Hopkins & Allen XL No.8: A Failed Competitor to the Colt SAA

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This is lot #210 in theupcoming RIA Premier Auction. It was scheduled for April, but has been postponed – check their web site for upcoming Online Only auctions every month, though!

Hopkins & Allen was founded in 1867 based on the factory of the defunct Bacon Manufacturing Company. Its founding partners were pretty savvy businessmen, and would become quite successful in the 1870s and 1880s working as an OEM parts manufacturer for a variety of brands (including Merwin & Hulbert and Evans) as well as making their own line of firearms. However, the predominant reputation of the brand was that of cheap pocket handguns, and this would cause them problems when they tried to introduce a martial style revolver.

This new revolver was the XL No. 8, introduced in 1877. It was offered in the Army pattern in either .44 Henry or .44 WCF (aka .44-40) and also Navy and Police patterns in .38 Rimfire. None would be successful, with just a few hundred of each type made before production ended in 1885. Customers looking to spend substantial money on a large, high-quality revolver simply didn’t look to Hopkins & Allen – they went to Colt or Smith & Wesson.

Mechanically, the XL No. 8 was a solid-frame revolver with a loading gate copied directly from the Mersin & Hulbert and an ejector rod that stored under the barrel. Capacity was 6 rounds, with barrel lengths offered from 4.5 inches to 7 inches and sights much in the style of the Colt SAA.

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