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Little help on this?


Hashknife Cowboy

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Couple of questions:

What is it, there are no markings or numbers...

It is a .38 short...

There is a "owl" on the grips

Is it worth anything?

 

To all of you that have educated me and what this antique paperweight is....a big thank you!

Hashknife CB

 

 

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Edited by Hashknife Cowboy
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Iver Johnson!

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The gun you have is an Iver Johnson and they were cheaply made guns around the turn of the last century.  They were not high-quality guns then and age has not improved them.  This gun is for black powder only.  You can tell because the flutes in the cylinder for the stop bolt are longer than the ones for smokeless and the owl is facing forward.  There only real claim to fame is that it was an Iver Johnson that killed President McKinly in Buffalo NY.

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A lot of the time you can pick them up for 100 or less .

But in today's day and age who knows lol

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That's a hammer-shrouded Iver Johnson or one of several alias company names that IJ made for (called hammerless, but the hammer is still in the hump above the grip).

 

If it is in good repair and shoots, it has higher value than if just a paperweight.    The lockwork mechanisms are easily broken and often worn, and being a BP gun, the barrel probably will look like a sewer pipe.

 

Should have been a few roll stamps along the rib on the barrel.  But those may have been polished away and a re-finish of the gun done many years ago.

 

Collector's value - zilch.  If it can be turned into a reliable firearm, for shooting BP loads, then it might bring $75 or so.   And that would be to a cowboy shooter wanting a pocket pistol.   General shooter (non-cowboy) value close to zilch.   Probably worth more for parts to repair other IJ revolvers.

 

It is not advisable to load even very low pressure smokeless loads.  Use BP only.  The frame and locking latch spring VERY easily on these guns, the cylinder walls are thin, and they go down hill fast to being a non-functioning gun from there.

 

good luck, GJ

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Iver Johnson were very cheaply made. I gave a couple of them for side match use. They work ok, but not nearly as robust as Smith & Wesson breaktops.
if it functions perfectly, good lockup, maybe $250 would be top dollar. 

 

SHOULD ONLY SHOOT BP OR SUBS THRU THIS GUN 
 

and I’m sure it’s chambered in 38SW

 

 

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On 12/18/2023 at 5:42 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

 

It is not advisable to load even very low pressure smokeless loads.  Use BP only.  The frame and locking latch spring VERY easily on these guns, the cylinder walls are thin, and they go down hill fast to being a non-functioning gun from there.

 

good luck, GJ

 

^^^^ this! 
About 3 -4 years ago an amigo picked one of these up at Winter Range and drug it back home here . It was just too good a deal for him to pass up as it even came with a box of “ factory” ammo ! Not only was it a clunker, but the DA trigger pull was incredibly heavy. After a fair amount of his insistence I foolishly took up his little pocket pistol project and lightened up the pull to something reasonable, (like under 20 lbs). Of course I then became his side match pistol tester. I was running about the 4th cylinder through it at a reasonable speed when the forcing cone disintegrated and the barrel split forward from the cone about an inch. With all the little jagged pieces of old cheap IJ. metal flying around I ended up looking like someone had taken a hole  punch to my face when it let go! They aren’t worth the work and worry IMO!:blink:

Edited by Captain Clark
Corrected spelling
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 I had a chance to buy one at a reasonable price from a Cowboy shooter and had my money out, it very quickly went back into my pocket when he bragged to me that he had NEVER shot BP in it only smokiless. That is the fastest I've ever put money back in my pocket. I own several nice little pocket pistols, none of which I shoot smokiless in.

kR

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On 12/18/2023 at 3:17 PM, Nickel City Dude said:

The gun you have is an Iver Johnson and they were cheaply made guns around the turn of the last century.  They were not high-quality guns then and age has not improved them.  This gun is for black powder only.  You can tell because the flutes in the cylinder for the stop bolt are longer than the ones for smokeless and the owl is facing forward.  There only real claim to fame is that it was an Iver Johnson that killed President McKinly in Buffalo NY.

 

+1 on this

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The prices of these top breaks have gone up quite a bit in the last two years.  the early models were black powder only, but the later versions were made to shoot smokeless.  IJ turned the Owls Head to signify whether it was meant for black or smokeless..  I shoot smokeless in the 5th versions of these Lemon Squeezers without any issues.  These were never meant to be shot a lot.  They were a carry gun for close self-defense.  

I still have eighteen after having sold twelve, a few are IJ, but not all.  You do have to be aware of whether it is a black powder revolver or smokeless.  One can play it safe and only shoot light black powder loads in any of them.

Edited by Frontier Lone Rider
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6 hours ago, Frontier Lone Rider said:

The prices of these top breaks have gone up quite a bit in the last two years.  the early models were black powder only, but the later versions were made to shoot smokeless.  IJ turned the Owls Head to signify whether it was meant for black or smokeless..  I shoot smokeless in the 5th versions of these Lemon Squeezers without any issues.  These were never meant to be shot a lot.  They were a carry gun for close self-defense.  

I still have eighteen after having sold twelve, a few are IJ, but not all.  You do have to be aware of whether it is a black powder revolver or smokeless.  One can play it safe and only shoot light black powder loads in any of them.

Best to not count 100% on which way owls head is facing as they could have been swapped out. 
my opinion, best to only use bo or  BP subs in these old guns  especially the Iver Johnson’s. 

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2 hours ago, Hoss said:

Best to not count 100% on which way owls head is facing as they could have been swapped out. 
 

That is true.  I have replaced grips myself.  I don't know how many I have seen with missing chips and cracks in the grips.  Many must have used these as hammers as-well-as revolvers.

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15 hours ago, Frontier Lone Rider said:

..  I shoot smokeless in the 5th versions of these Lemon Squeezers without any issues.

I'm confused... Are you referring to the Top Breaks of this discussion or are you referring to S&W Safety Hammerless revolvers?

 

Phantom

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34 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I'm confused... Are you referring to the Top Breaks of this discussion or are you referring to S&W Safety Hammerless revolvers?

 

Phantom

You are correct. A “Lemon Squeezer” is a Smith & Wesson safety hammerless. A much better made gun by a long shot. I read once that the Iver Johnson’s were about $3, the SW were 9-12. And if you’ve handed both, it’s obvious that the SW is easily 3x the gun the Iver Johnson is.  That being said, I still would not shoot smokeless thru them. The pressure spike is to much for the old pistols to handle for long. 
picture a 67 VW bug in the ditch. You put a tow chain on it, ease up the slack, very gently pull it out of ditch. No problem. Same bug, put tow chain on with 20’ of slack. Hit the gas, jerk the bumper off. 

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13 hours ago, Hoss said:

Best to not count 100% on which way owls head is facing as they could have been swapped out. 
my opinion, best to only use bo or  BP subs in these old guns  especially the Iver Johnson’s. 

The other tell tail sign that it is for black powder only is the length of the flute on the cylinder leading up to the bolt lock notch.  The ones for black powder are longer than the ones for smokeless.

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