Picked up an Iver Johnson [Archive] - Glock Talk


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04-06-2011, 01:33
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)
restore internals to working order
Test fire
adjust sights

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.

04-06-2011, 03:45
Congrats! :cool:

Good luck with the project.

04-10-2011, 18:21
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.

04-10-2011, 18:34
subscribed :)

HandyMan Hugh
04-10-2011, 20:46
Where will you get parts for that piece?

04-10-2011, 20:52

04-10-2011, 22:17
Where will you get parts for that piece?

I was hoping to try Bob's Gun Parts (http://www.gun-parts.com/iverjohnson/), 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.

04-10-2011, 22:30
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.

04-11-2011, 08:19
Cool project. Have you looked at Numrich for parts also?

04-11-2011, 08:31
Cool project. Have you looked at Numrich for parts also?

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 (http://www.amazon.com/Johnsons-Cycle-Works-Firearms-1871-1993/dp/0978708601/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301884932&sr=8-2) 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.

04-11-2011, 10:19
I am thinking that the Bourne Knuckleduster grip would be a great option for a three inch barrel J-frame S&W revolver today.

04-11-2011, 16:35
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.

04-12-2011, 12:56
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.

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.

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

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.

Black Train
04-14-2011, 20:09
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.

american lockpicker
04-14-2011, 20:16
Interesting thread. :)

04-24-2011, 02:25
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.

04-24-2011, 05:05
I've got an Iver Johnson myself. ;)




04-25-2011, 14:55
I've got an Iver Johnson myself. ;)

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?

04-26-2011, 01:46
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.

06-11-2011, 10:55
Have you tried these people yet? I was referred to them for hard to find parts. http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/Products.aspx?catid=3868

06-11-2011, 19:15
I've got a buddy with a 3rd model safety hammered, and it's internals, especially the trigger group, are substantially different. Unfortunately, that's where the majority of my missing pieces are. I have that diagram already, in a book I bought about Iver Johnsons. I think the only way I'm going to find the info I need is to find someone with a 3rd model hammerless, and have them disassemble it.

06-12-2011, 11:17
That's a cool little pistol you got there. Good luck on the rebuild.

06-12-2011, 11:20
Already looking great!!... Nice find man!!

06-12-2011, 14:09
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?

Sorry, the Eagle is my only IJ.

03-07-2012, 20:20
Wish I could find someone in the GT braintrust with an Iver Johnson 3rd model hammerless 32 S&W :whistling:

12-11-2012, 15:56
Congrats. what did you use to strip the finish off.Have a safe night.

12-11-2012, 16:04
Old thread, but I have the 'hammered' one.


12-11-2012, 17:17
I don't mind the update to my old thread, appreciate it in fact! A buddy of mine has a a hammered model, and their internals are QUITE different. Nothing interchanges between the 2, between the upper frame, and the grip panels.

The huge difference, being that the hammered model needs the capability to fire single action, and so there's a bit more complications internally. I've gone through the internal parts catalogs in the book by William Goforth, and compared some of my internals with the trigger, trigger guard, sear and safety bar to his. Quite different. I think the hammerless even has more parts, but without a complete working example, I'm not sure. Goforth's book wasn't real descriptive when you get to the 3rd model hammerless. For some reason, it's mostly glossed over.

Cool little lemon-squeezer though, I dig the cylinder in the white. I wouldn't leave it like that, but it does look neat.

12-12-2012, 04:45
I was looking to restore a Iver Johnson that my girlfriend's aunt inherited from her mother. I found a couple websites with good exploded parts diagrams with corresponding parts lists, I'll see if I can dig those up for you. I also found that the best source for the parts seems to be Ebay. You'll pay more for a collection of parts than the gun costs, but it's the only place they seem to pop up.

12-12-2012, 09:17
If you do decide to undergo a restoration, take care to know what you have. Not all of these were rated for smokeless powder, only the 3rd model (Something like 1909-on). Most are 1st/2nd/US revolver models, which are only rated for black powder. The metallurgy and construction are much different, from what I understand.

I jumped into this gun with a basic knowledge of gunsmithing, and have learned ALOT. It's not even close to finished. I've learned that restoring something so old, in the state that it's in, and in the condition that these were used and abused (it's a cheap gun, after all), this is an old man's hobby. Finding parts for this thing takes constant hours of scouring the internet forums, auctions, and gun shows, just to find those silly parts I'm missing. Now that this thread is seeing a little action again, I'll have to dig out my book again.

I paid $40 for it, and bought a complete upper frame, cylinder, and some of the internals, for like $35, that were in perfect condition. Most of the internals I'm missing, are the link between the trigger, and hammer. I don't have a trigger reset spring, safety bar, or cylinder paw. I think the hardest part of restoring this gun, besides finding/making parts, is going to be fitting the cylinder paw to the cylinder, so that it clocks correctly. I'm still a long way off from that, though.

I've gotten it to the point that if I hold the pistol upright, so the sear lays against the hammer, I can work the hammer. However, without the cylinder paw or safety bar, the cylinder doesn't rotate, and the firing pin doesn't actuate.

12-12-2012, 14:04
I see why sideplates were so nice.:supergrin: