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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    this is either a first model manufactured in 1895 or early second model manufactured in 1896. which model it is depends on the the top latch. first models have a single top post on the frame and the barrel latch release lever on the left side of the barrel top strap.

    first models (1894-1896) and second models (1896-1908) were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures only and are not considered safe with modern smokeless ammo.
    bill
  2. cpbrown

    cpbrown New Member

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    Bill,
    Thanks for your reply to my inquiry about SN D79131.
    Top of barrel has Iver Johnson Machine and Cycle Works, Fitchburg, Mass U.S.A., nothing on the left side of the barrel.
    Butt of grip has Pat. Nov 17 '08, Pat's. Pending.
    How do I see the hammer spring?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    its the hammer spring not the trigger spring. but you have given me enough new information to properly identify. the one patent date of nov-17-08 was only used after 1913. so yours is a large frame third model hammerless. serial number D79131 was manufactured in 1920, there were 3,600 of the third model hammerless manufactured that year. the large frame third models were offered in a 6 shot 32 S&W Long caliber or a 5 shot 38 S&W caliber.
    bill
  4. cpbrown

    cpbrown New Member

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    Many thanks for the info Bill.
  5. REC0546

    REC0546 New Member

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    I recently acquired an Iver Johnson revolver that I need some information on. The serial number is C73248 (under grip). Bottom of grip frame has the following: PAT AUG 25 96 (first line) Pats Pending (second line). It appears to be a large frame, third model, nickel plated, 5 shot 38 s&w with 5 inch barrel and one piece bottom screw target grips. The serial number under the grip matches the serial number on the bottom of the trigger guard, but does not match the number above the cylinder. Is this to be expected? Is it because the 5 inch barrel is non-standard? The revolver appears to be unfired and is in 99% condition. Can you tell me when it was manufactured and estimate its current value? Thanks in advance.

    Number above cylinder is 21461.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    this is a third model manufactured in 1913, there were 6,600 manufactured that year. the serial numbers on the grip frame, the trigger guard and the bottom of the top strap were applied at time of final assembly so all should match. the different serial number on the top strap means this is a replacement barrel and not by the factory. if the factory would have put a new barrel on it there would not be a serial number on it or old number removed and new number to match frame would be added. as a shooter there is noting wrong with replacing the barrel but it loses all collectable status (which is small in a third model). very few of the third models with the "western walnut" were nickel finished. so with the replacement barrel i would suppect it has also be refinished. one of the features of top break revolvers are the abilities to have short or long barrels on the same frame. i have often wondered why iver johnson never adverttized this feature and offered different barrels as a set.
    bill
  7. REC0546

    REC0546 New Member

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    Bill,
    Thanks very much for the information. The mismatched serial number did seem suspicious. What is puzzling is that since the case hardening on the trigger, hammer and latch is bright and clear, and the bluing on the trigger guard does not look like a hot dip job and all the edges and lettering are very sharp...it seems like someone would have gone to a lot of trouble to refinish something that isn't worth it. I guess anything is possible.
    Do you know what process Iver Johnson used in 1913 to blue the trigger guards?

    Ralph
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    ralph,
    i have no idea what the blueing process was that iver johnson used. sorry
    bill
  9. musichotrod

    musichotrod New Member

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    hello everyone,
    i'm new to this so please bare with me. i have just aquired a nice Iver Johnson in 38S/W, second model i think. i'm tring to find out date of manufacture. if anyone can help me it would be greatly appreciated, here are some details of the gun....
    exposed hammer, duel post top latch, owl head facing down barrel, leaf spring, serial # Q52xxx.
    hope someone can help. thanks. waiting for reply.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    iver johnson used the "Q" letter code in 1906 on the 38 caliber safety automatic hammer revolver. all second model 1896-1908 were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and are not safe with modern smokeless ammo.
    bill
  11. trapnbow

    trapnbow Member

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    Gentlemen,

    I am new to the forum and am excited to see that we have some serious firearm expertise. I am researching an Iver Johnson revolver much like the ones that are being discused in this forum and I would appreciate assistance from the group. Please be cautious with these early IJ as many of them are for use with black Powder Cartridges Only!

