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Beastazz 08-08-2011 05:52 PM

Im new to firearm collecting.. I need some help.
How can I determine the year my firearm was produced. I am mainly talking about my 20ga its an H&R topper model, but I would like to know if there is a general way to do it for all firearms?

c3shooter 08-08-2011 06:46 PM

Well, the old joke was that you had to saw the gun in half, and count the rings, but.......:)

Serious answer- there is no one way to determine that age of a firearm. It varies wildly from one maker to another.

For Ruger and Browning, go to their website, and look under Customer Service, Historical Data- and they list serial number ranges from one year to another.

For Marlin Lever action rifles, the letter prefix to the SN indicates year, until late model guns changed to a different pattern in the serial number.

Remington- it was a 2 or 3 letter code stamped on the barrel, would tell you month and year.

Winchester- 2 different goups of experts argue over years for different serial numbers, but the Cody Museum in Wyoming has the records from Winchester.

For many guns, closest you can get is a date RANGE. I collect early Remington and Mossberg 22s. They did not HAVE serial numbers. So that goes to "What years was a Mossington Mdl Q36 made?"

There are very few references for H&R. Mr. Bill Goforth, the most knowledgable man I have ever encountered on Iver Johnson and H&Rs wrote some of those, but Bill passed away last year.

H&R made (for the most part) good, sound, durable utility grade shotguns- the gun that belonged to the working stiff- the farmer, shop keeper, mechanic. They made them from 1874 to 1986, when the company closed. The name was revived for a few years, but I think THAT has gone away now. One of us here may have a reference that lists your shotgun, I regret I do not. If yours does not have a serial number, it is from before 1968 (not required on rifles and shotguns by law until then.)

PS- my first gun was given to me on the day I was born by my grandad- a H&R .410 single shot.

Beastazz 08-08-2011 11:27 PM

Ok. Thanks alot. I was told by an ancient friend that the last 2 numbers on the serial # was the year of production, but I was unsure about that.

jon1992d 08-09-2011 04:48 AM

C3shooter I have an 72 single shot h&r 20g and I know marlin picked up h&r and still runs them and true its an awesome extremely tough shotgun it was given to me by a ranch owner that was to old to shoot it. Great gun and brand :)

c3shooter 08-09-2011 11:49 AM

Jon- the H&R company has changed 3 times (at least)


The original H&R company went out of business in 1986, and the building was demolished.[2]

A new company, H&R 1871, Inc., was formed in 1991 and started production of revolvers, single shot rifles and shotguns using original H&R designs. H&R 1871, Inc. assets were subsequently sold to H&R 1871, LLC., a Connecticut LLC owned by Marlin Firearms Company in November 2000. H&R 1871, LLC. did not extend their product warranty to H&R guns made prior to the LLC's takeover.

Marlin, including all its H&R assets, was later acquired by Remington Arms Company in December, 2007. H&R 1871, LLC production was moved to Ilion, N.Y. (the site of Remington's original manufacturing plant) in late 2008, while their corporate offices are co-located with Remington Arms in Madison, N.C. ( and[citation needed] Remington, along with its Marlin and H&R subsidiaries, are now part of the Freedom Group.

orangello 08-09-2011 05:43 PM

^^^ Interesting, my first shotgun was an H&R single shot .410, probably about 1980. The only problem i ever had was a jam of some type with the take down button; a local smith ordered a part & did the fix. Still shoots fine last i checked, but the fit is a bit small now.

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