Iver Johnson .32

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Paulwb, May 17, 2008.

  1. Paulwb

    Paulwb New Member

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    I have an Iver Johnson .32 long break open with a 3.25 inch barrel. Serial number is 83588. I recently had it checked out by a gunsmith before firing it and was told it is in very good condition. Patent no. is Nov 17, 08. Any info on it's manufacture date and approximate value would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the large frame 6 shot 32 S&W Long was manufactured only in the third model (1909-1941). the single patent date 11-07-08 was used on the large frame after 1914. the main serial number lacation is on the left side of the grip strap (remove the grips to see). this is the location where any letter code prefix will be found. there were two letter codes use on the large frame third model hammer version and one on the hammerless version.
    hammer
    1909-1917=C serial number C83588 manufactured in 1915
    1918-1941=H serial number H83588 manufactured in 1929

    hammerless version serial number D83588 was manufactured in 1922

    the large frame third model in 32 S&W Long was called the 32 Special in the iver johnson catalogs and was not all that popular as they are not seen often. however their value is the same as the 38S&W model which in average shootable condition 75-80% abot $100 to $125. these 6 shot 32 S&W long revolvers are most often seen with 4 or 5 inch barrels and oversize wood grips (called 'western walnut'). i only have one in my collection with the standard barrel length of 3.25 inches.
    bill

    all third model safety automatic revolvers were chambered for smokeless powder cartridges and if in shootable condition should not have any problems with modern factory standard velocity ammo.
  4. Paulwb

    Paulwb New Member

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    Thanks for the info. It seems odd that these little guns aren't more popular. Mine seems to be well built and a good shooter. Anything 93 years old and still functioning is neat in my book. Glad to be a part of the forum, thanks again.

    Paulwb
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    if you discount government contracts iver johnson manufactured more handguns than colt and smith & wesson between 1871 and 1942. all were manufactured for the civilian market and were quality firearms but were manufactured for the mass market. the quality of their firearms was of the best while finish may not have been as good as colt or S&W. the transfer bar ignition system used on 99% of the revolvers today was patented by iver johnson in 1896 and used on all the safety automatic revolvers. after wwII the iver johnson family seem to have lost interest in the firearms company they had owned since 1871 and by the time iver johnson's grandson passed away in about 1975 the company was sold to outside interests.

    to the best of my knowledge iver johnson never competed for a government contract. they were selling every thing they could make to the civilian market. some iver johnson handguns were purchased by the U.S., Dutch and British governments but all of them were from civilian inventory. the British and Dutch purchased all they could get in 1940/41 and the U.S. NAVY had purchased 1500 third model safety automatic hammer revolver in the 1911 era and issued them to NAVY TUGBOATS, these were turned over to the OSS in 1942/43 era.

    why they are not more popular probably has several different reasons. no lure of the old west as the colt or winchester have because of movies and tv and probably not as good press agents as S&W had. They did have a very good reputation before wwII. there is a story told and published in comapny litertature about recieving a letter sent from France in the 1920's address only to "Hammer the Hammer" in the U.S.A.

    another factor in thier lack of popularity has to be that 60% of the safety automatic revolvers manufactured were of the first and second models which were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures only. however that did not stop people from using whatever ammo they could get (after 1910 that was usually smokeless) in these revolver. this is the main reason a lot of the first and second models encountered today are not in the best of condition.
    bill
  6. yelow submarine

    yelow submarine New Member

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    Mr. Goforth.
    Congratulations.
    I have a .32 Iver Johnson revolver with hammer, the number 3321 and the inscription JUNE 16.96 AUG 25.96 PT16.04 PATS.PENDING in good condition. Any info on it's manufacture history, dates, characteristics of the model, value and importance would be greatly appreciated.
    Yellow Submarine
  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i will need to know the serial number and letter code found on the left side of the grip frame under the grips (grips must be removed to see) before i can give you any more information other than the dates these patent date markings were used.

