Gun Review: H&R Hammerless

Periodically, I will do a gun review on this website. I make no claim to the technical accuracy of this review, so don’t try this at home.

I decided to review my H&R Hammerless .32 S&W Five shot revolver. The nearest I can tell, the revolver was made in approximately 1901. It is a top break, hammerless, floating firing pin design. I had to have the hinge pin replaced, and had a gunsmith check out the safety. The revolver (mostly) locks up properly.

I spent about three months looking for ammo to test this thing out. Finally, I was able to buy a box of MagTech ammo from, and test fired it this weekend.

First: for such an underpowered cartridge, the recoil bordered on unpleasant. I think the exposed metal backstrap contributed to this. It wasn’t unmanageable, but I could feel the recoil in my wrist and elbow. Perhaps the cylinder is not lining up perfectly, and I’m feeling the bullet pushing against the frame slightly as well.

Second: Wow. At 5 yards it was really difficult to hit a 12 oz water bottle. Thankfully, I had a full five shots, and I managed to hit it with the fourth. Surprisingly, the bottle emptied quickly based on the hole I left in it. At that range, it would appear to shoot low, but more than likely, the sights are fixed for a center hold, and I’m used to a 6 o’clock hold.

The balance of the gun is nice. I had no problems with handling, and it fits my hand very well.

One other problem I did encounter was that occasionally you could pull the extractor past the rimless cases of the 32 S&W. The cartridge is not hot enough for this to be a real problem, but it was a slight nuisance to send the extractor past the case head and “try again.”

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase. If nothing else, it entertains me to take a 110+ year old gun to the range. I’ll likely buy a case or two of ammunition, and a set of dies and molds. Most likely, I won’t shoot it often, but will keep it as a neat example of turn-of-the-century firearms.


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