owl head pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by old warrior, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. old warrior

    old warrior New Member

    Dec 4, 2009
    An Ivers Johnson 5 shot revolver (that belonged to a long passed relative) was passed on to me over the Thanksgiving. It's got the characteristic Owls head on the grips, Nickel plated, 6 inch barrel, serial number on left side of frame under grip is clearly E51826. No markings as to caliber but am guessing about .30 -.32. It seems small framed i.e. - not for big hands, and - how shall I say this - does not appear to be a high-end piece. It's in very good condition though. Have no ammo for it. Reportedly it was never fired. Don't know that I'll ever shoot it and even if I wanted to, how it would fare with todays modern loads. Anyway, am curious as to what anyone can tell me about it. (age, caliber confirmation, any historical info that might be interesting, approx value, whatever).
    Appreciate some feedback. Thanks much.
  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Welcome to the Forum.

    Some pictures sure would be nice.

  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    pictures would be nice but i will give it a go. patent dates on the top of the barrel are usually associated with the top break safety automaic revolver. iver johnson used the E letter code on on the small frame hammer second model in 1898 and 1901. those manufactured in in 1901 had the patent dates on the left side of the barrel. those manufactured in 1898 had the patent dates on the top of the barrel. so most likely your is a second model safety automatic hammer revolver manufactured in 1898. the second model was designed for black powder cartridge pressures only and should not be fired with moder ammo.

    (Black Powder Cartridges)------------1896-1908
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION: Double top post barrel latch, nickel finish standard, blue optional, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top. Hammer the Hammer action, two frame sizes, and three 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 .38 centerfire 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame with 3 inch barrel .22 rimfire 12 ounces, .32 centerfire 12 ¼ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 17¼ ounces; Frame height: small frame 3 ¼ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/26 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. Only difference between the first and second model is the barrel latch. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Second Model features a double top post barrel latch, flat leaf hammer spring and two cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$275 60%=$135
    For revolvers equipped with Bourne Knuckleduster add 100%

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