Iver Johnson pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by klongfel, Oct 28, 2006.

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  1. klongfel

    klongfel New Member

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    Hi,

    My father gave me a small pistol that was his grandfathers. He thinks it is from the late 1800s. I'm curious if anyone can tell me more information about the pistol. My father knew very little about it. I have attached a photo and below are all the details I can find on the pistol:

    On Top of barrel:

    Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works
    Fitchburg, Mass

    On bottom of grip:

    PAT June 16.96 AUG.25

    Inside grip:

    S57786 (possibly S59986)

    It is a 5 shot pistol with each chamber being about 3/8" in diameter. Sorry if I am not using the correct terminology.

    Thanks a lot for any information.

    Kevin

    Attached Files:

  2. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    Many decades ago my Father passed on to me an Iver Johnson .38 S&W, or .38 short by some, that had been given him when he and his girl friend at the time were 16 years old in high school, in about 1919.

    The young lady thought he'd like to have the service pistol her Dad had carried on the job as an LEO in Brewer or Bangor, Maine at the time. I believe that he had been killed in the line of duty.

    The S# on that item, which was stolen during a break-in back in the early 90s, was 504XX and had the same patent markings on the gun.

    Hope this might help.
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    klongfel,
    this revolver is a iver johnson's arms & cycle works second model (1896-1908) small frame 'safety automatic hammer revolver'. the "S" letter code was used in 1907 and 1908. serial numbers S57786 and S59986 were both made the same year 1907. all second models (1896-1908) were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and are not considered safe with modern smokeless ammo.
    bill

    marlin,
    without more details i would guess your revolver was from the same era and also a second model.
    bill
  4. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Welcome Klong
    With it being from that time and not safe with modern ammo. I would say you have a great gun to go in a shadowbox.
  5. klongfel

    klongfel New Member

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    Thanks for the responses and excellent information. What a great forum!

    What caliber is this? .38 because the chamber is 3/8"? My father thought it might be a .22, but the chamber seems larger?

    What is a shadowbox?

    Thanks,

    Kevin
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    klongfel,
    kthe caliber is 32 S&W (not the 32 S&W Long).
    bill
  7. Goody

    Goody Member

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    I think it is probably a 38 S&W. Being a 5 shot and assuming he is close on his measurements, 3/8 = .375. A 32 would measure closer to .320
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    goody,
    the chambers are described as being about 3/8" not the bore. the letter code 'S' was only used on the safety automatic revolver in 1907 and 1908 on the small frame 32 S&W centerfire. iver johnson's arms & cycle works used different letter codes for different calibers and different frame sizes and even different ones for hammerless models. some of these letters were used several times some only once. "S" was only used in those two years. the small frame safety automatic revolvers were only available as a 7 shot 22 rimfire or a 5 shot 32 S&W centerfire. the six shot 32 S&W long was not offered until after 1909 (in the third model) and it was only offered in the large frame versions). this is not guess work but some of the information i obtained from the factory in 1983 while researching for my book on iver johnson's arms & cycle works. also to the trained eye there are diffenences in the large and small frame models. the picture furnished is a small frame.
    bill
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2006
  9. Goody

    Goody Member

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    I stand corrected, and remain your faithful servant sir.

    By the way, what book are you referring to?
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    goody,
    i apologize for sounding like a know-it-all but i get very protective about information going out on the web in regards to iver johnson handguns, some of it out there is incorrect and i want anything i am connected with to be as correct as possible.

    since the publication of my book "iver johnson's arms & cycle works handguns 1871-1978" in the middle 1990s (revised edition 'iver johnson's arms & cycle works firearms 1871-1993' due this fall) i have tried to correct as much of the incorrect information as i can and educate every one of the collectablity of iver johnson firearms. in the next couple of years the manucsript for a book on H&R firearms should be ready for publication, which i hope will clear up some of the misconceptions about that company.

    for those interested the iver johnson book will be available from www.gunshowbooks.com and the publisher has a target date of the week before thanksgiving. he is accepting orders now.
    bill
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2006
  11. Goody

    Goody Member

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    No apology needed, I was not offended in the least. Looks like an interesting read.
  12. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Bill.....I look forward to buying your book when it comes out....but I think you've mistitled it. It should be titled:

