Harrington & Richardson USRA Target Pistol, PENNY!
Used Condition
FFL is required
Current Bid
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19 Bids Bid History
Time Left 15 min rule
Item has Ended
7/30/2017 9:17 PM
Item 669167837
Location Adams, MA 01220
Priority Mail$20.00
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Payment Personal Check, Visa / MasterCard, American Express, Discover, USPS Money Order, Money Order, Certified Check, See Item Description
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MA 6.25%   
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Three Days from the date the item is received

The seller of this item assumes all responsibility for this listing. You must contact the seller to resolve any questions or concerns before placing a bid. Payment must be made using U.S. dollars ($) unless otherwise stated in the listing. Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder). Some listed items may not be legal in every state. Complete your purchase within the law.

DESCRIPTION: This is a 22 LR caliber Harrington & Richardson USRA single shot target pistol. This gun rates at very good condition with about 15% original finish remaining as shown. The metal has a smooth patina finish as shown.

The action works perfectly, and the bore is excellent. The grips are excellent as well.

This gun was made for the USRA, (United States Revolver Association), target competitions that took place back in the 1920's and 30's.

The gun has a superb trigger as well as adjustable sights. This gun shoots wonderfully.

The following is a write up on these wonderful pistols, by William K. McCarter, Past President of the USRA.

USRA Single Shot Pistols - Guns of Constant Evolution - by William K. McCarter, Past President

The finest, most highly evolved and developed single shot match target pistol produced in the U.S. from 1880 to 1940 was the H and R "U.S.R.A."

Commonly called "U.S.R.A. Single Shot Pistols", the U.S.R.A. marking did not appear on the early models. Production began in 1928 or perhaps 1929 and ended in 1941 with about 3300 of the pistols produced. The factory records were destroyed in a fire and this pistol of constant evolution and change makes an interesting study. Officially it was the Harrington and Richardson Model 195 although it appears that the model number was never put on a pistol.

After about a year or so of production, in 1930, H and R hired Walter F. Roper, a talented mechanical engineer, designer of custom target grips and an expert pistol shot with many years experience in the firearms industry. For the last 10 years he had worked for Smith and Wesson. H and R wanted the Model 195 developed into the best single shot target pistol.

This was an era when competitive pistol shooting in this country was largely conducted under the auspices of the United States Revolver Ass'n (U.S.R.A.) Roper was provided with adequate funds to experiment and develop the pistol. This he did with a passion. Sometimes, only 5 or 10 pistols were produced with a certain feature. Sometimes only one!

Besides some of the readily visible features discussed below, there were features not readily apparent to the naked eye. There were combinations of bore size, rifling twist rate and chamber design. The rifling equipment used in making the barrels for this match pistol cut the grooves while simultaneously scraping the top of the lands to remove marks. Barrels for this pistol were so smoothly rifled that lapping was unnecessary.

The American Rifleman in the March, 1930 issue announced and described an improved model now called the "U.S.R.A. Model" and so marked on the left side. From this point on, it is inconceivable that H and R made any profit directly on the sale of this pistol.

With the limited production on a no costs spared constant design change basis, any direct profit from the sale of the pistol was probably not achieved. What H and R wanted was a reputation for the best single shot pistol, which they achieved.

One of the pistols in my collection is very interesting. This pistol was owned by Miller Bedford, first president of the OGCA. There is a letter with the pistol from Major General (Retired) Julian S. Hatcher of the American Rifleman staff to Bedford concerning Walter Roper and the pistol.

July 15, 1960

Mr. Miller Bedford

New London, Ohio

Dear Mr. Bedford: Thanks for your card of July 12, and it is interesting to know you have fallen heir to that experimental gun of Roper's. His experiments on sight radius are found in his book, "Experiments of a Handgunner". As to his address, I am sorry to tell you Walter Roper died about 4 or 5 years ago.

