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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just traded an old laptop of mine that I wasn't using and a printer to this Harrington & Richardson Topper Model 158, 12 gauge shotgun. It's a lot like my other, regular Topper model in that it takes both 2 3/4" and 3" magnum shells. It's a single shot, break action. This one has definitely seen better days though. They had the foregrip held on with electrical tape because it was loose, there's no shortage of rust on the outside, lots of powder fouling in the bore, and one spot of surface rust inside the bore I'm gonna try to get out. It's even got some marring around some of the pins where somebody tried to work on it before without the proper tools. The action though seems to function just fine, which isn't very surprising given that these guns are incredibly simple and reliable. The bore looks good for the most part (a little rust) with no bulges or cracks. The vast majority of its issues appear to be cosmetic. I've removed the tape and used some solvent to get most of the sticky residue off, I'm gonna see about taking some steel wool to it in the morning to knock off the rest of the rust and then paint it, re-finish the wooden parts, and it'll be a real nice shotgun. I don't really have a need for it since I already have a Topper model that is in much better condition that I kind of have a sentimental attachment to, but I'll keep it for a rainy day since guns are as good as cash money around here. Eventually somebody will have something I want, and this shotgun might come in handy as a trade item. Heck I may even give it as a gift to somebody for Christmas or a birthday or something. I'm still figuring out exactly what I'm gonna do with it. Oh well, just thought I'd share.

Just walked in the door here
topper158-1-edited.jpg

Got it up on the bench. Took some solvent to it to try and remove the sticky residue, but I'm tired, I'll work on it some more tomorrow.
topper158-2-edited.jpg
 

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Good trade! :thumbsup: I have the grand daddy to you 158 in the safe. It's a H&R model 44 12 ga. break-action shotgun. One thing nice about the single shots is, they force you to be more accurate and a better hunter. If you restore your 158, you should be able to sell it for $200-250.
 

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Good trade
 

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Love those old H&R break overs. My son has my H&R .410 I had when a wee lad. Many of wabbit and squirrel and dove even fell to that old .410---still shoots like a dream. You did well.
 

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gerowen, I noticed the newspaper in the back ground. Watched the Wildcats/LSU game and was sadly disappointed in the result. I was born in Richmond and grew up in Estill Co. Ravenna to be precise. Now living in Iowa. Good the see someone from close to home on here. Oh yeah, nice old HR. Had and old HR single shot .410 back in the 60's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I've re-blued the barrel, but I've ran into an issue. I'll post a picture of the barrel in a minute. After I got it back together I realized that the catches on the inside of the action, that normally prevent the barrel from coming up to far when you break it open, have been worn off, so when you break it open a lot of the times the barrel falls way down and places pressure on the plastic endpiece on the foregrip. Basically in the section of the barrel that sticks down into the action, there's a roll pin that protrudes on both sides that is supposed to catch on these metal ledges in side the action. The corners of those ledges have been worn off from rough openings because of the loose fitting foregrip. On my regular Topper model, the foregrip attaches with a screw. With this Topper Model 158, it just has a snapping mechanism so all you have to do is pull hard on it to release it. This has made it loosen over time, which I'm guessing placed un-needed stress on these corners when the barrel was allowed to shift backward a little bit because of the loose fitting foregrip.

Anybody got any ideas on how I could fix this issue? It doesn't make the gun particularly unsafe to shoot, but when you drop the barrel down you gotta be careful not to let it fall too far. It hasn't fallen completely off yet, but when those roll pins pop around those corners all that tension hits on the plastic end-piece on the foregrip.

worn.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here's the barrel, sanded down to silver and re-blued. I was going to try Krylon paint, but found about half a bottle of Birchwood Casey Perma Blue in my gun cabinet and decided to give that a try. I may end up re-doing some of it because in handling it to put it back on some of it came off the rear portion of the barrel since I hadn't given it a chance to cure, but it looks OK for now.

blued.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think it's the extractor mechanism. On my older plain Topper model, when you break it open, the extractor stays seated until it reaches the fully broken open position, at which point there's a loud click and the extractor kicks backward to remove the old shell. The extractor and extractor spring all appear to be attached to that roll pin that is supposed to secure the barrel when it is broken open. When I break open this Topper 158, the extractor is already out in the rearward position as soon as I start to open it, so there is no loud pop and the shells do not get extracted properly. I'm guessing the roll pin contacting those ledges serve a 2nd function of activating the extractor, as well is keeping the barrel locked in place.

Gonna dig out my punch kit and take it apart and see what's going on in there. One of the pins is marred to hell from somebody working on it before me, so there's probably something shady going on.

Topper 158 barrel action
topper-158-barrel-action.jpg

Topper model barrel action, the one I already had that works properly
topper-model-barrel-action.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
So it appears that the ejector latch spring is worn out and is not pressing the ejector latch downward so that it can provide proper leverage. I can pry the back end of the latch down and see the spring inside its recess and it is not making contact with that bar, and it's supposed to. I've removed one of the roll pins, but it appears that at some point the other roll pin wore out or somebody damaged it, because it has been replaced with some kind of a piece of brass that has just been jammed in there and cut off on the sides so the barrel would go back. This wouldn't be an issue except that I need to get the ejector latch spring out, and you can't do that unless you can move this locking bar out of the way. Gonna bang away at it with some of my brass punches and see what happens.
 

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If the pin is brass, you should be able to carefully drill down the center till your drill bit is just below the surface. This will give your punch a little more affect.
 

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i like these old single shots.......

there is an extensive H&R dedicated forum over at Graybeard Outdoors - Index

including H&R shotgun, handi rifle, and rimfire sections. Many of these folks are do-it-your-self-ers and perhaps their knowledge can be of assistance.
 

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That H&R looks to be a little older than mine. Mine does not have the color-cased hardened receiver, just plain blued. Mine is in good shape and shoots true. That one you traded for will make a dandy project shotgun.
 

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I did a lot of hunting with an old single barrelled 12 gauge when I was a kid. What a great gun for a kid to learn about hunting with!!
 
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