    "Bill's Babies.....Ye Compleat Encylopedia Of Everything Iver Johnson Ever Made." :D :D :D
  13. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    not sure i have covered every thing. i have just learned there may have been either an assembly operation or manufacturing operation in canada durings the 1930s. a 'hercules grade' iver johnson hammerless double barrel has turned up marked iver johnson's arms & cycle works montreal canada "made in canada" and a single barrel shotgun marked 'cobourg canada' (without the 'made in' markings). the research is never ending on just the firearms aspect. the family was into a lot of business, ranging from raising pure bred dogs of most breed, automobile dealership and hotels and this does not cover the 'cycle' part of the name. they also manufactured bicycles and a motorcycle. all their businesses were incorporated but wholly owned by the family. last family member to run the family business was luthor m. otto III, iver johnson's grandson, he passed on about 1973/1975. his children (a son and daughter were teenagers at the time) moved on to other things when the company was sold. for anybody who is interested iver johnson's arms and cycle works was the only firearms company to remain in control of the founders family for over 100 years.
    bill
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2006
  14. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Ditto on what Xracer said, I am looking forward to it.
  15. gun#1

    gun#1 New Member

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    I sold a gun just like that in similar condition last year at an auction I got $400 for it so i,d think about selling that bad boy.
    -Jerold
  16. jmeinkoth

    jmeinkoth New Member

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    Hello,
    Just came across this site looking to identify this very pistol. Mine has a pearl handle and the serial number is on the trigger guard #13111
  17. jmeinkoth

    jmeinkoth New Member

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    to klongfel.
    Not sure how this works but I have a pistol as described with a pearl handle and serial number on the trigger guard of 13111. I received it from my wife's grandmother when she passed away. How old is this and is it worth anything???
  18. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    INFORMATION NEEDED TO IDENTIFY
    IVER JOHNSON’S ARMS & CYCLE WORKS SAFETY AUTOMATIC REVOLVERS

    1. EXACT MARKINGS;
    A. TOP OF BARREL
    B. LEFT SIDE OF BARREL
    C. BOTTOM OF BUTT STRAP

    2. SERIAL NUMBER FOUND ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE GRIP STRAP UNDER THE GRIP PANEL (MAIN LOCATION SINCE 1896). THE SERIAL NUMBER FOUND ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TRIGGER GUARD WAS ONLY USED AFTER 1904 AND SINCE TRIGGER GUARDS ARE INTERCHANGABLE AND THIS LOCATION DOES NOT HAVE THE LETTER CODE IT CANNOT BE USED FOR PROPER ADINTIFICATION

    3. BARREL LENGTH;
    A. STANDARD BARREL LENGTH FOR LARGE FRAME IS 3 ¼ INCHES
    B. STANDARD BARREL LENGTH FOR SMALL FRAME IS 3 INCHES

    4. HAMMER SPRING
    A. FIRST AND SECOND MODELS SINGLE FLAT LEAF
    BLACK POWDER MODELS
    B. THIRD MODEL CAPTIVE COIL
    SMOKELESS POWDER

    CALIBERS:
    A. FIRST MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS 38 S&W (5)
    FIRST MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER 22 RIMFIRE, 32 S&W (5)
    FIRST MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMERLESS 32 S&W (5)
    B. SECOND MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS 38 S&W (5)
    SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER 22 RIMFIRE (7), 32 S&W (5)
    SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMERLESS 32 S&W (5)
    C. THIRD MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS
    32 S&W LONG (6) AND 38 S&W (5)
    THIRD MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS
    22 RIMFIRE (7), 32 S&W (5)
  19. jskell

    jskell New Member

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    I too experienced the same. My father, who turned 100 on March 13, 2008 passed later that month. I have his Iver Johnson 38 short pistol, Serial number 37605. Can someone tell me what year this pistol was manufactured and if it is the second or third model? Any idea what it is worth? I also assume from the forum that it may not be safe to fire???

    Attached Files:

  20. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    THIRD MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMER 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. This model redesigned to be strong enough for smokeless powder. All coil springs, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top, optional oversize grips of hard rubber or wood were offered. Two frame sizes, four 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 .32 Special centerfire with 6 rounds cylinder capacity, .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame .22 rimfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ounces, .32 centerfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ½ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel .32 Special 19 ounces, .38 centerfire with 3 ¼ inch barrel 18 ¼ inches; 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%=$250 60%=$115

    without knowing the exact letter code serial number prefix found under the grips on the left side i will have to give you an either or date
    C37605=1911
    H37605=1921
    bill
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