Iver Johnson hammerless revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by harborrat, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. harborrat

    harborrat New Member

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    Hello. I have been given an old Iver Johnson 5 shot top-break revolver, nickel plated, with hard rubber grips. It is marked Iver Johnson Arms & cycle Works, Fithburg, Mass. USA on the rib above the barrel. On the underside of the trigger guard there is what appears to be a serial number, 53784. this number is also marked on the frame underneath the grip. There is also some wording on the bottom strap of the frame at the base of the grip which is very faint. I think it reads Pat Aug ?? ?? and just below that Pat's Pending.

    I would like to know if this is the first, second or third model of their hammerless revolver and the approximate date of manufacture. Is it a pre-1899 antique? What caliber is it? It looks like it might be .38 cal., maybe .32? I see that these were made in .38S&W and .32S&W. Is there much value in this particular model? If not, is it safe to fire modern ammunition in it?

    I cleaned the gun and oiled it. The bore appears to be good but is fairly dark. The rifling is almost like the polygonal type, with shallow, wide grooves. The grooves are still sharp at the edges. The mechanism seems to be ok except for one problem. The cylinder spins freely to the left when the action is locked up. I see that the cams on the top of the extractor allow this to happen, as they are beveled or worn on one side and not on the other, so they will catch when you attempt to spin the cylinder in the opposite direction. Are they merely worn out? I also see that the front sight is missing.

    I am familiar with firearms but have never handled any antiques (or nearly-antiques). Thanks in advance for any information anyone can give me.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  2. harborrat

    harborrat New Member

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    I will post a pic or two but the file size is too big and I don't know how to shrink them.

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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  3. harborrat

    harborrat New Member

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    So it looks as if I'll have to post them one at a time.

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  4. harborrat

    harborrat New Member

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    Thanks for bearing with me guys. This is the last pic.

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  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is a third model safety automatic hammerless revolver manufactured in 1912. there were 3,900 of this model made that year. all third model if in shootable condition are suitable for modern smokeless ammo.

    THIRD MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMERLESS REVOLVER
    (Smokeless Powder Cartridges)-------------1909-1941
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION; Double top post barrel latch, with Hammer the Hammer action, nickel finish standard blue optional. Two frame sizes, four calibers, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top, two piece oversize hard rubber and one piece wood grips optional. Redesigned for smokeless powder. Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3 ¼ inches; Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire with 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .32 Special with 6 rounds cylinder capacity, .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame .22 rimfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ½ ounces, .32 centerfire with 3 inch barrel 14 ounces, large frame .32 Special with 3 ¼ inch barrel 19 ¼ ounces, .38 centerfire with 3 ¼ inch barrel 19 ounces; Height: small frame 3 ¾ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/16 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. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Third Model features a double top post barrel latch, coil hammer spring and four cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$260 60%=$125
  6. harborrat

    harborrat New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help, it is good to know that this can be an occasional shooter. The caliber is .38S&W apparently from what you have described.

    As far as the cylinder being able to spin to the left when the action is locked up, this is normal? Apart from the finish, this gun appears to be in good condition if that is not a problem.

    One final question; I see that numrich has sights in stock for the Iver Johnson Safety Hammer old and new models. Would either of these work on this gun? I have a gunsmith who can do some fitting but I don't make the drive there very often.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    if you are talking about the front sight either model will be fine as long as it is for the large frame 38. the rear sight is another story. they are made as part of the top latch on the second and third models and will only work on those models.

    a revolver that turns backwards with locked up has some condition that show be cleared up before firing. usually this is in the cylinder stop or cylinder lever not rotating the cylinder far enough to lockup properly.
    bill
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