Here's a pix of my newest acquisition... An H&R 999 "Sportsman", made back in 1970.
I first bought one of these the week I turned 21 and was able to buy my own handgun back in the early 80's. Then I traded it a few years later to get a Smith Model 17. The Smith, just like the H&R, got traded a few years later, but somehow of the two, as I get older I've always had a hankering (just what is "that"?) to get another Sportsman. I've always been intrigued and impressed by the top-break design, and maybe I'm just trying to recapture some of my youth as the years slip away...
Anyway, this one had some deep pitting in a few spots and was literally covered with small black "flecks" that I think were the early stages of rust. I used a small wire brush on low speed in a Dremel Tool (yes I know, the home gunsmith's "worst tool" to use...), with liberal amounts of WD-40 as a lube. All the flecks were safely removed without damaging the old blue, and the pitting and rough spots were polished up pretty well. For a re-blue, I used Brownell's Oxpho-Blue in the "cream" formula. I find the cream stays where you want it, is much easier to control than a liquid, and does a really great job of blending with the original bluing.
I also polished the hammer, replaced the broken plastic hammer strut with a metal one from Numrich Gun Parts, and gold-filled the lettering "just because" I had the gold stick to do it with. The lockup is still nice and tight, and the action is very smooth, with about a 4# single-action pull with very little creep. The double-action trigger pull is pretty reasonable too -- this one must have been made before we had too many lawyers I guess! The one I have has the trapezoidal-shaped hammer nose, instead of the later transfer bar mechanism, but some have reported the older design is more robust and less prone to parts breakage. Interestingly, I found there's a "1/4 cock" position after the hammer is dropped, which retracts the hammer nose and locks with a click. It sounds like a "half cock" click, but I didn't call it that as it doesn't free the cylinder for rotation like on a Colt SAA.
Last weekend, I shot a 1.25" group off the bench at 25 yards and had a ball plinking at small rocks and other debris on the 25 yard backstop offhand. All I need to do now is refinish the grips, sharpen up the checkering some -- and then go out and shoot it again!!!
I know there are much better revolvers out there, and for deer hunting I will typically reach for my 4" stainless Ruger SP101 to accompany me, but I have always liked the old 999 -- if for nothing but remembering the good 'ol days when guns were blue steel and walnut. The 999 might not be #1 any more, but she's definitely near the top of my list of favorites.
Enjoy the pix, and tight groups to all.