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Thread: "Secret Service Special"

  1. #1
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    "Secret Service Special"

    Hello,

    I have an old top break .32 5 shot pistol. It says "Secret Service Special" on the side. The top has "For 32 Smith and Wesson Ctgs. I know it is not a Smith and Wesson. What I do not know is how old it is, who makes it, and if they are safe to shoot. It has a black composite handle grips and 245413 engraved on the bottom of the cast of the handle. The gun has zero rust and no cracks. I found it wrapped up in a towel in my grandmothers basement. She had no clue how long it had been there or whos it was. It has to be pretty old. I also have original shot for it. Please help me.
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    The "Secret Service Special" revolvers were sold by the Fred Biffar Co., a Chicago based firm, in the early 1900's. They were actually subcontracted out to several different manufacturers. Meridian made early versions. Iver Johnson made a lot. Hopkins and Allen and H&R all had contracts as well. The Iver J's were probably the best made. They had frame mounted firing pins with a hammer block safety. The front of the trigger guard was held in place by an internal screw. The H&A and H&R models both had hammer mounted firing pins as well as trigger guard pins fore and aft. Hard to tell by your picture but it looks like a pin is holding the front of the trigger guard in place. Yours looks like the Hopkins & Allen product. Is the firing pin on the hammer?

    I have several old S&W, IJ's and H&R top breaks and have shot 32 S&W factory ammo out of the ones in better shape. While the factory loads are kept mild, the 32 S&W being a very underpowered cartridge to begin with, I prefer to shoot reloads using about 1.2 g of Trail Boss. They are fun to shoot but you should have a smith look at it first. The difference in quality and workmanship between the S&W top breaks and all others is remarkable and accounts for their double or more sale price at the time.
    BTW, welcome to the forum!

    John
    Last edited by timetripper; 03-06-2012 at 11:30 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    i agree with timetripper! i might be tempted to shoot a clean, tight, genuine s&w a few times with light loads, but i think i would keep the others as a "representative" piece, and abstain from firing them.

    welcome to the forum!


 

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