Iver Johnson Revolver Age and Info

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by vaman, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. vaman

    vaman New Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Hello All,
    I recently found an Iver Johnson revolver in my fathers closet. He passed away in 2006 and left me with a lot of surprises in the firearms department. I have been able to finish restoring most of the guns he owned, but he was a gun magnet,especially old revolvers. I was curious about the age and any other details anyone might be able to lend me:

    i have a top break Iver Johnson .38 5 shot double action revolver.
    The top is stamped Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works
    Fitchburg Mass. USA
    It is Nickel or Chrome plated and has black plastic handles with the Owl lookng at the trigger housing, The cylinder spins clockwise when closed and screws itself into the frame housing. The trigger pulls into a small tab that seems to actuate the firing pin.
    The serial number stamped on the trigger guard is 46142 and on the left hand guard rail under the grips is an M 46142
    The buttplate is very worn and i can make out DAPR.6.86FEB15 Y10.87 MAR1388A 96 PATS PENDING.

    I have been using the gun oil and elbow grease to remove most of the corrosion. If anyone can recommend a better way to finish the frame under the grips and the palm rest part of the exposed handle frame I would appreciate it as I am out of elbow grease and don't know if fine steel wool would do more damage than good. There is some possible holster wear on the left side of the barrel which is 3 inches long.

    I probably left out some important details so please feel free to email or post with any questions.
    I appreciate in advance any help you may have concerning this pistol.

  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Welcome to the forum. You have a large frame second model made in 1904 for black powder .38 S&W caliber cartridges. Unless it's been refinished, it's nickel plated, not chrome.

    Use only extra fine 0000 steel or bronze wool along with oil to remove surface rust and rub lightly.

  3. vaman

    vaman New Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Thanks HRF!! I really appreciate the fast and helpful reply. I was using a non copper oil and cheesecloth and cleaned 90% of the pistol and it seems to be in great shape. It had some S&W .38 shells in the bag but I am so glad I read the forums here before I bought some hard hitting shells for it. I read that it was called a suicide gun, and I can see why for several reasons.
    I will try the 0000 steel wool and oil as soon as my elbows get back to normal. I have something inherited or ingrained in me that causes me to immediately start cleaning any firearm I get my hands on. Probably goes back to basic training!

    I think this Iver Johnson is a really neat gun and will go in the safe and I will start on the Mossberg 500a I picked up for less than $100. It needs some rails and optics and for some reason it jams on the last shell when using 3" magnums. Maybe I should start another thread on that one sometime. And the Polish Tantal I got super cheap is a real tough one as well.

    I was injured overseas a year and a half ago and I am stuck in a wheelchair for the foreseeable future so I have nothing but time on my hands.

    Thanks again for the info and for the welcome to the board.
  4. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    The term suicide special generally refers to even older and cheaper guns, usually single action rimfire revolvers from the 1870's and 1880's. Your gun is a bit later than that, and Iver Johnson was a sound, reputable manufacturer, if not in the same class as Colt or S&W. Now that I think of it, they were probably in the same class Mossberg is today - a maker of decent but inexpensive guns.

    Guns are a very interesting field of study. They are simple enough to be fairly readily understandable, but complex enough for endless variation. And unlike film cameras or mechanical watches, they are not yet obsolete. (If you had a film camera as old as that Iver Johnson, I don't think you would ever find film for it.)

    Thanks for posting and good luck!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
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