This is a rare "Hinsdale" revolver made by Hopkins & Allen during the 19th century especially for ornithologists and taxidermists. It's in caliber .38 rimfire and was specifically designed to handle cartridges loaded with shot. As you will note in the photos, it has an outrageously long 24" round barrel...yes you read THAT RIGHT! The first time I laid eyes on ones of these, I thought, "Hmmm, it looks like some bored gunsmith must have attached a rifle barrel to a revolver!" Well, I was wrong...REALLY WRONG...this is in fact a factory original design for a very specific type of game. These were used on small game with lightly loaded .38 rimfire shot cartridges so as not to greatly damage tissue of small animals such as birds being taken for the purposes of mounting or study.
Specs: Basically, this revolver is a Hopkins & Allen XL Number 5 revolver with a buntline style barrel that was rebadged as the "Hinsdale". Originally, this gun came with a wooden shoulder stock (now long gone) that could be attached under the pistol grip by a small threaded hole and guide pin hole. Like the majority of Hopkins & Allen revolvers, this one is nickel plated with the early style grips with the dogshead logos...these are the same grips used on the earliest Merwin Hulbert Pocket revolvers...which H&A also manufactured. The top strap is marked:
38 CAL. RIM FIRE
PAT. MCH 28 71 MAY 27 79.
The barrel itself consists of a steel stub threaded into the frame of the revolver with a two foot long nickel-plated section of brass tube forming the bulk of the barrel. Note the classic style non-parabolic Hopkins & Allen front sight that's in the shape of what one might describe as the first half of a cosine wave. This sight appears on several models of the XL revolver.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Fine with the frame and cylinder retaining 50% original frosted nickel with patina mixing through. The brass barrel has fared better than the iron as it shows 95% of its original nickel with only a small area of brass showing through near the front sight. The hard rubber grips are in Excellent condition overall with perfect fit to the metal and no chips, cracks, or repairs. The action is in Very Good working order and LOUD! Apparently, a two foot long barrel on a pocket revolver is quite good for amplifying the small sounds of the mechanism. A very interesting Hopkins & Allen Revolver that is unique as it is rare!