Johnson Bye & Company .22 Derringer

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Shrek73, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    Just picked up this .22 Derringer to add to my Iver Johnson collection. It is a single shot .22 short derringer made between the 1870's and 1880's. Everything seems to function fine, but it looks like the pins have been replaced at sometime and the trigger spring has been replaced with a coil spring. It is a bear to pull the hammer back as the mainspring seems like is stronger than it should be. I plan on replacing the trigger spring with a correct V spring and replacing the pins so they are not mushroomed. I am also curious as to what holds the barrel bearing in place and if there is a lever or something that interacts with the hammer.

    I know there is not a great deal known about these since Bill GoForth wrote about them a few years ago, but has anyone had recent experiences with these and what do they go for today?
     

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  2. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what you mean by "barrel bearing," but the ball bearing in the frame should have a spring under it, and be held in with a small screw.
     
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  3. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    That's what I meant.
     
  4. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    I cleaned it up last night and straighten and cleaned up the existing pins. I also replaced the mainspring with a Wolff replacement spring and replaced the coil trigger spring with a V spring. I may put the original mainspring back in it, but it was a bear to remove and I don't want to keep doing that while I am working on it.

    I tried to fire a empty .22 short, and the hammer barely made contact with the rim of the case. This was with the original mainspring. It appears someone tried to fix the hammer and put several notches in it. The hammer does not go back far enough and sometimes it catches on the half cock. It also looks like the firing pin has been shortened. I like to have all of my firearms functional, regardless of age.

    Does anyone know where I could find a replacement hammer or is anyone here capable of manufacturing one?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  5. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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  6. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    I stripped it down to the frame and there is no screw holding the bearing in place. I looked under it and it is just metal. It almost looks like it was pressed into place from the top.
     
  7. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    Got this up in firing condition last night, and figured I would share my experiences.


    The firing pin had been so worn down it would not make contact with the rim. I had to remove material on the face of the hammer until the pin would make contact with the rim. The V trigger spring was allowing the trigger to catch on the hammer while it was falling, so I put the coil spring back in and now the hammer breaks cleanly.


    The hammer has more notches than it needs and it does not engage the last notch. I am not sure if the notches are original or if someone had worked on it in the past. The hammer did not seem to go all the way back and I was getting light strikes with the Wolff mainspring I had made, so I put the original spring back in. I had only made the Wollff Spring because it was a real chore to put the original spring back in the frame, and I didn’t want to keep doing that while I was working on it. Now it is leaving a nice dent in the rim, but is a bear to pull back.


    The only problem I see is hammer is more forward than it would have been, but at least it will fire again. I plan on testing it with a .22 CB Short this weekend.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  8. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    It's possible the ball bearing is "set" into the metal.
     
  9. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Active Member

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    Either way, I am not going to break it down further to find out. I don't want to dislodge if there is no way to replace it.
     
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