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Old January 30, 2014, 01:25 PM   #1
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Iver Johnson top break 32

Today, a young girl comes in, who just got her CC permit, and someone gave her an old Iver Johnson 32 top break to use, and wanted it gone over, cleaned up, and of course, stated that it misfired every now and then. Well, it was really in pretty good shape, compared to some, but the latch was worn, which of course causes the frame to slightly open, and is usually what causes the misfire. She wanted it polished down, left white, etc., too. Now, she was pretty, that I saw, but these things are time consuming revolvers. What would you do, when you realize she didn't have the money?

I pawned it off on my worker, who, once setting eyes on the girl, offered to do it free of charge, on his own time. There's always ways to come out smelling like a rose.
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:40 PM   #2
g.willikers
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Someone didn't think all that much of that pretty young girl, if that's what they gave her to defend her life with.
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:45 PM   #3
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Quote:
Someone didn't think all that much of that pretty young girl, if that's what they gave her to defend her life with.
I thought the same myself, and told her to save her money for something like a Walther PPK, or at least a clone. She said she didn't like the 9mm guns, was the reason, and thought they were a bit too much for her.
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Old January 30, 2014, 02:45 PM   #4
g.willikers
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How much is a good used Ruger .32 sp101 revolver these days?
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Old January 30, 2014, 05:36 PM   #5
Dixie Gunsmithing
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I am also afraid, though I don't know for sure without looking at it, what ammo she actually has. I'm wondering if she might have mixed .32 ACP with rimmed S&W, as she didn't seem to know the difference.

I don't really keep up on the actual trading value on those, or many to be honest, just the long guns I tend to trade on, or mainly Browning & Winchester.

I did explain the .380 to her, saying they would be similar to a .38 short, if comparing them to .22 ammo, which she did know about. I get this every now and then with new gun owners.
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Old January 31, 2014, 12:32 AM   #6
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Many people would consider an IJ to be perfectly OK for self defense, not because they don't value their own or others' lives but because they don't know any better. To them a gun is a gun is a gun (sorry, Gertrude Stein, wherever you are). They assume all guns are equally reliable and equally adequate to the task. Talking to them about revolvers and auto pistols, .38 Special and .380 is like talking to me about herbal cures or the composition of stars.

Hopefully, someone can "connect" with that young lady and educate her in self defense.

Jim
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Old January 31, 2014, 11:37 PM   #7
Clark
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My grandfather carried an Iver Johnson break top in the Alaskan Gold rush.

I started buying them in 1995 at $50 for working, $35 for broken trigger spring.

I bought the Goforth books.

I think if you have a dozen, you could pick out one reliable enough to carry.
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Old February 3, 2014, 11:31 AM   #8
Sea Buck
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Carried a S&W 1st model "Lemon Squeeze " .32 for years in my youth. It was small and handy, fit into my pocket easily, and was totally concealed. It was there when I needed it in a NYC subway many, many, years ago to scare some bad guys away coming back from work at 2AM.The bore gets larger when you are looking at the business end.I still shoot it on occasion.
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Old February 3, 2014, 03:38 PM   #9
Skans
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I wouldn't even know where to find any .32 S&W? I suppose someone makes this stuff, but you'd have to do some research to find any. I'd bet she tries to shoot .32 acp in it.

These old iver johnsons are only good for collecting; strip all of the finish off of one and it's only good for parts - about a $50 gun at best.

Personally, I'd refuse to work on one or let anyone I'm affiliated with work on one, unless its for someone who knows exactly what they have. I happen to have 2 IJ .32's and everything but the frame of an IJ .38S&W - IMHO, they were the Lorcins of their day.

Last edited by Skans; February 3, 2014 at 04:12 PM.
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Old February 3, 2014, 04:21 PM   #10
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Gun shows will have them. Look at the antique ammo dealers. The last boxes I bought were from the 1950's. I do have a box that was my G. Grandfathers, dated in pencil 1910. Waxed bullets, and looks like copper cases. Kind of neat, they are in my collection.
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Old February 3, 2014, 05:07 PM   #11
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Actually, Iver Johnson revolvers were of good quality, well made and as reliable as others in their day, and much better made than Lorcins. The later ones, made with all wire springs, are very reliable, although the cartridges they were made for do leave something to be desired, especially the .32 S&W.

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Old February 3, 2014, 05:38 PM   #12
Clark
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To make 32 S&W, I trim 32 S&W Long brass.
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Old February 4, 2014, 12:44 AM   #13
Dixie Gunsmithing
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I took a look inside this pistol after Jack tore it down, and sure enough, it was all coil spring, with the wire spring for the trigger, thus a later model. I still ended up tightening it up, even though I said I wouldn't. I can never seem to keep my hands off a broken gun when I see it. Anyhow, he got it finished, and the revolver looked pretty good all polished bright with clearcoat.

Lets not forget, this design was what brought us all the hammer safety that is now used in about all revolvers today.
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Old February 4, 2014, 09:21 AM   #14
Skans
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Quote:
Actually, Iver Johnson revolvers were of good quality, well made and as reliable as others in their day, and much better made than Lorcins.
The latch that closed the barrel/cylinder to the frame was an inherently weak design; also the barrel is very thin. You can see this on my old Iver Johnson/US Revolver Corp .32's.

Ok, maybe better than a Lorcin .380 (I have one of those too, which actually works - just keep plenty of extra extractors on hand) The Iver Johnson .38S&W seems to be a bit more robust. To be fair, the ones I have came in a and old box lot of guns that my mom bought with something else - she didn't want them so she gave them to me. Over the years, I have purchased some parts with the idea of actually getting them working again. The biggest problems are the latch and the bore which is pitted, but looks shootable. I'd really like to get the .38 working - I have all of the parts, but need a stripped frame.

Last edited by Skans; February 4, 2014 at 09:33 AM.
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Old February 4, 2014, 10:26 AM   #15
Clark
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Quote:
Skans

Actually, Iver Johnson revolvers were of good quality, well made and as reliable as others in their day, and much better made than Lorcins.
The latch that closed the barrel/cylinder to the frame was an inherently weak design;
That small pin in the latch passes through a link of sheet metal. The hole in the sheet metal stretches into an oblong shape with one hot round.

I told my brother that he could shoot 32acp factory ammo in a 32s&w, it would drip right in. He fired one shot and the latch was loose. Now he is mad at me.
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