Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/Iver-Johnson


Hello Charles,

 I now own a Iver-Johnson .38 cal. Top Break 5 shot. The numbers are all but worn off the top but the registration shows serial # G85786. Has a 83 mm barrel and a picture of an owl on the black grips. I would like to know the age, possible rarity and what you think this gun is worth
Thank you


Hello Larry.
  From your serial number G85786, it is a hammer version known as the Second Model Third Variation, and was manufactured in 1902. There were approximately 100,000 of these manufactured in 1902. They were manufactured to use only black powder loaded cartridges, although some have used a modern round lead nose .38S&W cartridge at their own risk. I do not recommend it. Iver Johnson did make a Third Model, which can handle the newer smokeless powder cartridges. They are not rare, since there was a total of 900,000 of the second model manufactured in a period of 13 years, from 1895-1908. Values are relative, with prices as low as $60.00, but one in very good condition can go for $150. I have not seen any go for more, unless in the original box with paperwork and mint as much as $300.
  I hope this answers your questions, and thank you for asking for me. Charles Gage

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Charles Gage


I can answer questions dealing with firearms and their development due to western expansion. I can answer most questions about any firearms of the world manufactured after the Civil War(1868 - present. I can offer safety warnings about these. I can offer opinions and the reasons behind these. I can also answer questions about Iver Johnson firearms. I can identify by pictures most firearms. If your question involves a firearm you have access to, please include a good quality photo with your question.


I have been at the study of firearms and their use since my first issue of Field and Stream in 1962.At that time I was completely devoted to rifles, but over the years I have experienced the thrill of the hunt with handguns, shotguns and of course rifles. I moved from Oklahoma to New Mexico in 1972 and, since, I have taken numerous game and non-game animals with all firearms (cannons excluded)including blackpowder muzzleloading rifles,shotguns and handguns. My favorite handgun for large non-game animals, such as feral hogs, is my Uberti replica of a 1847 Colt Walker. Very heavy, but accurate.

I am a 1973 high school graduate. Junior and senior year I developed a class on Wildlife Depredation and Conservation of our Rocky Mountain states. My specialty was the brown bear.

Awards and Honors
New Mexico Hunter Safety Program Instructor 15 year award.

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