Iver Johnson Revolver Questions

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by CountryGunsmith, Feb 23, 2003.

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  1. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    eureka,
    without knowing what the exact markings and where they are found i cannot even begin to tell you what model you have. the black hard rubber owls head grips are usually found on prewwII models.

    look on the top of the barrel (or top strap) for the company name and or model name. top break models manufactured before 1903 will also have patent dates marked on the top of the barrel. other places to look for patent date markings are the left side of the barrel and the bottom of the butt strap. the main serial number location (until 1955) is on the left side of the grip strap under the grip panel (grips must be removed to see) this is the location where letter codes will be found.

    it is also helpful the know the barrel length. is it a solid frame or top break model? what type of hammer spring does it have flat leaf or coil?
    bill
  2. Eureka

    Eureka New Member

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    I'm still waiting to pick-up the gun at the store (due to the 10-day waiting period). I went back today and got some more info off the gun. The guys at the store don't know much about it, other than the fact that it is a Iver Johnson 5-shot revolver, chambered for .38 S&W rounds or .38 short rounds.

    They said they took it in, after a lady brought it in when her husband passed away. It looks quite old. It is a "top break" frame. There is no hammer on it, just a firing pin that sits behinde the cylinder. The only markings I could find are the ones on the bottom of the handgrip. They read as follows; "Pat. June 16 96 Aug 25 95 Sept 6 04 pat. pending"

    On the bottom of the trigger guard are the numbers 37438. I didn't remove the black bakelite handgrips to see if there are any more #s underneath. When I finally take it home I will dissassmble it more to see if I can find any more #s.

    Do you think it's safe to fire modern ammo in this gun? I fired about 25 rounds thru it last night without any problem - I just don't want anything to go wrong. I'm new to guns, and I'm not sure if it would misfeed and go off in my hand, or if because of it's age it can handle today's ammunition.

    Thanks for the help!
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    eureka,
    this helps some, these three patent date were used together between 1907 and 1911. the only problem now is this span the second model black powder only (1896-1909) and the fhird model smokeless powder (1909-1941). the model name for your revolver is 'safety automatic hammerless revolver'. if the letter code is an "R" it will be a second model and if the letter code is "D" it will be a third model.

    if it turns out to be a second model (black powder) it probably wont blow up in your hand but the firing of smokeless powder it it will hasten any and all wear on the internal mechanism and sooner than later it will get out of time and not be safe to fire.

    if this is a third model it will make a good personal protection firearm but if it is a second model it should be retired.
    bill
  4. Eureka

    Eureka New Member

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    Thanks for the help! When I get I pick it up from the shop in about a week, I'll give the gun a more detailed inspection and see if I can find any more markings on it to let me know if it is a 2nd or 3rd model.
  5. alamoa

    alamoa New Member

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    I have a us revolver/Iver johnson 38 cal. ser# f 24926, what model is this and date produced?

    Can I buy grips for it?

    Thannks
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    alamoa,
    the model name of your revolver is "u.s. revolver co. double action" serial number F24926 was manufactured in 1927. there were 5,100 of this model manufactured that year.

    try numrich arms (www.e-gunparts.com) for grips.
    bill
  7. alamoa

    alamoa New Member

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    Bill,
    would you know the model number ie.. 1900....

    thanks
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the 'u.s. revolver co. double action' is a variation of the iver johnson model 1900 and most parts do interchange. however it has no model number just the name
    bill
  9. rdhawk

    rdhawk New Member

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    Recently picked up an Iver Johnson Safety Automatic revolver, it does have a hammer, and it's a 5-shot 32 S&W revolver. Top-break, serial number is just 39773, patents are up to 1896. Any suggestions as to a possible year of make for this gun?

    Oh, and does anyone know how to fix the problem where the trigger won't go forward after it's pulled? The cylinder does rotate with the trigger being pulled, and everything else works fine but the trigger not going forward. Thanks for any help you can give.
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    1896 patent dates were used on both second and third models in different forms and in different locations. the trigger problem is a broken trigger return spring. an easy fix and parts are available but different between the second and third model.

    the best way to determine which model you have is describe all the markings and where they are located and give the serial number found on the left side of the grip frame under the grips. this is the main serial number location. the grips must be removed to see this location. with out this information a really can't tell you much about your revolver, sorry.
    bill
  11. rdhawk

    rdhawk New Member

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    The serial number is 39773. No letter prefix, just 39773.
  12. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    is this serial number on the bottom of the trigger guard, on the left side of the grip frame under the grips or on the bottom of the butt strap.

    if this number is on the left side of the grip frame i will definitely need to know all the markings and where they are found.

    the only second and third models (manufactured after 1896) with out a letter code prefix to the serial number found on the left side of the grip frame were special order and should have something special, fancy grips, engraving, knuckleduster grip adapter or extra long barrel.

    there were some first models and some very early 38 caliber second models that do not have a letter code but these models have a 1893 patent date not an 1896.

    a picture will tell which model it is but not the date of manufacture. the more information i have the easier it will be.
    bill
  13. rdhawk

    rdhawk New Member

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    Attatched are photos (best i could do myself) of the gun. There are no spacial marks, and the serial number is on the left side of the handle, under the grip. There is an extra seven, close to but not with the serial number, and it's engraved up-and-down, not sideways like the serial number.

