Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/Iver Johnson revolver


Mr. Gage,
I have an Iver Johnson Cadet Mod.55-SA in .38 S&W.
On the top it says Patent Pending and the serial #
is 13xxx. This revolver is not a break open and seems
to be in great shape, it has a 2 1/2 in. bbl and the
bbl looks as if I could be chromed. It has a small finger
set behind the trigger that takes the trigger off of safe
(firing pin on primer),does the need to be done to fire
DA? If not can you explain the function. With the trigger
on safe(half cocked)the cyl. rotates freely and when the
hammer is cocked the cyl. locks up tight and smart. Crisp.
Would you be able to tell me of the age, value, while of
interest, doesn't really matter as it will not be sold.
Thanx.    Lee

Hello Jackie and Lee.
  Your revolver is either a Variation 1 manufactured 1963-74, or a Variation 2 manufactured from 1974-78. The Variation 1 will have a half-moon front sight, while the Variation 2 has a ramp type front sight. Both of these models had free spinning cylinders. The cylinder stop was not used until the Variation 3 model. As for a 'half-cock' position on the Cadet Model 55 SA, you should be able to fire it by pulling the trigger all the way back until it engages the 'set' release. This should cause the hammer to move from half-cock to full-cock and fire. This could be done with your thumb, as in 'single action', or with your finger 'double action'. The 'set', is a safety in that it allows the hammer to fall when the trigger is completely pulled to the rear of the finger guard, but not fall when lightly dropped or banged against something. It is still safer to have your hammer resting on an empty chamber. You should have no need to manipulate the 'safety' by hand. If it does need your assistance, it may need repair. If so, make sure to use a gunsmith who is licensed and qualified for the job. The cylinder should lock up solid, or with very little movement in both single and double action. Value is relevant in each case, but I have seen them sell from $50 to $150. They are not really collectable.
  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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