Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Welcome to the Leverguns.Com Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here ... politely.

Moderators: AmBraCol, Hobie

Forum rules
Welcome to the Leverguns.Com General Discussions Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here other than politics... politely.

Please post political post in the new Politics forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

I picked up a really nice 38 break top Iver Johnson owl head .
Trying to figure out model and if it's blackpowder only.
It may be unfired as bore and cylinder show no signs of being fired.
Charcoal blue is flaking and corrosion from being stored on holster maybe .it's like new.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Ysabel Kid
Moderator
Posts: 27835
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:10 pm
Location: South Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Hi Pat. You have an interesting one there. According to “Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works Firearms 1871-1993” by W.E. Goforth, the barrel markings would indicate it was made between 1899 – 1911. Having a serial number without a letter prefix indicates it was made between 1894-1896. And the patent date and script on the butt indicates it was made between 1905 – 1906. It was not unusual to have different markings on an original gun, as Iver Johnson used up parts. Later in the book though, it indicates that a .38 top-break “Safety Automatic” with a hammer but no letter prefix is a 1st Model only made in 1894 and 1895. Given that, it is a blackpowder rated firearm only. If the bore is pristine, I agree with you that it probably wasn’t fired.
Image
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Interesting, it appears untouched . Tight and smooth like a new gun. Couple scab areas on barrel I need to work on.
But finish is brilliant just flaked.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

It definatly appears to be a transitional model , based on what I've read it is indeed black powder only. Need to pull grips see if it has flat mainspring . The direction the Owl is facing is of the black piwder era guns.

I have a box of smokeless I can pull bullets and dump powder replace it with black powder . Need to research best load for these. Not sure if people are using cream of wheat filler and light charge 🤔
Bill in Oregon
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 8922
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:05 am
Location: Sweetwater, TX

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Bill in Oregon »

What a lovely find. Well done, Pat! The first centerfire revolver I ever shot was an Iver Johnson breaktop in .38 S&W owned by our scoutmaster. Fascinated, I was. :lol:
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Thanks, I'm pretty tickled specially since it was $145
Mark in MO
Levergunner
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2022 10:51 am
Location: MO

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Mark in MO »

Nice, especially for the price. My dad has a similar looking one only hammerless. As near as we can determine it seems to be a Model 2, Second Model, first variation and manufactured in or around 1896. It is a blackpowder model with a safety lever in the trigger, like a Glock.
As a young man I shot it some and we reloaded a bit for it at the time. If I recall correctly we used light loads of Unique with a home cast 150 grain SWC bullet unsized. It hasn't been fired in over 40+ years but if I were to do so I'd probably work up a BP load for it.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

There is a lot of conflicting info online. I'm thinking this one is 2nd model right before smokeless rating. I'll pull grips tomorrow see.
User avatar
AJMD429
Posting leader...
Posts: 32031
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:03 am
Location: Hoosierland
Contact:

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by AJMD429 »

.
I wish they made something like that currently.
Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
"first do no harm" - gun control LAWS lead to far more deaths than 'easy access' ever could.


Want REAL change? . . . . . "Boortz/Nugent in 2012 . . . ! "
User avatar
Ray
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2829
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:45 am

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Ray »

AJMD429 wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:55 pm .
I wish they made something like that currently.
I concur & likewise a 5-shot .32 single-action. N.A.A. former president/ceo sandy chisolm promised a mini-.32 for four and a half years only to lament that it couldn't be done. All the time people were posting photographic examples of period revolvers and the pietta remington with the howell .32 s & w cylinder.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EfwSKV3Uu ... tldA%3D%3D

Fast forward to minute 7 for auxiliary cylinder.....
m.A.g.a. !
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Definatly a 2nd model and black powder rated.It has Q code under grips .Interestingly the trigger guard is one digit off.All other numbers match grip. Mistake I guess as you can tell it is original untouched . It does look like it went in and out of a holster and possible stored in one. Since some corrosion on barrel .

Cleaned up pretty decent ,it feels tight and smooth like a new gun. The funny part is just like some of those old Colts tge chamber is tighter than bore ..375 bore and .365 chamber mouths.

You know what that means wouldn't be accurate I doubt.
I'll still load some blackbpowder watch fire and smoke.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Grizz
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 11842
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:15 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Grizz »

could use a wheel cylinder hone to make your bullet thumb thru the chamber and let it group.

that's a great looking gun, a great find, hope it shoots to POI
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

I'll be lucky to see those fine sights ,man they are tiny.
I'll get small hole gage and get exact measurement and slug bore to see.I just did a quick check with dial calipers.
User avatar
Ysabel Kid
Moderator
Posts: 27835
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:10 pm
Location: South Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Pat C wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:37 am I'll be lucky to see those fine sights ,man they are tiny.
I'll get small hole gage and get exact measurement and slug bore to see.I just did a quick check with dial calipers.
I think you hit the nail on the head. The bore and chambers could have perfect measurements, and it wouldn't matter to my eyes with those itty bitty sights! This had to be a point and shoot contact distance weapons! :shock:
Image
Bob Hatfield
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:49 am
Location: Daniels, WV

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Bob Hatfield »

Your second model is about the best one I've seen inside.

The third model is the ideal shooter. It will have cylinder locking notches like a Smith & Wesson. It was proofed for smokeless. Plus, the owl head will be oriented in a different direction than the 1st and second models.


Bob
400px-Iver_Johnson_3rd_Model_Safety_Automatic_Hammerless.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

I'll probably load up some black powder rounds for mine soon. See what it will do.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Bob Hatfield wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2024 5:05 pm Your second model is about the best one I've seen inside.

The third model is the ideal shooter. It will have cylinder locking notches like a Smith & Wesson. It was proofed for smokeless. Plus, the owl head will be oriented in a different direction than the 1st and second models.


Bob
400px-Iver_Johnson_3rd_Model_Safety_Automatic_Hammerless.jpg
No evidence it was ever fired .The outside edges of muzzle had some corrosion and couple scabs on barrel sides probably from being stored in a leather holster.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Pulled bullets and loaded 5 test rounds , filled case with Pyrodex RS to within 3/16 .Just enough for light compression.
Had to make a crimp tool as I don't reload. Bored hole in R6 cable crimper. To .380 with .375 at edge. Worked perfect.

Eyeballed the loads but as you see shot excellent 15 yards holding camera in one hand and revolver in other trying to see those eagle eye sights with readers on.One round just off target above.

Man fire and smoke ,brings back memories of a time gone by.

Oh and I answered my earlier question .Black powder cartridge does not leave fire rings around chambers. No trace of shooting it when cleaned.

I coated bullets with TC wonder lube .Lord have mercy that single action trigger .I started pulling at 9:00 it finally broke at 9:30 😃
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

That was six o'clock hold at 15 ,shoots really high to sights.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

All rounds went through wood target backing and hit 1" thick rubber con Conveyor backing. I found one lying below. I'll look for others later.
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Found four slugs
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Ysabel Kid
Moderator
Posts: 27835
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:10 pm
Location: South Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Very cool! Thanks for the range report! :D
Image
User avatar
Pat C
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: Anybody know Iver Johnson owl head 38's

Post by Pat C »

Some of the old Iver Johnson adds
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Post Reply