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siver johnson's arms & cycle works revolver

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jecasche, Nov 18, 2010.

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  1. jecasche

    jecasche Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    I have a 5 shot top break revolver. told it was a 38 short, don't know if this is right or not. can't find a serial # on it. where would it be located? Last date on butt of handle says "Aug 25,96 Pats Pending". Just found serial # under left grip. Looks like T55886. Grateful for any info. Also, did they put the caliper of the gun on it anywhere?
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  2. rogertc1

    rogertc1 member

    Apr 3, 2008
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    You have an Iver Johnson Safety Automatic .38 revolver. The “Safety” part of the name refers to the first transfer bar safety used in a revolver to prevent an accidental discharge if the gun was dropped or otherwise suffered a hard blow to the hammer when the chamber under it was loaded. Thus, unlike many other revolvers made at the time it was safe to carry with the cylinder fully loaded. The “Automatic” part of the name met that when the barrel was unlatched and tipped down the cartridges or fired cases in the cylinder would be automatically extracted and ejected.

    Going by the information you provided (the patent dates and serial number with a “T” prefix) I have determined that it was most likely made in 1907. At the time The Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works, located in Fitchburg, MA. was a major player in the pocket revolver business – and out produced both S&W and Colt combined.

    It is chambered to use .38 S&W cartridges (no “short” in the name) but I suggest that you don’t shoot it even though ammunition is available. The company didn’t upgrade the model for use with smokeless powder rounds until 1909. The two versions can be easily identified because the older ones had a flat mainspring, where the newer ones came with a coil spring. In any case your revolver is over 100-years old.
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