03 May 2010

Replicating the original Numrich Arms “Hopkins & Allen”

As they say, “Better late than never.” So it is with this late entry into our Underhammer Action Roundup. Unfortunately John Taylor was not able to provide his information and photos in time for the Roundup back in February, but he finally got his information to me. I am including it because I believe it is a worthwhile addition to your growing stores of underhammer knowledge and acumen. While you may think he’s a Johnnie-come-lately, John Taylor is no newcomer to underhammer guns and builds high quality actions for a very reasonable price.

George Numrich introduced his “Hopkins & Allen” underhammer rifles back in the 1950s and now the supply of them has pretty well dried up. But the interest in them is still strong and there are even a number of builders who are beginning to replicate the simple, clean lines of George’s original design. However, making a true to the original replica is not quite so easy anymore. Since having been acquired by another concern, George’s action design has morphed into an “improved” version that is looking less and less like George’s old Hopkins & Allen.

For those who wish to get back to the original, John Taylor will provide a completely round-bodied action true to the original featuring a fully-machined steel receiver which incorporates a tapered pin to secure the barrel and receiver.

However, John also offers some variations on that theme, as he explains:

“I try to stay with the same size as the H&A under hammer actions so I can use the same hammer, trigger and spring that was used in the original.

I make actions in three diameter sizes, 1", 1.125" and 1.250".  This action (the subject of these photos) is made from brass and set up to take the original butt stock with a little work. This action was also threaded for the breach plug to provide a stiffer rifle – it’s not a takedown.

John's extra long and extra stout stock bolt 
makes for a very stiff and sturdy rifle.

I prefer to use a 1/2" stock bolt for added strength in the wrist area and most of the time the bolt will be 10" to 12" long. The rear of the action is countersunk just like the H&A to help keep the stock from splitting.

Barrels are held in three different ways: threaded, taper pin or set screw. I make whatever the customer wants - within reason.”

Basic actions are $180.

“I am not a stock maker. It's not that I can't make them, just that I can't make a living at it. I can cut the octagon channel for the forearm using special made router bits in the milling machine. I can also make dovetail thimbles and lugs for holding the forearm. Numrich did have the simplest way to hold the forearm and I can mount and pin the forearm to the barrel the same way if the customer wants it that way.”

For more information about John’s underhammer actions and his other custom services, visit his website: www.johntaylormachine.com.  E-mail: john@johntaylormachine.com or phone: (253) 445-4073.
Photo copyrights by John Taylor

PS: One of my very early posts features one of John's small-frame rifles. If you go to the bottom of this page and click on Older Posts you can get back to that first page and see another example of his work.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Renner,

Your blog is more like a magazine than a blog and I really like the variety of information you provide.

I was looking for an original H and A but couldn't find one. Now here's the next best thing.

Thanks for your efforts to keep the interest in underhammers alive because there's nothing else out there for us underhammer shooters besides your blog. It has become like my internet home.

As you say, Cheers,

Darrel Johnson

John Taylor said...

Thanks for posting the info about my actions. I'm slowly setting up a new press to bend the frames. Got a 50 ton jack and some metal set aside for it. Hope to have it going in a few weeks.

Tacklebury said...

Boy, nice looking set-up. I didn't see any further info on your site yet though. I'm looking into building up an underhammer this winter as a project. Too many other irons in the fire at this time, but I'm definitely interested.

Tacklebury said...

John, Nice looking action. I am hoping to be able to buy the stuff for a gun build this winter, too busy this season, but couldn't find anything on the action barrels at your site. Just wondered if you were going to add a section showing the options and details?

John Taylor said...

Been to busy making things to update my web sight. Under hammers are not my main work, more of a hobby. I do not make them up and have them sitting on the shelf although I have one of each size ( 1", 1.125" and 1.250")in brass almost ready to go. I am a full time gunsmith, specializing in restoring old barrels back to shooting condition. I also make parts for old guns as needed. On the smaller calibers I have been using Green Mountain barrels. On the big bores I have to rely on someone ells to bore a blank for me then I rifle it here. Best to e-mail me with questions to find out more,

Anonymous said...

I have a .45 cal "bench" rifle, and a .36 cal "buggy" rifle.
I have used the 45 for both deer and squirrel hunting,(a little over kill). Both weapons are very accurate when using precise loads.
I have shot many "one hole" targets, and couple of deer- both at about 60 yards.
I dropped the 36 and spilt the buut on the stock. Any suggestions of the repair or replacement of the stock and butt plate on the 36.
I have access to walnut and a few tools to work with.
The 36 does not have the ram rod tube near the hammer mechanism. What are the screw sizes and the tube size?
I can perform a lot of tasks, but do not have info about these items.

Unknown said...

I'd love to know how the barrel is fixed to the action on the original Numrich guns. I chanced to find a new-old-stock H&A action with breech plug & pin and looking at the parts, the only way to put this together is to slide the breeched barrel into the action, then drill through the lot & drive the pin in. Is this really how it was done? Doesn't seem very solid to me. Was the assembly brazed? Or at least soldered? That pin looks pretty weak....

Thanks for your thoughts!

Roger Renner said...

Thanks for your question.

The barrel can be attached in a number of ways, some better than others. However, the original (1960s and later) Numrich Arms underhammers (They are not a Hopkins and Allen design, as the original H&A company never made underhammer rifles) had barrels that were attached with a tapered pin. While many are not aware of the effectiveness of this method of attachment, it's simple and very secure.

Personally, I prefer to screw the barrel into the receiver as one would any high-powered cartridge rifle. This method provides a more rigid joint which lends itself to better accuracy - assuming that you started with a good barrel.

Hope that's helpful.


RJ Renner

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About Me

Roger Renner

Hi. I've been a student, admirer, and designer/builder of underhammer guns for over 30 years. In that span I've built over 200 semi-custom underhammers exploring the possibilities from the ordinary to the exotic. In 1996 I founded Pacific Rifle Company to explore the market's interest in a high-quality underhammer rifle. Thankfully, that interest was, and still is, there. I sold PRC in 2006 but continue to craft high-end underhammers as I am truly afflicted with underhammeritis - which can be contagious!