    Can some one tell me the date of manufacture and the value of the revolver described below:

    Iver Johnson safety Hammer (Hammer the Hammer Model)
    Top of barrel has Iver Johnson Machine and Cycle Works, Fitchburg, Mass U.S.A.,
    38 Caliber, 5 Shot
    S&W Cartridge
    Black Powder
    Double Action, with exposed hammer
    Serial Number, 69406
    On Grip Butt, Pat Aug 25.96
    Pats Pending
    This revolver has not been fired and is in near new condition. It also has the original box and cleaning brush. I have attached images to assist with the identification.

    Thanks, trapnbow

    Attached Files:

  12. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    before i comment much on this revolver (which is a third model) i will need to know the serial number and letter code found on the left side of the grip frame (remove the grips to see). the third models large frame 38 caliber hammer revolvers were serial numbered starting a C1 to C99999 (1909-1917) and H1 to H94250 (1918-1941). even C69406 (1912) is to high a serial number to be in a box marked 'for black powder only" or even "for black or semi-smokeless powder" as some of the one manufactured 1909/1910 era were marked.

    questions, do you have proof this box and this gun have been together all their life and does the cylinder hold 5 or 6 rounds?
    bill
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2008
  13. trapnbow

    trapnbow Member

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    Thank you for your prompt reply. I will check the serial number under the grip tonight and promptly send it to you. The cylinder is removable and holds 5 rounds. We are pretty confident that the revolver and box have been together from the beginning. This firearm is a family heirloom that came to me from an elderly lady whose father owned it. She is well into her 80's. However, your serial number research should prove the point.

    You assistance is really appreciated and I will get back to you promptly with the correct S/N. The serial number that I provided was found on the trigger guard.

    Thanks, trapnbow
  14. trapnbow

    trapnbow Member

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    Well, I have removed the grips and see that the real serial number is: C69406 If your research of the S/N is correct, we now have a problem with the associated box. The revolver fits in the box so perfectly that it is difficult to image that it is not the original box.

    I have attached photos of the S/N, Box Top Cover, Inside Cover Label and Cylinder for your review. Please see references to, "Use Black Powder."

    Also note that the revolver is nickel plated but that the trigger guard is blued and the hammer and trigger are case hardend.

    Your opinion on the revolver is much appreciated. With this new information are you still convinced that it is a, Third Model. Also, what is your educated quess as to the date of manufacture and the value in unfired condition.

    Thank you again, trapnbow

    Attached Files:

  15. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the serial number listings for the third model as shown in my book are from factory records, so there is no guessing. there is also no guessing about the model, only third models used the coil hammer spring. third model large frame 38 S&W caliber safety automatic hammer revolver serial number C69406 was manufactured in 1912, there were 9,500 of this model manufactured that year. all third model safety automatic revolvers are considered safe with smokeless powder if in shooting condition. in 1911 the u.s. navy purchased 1500 of this model for issue to u.s. navy tug boats and i don't think the navy would purchase revolvers that were safe only with black powder at that late date.

    the label on the inside and out side of the box are of the types used with very late production second models revolvers (1905 thru 1908). box labels on early production second models (1896-1899) did not mention powder at all and middle second model production (1900-1904) had the black powder statement but used a illustration of the revolver itself on the label. also the slogan "hammer the hammer" was not used until 1904. as i stated yesterday boxes used in 1909 and 1910 era stated "use black or semi-smokeless powder" and boxes after that (1911 and later) made no mention as to the type of powder to be used. the 1910 catalog went to great lengths to point out the differences between the old model (second model) and the new model (third model) safety automatic revolvers, use of all wire and coil springs and the use of 'valadium steel'.

    it is my opinion that this box is for the late second model (1905-1908) and is not original to this revolver. also my opinion considering the condition this revolver is in it is worth about $250 without the box.
    bill
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
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