Wednesday, December 30, 2009

H&R (Harrington & Richardson) Model 950 22lr Revolver

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

As is the case for gift giving days most folks know that a firearm will always be appreciated by me. So this Christmas my inlaws presented me with this gorgeous 22lr revolver.

It is an H&R Model 950 nickel plated 9 shot double/single action 22lr revolver styled after the classic Colt single actions. I've been wanting a 22lr revolver to compliment our Wather P22 and this fits perfectly. It's a fun plinker that will also be used to practice trigger control. I just love how it looks too.

Here's a little background if you've never heard of H&R. They were in business from 1871 to 1986 (over 100 years!) and made a wide variety of pistols & long guns. They made some cool looking top break revolvers as well. Though some connect them to SNS (Saturday Night Special) guns their firearms were always well made and out of steel instead of pot metal alloys.

My example is a bit rarer being nickel plated instead of blued or case hardened as most others are. One neat thing is that this gun was made the year I was born 1976 so it's the same age as I am. The previous own obviously took very good care of it's finish because it's common to see bad examples of nickel plated guns. They can look like the gun has leprosy. What got me into looking at H&R revolvers is my father-in-law's own H&R Model 676 which has the option to fire 22lr or 22wmr depending on which cylinder you put in it. They also can be found fairly inexpensive which is always a plus. I've got a sweet spot for revolvers, but the ones in my "arsenal" don't lend themselves to just plain plinking. This one just screams PLINK ME!

It looks nice, but how does it handle & shoot? I know that I've criticized the oversized "shovel" target grips that are narrow at the top and get widdde at the bottom in the past, but for some reason the balance & weight of this SA styled revolver works perfectly with this kind of grip. It points naturally and just wants to stay there. The trigger takes some getting used to. In double action it's pretty heavy, but manageable. In single action it's quite nice, light & crisp. Because of it's weight (about 31oz) and the light recoil of the caliber I found that it's very easy to walk the bullets where you want them to go in double action. The front sight blade leaves a lot to be desired. Since it's nickel & rounded it never looks the same as it catches light differently everytime. It's thickness is well regulated with the rear sight unlike our P22 that has such a wide rear notch that precision is very difficult. It's no Ruger MKII, but I could hit an inch sized orange sticker target at 7 yards without trouble. I will admit that I'm no marksman and I'm still getting accustomed to the pistol. No doubt, others can do much much better. Point shooting is easily accomplished without focusing too much on the sights that it's still a lot of fun to plink with.

Loading is done by putting the hammer in half cock so the cylinder can be rotated and then opening the loading gate to access the chambers. To eject the spent shells; put it in half cock, open the loading gate and use the ejector rod to individually pop the shells out. As this is my first real experience with this method of loading & unloading I was surprised with how easy it is. It's not nearly as slow as I would have originally thought. For a gun that won't be used defensively and that may be used to show new shooters the ropes it suits me fine.

I will admit that my first time out with it I did have mechanical problems after the first several cylinders of shooting. What was happening was the trigger was sticking back when fired double action and had to be wiggled to return forward. Also sometimes the hammer wouldn't catch on the single action sear when manually cocked. I traced the problems to accumulated gunk built up on the inside that needed to be cleaned out. After a good cleaning and blowing out all the gunk it's worked perfectly since. Even with the above mentioned problems from earlier it never failed to fire and always hit hard enough to ignite the primers.

Here are a couple parting shots.

She sure is a beauty!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Stone Grip! ...No Not Really

I picked up another old grip someone didn't need for my Dan Wesson Model 14. I love my walnut grip I had reshaped for it, but I wanted something I didn't have to worry about messing up and I wanted to try something different.

At first glance the old grip looked similar to my other grip before reshaping and refinishing. The only difference that I could tell at first was that it looked to be painted and not varnished like the other grip. I started sanding it down past the painted finished and low and behold it's not walnut under that paint, but some kind of plastic. These grips must have been formed using a mold that was filled with plastic reinforced with wood. *edit - I was informed that this material was marketed by Dan Wesson by the name of Powerwood, it's both light & tough. These plastic grips actually worked out great for what I had in mind for it since now I really didn't have to worry about messing up a nice piece of wood. One strange thing with this plastic is that it is fairly porous, so you can see that in a couple spots on the pictures. I used my walnut grips as a kind of template and carved these into a similar shape. This time I decided to make them even smaller. One thing I don't care for about the walnut grips is that they are fairly slick. I had considered trying to stipple them, but I was afraid to mess up. This time around I wanted a more textured grip so I didn't worry about sanding them smooth. Compared to the walnut this plastic is a lot easier to carve so things went pretty fast. I carved it down past where the screw become recessed so I simply countersunk the hole and painted a screw black that would fit it flush.

On a previous project I used a textured paint on a Tyler T-grip to give it more traction with my fingers so I thought this would be a good chance to try it on full grips. I didn't think the color I had (Aged Iron) would look good with the worn bluing on my DW so I picked out a dark brown (Autumn Brown) to use. Before applying it I sealed the plastic with a black lacquer to help it stick a bit better. In the end, I ended up with a nice texture that won't slide around in my hand and should hold up well.

Here are pictures.

My hands are large enough to utilize the pinky rest while my wife prefers to grip it like in the lower picture where her pinky sits above it.

All in all, very happy with how this project worked out. If they hold up fine at the range, I'll probably keep these grips on the gun most of the time.