Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Top Break Revolvers and Suicide Specials: Many were poorly made all were basic, inexpensive, simple guns which sold at modest prices . “Suicide Specials" were the "Saturday Night Specials” of their day and age. Beginning in the late 19th century, a huge number of these were sold through various retail outlets. Examples are Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson, and (H & R Firearms)

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Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby adam01364 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:57 am

An Iver Johnson top break has been languishing in the display case of an LGS for quite a while. They had it priced at $50 and tagged as a parts gun; you could see that someone had tried to "repair" it and had obviously been stymied by the trigger mechanism when they tried to re-assemble it because it was partially hanging out from the frame. The gun was filthy and the finish was completely gone. Anyway, I decided to play "let's make a deal" and picked it up for $30.

I spent last night disassembling and cleaning it up. It's missing a couple of parts, but I was able to put it back together enough to verify it works. The ejector doesn't fall back down when it's fully open and the trigger doesn't reset, but now it dry fires and the cylinder advances and despite its condition it actually appears to timed properly. :shock: (I will be searching for parts and will list what I need in the Wanted section later on.)

After reassembly I did a little research, and what I have is an Iver Johnson Safety Automatic 2nd model. Funny name; it doesn't have a manual safety, and it certainly isn't an automatic, it's a wheel gun. What it does have is the famous "hammer the hammer" internal transfer bar safety - a bar that sits in between the hammer and the rear of a chambered cartridge. This bar moves out of the way only when the trigger is pulled all the way back, and the "safety" is that the design prevents the gun from discharging if it's dropped. This was a revolutionary design for the time, up until that point if one carried a revolver with a hammer down on a loaded cylinder, you risked an AD if you dropped the gun or banged into something.

The one I picked up is chambered in .32 S&W (aka .32 S&W short). It's a cool gun and a neat piece of firearm history. :)

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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby Admin » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:57 am

It certainly isn't an automatic

The term is slang for automatic spent shell ejection.
Unlike a Colt single action. The spent shells are ejected automatically as the barrel is tilted downward.
Cool gun.
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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby Kiln » Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:13 pm

Admin wrote:
It certainly isn't an automatic

The term is slang for automatic spent shell ejection.
Unlike a Colt single action. The spent shells are ejected automatically as the barrel is tilted downward.
Cool gun.
Mr SNS

If you're lucky. The action is pretty weak and the ejection feature doesn't work on many of them now days.
Firearm addict and proud Saturday Night Specialist.
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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby adam01364 » Sun Apr 19, 2015 5:34 pm

Yeah, the ejector on this one rises as it should, but it doesn't snap back down when in the full-open position.
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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby jeffchance » Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:17 pm

Had one like that in the shop last year. The trigger assembly is not much fun to try to get all the pins and holes to line up. I was able to get the parts I needed from Numrich. Congrats on the new addition.
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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby adam01364 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:21 am

You're right, assembling the trigger, getting all the pins aligned and slipping it all together is a real pain in the butt. I think that's why the gun was in the shape it was when I picked it up- the smith at the LGS is not very handy -or patient- with topbreaks. The first revolver I ever attempted to fix was the trigger on a Henry Kolb Baby Hammerless. I got it the job done, but to say it was extremely frustrating would be an understatement. After that experience, everything else seems easy. But in hindsight, it was great "schooling". :lol:
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Re: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic

Postby Admin » Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:18 pm

Kiln wrote:
Admin wrote:
It certainly isn't an automatic

The term is slang for automatic spent shell ejection.
Unlike a Colt single action. The spent shells are ejected automatically as the barrel is tilted downward.
Cool gun.
Mr SNS

If you're lucky. The action is pretty weak and the ejection feature doesn't work on many of them now days.

You have to remember most are going on 100 plus years of misuse and abuse.
Mr SNS
If they don't trust us with guns, how can we trust them with the government?

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen". Samuel Adams,
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