    Attached Files:

  14. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the extra 7 you refer to is most likely a badly stamp letter code A, E or F iver johnson hand stamped all serial numbers and letter codes during this time.

    the picture shows this to be a second model suitable for black powder cartridge pressures only. the second models were manufactured between 1896 and 1908

    since i still don't know anything more about the patents dates i will have to do some guessing. if there are four patent dates (4-6-86, 2-15-87, 5-10-87 & 8-25-96) it was manufactured between 1896 and 1899. if there are 5 patent dates (4-6-86, 2-15-87, 5-10-87, 3-13-88 & 8-25-96) it was manufactured between 1900 and 1904. if there are two patent dates on the bottom of the butt (6-16-96, 8-25-96) it was manufactured 1905 to 1907 and if there are three patent dates on the butt strap (6-16-96, 8-25-96, & 9-6-04) the year of manufacture is 1908.

    sorry but this is the best i can do for now.
    bill
  15. RedFive21

    RedFive21 New Member

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    Hey I was wondering if someone could help me track down a little history on this Iver Johnson Revolver I recently inherited from my grandmother, she said it had belonged to her grandfather who had carried it while working on the railroad. I am interested in restoring it if it will fire modern ammo, if not I'm planning on just displaying it. Here's some pictures.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Any info would be very much appreciated. The serial number on the bottom of the grip is the only number markings on the gun. There are none under the grips. Thanks.
  16. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is a iver johnson's arms and cycle works 'safety automatic hammer revolver' large frame second model 38 S&W caliber. this revolver with the serial number on the bottom of the butt and no letter code was manufactured in 1895.

    all large frame second model safety automatic revolvers (1895-1908) were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and are not considered safe with smokeless ammo.

    the safety automatic revolvers were considered a working man's gun, safe, dependable and not as costly as a s&w or colt. entirely safe with a full cylinder because of the transfer bar ignition system that was used on all 'safety automatic revolvers' the patent for the transfer bar ignition system was applied for in 1893 but not granted until 1896.

    please excuse the plug but more information on this and other iver johnson firearms can be found in my book.
    bill
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  17. sjharr

    sjharr New Member

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    Wow, the perfect forum for my curiosity. I have an Iver Johnson in my possesion and would like to get some information on it. It is a top breaking, 5 shot, 38 short cal. pistol. The only serial markings are beneath the trigger guard and on the left side of the frame beneath the grip, both stamped numbers are "1966". The markings on the top saddle read "Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works. Fitchburg, Mass, U.S.A" Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    Steve
  18. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    steve,
    sound like a second or third model 'safety automatic revolver' with a special order serial number. special order numbers were given to any revolvers that were removed from the assembly line to have something added to it and were numbered from 1 up with each type havings its own series. special orders were things like fancy grips or finishes and any additional machining that needed to be done.

    i would really need good clear pictures of the gun. to include the grip frame area (without the grips). check closely for marking on the side of the barrel or bottom of the butt they may be very faint. for now all i can tell you is was made after 1904 as that is the date the serial number on the bottom of the trigger guard was added. patent dates were not used on the top of the barrel after 1900 but were continued to be marked in other places (left side of barrel and or bottom of butt until well into the 1920's). with out pictures i can't even tell you what model it is.

    there were 3 models of the safety automatic revolver starting in 1894 and ending with a few assembled after the war in 1946.
    bill
  19. yulem

    yulem New Member

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    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Here's another Iver Johnson variant.
    It is a 32-5 shot revolver.
    Info on top of rib is:
    Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works Fitohburg Mass. U.S.A.
    Pat'd Apr 5,86, Feb 15,87, May10,87, Aug25,96. Pats. Pending​

    Serial number under left handle is "A 2567"; I think.
    The "A" is smaller than the numbers and poorly formed.

    I can find no other info even under magnification.
    There is an owl on top of both grips.
    It was blued at one time.

    I also have a second similar to others described earlier in forum.
    It is a 32-5 shot hammerless variant.
    It looks and breaks the same as my other IJ, but with no hammer.
    Info on rib is:
    US Revolver Co.
    Made in USA​
    That's it!
    Serial number under left grip is "B 17115"
    Serial number on bottom of trigger guard is "17115"
    At the top of each grip is "US"
    I'm assuming it's an Iver Johnson, correct?

    Here's a picture of the first weapon, (I hope?);[​IMG]

    Thank you for any information.

    Attached Files:

  20. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    yulem,
    your picture shows a small frame 'second model safety automatic hammer revolver' (1897-1908). serial number A2567 (found on the left side of the grip frame) was manufactured in 1897 (with approx.50,000 manufactured). the caliber is 32 S&W. this revolver was manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and is not considered safe with modern ammo.

    the u.s. revolver co. handguns were manufactured by iver johnson's arms and cycle works between 1910 and 1935. the u.s.revolver co. handguns are simular but not identical to the "safety automatic revolver'. they were manufactured so iver johnson would have a product that could be sold by the many mail order companies popular at the time. iver johnson's own iver johnson sporting good co. of boston did a brisk mail order business as well as having several retail stores.

    your "u.s. revolver co. hammerless automatic revolver" is also is 32S&W caliber. serial number B17115 was manufactured in 1920. there were 7,000 of this model made that year. the 'u.s. revolver co. hammerless automatic' revolvers were not equipped with the transfer bar ignition system of the safety automatic revolvers, they relied on a unique rebounding two-piece hammer for safety. therefore it is safer if an empty chamber is kept under the hammer when carried. this revolver is suitable for modern ammo if in shootable condition.

    both of these revolvers are covered in detail in my book. along with parts drawings.
    bill
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