Iver Johnson Revolver Questions

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    no known close relatives that far north. it appears all the goforth's came to the carolina's in the 1700's and spread out from there,with just about every state having some. i can trace my part of the family back to Altona, Alabama area just after the civil war but before that it is very cloudy.
    bill
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  2. mortarmike

    mortarmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Texas
    Bill,
    The serial number is actually on the butt of the pistol and not under the grip. The serial # is 14442. There is a rib going down the top of the barrel. The markings state "Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works, Fitchburg, Mass. USA, PAT'D APR. 6, 86, FEB. 15, 87, MAY 10, 87, DEC. 26, 93. PATS. PENDING. This is stamped on the rib on top of the barrel. There is an owl's head on the grips. The barrel is 5". The gun has lost about 1/2 of it's chrome (no surprise there). The cylinder is a .38 S&W. I'm assuming that this gun is black powder only. If so, I have two questions, other than date of manufacture and anything else you can offer. One, where can I find a new cylinder for this and, two, where can I find some .38 S&W black powder loads outside of reloading my own? I don't have my dies set up at the moment. Thanks!
    Michael.
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    michael,
    your revolver is either a late production first model or an early production second model. manufacture of first model large frame 38 caliber was 1894 and 1895. the early second models that used the 12-26-93 patent date and no letter code in the serial number were manufactured in 1895. by 1896 the letter code C was in use on the large frame second model 38 caliber and by sept 1896 the patent date 12-26-93 was dropped and the date 8-25-96 was used instead. your revolver was manufactured in 1894 or 1895.

    the difference in the first and second model is the barrel latch. first model has a single top post barrel latch with the release lever on the left side of the barrel top strap. the second model uses the double top post barrel latch used by most other companies manufactuing top break revolvers.

    i do not fire any of my first and second model safety automatic revolvers and do not recommend any one else firing theirs. so i don't even try to keep up with companies that might be offering black powder loaded ammo.

    numrich arms (e-gunparts.com) list parts for these revolvers. cylinders for late first models and early second models have the threaded cylinder bushing and are interchangable. what is not interchangable is the cylinder star/extractor, the cylinder star/extractor are handfitted to the cylinder and are not interchangable. there are NO NEW parts manufactured for these revolvers and any parts you buy are going to be used and may not be any better than the ones being replaced.

    one of the reasons so many first and second models are in such bad shope today is their strength. most people saw no need to up grade to a smokeless powder model while their black powder model was still strong and tight. therefore most iver johnson safety automatic revolvers first and second models continued to be fired for many year with what ever ammo was available at the local hardware store, regardless of what powder it was loaded with. all first and second models are between 99 and 113 years of age and i feel they should be retired. if you want to shoot a safety automatic revolver get a third model that was designed for smokeless powder pressures.
    bill
  4. mortarmike

    mortarmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Texas
    Bill,
    Thanks for the response. This one is an early second model judging from the latch you described. Based on that I would say it was made in 1895. It's still an interesting gun and I'd like to go ahead and fix it up. I'm a reenactor and do a little gunfighting now and again. I have a friend in Granbury who is a gunsmith. He builds flintlocks and can help me with repairing this. The cylinder doesn't lock tightly when you pull the hammer. That's why I want to replace it. Other than that I can work up some black powder blanks for it and go have some fun! Thanks again! While I'm at it, have you ever heard of a manufacturer called Hy Hunter Arms?
    Michael.
    ps- You can email me directly at mortarmike@yahoo.com if that would be easier for you.
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    HY HUNTER was an importer active in the 1950's thru the 1970's out of california. there was a discussion recently on this fourm under the subject of "HAWES" .
    bill
  6. JMC2543

    JMC2543 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Ok guys seems you know alot more about this make of gun than I do. I got a Iver Johnson revolver .22 6 shot that i got from my aunt for Christmas. Its serial # is K57018. The only markings on it are the serial number on the right side, and Iver Johnson’s Fitchburg Mass USA, on the left right under the cylinder. Hopefully you guys can tell me something as my aunt said it was my uncles and didn’t know much about it.


