Part Of My Iver Johnson Handgun Collection

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  • Last Post 10 March 2017
David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 06 March 2017

These are a few of my Iver Johnson handgun collection. I have over 75 of them, some just shooters, some one of a kind prototypes, and some rare specimens. I starting collecting them many years ago, mainly because they were inexpensive, also because Bill Goforth who lived in Houston, He is the author of the only real collector's book on them. I meet him before his death and he got me interested. I plan to write a FS article and will feature some of the rarer ones I have. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 07 March 2017

Part 2 and a Iver Johnson fact: Despite rumors of IJs being “cheap and not well made handguns", Col. Charles Askins, Jr. wrote a WWII circa pamphlet for IJ on target shooting after he used one of their handguns, at least once, to win a national target shooting championship. He is featured on the front cover holding one of their Armsworth model 855 revolvers. A similar model 844 is shown in the last photo. 

 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 08 March 2017

Part 3 of 3: Some unusual, scarce, & odd. One salesman sample or factory teaching model is in the white. 




David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

RicinYakima posted this 08 March 2017

David, As a sucker for old target pistols, I have always enjoyed the “lower price echelon” target pistol. I sold all of my .22LR revolvers when I found an H&R 199 that would shoot groups smaller than either of the S&W K-22's. Where I live, IJ pistols sold very well, but were used to death. They still have a lot of respect out here on the Indian Reservations. Ric

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 08 March 2017

Well I have about 4 dozen more, but don't have anymore time to photo them. I have almost every model & variation. Still a few holes, but I get the big auction house catalogs like Rock Island and others. Eventually I will fill the few holes. Right now happy with the one-of-a-kind prototypes and rare models I have. It's fun. I am just so fortunate to have known Bill Goforth before he passed. He was a walking encyclopedia on IJs.

My favorites are the guns made before WWII back to the 1880s. I have many target revolvers I didn't photo, but they are a joy to shot. Say what you want about them, but they were way ahead of their time in the manufacturing methods they used, the safety mechanism on most of their revolvers that were not applied to other maker's gums until the 1970s & 80s, when every major US maker adopted the IJ safety system or a variation of it. Iver Johnson was using a trigger safety almost 100 years before Glock. 

Spend a little time with one and look at the craftsmanship, and you will never call one “cheap” again.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

frnkeore posted this 08 March 2017

Are the brake open revolvers a direct copy of the S&W Mod 1&2? Or is there something unque about their design?

I once had a top strap model, in 38 S&W, with a 3” octagon barrel. The 38 S&W chambers are bored straight threw so, I used 357 Mag cases to give better alignment to the 2 round balls that I used in it, with 3.5 gr Unique behind them.

I had it for a few years. It was a nice compact, small self defence pistol but, I traded it off as part payment on a DW 357 Max.

Frank

 

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 08 March 2017

The IJs were of their own design. O.F. Mossberg worked for IJ before the turn of the century and had a part in some of their designs. While the S&W models were made in the thousands, IJ was making as many as 20,000 a month and produced models into the millions, with very few military contracts. IJ manufacturing process at the time was the envy of all firearms manufacturing in the US, as they were way ahead of the times. The “Safety Automatic Revolvers” as they were called, featured “validium steel", considered to be superior at the time and also went to all coil spring by their 3rd model smokeless revolver. It should be noted that about 2/3 or more of all the top break “Safety Automatic Revolvers", which were made from 1893 thru WWII, and were all smokeless after 1909, were black powder models. This speaks to the strength of those smokeless models that have survived over time and no doubt have been fired many times with smokeless loads.

As for your solid frame .38 S&W, probably a 1900 model, it could have been a copy. IJ was copied by many over the years including Sears & Roebuck, which IJ sued and won! They were the first to do so and one of very few that won their suit. So it may be that yours was a copy, because it is pretty well known that up until the 1970's, when IJ began to decline, their quality control was second to none.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

frnkeore posted this 10 March 2017

David,

Please don't take offence, I'm not putting down IJ and I didn't say anything bad about my solid frame pistol. I don't have it anymore so I can't say what the model is but, it had IJ grips. I thought it was a nice little revolver, my only complaint was the trigger pull, shooting it from the full cock position.

I was asking if the S&W was of the same design, since (to me) they look nearly the same, as far as design goes. I note that the S&W Model 1, came out in 1871, I think.

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 10 March 2017

David,

Please don't take offence, I'm not putting down IJ and I didn't say anything bad about my solid frame pistol. I don't have it anymore so I can't say what the model is but, it had IJ grips. I thought it was a nice little revolver, my only complaint was the trigger pull, shooting it from the full cock position.

I was asking if the S&W was of the same design, since (to me) they look nearly the same, as far as design goes. I note that the S&W Model 1, came out in 1871, I think.

Frnkeore,

No offence taken. Most of the early models did have very heavy trigger pulls. As my first sentence said, the IJs were not copies of S&Ws, but designs of their own. IJ were considered to have improvements over most revolvers of the times because of their innovative safety features. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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