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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just came into possession my grandfather’s Iver Johnson Champion side lever hammerless 12 gauge shotgun. I would like to know more about it and if it’s still able to be fired. I am in full understanding that low brass shells would be safest but I have read about it possibly being for black powder... in which case I am equipped with 12 gauge full brass shells for my own reloading fun. Everything still seems to engage properly when breach is opened, with the exception of the trigger engaging the hammer. I am trying to find replacement parts “I believe it is a spring that may be missing” but need more information so I don’t get the wrong set.
Majority of the information I have found usually pertains to the hammered version. The only markings I have found were “champion” and “1223”
The wood forehand piece is marked only with “223”. I have had no success with a patent search on two different search engines. I have not yet taken it to a gunsmith but it is on my list. Any help in relation to solving this mystery would be greatly appreciated.
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Your shotgun was designed for use with black powder loads so I'd stick with loading up your own BP or BP substitute shells.
"1223" is the serial number and it wasn't uncommon for parts like the forearm to be marked with only the last three digits.
What exactly do you mean by "trigger not engaging the hammer"? The hammerless side release models have an automatic safety that engages when the action is opened. Are you remembering to turn the safety off?
Parts for this model are very tough to come by. There is a guy selling some pieces on eBay right now for reasonable prices. I just got a hammer spring off him to replace the broken one in my hammerless side release (been looking for that spring for close to two years!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When the action is opened it does seem like the safety engages but when I turn safety off the trigger does not engage anything, there is no click of a hammer just a stiff trigger that does not move. I was wondering if there should be a spring in the first photo. Other images I have found all have a spring in that space but have only found images for the hammered version.
 

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I'll take some pics of mine when I have it open to replace the hammer spring I got in.
In the photos you posted the trigger looks to being in the forward position and the safety is in the "ON" position. Safety switch back is the "OFF" setting. And these guns have a very heavy trigger.
 
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