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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up an IJ Hammerless on a spur of the moment thing (I know...it's the scourge of us gun owners) and as I've ever-so-briefly read about the fascinating history of IJ it will likely not be my last. This hammerless is a .38 S & W, 4-pin, 3.25" barrel, coil mainspring, and the grip owls look away from the barrel. The serial number under the trigger guard is 9395 and under the left grip panel is D9395. The last patent date on the butt is Sept 16 04 (patent pending). It's in VG/E condition with 99% of its still bright nickle finish and has (most of) the original box.

Can someone help me put a date of manufacture on this? I understand that IJ used "rolling serial numbers" with prefix letters to separate batches. Is it safe to shoot with "cowboy" rated loads?

Many thanks to the brain trusts that make these forums great!
 

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Just a guess, it sure sounds like a large frame third model hammerless. That 1904 patent date means a change in the way that the cylinder is dismounted, the cylinder has a stud that lines up with a groove on the shaft and is pulled out, not unscrewed like before. The serial number has the manufacture in 1910, or so. The third model is made of a vanadium alloy, stronger latch, and leaf springs replaced by coils. A pretty modern design for 1910! Modern factory smokeless .38 S&W ammo should be fine for use. Just avoid the hot Buffalo Bore ammo. S/N prefix the same through entire production of this model (until the last year of so- less than a thousand made 1933-34). Look up books by the late Bill Goforth if you are going to make these guns a habit! Sure got me hooked! (H&R also). I will now join the Chorus in demanding pictures of that "hooter", when you can!
 

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Thanks, Wabbit, for your informed reply...I appreciate it. Here's a couple of pics, complete with the box lid (with instructions), a very period box of ammo (there's a few missing, presumably they have been with this gun since new or close to new) and a print ad (that was in the box) praising this, "...absolutely safe...", firearm. Imagine all that safety for just
$5.50!!
100_0333[1].JPG


249728
 

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I also want to mention that you'll note the only nickle loss is just north of the grips. The dark, 'blotchy' areas on the frame are reflections of the deer antler light fixture above my table...but it gives you an idea of how well the nickle has retained its mirror finish.
 

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In those days blue finish was optional, usually for 25 cents extra. $5.50 was less than half the price of a similar Smith & Wesson. I have a 20th anniversary Gun Digest Treasury (1964) that has potions of 1910-ish Sears catalog that has a lot of those old guns for sale. In the 1960's Sears sold guns and ammo, but not at the 1910 prices! I remember seeing 303 Enfields for about 20 bucks, I wanted one, but Dad vetoed that, "you don't want that junk, save up for that .30-30 Marlin!"
That box of ammo looks like it may be black powder, since I can't see "Smokeless" emblazoned on the label. Smokeless ammo was probably still less common and cost more than BP at that time. Again a great collection of a blast from the past!
 

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You have an Iver Johnson 3rd Model Safety Hammerless Automatic manufactured in 1910 It is considered a smokeless frame and should be safe for modern smokeless ammunition once you have it checked out by a competent gunsmith.

Does the box serial number match the gun? They used to write the serial on the box. If the box matches, I would put the value around $250, maybe a little more.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Shrek! There's a small remnant of what used to be a tag on the end flap of the lid. Sadly, there's no serial number to be found. I mean...what could have happened to it in the last 111 years :)
 
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