    these three patent dates were used together between 1907 and 1911 which covers both second and third model production. second model has a single leaf hammer spring and was designed for black powder cartridge pressures only. third model has a coil hammer spring and was designed for smokeless powder cartridge pressures.

    first model 1894-1896 black powder
    second model 1896-1908 black powder
    third model 1909-1941 smokeless powder
    bill
  8. yelow submarine

    yelow submarine New Member

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    Mr. Goforth.
    Thanks for the information.
    I can not take off the grips screw because the soport part is loose and rotate with the screw. The revolver is 3" barrel, there are only two dates (JUNE 16.96 AUG 25.96 ), I dont now about the kind of spring it has, I supouse coil.
    I will tray to send a image
    [​IMG]
  9. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    sorry your pictures didn't come though

    the third patent date is SEPT.6.04 this date is often hard to read because of the way it is stamped. your description of the bottom of the butt markings give me enough information to tell what it is. the 3 inch barrel indicates it is a small frame 32 S&W centerfire caliber.

    the letter codes used on the small frame 32s during the time these three patent date were used were;
    1907 & 1908=S second model

    1909-1911=A third model

    another way to identify the model is by the number of thru pin in the frame below the cylinder. the second model has two while the third model has four.

    with out the pictures or the serial number letter code i can not be more specific.
    bill
  10. RescueRandy

    RescueRandy New Member

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    Hi, I am new to this forum and new to IJ pistols, but I recently purchased an IJ 32 and would like to find out more information on it. The serial number was found in 3 locations on this pistol and all match with the exception of only the one on the frame under the grip has the letter code and it is C55755. This particular pistol is in poor condition, but with due regard I would not hesitate to fire it. On the top of the barrel some of the information has worn off, but I will type in exactly what is still readable:

    First line:
    R JOHNSONS ARMS & CYCLE WORKS FITCHBURG, MASS, USA

    Second Line:
    TD APR. 6, 86, FEB. 15, 87, MAY 10, 87, DEC. 26, 98, PATS PENDING

    I will try to attach some photos to better illustrate, please keep in mind I currently have this pistol completely tore apart and intend to completely refurbish it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thank You for all of your help. And if you know of any reliable source to purchase parts for this pistols I would greatly appreciate the information.
  11. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    SECOND MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMER REVOLVER
    (Black Powder Cartridges)------------1896-1908
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION: Double top post barrel latch, nickel finish standard, blue optional, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top. Hammer the Hammer action, two frame sizes, and three calibers. Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3 ¼ inches; Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .38 centerfire 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame with 3 inch barrel .22 rimfire 12 ounces, .32 centerfire 12 ¼ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 17¼ ounces; Frame height: small frame 3 ¼ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/26 inches, large frame 5 inches; Overall length: small frame with 3 inch barrel 6 3/8 inches, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 7 3/8 inches. Only difference between the first and second model is the barrel latch. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Second Model features a double top post barrel latch, flat leaf hammer spring and two cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$275 60%=$135
    For revolvers equipped with Bourne Knuckleduster add 100%

    second model serial number C55766 was manufactured in 1896. for parts trey jack first inc., numrich arms inc. or bobs gunshop in royal, arkansas.

    bill
  12. jakmal

    jakmal New Member

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    I have a Iver Johnson just given to me by my Grandmother from my Grandfather who just passed away two days ago. my serial number is c36251 can you identify manufacture date by this?
  13. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    as noted above the C letter code was used on both the second and third model large frame safety automatic hammer revolvers. what kind on hammer spring does it have coil or single flat leaf? what are the exact markings and where are they found, barrel or bottom of the butt strap?
    bill
  14. tommyc65

    tommyc65 New Member

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    I have a Iver Johnson . The serial number is M36534 can you identify manufacture date by this? It has a flat leaf in handle
  15. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the M letter code was used on the second model large frame 38 S&W in 1904 and 1905 this revolver was manufactured in 1904.

    for value see above post.
    bill
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