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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After finding nothing in the Shooter's Bible 108th Ed., and next to nothing in the 2017 Standard Catalog of Firearms, I'll toss this ball up to the TFF community.

My old school gunsmithing shop has an Iver Johnson, 'New American Bulldog' chambered in .38 special. It has a 4" barrel with adjustable rear sight, brushed nickel finish, black plastic (possibly hard rubber) owl's head grips with a thumb rest on the left stock, a and loading gate on the right. The serial number has a J suffix with five digits. So far, I've found a number of member post concerning various Iver Johnson models, and replies by the late great Bill Goforth; but nothing specific to this model. I suspect the relatively short life of this model, 1974 to 1978 (depending on info source), combined with Iver Johnson's exit from the revolver market, is the reason. However, I'll ask anyway. Beyond what I have posted above, can anyone add to my limited knowledge concerning this handgun?

Many Thanks!
 

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You pretty much nailed the history, not much else to add. The bulldog was Iver Johnson's attempt to recapture the medium priced revolver market. The last variation was the addition of an automatic cylinder stop in the later production guns from 76-78. During this time Iver Johnson was moving toward a swing out cylinder.
 

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You've hit all the highlights on the New American Bulldog revolvers.
The NAB and "Rookie" line of revolvers was an attempt to modernize the Iver Johnson line of revolvers. The two way adjustable rear sight was an improvement over the old bulky rear windage, front elevation sights and the wide barrel rib was meant to give a sleeker look.

The "J" code was used on all the later revolvers chambered in .38 special
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The last variation was the addition of an automatic cylinder stop in the later production guns from 76-78.
Thanks Shrek73!
Could you explain the "automatic cylinder stop" variation?
Also, did these models have a hammer block safety?

The two way adjustable rear sight was an improvement over the old bulky rear windage, front elevation sights and the wide barrel rib was meant to give a sleeker look.
Thanks Johnsxj!
The adjustable windage and elevation rear sights sound interesting.
What's your opinion of the thump rest / target stocks on 4" models?

Iver-Johnson - New-American-Bulldog - 4-inch-Nickel-right (4).jpg


The "J" code was used on all the later revolvers chambered in .38 special
Is there a searchable Iver Johnson serial number data base?

Thanks again folks!
 

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There's no hammer block on these revolvers.

The automatic cylinder stop was a system similar to what all the "big boys" (Colt, S&W, Ruger, etc..) use to prevent the cylinder from rotating when the hammer is in the fired position. A spring loaded arm with a nub that engages the stop/lock notches in the cylinder is pulled out of the way as the trigger is pulled to allow the cylinder to rotate and pops back up to stop rotation as the next chamber aligns with the barrel. The older system just had a nub on the top of the trigger that engaged the cylinder notches as a chamber aligned with the barrel.

The new rear adjustable sight was way better than the old system. Especially for those using holsters. Just google "Iver Johnson Model 57 Target Revolver" and you'll see what I mean.

The thumb rest grip was used on the older Model 55, 57, some 50's, and the NAB. It's pretty comfortable provided you're a right handed shooter. Lefties would have to find a "stag" grip that was common on the Model 50 Sidewinder (kinda cheesy looking) or find the optional 1 piece walnut grip. I'm pretty sure there were some aftermarket options for grips back then too.

Unfortunately there's no real SN data base or chart for the "newer" revolvers so it's not like we can go "NAB SN J12345 was made in 1975".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There's no hammer block on these revolvers.

The automatic cylinder stop was a system similar to what all the "big boys" (Colt, S&W, Ruger, etc..) use to prevent the cylinder from rotating when the hammer is in the fired position. A spring loaded arm with a nub that engages the stop/lock notches in the cylinder is pulled out of the way as the trigger is pulled to allow the cylinder to rotate and pops back up to stop rotation as the next chamber aligns with the barrel. The older system just had a nub on the top of the trigger that engaged the cylinder notches as a chamber aligned with the barrel.
Okay... I'm familiar with how the revolver cylinder stop pawl works. But, just hadn't heard it referred to as an "automatic cylinder stop."

I find it interesting this model, produced in the middle 1970s, wasn't equipped with a hammer block safety. Thanks for the heads up!

The Iver Johnson NAB I'm curious about is at my gunsmith's shop. As I was dropping off a S&W 640-1 that he had previously worked on, I saw it for only a brief moment before closing. The only other Iver Johnson I've had experience with was a Safety Automatic top break .32 S&W Short my dad pocket carried from 1939 until "upgrading" to a H&R .32 Long in 1967. So, as is my habit, I'm learning as much about the piece before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Many thanks!
 

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If you're thinking of purchasing it make sure to do all the usual checks like any other used revolver. The NAB was made during a time when quality control wasn't the greatest at Iver Johnson so they can be hit or miss for fit, finish, timing, etc...

As a range gun keep it to lighter target loads. They're a decent gun but nowhere near as robust as a Ruger, S&W, Colt.

What kind of price range was the shop asking? For some strange reason it seems like what people are asking for and what buyers are willing to pay on IJ revolvers of any kind has started to go crazy in the past year or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
This is an old school gunsmithing shop first; and gun shop second. They are on the fourth owner since opening in 1874. Most of his used handgun inventory comes from old collectors; unlike an old accumulator like me. Currently, it has a $288.99 tag on it. Yes, he's high. But, as I've been a customer since 1980, if I want it he may do better. I'll let you know.
Garrett's - Schlosser-Gunsmith-Shop.jpg
 
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