American Bulldog 38 serial #

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Namttab, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Namttab

    Namttab New Member

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    Where can I locate the serial number on an American Bulldog 38 revolver? I pulled the grips and have looked everywhere else I can think of.
  2. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Iver Johnson made a variety of Bulldog revolvers, on and off for many years, right up until they stopped making revolvers altogether in the 1970's. If you can provide more information, or better yet a picture, someone here should be able to help you.

    The bad news is if your revolver has no serial number. The BATF takes a very dim view of such things, and of the people who possess them. I would find out for sure what you have. HTH!
  3. ignats

    ignats Member

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    There's a good chance it doesn't have a serial number. Many older manufacturers didn't bother because they didn't have to. I'm fairly certain it wasn't until GCA 1968 that it was required. I once had a Marlin Glenfield .22 cal rifle that we could never find a serial number on it anywhere. I bought new in the store during 1968 or 1969 so it wasn't removed by someone previous to my ownership. If the gun was made prior to 1968 and doesn't have a serial number, that is not a violation of the law.
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Best of my knowledge, all Iver Johnson's had serial numbers, In fact it was usually in two places, On the trigger guard and under the left grip. Now this has been posted before but here we go again. If a firearm never had a serial number ( prior to 1968 ) then Merry Christmas. But if it ever had a serial number and it has been removed or defaced then the holder of the firearm is deemed the culprit .. It doesn't matter if the firearm was made prior to 1968 or whenever, IF it ever had a serial number and it has been removed or defaced it is illegal. There there may be ways to rectify the problem, I don't really know. Perhaps if it is a antique the BATEF may issue a new number, again, don't know. One more time, If a firearm was never numbered with a serial number prior to 1968, no problem, however if it had a serial number and it has been removed or defaced, either accidentally or on purpose, regardless of when it was manufactured it is illegal , no grandfather clause in the National Firearms Act of 1934. Now I believe BATFE has better things to do than go after some one with a documented antique, but then again maybe maybe they have another reason to go after you. and will use that for an excuse. Would they do that , Naw, not the BATFE.:D
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  5. ignats

    ignats Member

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    It's an old argument that could or could not be a problem if you are in violation.

    If there is no evidence of the serial number being removed and the finish appears to be original or worn original, I would say the person possessing it wouldn't be in trouble. However, grind marks, buffing etc where the serial number is normally found would be a problem. Many inexpensive firearms were not numbered. I did possess such a firearm from a reputable company as previously mentioned. When I took that rifle on base, I had to store with the company armorer. He made up a card for it and we both looked that rifle over completely and could not a find a serial number.

    What it's going to come down to is proving the serial number has been removed. I would say to the OP that he should have his gun examined by and expert who collects that kind of revolver and see if he can find any evidence of tampering. If not, then I wouldn't worry about it. I have seen some USGI pistols that the seller states it was an anomaly and wasn't serial numbered but has other acceptance stamps. That's just pure hee haw. When you look closely you can see where the number was buffed out or the frame shaved to leave a uniform appearance and then refinished. That is one of the problems with refinished firearms, you really don't know for sure what was there before the work was done.
  6. Namttab

    Namttab New Member

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    Illegal removal is not the case here. This firearm has a known history in my family and the finish is completely intact. No grinding, buffing, filing, fingernail clawing or tooth knawing to be seen. Simply cannot find a clear stamp. I put it under a magnifying lamp today and see what looks to be a possible ID that is poor at best. Found on the left side under the grip. Very broken and over spaced but looks like "8L81". Doesn't seem like a proper serial # to me but who knows???? Certainly not me.
  7. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Thanks for correcting me, RJay. I need to stop talking about this subject; I never get it right. :(

    PS - Namttab, pictures would let people help you more than anything.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  8. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    How about some pictures,
    We might be able to help you, clear pictures of top, and sides and all the markings.. The American Bulldog is listed for Johnson and Bye. The forerunners of Iver Johnson Firearms, American Bulldog First Model made 1882-1886 Second Model 1887-1899. Perhaps it doesn't have a serial number, I can not find any in Mr. Goforth's book so the simple fact is, it may not have any. however we need pictures to correctly identify the model. I was basically correcting the erroneous assumptions of serial numbers in my post. But we need pictures to help you., ignats, the 1934 National Firearms act is a hard read, one thing that caught my attention is , who ever has possession of the altered firearm is considered the guilty party. You can cry unfair, stupid or what ever, it doesn't change the wording and the feds know which firearms did or did not have serial numbers.:D:):D:)
  9. ignats

    ignats Member

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    Unless this is the gun in question, the seller stated to me via email there is no serial number on it. Possibly two of the same model with out serial numbers?


    for some reason the url won't work. It's on *** ****** item Auction # 274910673
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  10. Namttab

    Namttab New Member

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    Took me awhile but, here are a few pics. After closer inspection with a better magnifier, Serial # looks like "8187".

    Attached Files:

  11. Namttab

    Namttab New Member

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    Not very clear but can still see that there is no stamping on the bottom of the trigger guard.

    Attached Files:

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