can see the difference, mine looks more like an 1885 Win.
    I have a medium frame Baystate with a very similar extractor. But that precedes all the others I think.

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    Last edited by kootne; 07-13-2021 at 11:06 PM.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I have the Merwin Hulbert rifle and comparing it to what deHaas wrote about the M 922 or New Junior models it is different in some ways. The receiver mics between 1.004 - 1.009 thick, the barrel shank is .690 diameter and is
    1.312 long. Compared to the drawing deHaas has of the M 922 the differences I see are, the 922 has a shorter top tang and longer bottom tang, my MH are both the same length. He shows the hammer on the 922 to have a roller that rolls along the main spring , mine does not have a roller, and of course the 922 has a longer front on the receiver hence the take down screw on the bottom instead of the side screw my MH action has.
    deHaas lists the barrel shank on the 922 as .715 dia. and 1.810 long which is larger in both ways to my MH action.
    I don’t think mine is like a H&A medium action at all as it’s receiver is listed at 1.20 thick and the few I have seen are quite a bit larger than my MH action. My rifle is petite, light and is definitely scaled as a boys rifle.

    Jedman

  12. #32
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    @kootne: Now we're getting somewhere. Maybe. Your pic doesn't look at all like the blade extractor that @Jedman's has. Is that right? A better angle looking into the open breech would help.

    M-H went bankrupt late in 1896, and everything was a scramble until the H&A Manufacturing Company was reorganized as H&A Arms Company in 1898. Carder wrote that in the transition they built the same products as they had for M&H, but marked them "H&A Manufacturing Company". After the reorganization the guns would presumably be marked "H&A Arms Company". So yours would be post-1898, but not necessarily post-fire.

    Carder tantalizes us with a cut from a Hartley & Graham catalog (nominally 1895-1899) which shows a "Special Target Rifle" described as "An Entirely New Production". The cut shows a pistol-grip stock on what certainly looks like the 922 receiver. Text says it was offered in .22LR only. BUT he says that it had the rear of the frame scalloped, "like the later shotguns", so yours is not one of those, unless they dropped the scalloped receiver pretty quickly.

    It seems that a 9xx style gun was being sold from the 1898 reorganization until the fire, and that it was being called a Junior. (I'd forgotten that.) I see that they continued tp call it a Junior as late as 1909, but I attribute that to their having retained the catalog cuts as long as they could get away with it. Stevens did the same thing. Those engraved plates were expensive.

    @kootne: Has yours been relined? Could that extractor be a gunsmith job?

    Now here's where we "circle back"......Carder says that the 6:00 extractor was introduced in 1910. But every x9xx I own or have any knowledge of has it, and we know they produced a LOT of 9xx guns starting right after the fire. So where are the thousands and thousands of pre-6:00 extractor guns? For once I think Charlie got it wrong. But that's what prompted my original query.

    I bought my copy of Carder's book from the man himself, at a gunshow in (I think) Lima, Ohio. We talked for more than a few minutes, and I wish I could go back now and ask him questions like that.
    Last edited by uscra112; 07-14-2021 at 03:34 AM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  13. #33
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    Here's my Merwin & Hulbert under screw 932, or I think it's supposed to be a 932 anyway
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  14. #34
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Well, that pretty much proves that they exist, and I've just been missing them.

    Is the gun actually marked Merwin & Hulbert anywhere? That would really put the cat among the pigeons.

    Now I've got to start a serial-number vs. features log just as I have been doing for the Stevens 44. Be interesting to narrow down the range in which the transition occurred.

    Phil
    Eleutheromaniac

  15. #35
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    I will take another picture. It does say M&H on the barrel, left of that 32rf marking. But what all was on it I don't remember. I believe it has been reblued, but the markings were makeable.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Old print sources like Carder, (or in the case of Stevens Jim Grant), could only do the best they could without the Internet. deHaas sometimes gets his historical comments wrong, because he too had only old sources and hearsay to draw on.

    Yes it's obviously been refinished. The purple cast to the receiver is what you always get when you try to hot blue a previously case-hardened malleable iron receiver.

    Yours will be the first entry in my archive. Could you pull the barrel and get the s/n?
    Eleutheromaniac

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    Surely will, and thank you. I will take full pictures tonight.

  18. #38
    Boolit Buddy
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    Here are some more pic's of my action. Number on the breechblock and extractor agrees with the barrel and receiver. The barrel has been lined but I don't think the extractor slot has been moved, but maybe? It is further to the left than the others shown. The extractor has one side (left) that seems to be a continuous original H&A poor stamped surface finish across any place I would think a re-weld/refinish would show. The extractor also has a integral sleeve that the screw goes through, I assume to help align it to the slot. That is a new one to me on these guns. I wonder if based on the low # it was made while they hadn't yet figured out all the ways to make them cheaper?
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Interestinger and interestinger said Alice. The sleeve alone makes it far better than a flat blade. I can't remember if my Bay State has that or not. But eliminating that and the hook at the top would certainly make the part a whole lot cheaper to make. If it is a devolution, would it be likely to have been done while Davenport was working at H&A? Despoiling his own design? Given present evidence, the origination of what became the 9xx action must have come prior to the M&H bankruptcy, (which is a revelation to me!). He would have joined right after H&A bought out Bay State, so.....1889 maybe? Sometime within the next five years the new action design is tooled up? Were the early examples literally toolroom prototypes? That might explain why they seem thin on the ground. An analysis of s/n will tell us more, if I can find enough examples.

    Is your gun's s/n 123, or is there a fourth digit on the frame?
    Last edited by uscra112; 07-14-2021 at 04:10 PM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lots of questions there. I can answer a couple.
    1. My serial # on receiver and barrel is; 0123. I personally would call that post toolroom, but early production.
    2. My Baystate extractor does not have a sleeve. It's screw is threaded into the left wall and has a trunnion on the end for the extractor to pivot on. I believe it was made this because the link is straight. The screw, if made to go all the way through, would go right through the middle of the link. Which I am guessing is why the H&A's have the U shaped link, it is going around the extractor screw.

    Photo of Baystate extractor and screw (mid frame model)
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check