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Picked up an Iver Johnson

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by Veedubklown, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. Picked up an Iver Johnson .32 Smith & Wesson top-break 5 shot revolver fFor the kicks of it. I wanted a project I could restore, something that would be really neat. I've always loved top-break revolvers, reminds me of the cap guns I had as a kid.

    A guy I work with found this pistol in a patch of dirt out mine hunting one day, about 15 years ago. He says he kicked it in the dirt and saw the front sight. Then dug it out. I bought it from him for $40.


    The cylinder is a bit pitted, but for the most part the pistol is in sound shape. From what I can tell, it's a late (3rd) model made after 1911. It's missing some parts, that have rotted away completely. The entire gun was covered in a thick layer of rust. Here is the barrel assembly after some time with CLR.


    Need to polish up the old metal and re-blue it, and it'll be ready for parts and assembly. Think I'll make new grips for it.

    *edit to add*

    This has come a very time-intensive project, as they all do, lol. The pitting in the steel is very severe, especially in some places like the inside of the trigger guard, sides of the frame, trigger, and a side of the barrel. This has become a huge metal-working effort to remove all the pitting while still maintaining the strength of the pistol. Lots of dremel, sand, and buff. I'm going to follow the build of this pistol in this thread, rather than start a new one.

    Processes of restoration;

    • remove rust (done)
    • remove pitting (done)
    • re-blue
    • restore internals to working order
    • Test fire
    • adjust sights
    • grips
    I've fell in love with an option that was available for a few years (1906-1908), the Bourne Knuckleduster grip.

    I'm still working on seeing if it's legal, if so though, I think I can fab something up like that.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  2. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    Congrats! :cool:

    Good luck with the project.

  3. Ya know bac, just seeing you in here is a compliment to me :supergrin:


    Here it is with the frame polished and blued, I have the trigger group ready to be polished, but I'm taking a moment to figure out the components I'm missing. I can already tell I'm missing;

    • trigger return spring
    • cylinder lifter
    • safety transfer bar

    I assume those components have just rotted away, aside from the grips it doesn't look like this was ever disassembled. I'm trying to find a clear picture of the internal workings of a late model hammerless .32, because the hammered trigger groups were different, and alot was different on the .38s. I've found a book by Bill Goforth, but it's about $30 that I'm waiting til I have to, to spend. Also found an e-book that I picked up for $8 that showed alot about the 3rd model hammered, and the early hammerless. Almost completely avoids the 3rd model hammerless though. So far, however, it's goin good.

    The lockup is tight, the barrel is a little pitted, the cylinder looks in great shape and so the forcing cones. I think it'll shoot pretty well.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  4. r3dot


    Sep 6, 2007
    Izzerwat TX
  5. HandyMan Hugh

    HandyMan Hugh NRA Life Member

    May 17, 2002
    Hallstead, PA
    Where will you get parts for that piece?
  6. Folsom_Prison

    Folsom_Prison Brew Crew

    May 2, 2010
  7. I was hoping to try Bob's Gun Parts, they have some of the stuff I need, looks like a few of the springs. The rest, I'm just likely going to whip out the dremel and some steel and get things to work. All the firing components look alright, so I'm okay with making internals. I am however, having trouble finding a good picture of a late model hammerless, to figure out exactly what the parts I am missing look like.
  8. HotRoderX

    HotRoderX Gen4 BETATester

    Jan 15, 2011
    Man that gun don't look bad at all. Its cleaned up nicely. I really hope you keep us updated I am curious to see how this build goes for ya and to see the final product.
  9. GAFinch


    Feb 23, 2009
    Cool project. Have you looked at Numrich for parts also?
  10. Numrich has limited parts available for the new model hammerless safety. They're out of the few parts in their inventory that I could actually use, but I check back there often to see if parts are updated. I ordered Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works Firearms 1871-1993 last night, when that gets in I'm hoping it will have exploded parts diagrams for the new model hammerless. Then I can start making phone calls, once I know exactly what I'm looking for.
  11. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001
    I am thinking that the Bourne Knuckleduster grip would be a great option for a three inch barrel J-frame S&W revolver today.
  12. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I have one like that in the family, belongs to my Uncle in Alameda. He found it in a parking lot, figgered it was used to knock off a hot dog stand or something.
  13. Think he'd let you borrow it for educational purposes?:supergrin: PM me if you want detailed dissasembly tips and feel like taking some pictures, if it is indeed a late model hammerless in .32 like mine. I'm having difficulty getting clear pictures of the parts I'm missing to make this pistol work =( I could probably make working replicas of parts from pictures.

    Totally. I'm looking at fabbing something up for this IJ, but if it works out well, I may consider making another for my Taurus .38 snubby.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  14. Black Train

    Black Train

    Apr 3, 2011
    My best response to picking up an Iver Johnson would be to put it down. I owned one years ago and it would not hit the side of a barn. Even if you were inside with the doors closed.

    Good luck.
  15. I'm still hoping the GT braintrust comes with some solutions to my delimma of a missing operation diagram =D

    I bought the book by W. Goforth, but haven't had luck finding the particular diagram I need.
  16. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I've got an Iver Johnson myself. ;)



    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  17. I really dig the new owl head logo they made. Don't happen to have a late model hammerless to put on that signature carpet though, do ya?
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  18. Just to keep people updated :supergrin:


    I got the barrel cleaned up, polished, and blued. The ejector mechanism is all cleaned up and working, just need to clean up the cylinder and all the metal work will be done.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  19. Rutha73


    Sep 8, 2008
    Mesa, AZ