Iver Johnson .32 Caliber Revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Carman, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Carman

    Carman New Member

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    Nov 10, 2009
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    Hi Bill ( B. Goforth ),

    This is Carman and I want to thank you for your quick response with the information I had requested yesterday ( 11/10/09 ) regarding my .32 caliber 5 shot nickel plated hammerless Iver Johnson revolver bearing serial number
    B37314 ( located on left side of the grip frame with the grips removed ).

    For your information, my revolver does have a single top post barrel latch located on the left side of the gun.

    Since my gun is most likely a First Model Safety Automatic Hammerless Revolver manufactured in 1896 ( based on patent dates on gun of April 6,86 Feb 15, 87 May 10,87 Dec.26,93 ), I assume this gun shoots .32S&W Black Powder Cartridges. If this is correct, is this type of ammunition still being manufactured? If so, what companies make this type of ammunition and is it available for purchase at gun stores throughout the United States?
    If my gun does not shoot Black Powder type ammunition, please advise me the type of ammunition it does in fact shoot.

    Also, since my revolver does have a single top post barrel latch located on the left side of the gun, is it safe to assume that my revolver was definetly manufactured in 1896?

    Your response and help in this matter Bill is greatly appreciated.

    The Carman
  2. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Carman you can special order black powder cartridges but to be honest it's not worth the effort. Every time you shoot it the barrel has to be cleaned with soap and water { I use Windex to finish } Black powder is corrosive and if not cleaned will turn the inside of the barrel into a valley of horrors. I do not feel it is advisable to use modern ammo in black powder revolvers. It has higher pressure and a different pressure curve. .32 S&W Short is a low pressure loading and you might get away with shooting modern loads for a while, but it is a gamble. These guns were not made with modern steel, but rather cast iron. Only with the advent of smokeless powder was the quality of the steel changed to compensate for the added pressure. Like I said, you might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later you will wind up with a hand full of parts in a bloody hand.
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    yes this revolver was manufctured in 1896. as rjay has said there are some poeple who might still manufacture black powder cartridges, but i don't know who there are as i do not fire any gun designed for black powder, unless it is one of the modern reproductions. this revolver is designed for black powder and the caliber is 32 S&W. black powder cartridges were still being loaded as late as 1917.

    as to firing these revolver with modern smokeless powder loads, the gun will become unfiireable due to a stretched frame causing very bad timing (cylinder and barrel not aligning) before it comes apart in your hands. in other words you will ruin the gun before you hurt yourself. iver johnson's are tough built. the fact that there are so many first and second models still around in poor condition is not a statement of how poorly they were built but is just the opposite. they were so well built that people just kept using them long after they were considered obselete. why buy a new revolver when the one they have still works. most were still being used in the 1930's. most other manufacturer black powder revolvers were completely junked out by the time they have fired very many smokeless round thru them. in a government test in 1910 a H&A safety police revolver gave up the ghost after 927 rounds and they were supposely made for smokeless rounds.

    bill
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    :) Now Bill, you know I wasn't speaking disparagingly about the Iver Johnson's. I was only trying to make a strong statement to discourage the use of Modern ammo. On another forum { not the "The Firearm Forums" } a poster was asking about reaming out a .32 S&W Long, black powder revolver so he could use .32 Magnums.:)
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  5. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Yes, the black powder loadings available today are very expensive. Wanting to fire my Webley & Son British Bulldog (1882) I located a reloading company in Georgia, can't remember the name, the price they asked for a box of 50 was $75. Granted, these were .455 caliber but I bet the .32's weren't much cheaper. Even the smokeless loads aren't cheap, I just paid $27 at the last gun show for a box of 50 .32 S&W, these were Winchester Super X tho.
  6. Carman

    Carman New Member

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    Hi Guys ( RJay b.goforth and jondar ),

    I want to thank each of you for your response, reguested information, and your honesty to my questions regarding my Iver Johnson .32 Caliber Revolver that I submitted yesterday ( 11/11/09 = Veterans' Day ). You all have been very helpfull in the identification of my late grandfather's revolver. I will take everyone's advice and not fire this revolver because of the very information you all had provided me. I will keep it as a family treasure and apply a light coat of gun oil to it from time to time.

    Again, I thank you all for all your help provided to me.

    The Carman
  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    rjay,
    yes i know you were not trying to disparge the iver johnsons, but sometimes i just have to vent. my remarks were not meant to be directed at you. sorry about that.
    bill
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