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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to start by saying I am sad to have joined here to late to have interacted with the late resident expert B. Goforth. I have learned more from reading from his wisdom than I ever hoped to know on these little guns. Thank you Mr. Goforth.

I have what I believe is a third model hammerless 38 that has been in the family since the 50's. I am just looking to get any info on the date of manufacture that I can find.
It is def a 38
The gun is blued and had owl head grips (lost in a fire).
It is a five shot hammerless 4 pin with a coil spring
The barrel rib reads "Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works Fitchberg Mass
U. S. A.
The serial number on the bottom of the trigger guard is 63XX
The number on the frame under the grips matches with the addition of the prefix letter D
Information on the bottom of the butt is "PAT JUNE 16 96, AUG 23 98" and "t .16.C4 PATS PENDING".
If anyone can tell me the date of maufacture, whether the gun should be blued or nickle, and the direction of the owls on the proper grips ( I think they were and should be facing out, not looking sideways.) I would be grateful.
 

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You are correct about the owl on the grips. All third model IJs have the owl's head looking out, as opposed to looking forward toward the barrel on earlier models. I searched Bill Goforth's book for the wording of the patent dates you quote and cannot find an exact match. Is it possible the markings on the bottom of the butt strap are so faint that you misread them? Also, serial numbers on model three hammerless guns should be 5 digits, not four, preceded by a letter of D or N. All this info comes from Goforth's book, pages 48 and 49.
 

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The markings on the bottom of buttstraps were the worst place for them as they often took a beating are the worse for ware making it often difficult to get a good read. Also serial numbers were not necessarily begun with zero and therefore not necessarily having 5 digits.
Yours is a 1910 and I see grips for them on ebay on a fairly regular basis for around $20. Sign into ebay and do a search for them and your email will be notified every time a pair goes up for sale.
 

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Goforth says all the serial numbers were 5 digits preceded by a letter. I checked the example in my own collection and the serial number is D037xx.
 

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Goforth says all the serial numbers were 5 digits preceded by a letter. I checked the example in my own collection and the serial number is D037xx.
The chart on page 62 of Bill Goforth's last edition shows all third model serials starting with a 4 digit serial preceded by a letter, and dates the gun in question to 1910, as Fuzebox stated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all! This is the best site ever. I have been a gun guy for over 40 years and the level of knowledge here exceeds all.
Thanks for the info on ebay as well. I got a real nice set (prob paid too much but I wanted them :0) Got them for $40 with shipping.
Cant say how happy I am for the info. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For what its worth in future discussions, my gun only has the 4 digit number proceeded by a D on the number beneath the grips. In comparison to the picture data I have found here, it is a 3rd model.
W1spurgeon: you are correct on the possiblity of my error on the gun butt data. What I gave you was my best guess as to what is printed there. Everything on the second line prior to PATS PENDING is a guess :0)
Thank you all again for sharing your knowledge. Id be happy to buy one of Mr. Goforths books for myself. Anyone want to suggest the best source?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think that I read in a post here that if the gun was blued as a special order, that this would be indicated by some special character in the serial number. Can anyone confirm this?
My gun has been blued by someone other than original, but it certainly does not appear to be nickle plated underneath.
Also, as the finish is not original, and the gun has little or no collector value, can anyone giva opinions on whether/how to reblue?
thanks
 

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I think that I read in a post here that if the gun was blued as a special order, that this would be indicated by some special character in the serial number. Can anyone confirm this?
My gun has been blued by someone other than original, but it certainly does not appear to be nickle plated underneath.
Also, as the finish is not original, and the gun has little or no collector value, can anyone giva opinions on whether/how to reblue?
thanks
Blued finish was just an option for 50 cents extra.

Example special order features were a knuckleduster attachment, extra length barrels, and special grips.

The selection of special order revolvers in Goforth's book have 2, 3, and 4 digit all-numeric serial, with no letter or special characters.

The book is available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=iver+johnson
 
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