Old Iver Johnson 12 Guage Shotgun??

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by deano, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. deano

    deano New Member

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    Can somebody please help, my grandfather gave me an old single shot 12 guage shotgun. The serial number is 35599. The patent date is april 15'02. The barrel is 32" long. The forend and buttstock do not have any design or markings.
    On the left side of the gun it does not say what model it is, only Iver Johnson's, Arms & Cycle Works, and where it was manufactured. On the right side of the gun, where the pivot pin that holds the two main parts of the gun together there is a release for the pin that you have to push up in order for the pin to slide out.The gun is in excellent condition. What model is it and approx what year is it? What is the value? Is it ok to shoot 3" magnum shells in the gun? They fit in the chamber and i measured the chamber to be 3" deep.

    Thank you very much for your help.
  2. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Goforth can give you more info on your shotgun, all I have is a word of caution " DO NOT SHOOT 3 INCH MAGNUMS IN THIS SHOTGUN " A shotgun chamber is measured with an unfurled shell. A chamber for a 3 inch magnum would be 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches long. A shotgun chamber chamber has to be longer than the shotgun shell to be able for the cartridge to unfurl or open. If you were to fire a 3 inch Magnum in this shotgun, 1. It was never designed for that much pressure. 2. In addition to the increased pressure of the 3 inch magnum, because there would be no room for the shell to unfurl, the protruding shell furl would actually act as an obstruction in the barrel, raising the pressure even higher in a hundred years old gun. A very good way to lose you hands , eyes or even life.
  3. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    I think I would pass on the 3" mag. shells.....

    These did not come into being untill much later date than our gun. Stick with 2 3/4" and you will not have any problems. Someone else may know what model you gun is. Steel shot is another no no in these old shotguns by the way.

    If you plan to shoot it much I would suggest a target load of 7 1/2 shot. These single shot guns are light weight and nice to carry, but they tend to kick like a mule! (Another reason not to shoot 3" mags by the way) You will enjoy shooting Grandpa's gun with these the most, and do no harm to his old gun either.

    Enjoy, Kirk
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    iver johnson only made two single barrel shotguns with a removable hinge pin and both were made before 1909. 1909 was the year iver johnson made the switch to smokeless powder. sinse you didn't mention the name champion or an unusual ring in the trigger guard (to break open the action) i will assume it has the normal top lever barrel opening mechanism. this would indicate it is aan iver johnson top snap single gun manufactured between 1898 and 1905. the type of hinge pin removal you describe was used after 1901 (EVEN THOUGH THE PATENT WAS NOT ISSUED UNTIL 1902. this shotgun should not even be fired with 2 3/4 shell as the chamber is for 2 1/2 inch black powder loads. these early single barrel iver johnson shotguns are considered collectible. this was iver johnson's first modern single barrel with self adjusting barrel latch but still manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures. because of their age and hard use they recieved these single barrel shotguns are rarely found in 60% condition or higher

    IVER JOHNSON TOP SNAP---------------------------------1898-1901
    IVER JOHNSON TOP SNAP IMPROVED MODEL 1901----------1901-1904
    AKA: NEW WHITE POWDER WONDER AND WHITE POWDER WONDER, manufactured for Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    Single barrel hammer top lever operated break open mechanism; 12 and 16 gauges; barrels of steel choked bored in 28, 30, 32, and 34 inches in length; automatic ejectors; American Black Walnut butt stock and fore-end; casehardened frame and browned barrel; pistol grip butt stock; hard rubber butt plate and pistol grip cap; weight with 30 inch barrel 6 pounds; overall length with 30 inch barrel 45 inches.
    VALUE: RARE 100%=$300 60%=$135

    bill
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
  5. Treeman53

    Treeman53 Member

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    " sinse you didn't mention the name champion or an unusual ring in the trigger guard (to break open the action)"

    I was looking at a single shot 12GA recently, and it had the ring in the trigger guard to break it! I did not have my glasses, so I'm not sure of the manufacturer. The barrel had a small amout of play when the action was closed, is this repairable? Do you know which model, and when it was made?
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the play in the barrel of a removable hinge pin single barrel shotgun and only be repaired by a new (not a used replacement) hinge pin and to the best of my knowledge these are not made any more. a true gunsmith qualified to make broken or missing parts could repair this gun but it is seldom cost effective to do so.

    bill
  7. Treeman53

    Treeman53 Member

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    So I guess this shotgun would be a "wallhanger" if I purchased it. What do you think would be a good price on this?
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    value would be very dependant on amout of original finish remaining my best guess (without seeing it) would be between $50 and $100.

    bill
  9. Treeman53

    Treeman53 Member

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    I'm a bit confused on this gun. It is an Iver Johnson Semi-hammerless 12GA, single shot, with the ring in the trigger guard, but does not have "Champion" on it anywhere. Across the barrel, it simply says "Iver Johnson", with the '01 and '02 patent dates below that. It has the hard rubber butt piece with "Iver Johnson" (though the middle letters are about worn to nothing), and the hand grip cap with the "I J" initials in script. Another odd thing is what appears to be the serial number, but it's stamped directly on the trigger guard, not behind it like others I've seen. The "serial number" is 29455. So, is this a Champion without the designation, or did Iver Johnson make the semi-hammerless that was not a Champion?
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the semi-hammerless ejector model shotguns were not marked with the champion name. they were actually called iver johnson single guns with the Champion marked model of slightly lessor value. below is the information of what most collectors call the ring trigger models.

    IVER JOHNSON EJECTOR SEMI-HAMMERLESS
    (Ring Trigger)-------------------------------------------------1897-1899
    Semi-hammerless (hammer does not have a spur) single barrel; ring trigger break open mechanism (ring in front of trigger opens action); 12 gauge only; 28, 30 or 32 inch plain twist steel barrel choked; rebounding hammer; automatic ejector; American Black Walnut butt stock and fore-end; cased hardened frame and browned barrel; Weight 7 pounds; overall length with 28 inch barrel 43 ¾ inches.
    VALUE: 100%=$325 60%=$155

    IVER JOHNSON EJECTOR SEMI-HAMMERLESS IMPROVED MODEL 1900
    (Ring Trigger)---------------------1900-1908
    Semi-hammerless break open single barrel shotgun; ring in front of trigger opens action; 12 and 16 gagues; 28,30,32 and 34 inch barrels; barrel now manufactured in U.S.A.; rebounding hammer; automatic ejector; improved barrel take down; American Black Walnut butt stock and fore-end; casehardened frame and browned barrel; Weight with 30 inch barrel 6¼ pounds; Overall length with 30 inch barrel 45 inches.
    VALUE: 100%=$300 60%=$135

    IVER JOHNSON EJECTOR SEMI-HAMMERLESS JUNIOR MODEL
    (Ring Trigger)---------------------------------1901-1908
    Single barrel semi-hammerless break open shotgun (ring in front of trigger opens barrel); rebounding hammer; single locking bolt; shorten butt stock; American Black walnut butt stock and fore-end; hard rubber butt plate; 12 and 16 gauge; 26 and 28 inch barrels; case hardened receiver and browned barrel; weight with 26 inch barrel5 ½ lbs., 28 inch barrel 6 pounds; overall length about 40 inches.
    VALUE: RARE 100%=$300 60%=$135

    bill
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