View Full Version : Need help identifying a mini-revolver

May 30, 2008, 11:57 AM
My friend here at work inherited what appears to be a .22lr revolver from her father and asked if I would help her find some information about it. It doesn't have any real identifying marks except the word "Defender" is engraved on top of the frame above the cylinder. I'll see if I can get some better pictures if that would help but does anyone know anything about it?


Jim Watson
May 30, 2008, 12:24 PM
One of many cheap revolvers of the late 19th century, commonly known as a Suicide Special or Saturday Night Special. It is a cheap copy of a H&R, which says a lot. Caliber is probably .22 Long unless it is actually marked LR. It is not strong enough for any modern ammo; I would not even shoot CB caps in it.

Maybe somebody will come along and recognize the Defender brand name.

May 30, 2008, 02:05 PM
This is a revolver that was made by Iver Johnson from 1875 to 1895 in 22 Short, and, as Jim says, modern ammo should not be fired in it.

May 30, 2008, 08:59 PM
I have a basically the same DEFENDER model that is apparently unfired in .22 short. Don't know if it is safe with modern shorts, have not tried it. When I got it it was sold as an Iver Johnson Ca. 1875, but I cannot date it and that seems early to me. Plating is perfect despite scratches and nicks and no rust or flaking. I think I looked in a Sears catalog reprint from the 1890's and they were selling for like a buck or something in there. Interesting guns but only mildly collectable, mainly in excellent condition. You see alot of cheap nickel off brand revolvers at gunshows sometimes, often flaked and rusty and in that condition I consider them as sinkers. IJ was cheap but not necessarily "junk" I suppose. Well those of us that cant drop 3k on some name brand collectable 19th century revolver will just have to be happy with stuff like this! BTW how do I make my pictures appear on the post versus an attached image link?

May 30, 2008, 09:18 PM
Several weeks ago I saw one of these in at flea market in Anchorage, AK. Seems like they wanted a tad over $200 for their copy.

Dirt cheap lil' five and sixguns in 22, 32 and 38 S&W could be found all over the Ozarks when I was a kid, usually for 15-50 bucks. This was 35 years ago of course. Most of us boys bought them, before we got interested handguns capable of knocking the well-house over. Fresh factory loads could be had anywhere and we shot every one of them with 'modern' loads. Several broke before we got much good out of them but not a one blew up or came unhinged.

Caution is probably the byword when dealing with these old guns, and being older and wise now I wouldn't shoot the center-fires until I was sure they were solid- and only then with cat-sneeze loads. But if you ask me, old rimfire bellyguns like those pictured here are the reason why CB caps exist.