Does any one know when Iver Johnson stpped with their first model break top( side lever opener)and started with the smith and wesson type T top? What serial # range did they start with smokeless frames?
because of the method iver johnson used in serial numbering serial numbers alone can not be used to date iver johnson's arms & cycle works 'safety automatic revolvers'. they can be divided into three seperate models.
first model hammer or hammerless version 1894-1896 all first models will have the single top post barrel latch (side lever release) black powder.
second model hammer or hammerless versions 1896 (large frame) 1897 small frame until 1907. double top post barrel latch (s&w type)and single leaf hammer spring
third model hammer or hammerless versions 1908-1941 double top post barrel latch and coil hammer spring (all springs were wire or coil on this model)smokeless powder
since the second model span the u.s. governments definition of antique it is more difficult to determine pre or post 1898 models. it took several page to tell in my iver johnson book so i don't have space here to go into it. it is done by using a combination of barrel markings and the letter codes used in the serial number.
the reason serial numbers alone cannot be used is after 100,000 had been reached the serial numbers were started over at 1 sometimes with a letter code sometimes without.
The pistol is blue, coil spring, serial # 39XXX has the hammer block safety,
The butt is marked Pat. Nov 17 ?? over Pat's pending. The barrel says Iver johnson's arms and cycle works Fitchburg Mass. USA all bracketed in stars.
the one patent date marking nov.17.08 was used on all third models between 1914 and 1941. the main serial number lacation is under the grip panel on the left side of the grip frame. the letter codes in use during this time (1914-1941) were; small frame hammer 32 s&w caliber 5 shot 32 caliber, 'A' 1909-1915, 'G' 1915-1926 and 'J' 1927-1940 and for the large frame hammer 5 shot 38 s&w or 6 shot 32 s&W long caliber 'C' 1909-1914, H 1915-1941. since the 'J' letter code for the small frame only goes to J18550 we have three dates in the small frame and two in the large frame; 1911 A30201 to A66700, 1919 G31001 to G39500 and 1920 G39501 to G46300, in the large frame 1911 C35901 to C62500 and 1921 H30301 to H41700. all this information is from factory log books that turned up in 1983.
all iver johnson's arms & cycle works 'safety automatic revolvers' have the transfer bar ignition system 'hammer the hammer' iver johnson was issued a patent for this in 1896.
this revolver is a third model and should be safe with modern ammo if in good condition and you stay with factory standard velocity loads.
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