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  7. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    this is a model 55SA cadet manufctured between 1974 and 1978. please check and make sure it is a true 6 shot and not a 8 shot. if it is a 6 shot then it was manufactured in late 1977 or 1978 when they were using left over inventory.

    there was a recent post entitled "iver johnson model ?????" with discussed this occuring on a longer barrel model 55A.
    bill
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  8. Heatseeker

    Heatseeker New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Lathrop, Ca

    I was searching the internet for info on an old IJ Break-Top Hammerless and found this site/thread. Mine appears to be of the approx. vintage as the above. It has the same Pat. date stamped on the butt. The serial number is B66897. Can you give me the production date and approx. value in 60-70% condition? I'm not planning to sell/trade it, just wondering is all.

    I can post pics if that would help.

    After reading almost this entire thread, I believe you must be THE authority on the old IJs!

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  9. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    if this is exactally like B78588 then serial number B66897 was also manufactured in 1915. serial numbers started at B66701 and went to B77000, 10,300 manufactured that year.
    bill
  10. Adamsons

    Adamsons New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Please advise of proper ammo for Iver Johnson pistol Large frame (barrel about 4"), 5 shot, with hammer, top breaking. Top barrel marking IVER JOHNSON ARMS & CYCLE WORKS, FITCHBURG MASS U.S.A. , serial on bottom of trigger guard and inside left grip A35692, marking on base of grip reads JUN 16.96 AUG 25. ??? 16.04 PATS PEN
    Is this able to fire 32 S&W AND 32 SHORT? Is is reltively safe to use and fire if in decent condition? Any lube and maintenance suggestions?
  11. Heatseeker

    Heatseeker New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Lathrop, Ca
    Thanks Bill! I appreciate your efforts on this subject.
  12. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    adamson,
    these three patent dates were used between 1907 and 1911. the 'A' letter code indicates this is a third model small frame 32 caliber safety automatic hammer revolver. serial number A35692 was manufactured in 1911, there were 36,500 of this model manufactured that year. all third models (1909-1941) are safe with modelrn smokeless ammo. the correct caliber is 32 S&W not the 32 S&W Long.

    this revolver is a little unusual in that these three patent dates used together are seldom seen on the small frame models because they take up to much room on the bottom of the butt location.

    as far as maintaince is concerned clean the barrel and cylinder after each firing session and then apply a thin coat of good quality gun oil to the outside and lightly oil the inside of the barrel and cylinder chambers and drop several drops of oil thru the opening at top when hammer is cocked.
    bill
  13. cpbrown

    cpbrown New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    I have a .38 Iver Johnson, SN D79131 and I would like to find the year of manufacture. I know it is not worth much but it is the only thing I have from my Grandfather. My Dad said it hung in a holster on the wall when he was a boy. My Grandfather died in '35 when my Dad was 12 and I am lucky that it ended up in my possession.
  14. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    the "D" letter codel was used on the second model (1896-1908) and the third model (1909-1941) safety automatic hammerless revolvers. in order to properly identify i will need several more pieces of information.
    1. what are the markings on top of the barrel rib, left side of the barrel and bottom of the butt strap?
    2. what type of hammer spring does it have, single flat leaf or coil?
    bill
  15. frostbite455

    frostbite455 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Superior National forest in Northern Minnesota
    Hello,
    I have an Iver top break, hammerless with nickle finish that is in 90% or better shape. Functions as it should and was hoping for a build date, it has the dates Apr 6 86, feb 15 87, may 10 87, dec 20 93 on the side and the only number on this 38 caliber 5 shot pistol is on the butt end and is 35816. The owl heads on the bakelite grips are looking down the barrel, and the spring is a flat one. Thank you for your help and consideration.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Technical Questions & Information Iver Johnson Target Sealed 8 Parts Dec 15, 2014
Technical Questions & Information Iver Johnson Dec 13, 2014
Technical Questions & Information Iver Johnsons Trailsman 66 Dec 7, 2014
Technical Questions & Information iver johnson Dec 1, 2014
Technical Questions & Information Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works Nov 26, 2014

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page