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Ivers Johnson pistol needs ID

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by jflash52, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. jflash52

    jflash52 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
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    I inherited a IJ pistol and would like to know more about it. Were they ever issued to US servicemen? The pistol is marked as :
    1. top of barrel : IVER JOHNSON'S ARMS & CYCLEWORKS
    FITCHBURG,MASS U.S.A.
    2. 5 cylinders
    3. owl head on grips
    4. coil spring on hammer
    5. left side barrel markings unreadable
    6. serial number on trigger guard 29299
    7. under left grip serial # is C 29299
    8. cylinder to muzzle length is 4"
    9. bottom of butt (pretty well worn-some characters are hard to read or not there)
    AT June 16-96 AJC 226.
    5PT 16 C-4 Pats Pen
    I don't intend to use it. Its just family history.
     
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,169
    Location:
    houston, tx
    this is a early third model large frame safety automatic hammer revolver. serial number C29299 was manufactured in 1910, there were 27,000 of this model manufactured that year. in 1910/1911 the U.S. Navy Dept. purchased 1500 iver johnson 38 S&W caliber third model safety automatic hammer revolvers. these were issued to navy tug boats. the information i have is from one to three were issued per tug, i guess depending on officers & crew. these 1500 were later turned over to the OSS during WWII. so far none of these navy revolvers have turned up. a complete list of serial number does not seem to be available. the serial numbers i have showing which tug boat they were issued only has 148 numbers on it. this number C29299 is not on the list but it is within the range which starts about C17122 and goes as high as C49010. it is assumed the 1500 were taken at random from those in inventory during 1910 and 1911. serial numbers manufactured in 1910 were C8901 to C35900 and serial number for 1911 were C35901 to C62500. so filling a 1500 revolver order was not a problem. third model safety automatic revolver manufactured in 1910 did not have factory markings on the left side of the barrel. you state there is a marking there but unreadable. i would really like to see a picture of this unreadable marking. a verifiable government marking of any kind would just about double the value.

    THIRD MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMER REVOLVER
    (Smokeless Powder Cartridges)--------------------1909-1941
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION: Double top post barrel latch with Hammer the Hammer action. This model redesigned to be strong enough for smokeless powder. All coil springs, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top, optional oversize grips of hard rubber or wood were offered. Two frame sizes, four calibers, Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3 ¼ inches. Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .32 Special centerfire with 6 rounds cylinder capacity, .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame .22 rimfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ounces, .32 centerfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ½ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel .32 Special 19 ounces, .38 centerfire with 3 ¼ inch barrel 18 ¼ inches; Height: small frame 3 ¾ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/16 inches, large frame 5 inches; Overall length: small frame with 3 inch barrel 6 3/8 inches, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 7 3/8 inches. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Third Model features a double top post barrel latch, coil hammer spring and four cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$250 60%=$115

    bill
     

  3. jflash52

    jflash52 New Member

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    Apr 27, 2009
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    Thank you sir very much for such a detailed reply. The history is so interesting to me. Attached are two photos. I think the left barrel marks are probably only wear marks. I wonder about the four inch barrel length? It doesn't seem to fit any that you listed. Also I've been told that it looks like it was fired at close range causing the distortion at the muzzle end of the barrel. Were there any navy tugs in Seattle.WA. My family was there in the early 1900's although I don't think any worked on a tug. Thank you again.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    i believe you are right i don't thing there are any markins on the left side of the barrel. the bludge near the send of barrel was caused when the revolver was fired with a small obstruction in the barrel. bullet hit obstruction and caused a brief rise in pressure (causing buldge) before pushing obstruction out of the barrel. this buldge might cause the accuracy of the revolver to be decrease but it should not effect the safety of firing the revolver as long as the obstruction is gone.

    i have found no iformation on where the navy stationed the tug boats that were issued these revolvers, just that they were navy tug and not civilian. so any one working on one would have to have joined the navy. some of these tugs have names that are reconizable as persons like the "USAT JANE MOREHEAD" but some have unusual (at least to me) names like the "USAT DESIKOKO". the USAT is united states auxiliary tug.
    bill