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My step daughter found this among her father's possessions after he passed earlier this year. Does anybody know what this is? I understand it needs repair but would want some idea if it has enough value to be worth it. She is bringing it to me for storage later this week as she is unable to store it in her home. It is believed to have been made around 1900.

1664204826421.png
 
The owl logo gives it away as an Iver. They made a gazillion of those little revolvers in .22LR, .32 S&W, .38 S&W, and other cartridges.

In terms of worth repairing; if there is sentimental value, certainly. Monetary value, unlikely, but I suppose it depends on what is wrong. They are neat old guns though. :)
 
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An older gentleman I knew years ago, gave me a box of those "Saturday Night Specials"
His father was a sheriff in Eastern Oregon and had taken them off of drunks and low life's he had arrested.
There was a one exactly like the one shown. I wouldn't shoot any of them, as they had serious timing issues and other defects.
 
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saturday night special. these cheap revolvers hold the cylinder between the hand and the bolt for firing. there is a reason this type is no longer made. curio and relic value only.
 
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The owl logo gives it away as an Iver. They made a gazillion of those little revolvers in .22LR, .32 S&W, .38 S&W, and other cartridges.

In terms of worth repairing; if there is sentimental value, certainly. Monetary value, unlikely, but I suppose it depends on what is wrong. They are neat old guns though. :)
There is sentimental value, so I will likely have an assessment done for repair.
 
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I have a couple of Iver Johnsons and what I noticed in all of them is the cylinder lockup is very loose. The cylinder can rotate slightly left or right out of alignment with the barrel. This much movement is sure to shave bullets fired as a best case. Not too hard to imagine the worst case.

Proceed with caution
 
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My step daughter found this among her father's possessions after he passed earlier this year. Does anybody know what this is? I understand it needs repair but would want some idea if it has enough value to be worth it. She is bringing it to me for storage later this week as she is unable to store it in her home. It is believed to have been made around 1900.

View attachment 1282562
Looks like it's been correctly identified. Old top break revolvers aren't rare enough to interest a serious collector. Any repairs beyond light cleaning would reduce it's value. It's too fragile to be safely used as a shooter. Keep it as a family heirloom.
 
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I do not believe for a minute it's an Ivers Johnson. I believe it is Most Definitely a Harrington & Richards Arms Co. black powder charged .38 Hammerless. I have the Hammered version they're almost identical. Oct. 4 1887 to April 7 1896.

Mine looks like hell but it's perfectly safe to shoot original low power rounds, max speed is about like a daily red rider bb gun LOL about 550-650 fps. The hard part is finding ammo. They are super fun pieces.

IMG_5110.jpg IMG_5111.jpg harrington.JPG image_123927839.JPG
 
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It is Extremely uncanny how Identical these pistols are! The grips seem interchangeable between the Ivers Owl and the H&R Target paper with slug holes.

Show us more pictures of yours regardless of H&R or Ivers pretty please. Here is a later model H^R .38 break top

H&R top.jpg
 
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I do not believe for a minute it's an Ivers Johnson. I believe it is Most Definitely a Harrington & Richards Arms Co. black powder charged .38 Hammerless. I have the Hammered version they're almost identical. Oct. 4 1887 to April 7 1896.

View attachment 1283541
They do look a lot alike---but the OP's gun has 2 pins and a screw in the frame, and
your H&R has 3 pins and a screw. OP's gun is a Iver Johnson.
 
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I seem to have accumulated several of these little revolvers over the years, mostly Ivers and H&Rs, in .32 and .38 S&W.

I'm a sucker for a cheap old gun to tinker with. They made millions of them back in the late 19th and early 20th century. I remember seeing scans of some ads from that period, and as I recall most sold new for just a few dollars, adjusted for inflation probably well under $100. Most often they had cheap nickel plating, that's nearly always peeling now.

I've shot mine all at least once. They're fun to try out a time or two, but beyond that they're just wall hangers and conversation pieces. Cheaply made, poorly timed, inaccurate- I don't think they were ever made to shoot more than a few rounds occasionally, certainly not high volume like we do today.

The earlier ones had iron frames and parts for black powder ammunition. After the advent and transition to smokeless powder sometime around the turn of the century, they started using better steel and redesigning their guns for smokeless powder. There's all kind of info online about all these variations. I've seen a lot of these little guns that are just flat worn out, and it probably didn't take much to wear one out. I'm sure many of the earlier black-powder guns continued to be used with smokeless powder ammo. My understanding is that they wouldn't necessarily blow up with the new ammo, just wear out a lot quicker.

A caveat- when I say they used smokeless ammo in black powder guns, I'm referring to low-pressure pistol cartridges, not muzzle loaders. I'm sure we all know to never, never use smokeless powder in muzzle loaders.
You have to be very careful and know what you're doing if you use smokeless ammo in vintage black powder cartridge guns as well.
 

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