Hello Forum, Iver Johnson question

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by BlackFlag, May 4, 2012.

  1. BlackFlag

    BlackFlag New Member

    May 4, 2012
    Eastern PA
    Hello to all on this forum. This is my first post after I have been trying to find out information on a Iver Johnson 38 Caliber pistol I have. This was passed down to me from my father. I have never shot this specific pistol before, and have been trying to find information on it. So far the best I can find is that is was built between 1915 and 1941 due to the 'H' on the serial, and I believe it is a 3rd generation pistol. I measured the Chamber, and it is 0.388 inches, so I know this is a 0.38. If there is anyone who knows more about this pistol, any help is greatly appreciated.

    on top of the barrel it reads "Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle works" the second line on the barrel reads "Fitchburg. Mass. U.S.A"

    a serial number on the trigger guard reads "20410"

    On the left side of the frame of the handle, underneath the grip there is a double stamp of either "H 20400" or "H 20410"

    Since the trigger guard reads 20410, I assume the grip serial number is H20410.

    I have attached some pictures of the pistol in question. I have cropped the picture in GIMP (opensource program) to reduce the size of the attachment.

    Again, any help will be greatly appreciated in the Identification of this pistol.

    Thank you

    (Edit 1: for silly typos)
    (Edit 2: attached smaller pictures for bandwidth)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  2. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2009
    welcome to the forum someone will be here to help don't worry

  3. gvw3

    gvw3 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2011
    Chicago IL Area
    Wow this comes up all the time. If this gun was made after 1908 it will shoot the 38 S&W round. You can still get this ammo but it is very hard to find. A good gun shop can order it for you. There are others on this forum that can tell you the year from the serial number.

    This gun is not a very good shooter as the trigger pull is like 10 pounds. You can buy them in good working order for $150 to $200. I know all this as I have this same gun. It was my wife's grandfathers city of Chicago issue weapon in 1922
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    Large frame Safety Automatic ( it ejects the shells automatically when you open it. ) The H prefix was used on the large frame automatic from 1918 unstill 1941, Serial numbers H11401 through H24700 was used in 1919. The serial number is in three places, on the frame ( have to remove cylinder to see ), bottom of the trigger guard and on the grip under the left grip plate. The history of Iver Johnson is long and involved, far longer than I care to type, if you use the search feature and read all the post about the Iver Johnson you will gain a wealth of knowledge on the subject. If the gun is tight and in good condition it would be safe to fire , using the 38 S&W cartridge, NOT the 38 Special, which is much higher pressure. If there are any doubts about the revolvers condition please take it to a gun smith and have it checked out. best I can do, hope that helps, shoot safe.:)
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  5. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    Thanks for putting up such good pictures, BlackFlag. Your Iver Johnson looks like a good example of the type. Those grips are much more practical than the usual small hard rubber grips found on these guns.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    That style of grip is usually seen on IJ .22 revolvers, but they appear contemporary with the gun and the fact that the frame had to be drilled and tapped and the locator pin removed to install them makes me thing they are factory, on special order.

  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    :D The picture was so large ( very clear picture ) that I didn't even slide it over to look at the grips:D Yes, those are special order grips.
  8. BlackFlag

    BlackFlag New Member

    May 4, 2012
    Eastern PA
    Thank you for the replies folks! After looking at the pictures the second time, I should have made them a bit smaller to conserve bandwidth. I do appreciate the confirmations on this pistol, and I need to look further into the wood grips. I do know that this was not typical of the pictures I have located around the internet, which is why I had doubts from my findings.

    Since I have never fired this pistol, and the barrel does feel a little loose, I have decided to locate a gunsmith in my area and at least have it checked out before I load any 0.38 S&W rounds in it. I don not have a time frame on that though. in the mean time I will be using my Rimfire.
  9. Rocketman1

    Rocketman1 Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio

    Welcome to the forum.
    I have this same revolver with the same grips. The grips were special order Wester Walnut.

    The ammo is hard to find, as someone else mentioned. The round is sometimes refered to as "short" 38 S&W. Cheaper Than Dirt" just got some in and it isn't a bad price either. usually it is $8.00 tp $10.00 bucks more, when yu can find it. I think Remington is the only manufacture that still produces it. Link below:

  10. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    Rocketman1, in another recent thread someone said they had found new 38 S&W ammunition for sale made by PPU, also known as Prvi Partizan, the Yugoslavian/Serbian ammo maker. It cost something like half as much as the Remington ammo.

    Their question was if it was any good. I said Prvi Partizan was fine in my experience (mainly with their 32 Auto ammunition), but another poster thought it was mediocre stuff. My Internet connection is bad today, or I would find and link that thread here. I think it was in the Centerfire Pistols subforum.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
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