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  1. #1
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    9mil's Avatar
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    Harrington & Richardson 949 "Forty-Niner" Revolver


    I mentioned this one in a previous thread, and I wanted to show it off here. I love this little gun, especially for what it means to me and how I acquired it. Here's the long-winded story...


    I was at a local gun club & range a couple of months with my father-in-law, and while we were shooting our various handguns, he pulled out an old H&R 949 western SA/DA .22LR revolver. It was a pistol he was given many years ago by his now-departed father, and an easy 8/10 condition. Its only knock was the lack of a rear dovetail sight—or so I thought. We knocked it around for a little while and sprayed some targets before moving on to the longer rifle range. It couldn't hit anything without the rear sight, and it didn't work very well in double-action.

    While we were cleaning up before moving, he told me he was looking to buy a new Ruger "western-style" .22, and asked me if I wanted the old basket case 949.

    I was kinda shocked, but said, "hell yes," without much thought. It means a lot to have a gun that was passed on to him from his dad. Yeah, free guns are always spectacular, but this one was old, and an heirloom and I could use it for teaching my daughters how to shoot someday. And someday, it will be passed down, again. He said that he knew I "fix stuff" and that if anyone could get it to work, I would. That meant a lot to me, too.

    I got the revolver home and immediately started taking it apart to inspect, clean and figure out what was wrong. Turns out the serial number puts it at a 1980 manufacturing date, which is kind of neat for a gun that was made for almost 40 years and hasn't been made for a while.

    Here's what it looked like before I did anything...





    The rear sight turned out to be a $3 part that NO ONE had. I found a couple of collections of "bag o' parts" on eBay and GunBroker that had one, but I didn't need $80 worth of junk from someone's old stripped down gun. I found a gun shop in North Dakota that had H&R stuff, and as it turned out, they made their own new rear sights because no one had any. I guess they fell off regularly and got lost.

    New rear sight…



    After I tore it down and completely cleaned, oiled and polished anything that moved, the gun went back together and still exhibited some strange behaviors, centered mostly around the cylinder. It's a 9-shot .22 that works in single-action and double-action, and I still wasn't sure what was causing the double-action to not work properly. Something was off. The cylinder pin wasn't coming out of the cylinder easily at times, too, so I guess I wasn't finished.

    I remember reading a comment about wheel gun trouble-shooting somewhere that said, "with light strikes, something is out of round. Start there." So I pulled it all apart again to check the roundness, and as it turned out, the cylinder pin was bent! My guess is that at some point, someone dropped it on the cylinder and it bent the rotating parts. It probably never worked properly again, and was also probably when the rear sight vanished.

    Again, the parts needed to fix the pin didn't exist, so I set out to straighten it myself. A ball pein hammer, a little heat, a steel anvil and a lot of massaging got the pin back to straight in about an hour. Polished it up and oiled everything that spins, and it all went back together perfectly. And now it all works, too.

    The factory grips on this 949 are commonly referred to as "walnut," but they are most definitely stained light wood of some kind, maybe birch. Whatever they are, they aren't very pretty. After refinishing my Ruger 10/22 stock, I figured on doing that to these, too, until I spotted a small "A" carved in the handle. That was for Andy, my father-in-law's father. No way I'm doing anything to those grips now.

    I found a gun shop on GunsAmerica that had purchased a whole lot of solid walnut grips for these H&R revolvers many years ago. They were unfinished and beautiful, so I bought one and asked for the darkest wood with the most grain. The grips arrived and got installed on a freshly cleaned and oiled 49'er and are absolutely beautiful.

    Here is is today…



    For something that couldn't hit the broad-side of a barn not that long ago, the refinished and rebuilt '49er shoots very nicely. I was happy with the 2-handed results, but this one (below) made me smile a lot—9 shots at 15' with one hand, using garbage Remington Thunderbolt ammo that the range had. I was thrilled that after everything this little gun has gone through, it's come back to life and shoots great. I'm over-the-moon with the final results, too. (that's a 5.3" black circle bull on the NRA 25-yard slow fire target)…




    Oh, and a fun little tidbit to add to this one... I talked to my 20-something brother-in-law last weekend, and he was shocked at the results when I showed him the photos of the finished revolver. He said it was offered to him a few years ago and it was such a big pile of junk, that he turned it down. He said he would have just thrown it out because he had no use for it (and no inclination to figure out what was wrong with it). He couldn't believe it was the same gun.

    Win.
    Last edited by 9mil; 09-01-2013 at 08:45 PM.

    Glock 19 Gen 4

    It's the Indian, not the arrow.

  2. #2
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    cohland's Avatar
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    Now THAT is what I call a good post in "Non-Glock Firearms": good story, good photos.

    You're HIRED!

    Chris
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

    Abraham Lincoln



  3. #3
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    What a tremendous story... Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Now your old, once damaged 949 looks great and shoots well, too... Very cool...
    "While the anti-gunners seem very concerned about the "one life" that your firearm might take -- they are not very concerned about the lives it will save." Jon H. Gutmacher, Florida Firearms - Law, Use & Ownership

  4. #4
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    9mil's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, it's a great little revolver. I'm someone who has forever wanted to collect vintage Colt revolvers (looks like Ubertis are more my speed, though), so the cowboy action stuff is really interesting to me. To get this neat cowboy .22 as a gift and then bring it back to life has been nothing but fun. The best thing about it, too, is that it will shoot .22 long & shorts as well as 22LR. It should love the standard and subsonic velocity stuff more than the HV ammo, too, so shooting anything shouldn't be a problem.

    Can't wait to get it back to the range!




    doug

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    It's the Indian, not the arrow.

  5. #5
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    NYY23's Avatar
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    Great story!

  6. #6
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    Very Cool story and pistol !

    I have an Uberti .45LC high on my wish list !
    ~ click Click BOOM ~

  7. #7
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    9mil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otintx View Post
    I have an Uberti .45LC high on my wish list !
    Yeah, the Cattleman 1873 in brass or old west finish and an 1871 Schofield top break in 45LC are high on my list, too, with just about everything else they sell, too (cough, 1860 Henry rifle).


    I need a MUCH bigger bank account... LOL.
    Last edited by 9mil; 09-02-2013 at 03:11 PM.

    Glock 19 Gen 4

    It's the Indian, not the arrow.

  8. #8
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    cohland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otintx View Post
    Very Cool story and pistol !

    I have an Uberti .45LC high on my wish list !
    Like this one?

    Name:  Uberti 1873 Cattleman.jpg
Views: 2577
Size:  485.7 KB

    Chris
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by cohland; 09-02-2013 at 04:00 PM.
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

    Abraham Lincoln



  9. #9
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    Haha, yeah, like that—only with the brass trim. Very nice!

    Glock 19 Gen 4

    It's the Indian, not the arrow.

  10. #10
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    Yes Chris just like that ! ! !





    Nice side iron ya got there mister .....
    ~ click Click BOOM ~

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