Question about Iver Johnson revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by roweenie, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. roweenie

    roweenie New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm new to your forum, and I have learned a lot already - - -

    I recently put a deposit down on an Iver Johnson .32 S&W short break-top revolver (the amendment procedure to add a handgun to your permit can take up to 4 weeks here in NY). The serial number is B20297. My question is - what is the date of manufacture? If it is a black-powder model, can I obtain rounds for it, or is it not worth the trouble? The mechanism is surprisingly crisp for a gun of this age.

    Here in the People's Republic of New York, they list all handguns you own on your permit, so I would prefer not to own a non-useable pistol at this time.

    Thanks one and all - -

    Bob
     
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    3,170
    Location:
    houston, tx
    bob,
    iver johnson used the "B" letter code on bothe the second and third models of the small frame 32 S&W caliber safety automatic hammerless revolvers. in order to determine the year of manufacture the least i need to know is what type of hammer spring does it have. listed below is information that is very helpful in identifing iver johnson revolvers.

    INFORMATION NEEDED TO IDENTIFY
    IVER JOHNSON’S ARMS & CYCLE WORKS SAFETY AUTOMATIC REVOLVERS

    1. EXACT MARKINGS;
    A. TOP OF BARREL
    B. LEFT SIDE OF BARREL
    C. BOTTOM OF BUTT STRAP

    2. SERIAL NUMBER FOUND ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE GRIP STRAP UNDER THE GRIP PANEL (MAIN LOCATION SINCE 1896). THE SERIAL NUMBER FOUND ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TRIGGER GUARD WAS ONLY USED AFTER 1904 AND SINCE TRIGGER GUARDS ARE INTERCHANGABLE AND THIS LOCATION DOES NOT HAVE THE LETTER CODE IT CANNOT BE USED FOR PROPER IDENTIFICATION

    3. BARREL LENGTH;
    A. STANDARD BARREL LENGTH FOR LARGE FRAME IS 3 ¼ INCHES
    B. STANDARD BARREL LENGTH FOR SMALL FRAME IS 3 INCHES

    4. HAMMER SPRING
    A. FIRST AND SECOND MODELS SINGLE FLAT LEAF
    BLACK POWDER MODELS
    B. THIRD MODEL CAPTIVE COIL
    SMOKELESS POWDER

    CALIBERS:
    A. FIRST MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS 38 S&W (5)
    FIRST MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER 22 RIMFIRE, 32 S&W (5)
    FIRST MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMERLESS 32 S&W (5)
    B. SECOND MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS 38 S&W (5)
    SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER 22 RIMFIRE (7), 32 S&W (5)
    SECOND MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMERLESS 32 S&W (5)
    C. THIRD MODEL LARGE FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS
    32 S&W LONG (6) AND 38 S&W (5)
    THIRD MODEL SMALL FRAME HAMMER OR HAMMERLESS
    22 RIMFIRE (7), 32 S&W (5)

    bill
     

  3. roweenie

    roweenie New Member

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    Bill,

    Thanks for your answer! I don't physically have the revolver (it is still in the gun store), so I will go there and find out as much about it as I can, and I will report back same.

    One thing I can tell you is that serial number I mentioned was found on the bottom of the butt handle (same location as on my S&W model 36).

    Thanks, Bob
     
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    if the letter code B is on the bottom of the butt it will be either a late production first model or very early production second model. the exact year can only be determined by the markings on the barrel and the type of barrel latch but its going to be between 1895 and 1897.
    bill
     
  5. roweenie

    roweenie New Member

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    Bill,

    Thanks for your help - I now own the revolver, and here is what it says on the barrel:

    IVER JOHNSON'S ARMS & CYCLE WORKS, FITCHBURG MASS. U.S.A.
    PAT'D APR. 6. 86. FEB. 18. 87. MAY. 10. 87. DEC. 26. 93. PAT'S PENDING

    The top breaks open by a single lever on the left side, and it is chambered in .32 S&W short, with 5 chambers in the cylinder.

    From what I have read, it appears that this is probably a 1st series revolver. The fellow at the gun shop (a reputable place that has been in business for many years) tells me that it if it is a black powder revolver (which it appears to be), it would be OK to shoot it with modern smokeless ammo, because the ammo is made with less gunpowder, just for the purpose of firing it with guns like this.

    The gun is in remarkable shape for its age - it looks as though it had barely ever been fired. I'd appreciate any advice!

    Thanks, Bob

    PS - I have an image to post, but I can't figure out how ......
     
  6. roweenie

    roweenie New Member

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    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  7. ladykatana

    ladykatana New Member

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    Apr 28, 2009
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    Location:
    north eastern Ohio
    If your gun takes the S&W short bullets, yes you can still get them on the internet. Buffalo arms co. is were I got the best price. I just got in 5 boxs of S&W short ammo for my old H&R top break revolver. They are hard to come by though, They said I would have to wait 4 to 6 weeks, but I only had to wait 1 & half weeks, but they do have them in stock right now, so there shouldn't be any wait.
     
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    Location:
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    this is a first model hammerless manufactured in 1896.

    FIRST MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMERLESS REVOLVER
    (Black Powder Cartridges)--------------------1895-1896
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION: Single Top Post Barrel latch, finish, grip panels same as hammer model. Two frame sizes three calibers. Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire with 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Standard barrel length same as hammer model; Weight: small frame with 3 inch barrel .22 rimfire 12 ½ ounces, .32 centerfire 13 ½ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 17 ¾ ounces: 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 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 First Model features a single top post barrel latch (release lever mounted on left side of top strap) and flat leaf hammer spring.
    VALUE: 100%=$300 60%=$155

    i personally do not recommend firing any revolver designed for black powder only regardless of condition.
    bill
     
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