Iver Johnson 1900 Question(s)

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by jmohler, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. jmohler

    jmohler New Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    I recently picked up what I was told was an Iver Johnson Model 1900. There is no model number on it, but the frame is labeled Iver Jonhson's Fitchburg, Mass. U.S.A., the barrel is marked .38 SPL and the serial number is J134**. It is a 5-shot stainless gun with a 2" barrel, removable cylender and bakelite handles. It also has a small set screw beneath the barrel that I was told is to adjust the head space and another, larger screw in the base of the grip that supposedly adjusts the trigger tension.

    My guestions are these:
    1. Is it a 1900?
    2. Do those screws really do what I was told.
    3. Most Importantly - I am running under the assumption that it is unsafe to fire +P ammo in this gun, but it is safe to fire standard loads in it (I have put 10 rounds of regular .38 spl through it). Am I correct, or can it handle +P. Or, should I switch to light loads?

  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Hi jmohler......welcome to TFF.

    Are you sure the caliber is .38 SPL?

    According to my references, the Model 1900 was made in .22 Rimfire, .32 S&W, and .38 S&W.

    If you can fire .38 SPL in it, I suspect that the model is the Iver Johnson "American Bulldog"......not a model 1900.

  3. jmohler

    jmohler New Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    Definately .38 Spl. The barrel is clearly labled and it feeds and fires them. I've enclosed som pictures, if it will help.

    Attached Files:

  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    your revolver is a late production (1975-1978) iver johnson model 55SA. this revolver was manufactured before +p ammo so it is not designed for it.

    the screw at the rear of the frame does adjust the tension of the hammer spring. but the screw at the front of the frame just below the cylinder pin is an extra locking pin for the cylinder pin. the recoil of the 38 special is greater than the other calibers this handgun was offered in and the cylinder pin would often come loose under the recoil of the 38 special so the extra locking screw was added.

    the history of this revolver dates to 1955 when iver johnson introduced its first post wwII redesign of the older model 'target sealed eight'. it was given the model number 55 (introduced in march of 1955). the barrel lengths were 4 and 6 inchs and the caliber was 22 rimfire only. a companion revolver called the model 55S (for snub) was introduced at the same time, it had small grips and a short barrel (2 1/2 inches). in 1961 the model name was changed to 55A and 55SA (the A was for the new loading gate added to the left side). at the same time two new centerfire calibers were added to the model 55SA (32 S&W Long and 38 S&W they were not offered in the longer barrel model 55A).

    in 1976 iver johnson expermented with a revolver chambered for the 38 special but because of finances it never reached production. in 1977 the 38 special caliber replaced the 38 S&W in the model 55SA line. and lasted until all revolver production was stopped in 1978. there is a companion model to the 55SA in 38 special called the "Rookie" it has oversized plastic grips, 4inch barrel only and the same pull pin cylinder release.

    to advance iver johnson collectors these 38 special models are desireable as they were rather limited production, but to most people they are just good inexpensive shooter.

    the iver johnson "new american bulldog'" mentioned above is an attempt by iver johnson to trade on one of their earlier popular revolvers (american bulldog brand name was used by iver johnson between 1883 and 1899). it is a model 55A or 55SA with a heavy ribbed barrel and adjustable rear sight. listing for it in 38 special was published in several trade books (gun digest type) but so far none have shown up but i am still looking for one. the expermental 38 special iver johnson was working on in 1976 was listed as a production model for several years by these same books but in reality only 5 were made and only one in 38 special. there is one in 22 rimfire and 3 in 32 S&W long and one in 38 special. i have the the 38 special in my collection.

    more information on all post war iver johnson handguns can be found in my newest book.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2007
  5. 6" .38 S W

    6" .38 S W New Member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Well, I tried to send the text first but didn´t manage to do it..The thing is I have what after 3 days of looking up in the internet, a gun probably an IJ 38 S W 6"with serial number 17860, wich I inherited from my father who told me it was bought by the Venezuelan government in early XX century for the mounted police at the time. I want to sell it (that´s why I reaserched), and will appreciate any orientation on the year it was made and a proper value it may have
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I am willing to bet at least a buck that that is not an Iver Johnson. It is an S&W Perfected, but one of the few made without the side thumb latch, a rare gun. It appears to have been highly polished and reblued at some point.

    The Perfected was made from 1909 to 1920; 59,400 were made, in its own number series. The Neal and Jinks book says that those without the thumb latch are scarce because they were probably produced during WWI when the factory was mainly interested in making the Model 1917 for the Army. They cite #52108, which would be in that era, but #17860 would have been made long before. Regardless, it is an intriguing gun, and I think we would like to know more about it, including the serial number location and any other markings you can find.

  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    i agree with jim, a S&W Prefected Model, that was refinised and most if not all the markings polished off. also grips are after market and not original.
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