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 Post subject: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 18
Location: Upstate New York
Wonderful forum. I browse the whole site regularly but haven't posted in quite a while.

I want to restore a Topper 88 which I obtained used over a decade ago. It has some broken parts. I will need to replace at least the hammer and the transfer bar lifter. I need to locate some step by step disassembly instructions. I have heard that despite being a simple shotgun these are quite a pain to take apart and put together again.

Probably would be better to just buy an new one? However, I like the old very slim lightweight barrels like the one on my broken 20 ga. The new ones all are much heavier. I think I will give it a try if I can get any info.

Thanks for any help.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:29 pm 
Shotgun Expert
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2322
Location: nashville, tn
albert
these guns are a TOTAL PITA to re assemble. send it back tho the factory, or buy a new one.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 18
Location: Upstate New York
Hi John

Thanks for the reply. I have a feeling you are right about reassembly being a pain. Just thinking about fishing those parts back into that action is daunting for sure.

If I could, I would send it back to H&R for service. I inquired about that about 5 years or so ago, can't remember just when, but the New H&R company wouldn't service arms made by the old company. Maybe the policy has changed. Hope so. Maybe someone knows for sure?

I have here somewhere an issue of American Rifleman that has disassembly instructions for the Shikari 45-70 model of the arm. I haven't been able to find it in my huge pile of issues yet. It uses the same action as the topper 88 I think.

A few years ago I found a net site that gave step by step instructions for trigger work on the H&R singles and had reassembly instructions but I have lost the link and can't find it.

If all else fails perhaps I could fit the barrel to my Shikari rifle action or to a late model single shot rifle by H&R I have chambered for 357 Maximum.

For several years, while it was working, it was a pleasure to use this feather weight little shotgun for woods loafing hikes in the forest and small game hunting. I was just hoping I could get it shooting again but doesn't look too hopeful.

Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:44 am 
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I don't know where you might find those instructions, and it has been many years since I had to take one apart and put it back together.......but, I can tell you that the secret is to make (shorter) "slave pins" to hold the parts together as they are inserted into the receiver. These pins are then driven out by the full length pins as they are tapped into the receiver.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:05 pm 
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dear albert

brother mike sounds like he might be a glutton for punishment! :lol: you might write him and ask him about your gun.

slave pins are CRITICAL for reassembling this fine old field and fun piece.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 18
Location: Upstate New York
Mike & John

Thank you both for your replies. I am considering my options.

Actually, I replaced a broken firing pin in this gun once and I made a pilot pin out of a cut off piece of one of my sisters artist paintbrushes. It was just a little piece of wood but it held the firing pin and spring while I tapped in the action pin.

I know I have the Rifleman magazine I need here somewhere and am still looking for it. I have been a NRA life member since late 60's so I have a lot of magazines to look through.

If I can pry myself away from the computer soon enough I am going to try the Topper 88 20 ga. barrel on my modern 357 maximum SB2 Ultra frame. If it can be made to fit I will have a nice combo setup and I can use the topper forend.

Last time I looked, the local Wal-Mart had both the Pardner and Pardner youth models in stock but in 410 not 20 ga. I may handle them just to see how much heavier the barrels are than my 20 ga. Would expect that the modern 20 ga would be lighter than the 410 as more metal would be machined out of the barrel for the larger ga. I am considering Johns suggestion to buy another gun. The youth model 20 ga. has a 21 inch barrel (I think). I could use the Topper 88's butstock for a longer pull and have a very short handy gun.

In any case, I can't hurt the topper 88 as it isn't shooting now so I might as well practice tinkering with its action.

Thanks again and I will post again if I make any progress.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 18
Location: Upstate New York
John, Mike, Readers:

Searching around the web I managed to find a very nice source for H&R single shot action disassembly info. This is presented in the context of doing a trigger job but has good photos and a very thorough discussion including instructions of making the needed slave pins.

http://www.perkloafm.com/projects2.html


However....I tried my Topper 88 barrel on the 357 Max. SB2 Ultra H&R frame and it fit. There is a little looseness though. If I shake the hybrid gun with closed action from side to side, I can feel a little play. If I push the end of the barrel from side to side hard I can get about a sixteenth to an eighth inch of movement. The action seems to be firmly locked closed. Does anyone think it would be safe to try to fire the arm in this condition?

Does anyone know any method of taking out this play? I have in mind something like shimming the hinge pin recess or something like that. It would seem that repairing the Topper 88 action might indeed be a PITA as John suggested. So, for the moment my problem has changed from repairing the Topper action to finding a way to tighten up the Topper 88 barrel on the 357 Max H&R SB2 frame to make a rifle/shotgun combo package. I will have to work entirely on the Topper barrel as I can't disturb the fit of the 357 Max barrel on its original frame.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:11 pm 
Gunsmith
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 8:07 pm
Posts: 689
Location: Upstate SC
It may be too late for this, but I found disassembly instructions for the Topper in The Gun Digest Book of Firearms Assembly/Disassembly Part V: Shotguns

PM me if you need a copy.

Clemson

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Greenwood, SC
http://www.boltandbarrel.com


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 18
Location: Upstate New York
Clemson:

Thanks very much for the reply.

I think that I am pretty well fixed for disassembly instructions at this point. The link posted above is very good with pictures and description. I also have now found the issue of the Rifleman that had the exploded view. There is also a very good permanently attached fac at the Greybeards NEF rifle forum site. I now pretty well understand what has to be done to get the gun disassembled and what the pitfalls are. Whether I can get it back together again is another question!

I have decided to give repair of the Topper 88 a shot as I really like this little gun.

I hope to get the parts I need from Gun Parts Corp. ordered this weekend.

I am also considering buying a copy of the NEF Pardner youth model and either extending the short buttstock or obtaining a new full size one.

One way or another I am determined to get one of these handy little 20 ga. guns working here.

Thanks again for the offer. The members of this forum are very generous with their time and help and I appreciate it very much.


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 Post subject: Re: H&R Topper 88 disassembly
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:26 am 
Gunsmith
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 8:07 pm
Posts: 689
Location: Upstate SC
The Toppers are worth fixing up. I took an NEF Youth model 20 gauge, cut the stock and added a pad, and reamed the choke out to "skeet" constriction for my son's first shotgun. I load 3/4 oz shells for the little gun because recoil is a problem for young shooters, and the lightweight 20's kick the bejeebers out of the shooter.

My son has long since "graduated" to full-sized guns, but I will be using that little NEF once again next weekend when the South Carolina dove season gets started. I will have a young person with me on his first dove hunt!

Good luck with the Topper.

Clemson

_________________
Bolt&Barrel Gunsmithing
Greenwood, SC
http://www.boltandbarrel.com


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