You recognize the name, however shrug v indifference in ~ its mention. In mint condition, your shotguns compare no to the finer side-by-sides that the past. They offer for pennies on the dollar relative to the spendy, however (occasionally) affordable names prefer Fox and L.C. Smith, and also may too be a door prize for simply viewing a Parker. Although much less glamorous, the single-shot Harrington and also Richardson (H&R) shotgun may arguably be among the simplest and most prominent weapons to grace American hunting and also shooting history.

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H&R boasts an ornate legacy dating ago to the start of the agency in 1871 together Wesson and Herrington in Worcester, MA. Established by Gilbert H. Harrington and also William A. Richardson, the manufacturer we know as H&R was no so named until 1877. Harrington supposedly bought out Dan Wesson’s investment and re-branded through Richardson, carrying the H&R name and parent operation through 1986. Your doors continued to be closed till 1991 as soon as a brand-new company began under the surname H&R 1871.

H&R to be known right into the 1880s for their revolvers, yet evolved conveniently to to produce shotguns and also rifles through dozens of different models. However the name together I and many rather have concerned know is married to their single-shot shotguns.

In 1901, H&R created their an initial single-shot, the model 1900. A collection of small-bore .410 single-shots followed, chambered in two-inch in 1911, the version 1915 chambered in 2.5-inch, then a three-inch chambering in 1937. It appears the an ext commonly recognized “Topper” design name go not show up until the 1940s.

The H&R Topper design 158 (Topper 158) was made between roughly 1962 and also 1973, coming to be the shotgun plenty of of today’s hunters associate with the H&R name. When this design was chambered in everything from .17 come .300 magnum caliber, smooth bores show up to be most common.

The Topper 158, prefer its predecessors, brought a hardwood stock, however the rubber target pad didn’t show up before this model, follow to vintage advertising. Their actions were color situation hardened, boasting a beautiful tiger-like, almost holographic striping. Twelve, 16, 20 gauge and .410 bores were obtainable with barrel length ranging indigenous 28- to 36-inches and housing one immaculate shell ejector. The 28-inch barrel package weighed a scant 5.5 pounds. The forearms on at an early stage models were organized tight to the barrel v a center screw, i m sorry was adjusted to a sleeker clip-in mechanism in 1971.


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These guns may not have been dazzling, however their reputation as lightweight, reliable and also affordable, led to thousands of thousands the sales if in production. Original cost for a conventional Topper shotgun was noted at $28.50 in 1957, and also the Topper 158 in ~ $36.95 in 1971, follow to vintage advertising.

Present day worth for a provided Topper 158 in excellent problems runs between $150-225, however monetary worth does tiny justice because that the antiquity of these “working class” scatterguns. However as W.E. (Bill) Goforth claimed in his in-depth volume ~ above the H&R company, firearms enthusiasts are caused “…the belief that the value of a collectible firearm is measure up by its cost.” This dismisses historical relevance, allowing monetary worth alone to determine the “worth” that a firearm, exemplified by H&R.

Aside from monetary or historical significance, sentimental value have the right to eclipse all. Ns inherited my father’s Topper 158 as a child and also carried the after gray squirrels through the deciduous forest. Ns recently uncovered a photograph of my dad taken at his parent’s home roughly 1981. The knelt in the garden clutching his one-year-old youngest child (me) and also a gray squirrel, the Topper 158 leaning versus the fence in the background. The photograph triggered a desire come rescue and restore the gun together a item of mine father’s legacy. A shotgun constructed for everyone and fitting the his humble, trustworthy personality.


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A tiny Trumbo with his father after a effective squirrel hunt through the Topper 158

The christening that the old 12-bore through renewed fashion come a nation away from its Virginia beginning with a pass shot in ~ a Eurasian collared dove. A bird ns doubt my dad had ever heard of. Memory overlaid by time rushed come the surface, cued by the thump of the light-weight single-barrel driving versus my shoulder.

With such talk of popular style and mechanics, it might be surprising that in 1880, H&R became the sole American licensee for the manufacture of quality English Anson & Deely double-barrel boxlock shotguns, manufacturing around 3,500 of miscellaneous “grades” between 1882 and also 1885. Not to belittle the company’s contribution to the U.S. Armed forces end the years.

The H&R name and also Topper 158 have declared their worthy place in American firearms history and the story continues with present Topper models. Still created under the Harrington and also Richardson name, the Topper Deluxe classic sports a vented vision rib, screw-in throttle tubes and also checkered American walnut stock.

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Various vintage Topper 158 and youth models deserve to be found approximately $100 if you are willing to watch auctions and also make some minor repairs. Cheap enough to recognize for yourself the wingshooting “worth” that H&Rs classic single-shot.