H&R 949: A Working Man’s Trail Gun

Hey everyone, I apologize for the big break in any new posts. I had some military stuff in the interim that had to be done first, and honestly, I was a little apprehensive about posting this review. I am still new to all this so please be gentle 🙂

IMG_1058     My first review will be on the Harrington and Richardson Model 949. H&R has been in business in one form or another since 1871 and has been known for making fairly inexpensive firearms, specifically single shot shotguns and revolvers, that work. The H&R 949, chambered in 22 Long Rifle, was manufactured from 1960 to 1985 in order to capitalize on the Western craze that was sweeping the nation at the time. Several firearms manufacturers were producing variants of the old six -shooters and lever action rifles that starred prominently on the TV shows that were playing at the time and H&R wanted a piece of the pie. Since H&R already had a large selection of revolvers in already in production to base their new pistol off of, they simply updated their existing Model 922 to fit the trending style

The 949 is on the outside, a very typical looking Western-style revolver, with its big blade front sight, loading gate, ejector rod and hand filling walnut grips. A closer look reveals that this is not your run of the mill six-shooter. For one, it is a nine-shooter. Yes that’s right folks, this little chunk of blued steel and wood has nine holes in the cylinder for nine 22 caliber pills to rest. The other big difference is that this revolver is also double action, meaning that you do not have to cock the hammer every time you wish to shoot, you can just pull the trigger.

First Impressions

At first look, the revolver might be mistaken for a larger caliber. It has a full five and half inch barrel and weighs 31 ounces. The wood stocks completely fill up your hand, and fit just like the old familiar Colt Single Action Army. This dwarfs a Ruger Bearcat enormously and is very comparable in size, if not a bit bigger, than a Single Six. The large size is not a detriment, in my opinion, it is comforting. The entire pistol, save for the brass ejector rod is steel, including, surprisingly enough, the ejector housing. This is a sturdy, well built pistol that does not need to be babied. On that note, it is not a handsome handgun either. It has no sleek lines or sensuous curves, but it works, and works well. The big front blade sights sticks up prominently on the end of the barrel while the rear sight is a square notch affair that is drift adjustable in the top of the frame. The firing pin is hammer mounted, so keep that in mind if you pack this revolver.IMG_1060

I should mention that this particular handgun was made in 1971. This is important to note as later versions of this pistol did include a transfer bar and frame mounted firing pin, a six shot cylinder, and Partridge style sights, probably in a bid to compete more directly with the Ruger Single Six. To load the pistol, you simply put the hammer on half cock, open the loading gate and rotate the cylinder, dropping a shell in each chamber. To unload you go through the same motions and then align the cylinder chamber with the ejector rod and push up on the ejector rod. To remove the cylinder for cleaning, you simply pull on the cylinder retaining pin, which is held firmly in place by a ball bearing detent. The single action trigger broke cleanly at 4lbs 4 oz consistently, while the double action pull is considerably stiffer at 12 lbs even. However, I cannot see how often the DA feature would be used that much to begin with, so it is a non-issue for me.

On The Range

Before I go too far into how it shot, I should talk about my criteria, at least for this pistol. I shot 5 shot groups, with the butt of the pistol on the bench, at 25 yards. The reason why I chose 25 yards is because I think that is a more realistic distance for the ranges that this pistol would be used for, i.e small game hunting, than say the seven yard range that seems to predominate pistol shooting these days. I think that 25 yards really opens up a pistol’s potential, and showcases a shooter’s bad habits a lot better than the seven yard range. I am also not the world’s best pistol shot, So if my groups seem looks like crud to you, remember to not blame the gun.

Anyways! I shot 4 different kinds of 22 L.R. in this pistol and chronographed the results. The ammo I used that had the best results was Remington Thunderbolt, 36 grain, advertised velocity 1260 fps; and Federal High Velocity, also 36 grain, advertised velocity 1280 fps. From the Remington Thunderbolt I got an average velocity of 948 fps, and from the Federal I got an average of 1036fps. Advertised velocity on 22 L.R. is typically derived from rifle length barrels, so a pistol, especially a revolver with a cylinder gap will have a considerably lower actual velocity. Both ammo brands shot groups that averaged consistently in the 2.5 to 2.75 inch range, which is fantastic in my opinion. This is definitely MOS (minute of squirrel) accuracy in my neck of the woods. I will note that the pistol also shot about 2 to 2.5 inches low at 25 yards, which I think had to do with my sight picture: I was aligning the blade and rear notch as you would a typical 3-dot sight system, when I think you should probably take a more Partridge-style sight picture, with the blade peaking over the rear notch.

Final Thoughts

After having spent some quality time with this old revolver I can say that it is definitely a keeper. It is accurate, fun to shoot, well built, and very versatile. This revolver would be a perfect addition on hiking trips, hunting and fishing excursions, and introducing the young’uns to shooting. It is capable of feeding and extracting all types of 22 Long Rifle, 22 Long, 22 Short, 22 CB, 22 Shotshell and as such can handle a variety of situations. Even though these have long since been out of production they are fairly common at your local gun stores and pawn shops and are relatively inexpensive with the worst ones going for just under $100 and a mint example going for $300. I can say that H&R did right by this one, and it would definitely be a pistol I’d get again.

Stats

Name:      H&R 949                   Action:      Double Action Revolver                Barrel Length:     5.5 in

Caliber:    22 Long Rifle         Weight:     31 oz.                                                        OA Length:           10.25 in

Capacity:  9                                  Trigger Pull:  4.25 lbs SA/ 12lbs DA               Sights:       Fixed Square Notch/ Fixed Blade

Price:        $100-300 used

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2 thoughts on “H&R 949: A Working Man’s Trail Gun

  1. Question:
    I have same model circa 1968 but not marked LR, on barrel. I have been old it was for .22 shorts. I am seeing many internet post that its LR

    So is it for LR or short ammo?
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • if it is actually an authentic 949, and not one of the myriad of splinter models that H&R made, then it is definitely 22 LR, regardless of age. Also, just like 357/ 38 special revolvers, if it will chamber 22 LR and completely revolve the cylinder without binding then it is chambered in 22LR.
      If that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, try measuring the cylinder, if it is as long or longer than a typical 22 lr cartridge, then it is 22lr. If it is obviously much shorter than a 22lr, then it is 22 short.
      22LR cartridges headspace on the rim, are relatively low pressure and are so called “heeled” bullets (meaning there is practically no throat) so it should be fine.
      Cheers.

      Like

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