Iver Johnson .410 Champion - which model?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by tlefan, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. tlefan

    tlefan New Member

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    Jun 22, 2010
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    I just got my hands on my grandfather's old Champion .410 and I'm trying to figure out what model it is. I need to order some parts so I need to be sure of what I have.

    On the side of the receiver is stamped - "Iver Johnson's
    Arms & Cycle Works
    Fitcheburg, Mass USA
    Champion"

    On the barrel it is stamped - "410 gauge choke bore barrel and lug forged in one" and "Pat'd June 15 15 Pat's Pending"

    The serial # is 75473.

    I have read several of these posts but I still cannot determine which model I have or whether it is the small or standard size frame. One post I read implied the patent date stamping indicates that this gun is a standard frame with a small bore barrel but neither the model 36 nor the model 39 info showed a 25 inch barrel for a .410 which is what I have. The barrel does not appear to be altered. Also the gun has an overall length of 40-5/8" which is also not consistent with the info I have been reading. Again, while the butt plate is not original, I have removed it and the stock does not appear to have been shortened.

    Can anyone help me out here? Are parts interchangeable between model 36 and 39?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    Dec 30, 2003
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    Location:
    houston, tx
    your iver johnson champion 410 is the large frame model 36 manufactured between 1916 and about 1920.

    serial number without letter codes were used between 1909 and 1921. june 15, 1915 is for patent number 1,142,934 which covers mounting a small bore barrel on a standard size frame

    CHAMPION MODEL 36--------------------------------1909-1922
    Single barrel; rebounding center mounted hammer; top lever operated break open design; gauges: 12, 16, and 20; barrel length: 28, 30, and 32 inches (features barrel and lug forged in one piece) bored full chock only; American black Walnut butt stock and fore-end; automatic extractors; weight 6¾ pounds; overall length with 30 inch barrel 45 inches; case hardened receiver (nickel available as option), browned barrel; automatic ejectors extra cost option; .410 bore, 24 and 28 gauges offered in 1913; 24 gauge dropped 1928; all gauges except 12 dropped after 1941; name changed to Champion single Barrel in 1917.
    CHAMPION SINGLE BARREL----------------------------1923-1978
    This is the same gun as the earlier Model 36 champion except that the smaller gauges are now built on the same frame as the large gagues. See above picture for specifications. The exact year production stopped has not yet been determined. Some of these single barrel shotguns have been seen with Canadian marking, these were most likely shipped to Canada and then marked as there is no evidence that Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works ever had a manufacturing factory in Canada
    VALUE: 100%=$250 60%=$95
    Add 15% for 24, 28 gauges

    bill
  3. crip0592

    crip0592 New Member

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    Feb 19, 2012
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    Is there an actual way to research the serial number of an IJ Champion 410?
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    3,062
    Welcome to the forum.

    They can only be dated to an era:

    All numeric serial numbers = 1909-1919

    With one letter suffix = 1920s

    Two letter suffix = 1930s

    All letters = 1940-1956
  5. crip0592

    crip0592 New Member

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    Feb 19, 2012
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    THANK YOU! This is all numbers, five numbers to be exact! 1909 to 1919 COOL! BE SAFE! LATER!
  6. Buddy_M

    Buddy_M New Member

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    Apr 12, 2012
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    This is really interesting, I too have an Iver Johnson 410 and it has most of the same attributes as the first poster except mine has matching five-digit serial numbers but with One Letter Suffix, an "A". Also very interesting to me is the way it is stamped. The barrel looks like a complete afterthought where the number on the trigger guard is stamped fairly uniform although they were definitely stamped by hand.

    If I am reading everything correctly, no one is sure what the "A" suffix means other than it was built it the 20’s sometime. If I'm not correct I hope someone will correct me.

    Also it seems like several of you know quite a bit about this, I keep reading that the gun was "Browned" I guess opposed to being "Blued". Is this correct and if so, is there a way to restore the original finish?

    I just retired and I'm looking for something to piddle with, my front hand rest is missing all traces of metal parts and it really all needs to be replaced.

    Thanks so much, I have learned a ton already.
  7. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum. There are no serial number records to exactly date shotguns, but if they used the letter suffixes in alpha order, I assume that would date yours to the early 1920s.

    I believe there are commercial browning solutions and kits available but I've no first hand experience with them. Years ago I rebrowned barrels of a double percussion shotgun that had been polished bright by applying a salt solution and letting it rust several days, and it actually turned out pretty nice.
  8. Buddy_M

    Buddy_M New Member

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    Apr 12, 2012
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    Thanks very much for the welcome and I sincerely appreciate all this info. I know that this is really inexpensive shotgun and probably now worth putting any money into but to piddle around with, it fits my bill fine. It has been so interesting doing research on this particular weapon. Now after even more searches, I see that this same info has been requested many times in different versions. I also see that you and Mr. Goforth pretty much give the same information when someone asks, that's very nice of you two.

    I am going to do some more research on the "Browned" finish. After looking at the gun real good, I thought the finish was bad. It might just be fine. :)

    I also agree with what you said about the "A" suffix, I would think the "A" would designate the first built in 1920 or 1922, early 1920's is fine for me just to quantify it.

    NUMRICH (Gun Parts Corp) shows that they have the whole Forend Assembly but none of the individual internal parts. Do you have any super-secret parts suppliers that you would would post or message me. I really don't mind paying the $50 for the whole thing but really wanted to learn a little.

    Thanks again, there are tons of us that appreciate you being out there,

    Buddy
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  9. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, Bill Goforth passed away early last year, and I'm merely citing info from his book.
  10. Buddy_M

    Buddy_M New Member

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    Apr 12, 2012
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    That is very sad indeed, sorry to hear that. From my research it seems like he was the consummate expert when it came to these guns. I was wondering why his website was not working.

    Actually I feel like somewhat of a moron, typically I would never reply to a old post and actually I looked up the dates and could of sworn that this was current but I see that the original post was back in 2010, yours was the one I was keying on with the 2012 date.

    Nice to know that the book might still be out there. I was thinking about possibly purchasing it in hopes it might fill in some of the empty areas that I have come across, really just with this particular gun. It seems like everyone has one and they are all looking for information on it. I have found what seems like quite a few odd items in the posted model numbers and that internal parts in each gun.

    For instance, I found two that look just alike, have the series numbers fairly close (five numbers, two letters the same and 800 apart) but they have totally different forestocks. Mine has a fore end that is pretty much the same width, tapering slightly at the front. The other I found fire end has a bulge in it, it starts from the metal, bulges out 1/4" and then tapers down.

    Plus the photo of the guts looks different than any schematic I have seen for this gun. Certainly different than mine but mine is actually different that any schematic also.

    On top of all that, I keep finding different stocks, one with a rounded off base of the pistol grip, the other a sawn-off base of the pistol grip with a screwed-on medallion at the bottom. They are, again, on apparently the same series numbers.

    I wonder if Iver Johnson offered any options? I wouldn't think so for the price of them. :)

    Well, enough rambling... If anyone has any thoughts just post them here, thanks sincerely for the help I've gotten. Rest in Peace Mr. Goforth, you left a real legacy, it's very apparent...

    Buddy
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
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