Newly acquired Iver Johnson?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by aystevens, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. aystevens

    aystevens New Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    My grandfather passed away and I got his Iver Johnson .32 cal revolver, but dont know a whole lot about it and wanted some insight. Model #17214. Blued, fitchburg, mass. Markings showing june 16, 86(or96) aug 25 (**). T16 g4 pats pend. Pearl. Just trying to figure out if I can shoot it with powderless and/or what the history/worth is?
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I think you mean should you shoot it with smokeless powder ammunition. The answer is usually no, but if the gun is in good shape, you could probably fire a few shots without damaging it. But certainly not more than that.

    The "model" number you cite is the serial number; it may have a letter ahead of it, but to see the complete serial number and date the gun the grips will have to be taken off. Be careful in doing so; if they are real pearl (and they probably are if they are as old as the gun) they will be brittle.

    Any assessment of value will require good pictures, both sides and any special markings.


  3. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    The patent dates you list should probably read:


    This marking was used on the second model hammer type .32 made in 1908, but as Jim cites we need the serial number and letter prefix under left grip.

    But it may be impossible to date it exactly if the pearl grips are original, as it may have a special order serial for which there are no records.
  4. aystevens

    aystevens New Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Thanks for the information. I am very new to all of this, sorry for the incorrect language. Here are a few pictures.

    Attached Files:

  5. 45Auto

    45Auto Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    From the images, it is a 3rd Model, Safety Automatic Hammerless revolver. It was made for modern ammo. The 1st and 2nd models were made for cartridges loaded with black powder and for this reason, it is unwise to shoot them unless you load your own black powder .32 S&W ammo. The 3rd Model was improved in many ways including strengthening it for modern .32 S&W ammo. Thus, if your little IJ is otherwise is good mechanical condition you can use modern factory ammo to fire it.
  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Thanks for posting photos. The patent markings do appear to be those I cited, party lost in the rounding of grip, but lack of the trigger safety used on earlier models identify it as a third model made 1909-on for smokeless powder, so maybe there was a carry over of marking.

    It appears to be in exceptional original condition, with case hardening colors still present on the trigger, and should be kept that way as a collector's item, and not used as a shooter.

    As Jim cautioned, if you remove the grips be careful. After removing the screw, I'd use a single edge razor blade to break the seal between grip and frame, and only the left one needs to be removed to view the serial number that might identify the specific year made.
  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    If you do shoot it ( and I would, at least a few rounds ) I would strongly recommend that you use substitute grip panels. MOP is very brittle and also very expensive now. You will never be able to replace them. I have a Colt 70 series Gold Cup with 200 dollar ( and that was 15 years ago ) MOP grips, when I take it to the range the grips come off and substitute grips go on.
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