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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought an IJ 38 S&W Top Break.
Some details:
5 shot
Double Post at hinge
Patents Pending Nov 17 08 on bottom of grip
Coil spring
Does not spin freely when cylinder closed
IJ name and location marked on top of barrel
SN 906xx marked on bottom of trigger guard
Same SN, with an "H" in front under left grip cover. Interesting that the H is far enough offset from the rest of the SN to be easily overlooked.

Locks up tight, appears to be fully functional. From what I can tell so far appears to be a 3rd change safe for most 38 S&W rounds still available (Buffalo Bore being a noted exception). I'd guesstimate 80% condition.

Appreciate any info you can provide. If you care to venture a guess at value based on the info above that's great though I realize most would want pics and I don't have any plans to sell it. I am a little curious about the matching SN's as from what I've read there can be and maybe usually are different numbers on the trigger guard vs under the grip. Also the "Patents Pending" mark since this would seem to be a later model and perhaps the patent numbers/dates should be present unless this is one of the early 3rd change models?
 

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Your revolver is a 3rd Model, third variation Safety Automatic and was made in 1934.
You're correct that it's meant for light charge smokeless powder ammo such as what's offered by Remington, Magtech, and some others but not Buffalo Bore's stuff.

The three locations for serial numbers on this version is on the frame under the left grip, bottom of the trigger guard, and the underside of the barrel's top strap over the cylinder. The numbers should match on all three locations but keep in mind the barrel and trigger guard numbers won't have the letter prefix and sometimes the barrel will only have the last 3 or 4 digits of the SN.

Blue Book of Gun Values puts a range of $130 for 60% condition up to $250 for 100% condition. Those numbers can vary a bit depending on barrel length (3 1/4" was standard on the large frame), grips (hard rubber owl's head with one screw standard), nickel (standard) or blued finish.

Oddly enough BBoGV values the 3rd Model revolvers a little bit lower than the 1st and 2nd Models even though the 3rd Models are in demand more (most people don't want to mess with black powder ammo) and there were less of them made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Your revolver is a 3rd Model, third variation Safety Automatic and was made in 1934.
You're correct that it's meant for light charge smokeless powder ammo such as what's offered by Remington, Magtech, and some others but not Buffalo Bore's stuff.

The three locations for serial numbers on this version is on the frame under the left grip, bottom of the trigger guard, and the underside of the barrel's top strap over the cylinder. The numbers should match on all three locations but keep in mind the barrel and trigger guard numbers won't have the letter prefix and sometimes the barrel will only have the last 3 or 4 digits of the SN.

Blue Book of Gun Values puts a range of $130 for 60% condition up to $250 for 100% condition. Those numbers can vary a bit depending on barrel length (3 1/4" was standard on the large frame), grips (hard rubber owl's head with one screw standard), nickel (standard) or blued finish.

Oddly enough BBoGV values the 3rd Model revolvers a little bit lower than the 1st and 2nd Models even though the 3rd Models are in demand more (most people don't want to mess with black powder ammo) and there were less of them made.
Great info! Thanks much!! And yeah, I'm one who wouldn't want to mess with black powder. I don't plan on shooting it much but I did pick up a box of Magtech to put a few rounds through it. I will check for the SN under the top strap. Just a neat little bit of history - never knew the transfer bar went back that far. Thanks again!
 

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The transfer bar goes back to late 1893 with the start of the 1st Model Safety Automatic.
Lots of history and several "firsts" in firearms from Iver Johnson.
First U.S. double action revolver with a swing out cylinder in 1883 (Lovell Safety Double Action)
First use of "trigger safety" in 1886ish (Lovell Hammerless Automatic)
First to use all coil or wire springs in 1909 (3rd Model Safety Automatic)
 
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