Very truly yours,

J. S. Hatcher

Technical Editor

In the summer of 1931, Hatcher, then a Major, used an experimental U.S.R.A. pistol given to him by Roper while competing in the British National Matches on the Bisley Ranges. Using the pistol, he won the British "open" Championship with a perfect score of 100. The runner-up in this match was Ensign Harry Renshaw, his team mate who used the same pistol for a score of 98. Hatcher had stowed the pistol with his traveling gear more or less as a last minute inspiration.

The pistol that was owned by Miller Bedford is a late model with all the best features and is one of two known that has the top of the barrel milled with a square groove to allow the front sight to be moved back closer to the shooter's eye as one's eyes deteriorated with age. This feature could have been performed at the factory, but more likely in Roper's basement and the grips were modified by Roper.

The readily visible alterations and changes and features in the pistol are:

Barrels: Three shapes, keyhole, modified (heavier) keyhole and slab side: three lengths, 10, 8 and 7 inches. Extractors: early - round later - rectangular (about the first 10 pistols had an extractor that was partly on the outside of the frame) Sights: changes in shape, finish, and adjustment, the slap sided barrel's front sight was also adjustable. Frame: The later frame was slightly larger. Triggers: The early triggers were very curved and non-adjustable, then an adjusting screw was added to the inside guard, in front of the trigger and later the trigger was about straight with the adjustment on the outside, on the front bow of the guard. Hammers: early hammers were small and later ones much larger. Barrel latches: early ones were knurled and round and later ones were square.

There were numerous other visible variations, some guns had a dry fire notch above the chamber, other guns had vertical finger grooves on the face of the inside strap, some trigger guards had no second finger spacer and some were wider than the frame, and other various features too numerous to mention.

Walter Roper liked grips! Many target shooters of the time had custom made Roper grips on their target pistols. You sent Roper a drawing and measurements of your hand and he made a set of grips. How many variations in production grips for the U.S.RA. actually exist is very hard to determine. I would estimate well over 30. There was a set group of 6 shapes, but some changes were made in some of the shapes from time to time. Some of the shapes could be had with or without internal weights. You could order a block of wood fitted to the pistol and make a grip to fit your hand. There was an offering for a period of time called "Tennessee Ivory" that was an early form of white plastic. For about two thirds of the production, the grips were fastened by a screw in the back of the grips and then changed to the front of the grip.

As these various changes were being offered, owners of older pistols would often send them back to the factory or to a gunsmith and have the new features installed. It is not uncommon to find early guns with large hammers, straight triggers, and later sights that their owners had modified. Numerous "custom" modifications, especially sights, were installed by gunsmiths.

Generally collectors have the greatest interest in the early models of a particular gun. The U.S.R.A. was only made for about a decade and a half. The later guns with all the evolved features are a very superior pistol to the early models.

The Model 195/U.S.R.A. target pistol was dominant in American slow fire matches from the early 1930's until the outbreak of World War II. What caused its demise? There were several factors. In 1900 the United States Revolver Association was founded to foster and develop revolver shooting. Certain rules were set down that were important in the development of single shot pistols. Eventually, the NRA became the purveyor of rules that brought about changes away from only slow-fire matches.

Developments such as the Colt Woodsman had brought about pistols with rapid fire accuracy. The Sunday afternoon slow-fire matches were coming to an end. The Europeans were developing "free pistols" and regulations that Americans felt encouraged the design of absurdly specialized match pistols good for no practical purpose. John Harrington died in 1939 and a subsequent change in ownership of H and R resulted in a halt in further development work on the pistol.

The War brought about a change in production and after the War ended, its manufacture was not resumed. The popularity of the NRA three stage (slow, timed, and rapid fire) course of fire favored the now well made and accurate auto loading pistols.

This gun is not only C&R eligible, but also Massachusetts Compliant. Don't miss this old girl!

If anyone desires more or different photos, PLEASE ask and we will put them up as quickly as possible. We are a full time storefront, and as such we are very busy. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to call us. Thank you for your patronage!


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