Part Of My Iver Johnson Handgun Collection

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  • Last Post 14 May 2018
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. .

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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

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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. .

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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

 

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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. .

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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.

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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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pathology101 posted this 09 May 2018

Those old revolvers look very nice. I bet they would be fun to shoot, are they still able to be shot? I am being sincer.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 09 May 2018

Sure they are. Some are black powder cartridge guns, but most are smokeless. Pocket revolvers "Automatics" as they were called, are smokeless beginning with the 3rd models. IJ made guns until 1993, however their heyday was before the 1970s.  

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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pathology101 posted this 13 May 2018

Thanks for the resdpose. I am new to cast bullets shooting and handguns. I am hooked I bought a gp100  6in 0.357. Have not use nothing but handloaded  cast bullets in it since  I have owned it. Never shot a factory round. They wouldn't be no fun.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 13 May 2018

Thanks for the resdpose. I am new to cast bullets shooting and handguns. I am hooked I bought a gp100  6in 0.357. Have not use nothing but handloaded  cast bullets in it since  I have owned it. Never shot a factory round. They wouldn't be no fun.

Just keep in mind to use only the lightest of loads in these old guns. They can be very fun to shot if you show them respect. 

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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erj145 posted this 13 May 2018

David,

Reading through your posts on IJ revolvers brought back some pleasant and a few unpleasant memories of two summers in the late 60's working at the IJ plant during summer break from college. The work was hot, sweaty, and dirty. One of my co-workers was a young woman also on summer break who frequently starred in my fantasies at the workplace. Took my mind off the otherwise unpleasant ambience of the plant.

The piecework rate was nearly impossible to attain. When you got too close to beating the rate, management just raised the quota. As a consequence, one week my fellow workers conspired to avenge the system by taking our time and slowing down the various machine operations and instead produced the best quality handguns that plant hadn't seen for years. It must have confused management and the customers alike at least for a short while. Piecework is the mortal enemy of quality!

Another pleasant diversion was side visits to the tool room where examples of IJ quality from the past was stored in an almost museum setting. They certainly knew how to produce quality then. I heard that many of those firearms were stolen a few years later

Another pleasant memory for me was the opportunity to do "government work" on my personal firearms. A side benefit in lieu of  pay.

 

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 14 May 2018

Wow, would I have loved to have worked beside you (no fantasy inferred) during that time. I too had a dirty, hot and nasty summer job over several summers. My father having worked for Goodyear Chemical Plant for 43 years, gave me the opportunity to work there during the summer breaks as a child of a employee. The money was very good $17+ an hour during the 70s, but the work was back breaking. Tossing 70 lb. bales of hot rubber as they came off the production line, into a shipping container. It seemed they came at about every 10 seconds. Also shoveling out oil mixed with rubber from inside the pits below some of the machinery, it was literally over 120 degrees inside them.

Everyday I would come home hot, tired and ready for a shower & bed. No time for play. My father always said this was my "college prep", adding that after doing this kind of work college would seem very appealing.  

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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RicinYakima posted this 14 May 2018

David,

My Dad worked for Aeronca, the airplane marker. So for two years I got to "debur" "T" pieces that went into the Boeing 747 wings, by hand. They would bring a 3X3X3 cube of 10,000 pieces. When I was done scraping every edge, they would bring another. I would take me about 3 days to do each bin. Not hard but BORING! Pay was minimum wage, $.95/ hour in 1964.

Is it any wonder that I volunteered for helicopter flight school and Viet Nam after that?

Ric

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 14 May 2018

Ric,

,95 an hour in 1964 and $17+ an hour in 75-77. What a difference. Does this mean I worked harder than you or was I just lucky? 

David

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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John Alexander posted this 14 May 2018

It probably means that you worked at a union job.  I went from $0.55/hour, and no benefits, in a sweatshop bakery in 1950 with the same 120 degree temperatures you enjoyed.  When the slicing and wrapping machine broke down the owner made us clock out while the machine was down which happened often and sometimes took as couple of hours to fix-- helped the bottom line he said.   Two years later I made  $2.05/ hr.+ bonuses and some civilized benefits in a union shop aluminum factory.  This allowed me to pay my way through college. This simply can't be done now.  I didn't whine about union dues.

With unions now mostly crushed we again have a lot of people trying to live on minimum wage or a bit more.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 14 May 2018

While $.95 an hour wasn't much (there was a "yellow dog" i.e. company run union) between those two summers and farm work before and after school, I was able to pay for 12 months of university. By 1967 I was out of money, but got a construction job at $2.55 an hour. On that I could work six months and go to school six months. Except that one of my high school friends mother was on the county draft board. I was on the list to report Jan 4th, but enlisted on the 2nd.

I've belonged to five different unions in my life and never regretted having to pay dues either, John.

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bushranch posted this 14 May 2018

1963 - First work off the ranch was loading and stacking hay bales for our neighbor . Pay was $5.00 per long day. Good deal as I did the same thing at home for my Dad without the $5.00 . About then tractor HP had been ramped up from about 35 to 60 HP . Made the bales come out a lot quicker. Big deal was to get on the drilling rigs and by 65 I got my turn. Was about $1.85 a hour , no unions involved. If you came back to work after a weekend you usually got a promotion as crew just vanished. Tool push could make work by giving you a bucket of gas and a rag to wash the rig with . Same guy would put a few hours of OT on your sheet if you gave him half the cash on payday . Not sure how that worked?? Winter - 40 and working the Board or doing a cable changes , class room looked nice enough to lure me that direction . 

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