The Firearms Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone, I recently acquired a Iver Johnson .38 SW breaktop revolver and was wondering if anyone could help me determine the age. There is a serial number on the bottom of the handle which matches the serial number under the barrel when the cylinder is removed.

The Serial number is: 4769.

there is no serial number underneath the grips nor on the bottom of the trigger guard. The owl on the grip faces the barrel. It has about 90% Nickel remaining and the trigger guard appears to have been blued at one time, maybe this was replaced???

The top of the barrel reads: Iver Johnson & Co. Fitchburg Mass. U.S.A. Pat'd May 10, 87 Dec 26, 93. Pat's Pending

The barrel is 3 inches long

The break latch resembles a paddle and is only on the left side of the revolver which from from what I can find suggests it was made pre-1900 but I know there are multiple experts regarding these guns. If you could give your opinion it would be much appreciated,

I apologize for the poor pictures, my camera on my phone is cracked. If anymore info is needed I can provide.

Thanks!!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A few better pictures
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,599 Posts
You have a Iver Johnson 1st Model Safety Hammer Automatic manufactured in 1893 or 1894. The barrel stamping puts it in that date range. In 1894 they changed to Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle.

Its chambered in .32 S&W and is considered a blackpowder frame and not safe for modern smokeless ammunition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
793 Posts
X2 what Shrek73 said except that it's actually chambered in .38S&W
With the mid 4 digit serial number I'd say it's probably closer to late 1893.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks!

I have read that modern low pressure smokeless loads may be okay to shoot, or is this rolling the dice? I am a novice collector and do not have a reloading set-up (yet). If not, I can wait..

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
793 Posts
In theory the modern smokeless rounds are supposed to be safe but the problem is the smokeless ammo has a pressure spike whereas the black powder has a pressure curve so the smokeless ammo just hammers away at the gun. Personally I stick with BP in guns designed for BP.
Also keep in mind that Iver Johnson realized fairly quick that the barrel latch design on the 1st Models really didn't hold up to .38S&W loads and came out with the 2nd Model which had a stronger latch in 1895. They didn't make the switch on the smaller .32S&W until 1897.
1st Model .38S&W's are pretty much the only guns in my Iver collection that I don't take out to shoot.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top