Can someone identify this 1917 revolver?


December 1, 2009, 07:44 PM
AS far as i can tell it is a .32 Caliber 5-shot revolver. It has the words "Secret Service Special" engraved in the side, and on the safety it has the words
"Pat. May 1917" engraved into it. I can't find any information on it anywhere and i found it in my late Great Grandfather's house, and my great-grandmother
didn't know much about it. It looks like the frame-mounted manual-safety has been repaired on one side. I think the logo on the side of the handle is a Smith & Wesson but i'm not
entirely sure.

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winchester '97
December 1, 2009, 08:06 PM
Might be an Iver Johnson or Hopkins and Allen copy, i have seen these before and unfortunately the secret service markings are just the model name if i recall correctly.

December 1, 2009, 08:37 PM
is there a website that i can go to to find information about it?

December 1, 2009, 08:56 PM
Here is my hopkins and allen for comparison

December 1, 2009, 08:57 PM
That is pretty close...

December 1, 2009, 09:04 PM
very close but I am guessing the gun in question is an Iver. I believe H&A went under in 1917, so I would not expect a patent date that close to termination. Maybe, I dunno.

December 1, 2009, 09:05 PM
it has this logo on the handle...

December 1, 2009, 09:12 PM
These revolvers were made for a company called "Howard Arms" by Iver Johnson, but Iver Johnson also sold some of them under their own name; your revolver has had its original grips replaced by a pair off of a Smith & Wesson revolver, as the originals would have had an "SSS" monogram. The odd bar on the right side of the frame should be a manual safety (odd for a revolver), but I doubt I'd want to fire this revolver or trust the safety in any event.

Ron James
December 1, 2009, 09:43 PM
According to Bill Goforth at least 4 companies made Secret Service revolvers, yours does look like a Iver Johnson. Mr. Goforth posts on at least 3 ( maybe 4 ) sites, His own, Iver Johnson Collectors Site, Numrich Gun Parts forum ( no picture feature ) and The Firearms Forum. He is the Iver Johnson expert, He may even be able to tell you the name of the man who made it ( just kidding).

December 1, 2009, 09:44 PM
how can i contact this Bill Goforth?

December 2, 2009, 11:11 AM
Google the forums in Post #9 and search for Goforth.

December 2, 2009, 11:18 AM
any stamps on the barrel rib????

Jim K
December 2, 2009, 12:47 PM
The original grips have three "S"s that look a bit like the S&W trademark, but they are not. I agree that that gun was made by IJ, but it is not quite identical to those shown Goforth's book. It is not an H&A, which has a different cylinder lockup. He says the Secret Service Special name was used by Fred Biffar Co., of Chicago, and that the sliding safety, which prevented the hammer from being cocked, was patented by one Porspero Donadio, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Secret Service Special revolvers were also made by Meriden Arms Co., Hopkins and Allen, Harrington & Richardson, and in Spain by an unknown Spanish maker.

One thing is sure; Smith & Wesson had nothing to do with it. Neither did the Secret Service.

Value would be around $200 if in perfect condition. Average value is around $75 if functional. As to repairs, there are no parts available and few gunsmiths will even touch that type of revolver; work on them is frustrating and time consuming and would cost far more than the gun is worth.


December 2, 2009, 07:22 PM
Its a Harrington & Richardson. I have one. Worth about $50.

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