Learn Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works 32 Revolver Serial Numbers

Learn Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works 32 Revolver Serial Numbers

One common challenge firearm owners face is identifying and dating these revolvers based on their serial numbers. In this article, we will explore the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works 32 revolver serial numbers:

  • Key features of the Iver Johnson 32 revolver,
  • How to look up the serial numbers,
  • The history of Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works,
  • How to interpret and decode serial numbers and variations in serial number formats.

Read through for valuable insights about the Iver Johnson revolver serial numbers!

Iver Johnson 32 Cal 5 Shot Revolver: Key Features

The Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works produced a variety of firearms, including the iconic Iver Johnson .32 caliber break revolver. During its peak popularity in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this revolver was widely sought after for self-defense and concealed carry.

The Iver Johnson rifles passed through 3 generations. Check them out here.

Notable attributes of the Iver Johnson .32 revolver that distinguished it from others include:

  • Compact Size: The Iver Johnson .32 break revolver is easy to conceal and carry. It features a small frame and a 2 to 3-inch barrel, making it ideal for personal protection.
  • Double Action: The hammer could be cocked for single-action firing, or the trigger could be pulled for double-action firing. This provided versatility in shooting options and allow for faster follow-up shots.
  • Chambering: It fires a .32 S&W ammunition and has a perfect action and an excellent bore with a 3″ barrel.
  • Solid Frame Construction: It is made from solid steel or aluminum alloy, ensuring a sturdy and reliable firearm.
  • Top-Break Design: Many Iver Johnson .32 revolvers featured a top-break design, where the barrel and cylinder would tilt forward for easy reloading. This design allowed for quick and efficient reloading, making it a practical choice for self-defense.
  • Trigger guard: The revolver locks up tightly and functions well, with a fire-blued trigger guard and excellent grips.
  • Finish: 90% of the original factory nickel finish remains, with some flaking in front of the cylinder.
  • Simple and Safe Operation: It has a straightforward cylinder release and a safety automatic that engages when the revolver is cocked.
  • Affordability: known for its affordability and accessibility, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious firearm enthusiasts.
Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works 32 Revolver Serial Numbers. Iver Johnson 32 Cal 5 Shot Revolver: Key Features

Iver Johnson’s 32 Arms Revolver: Models Production Date

The production of Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works .32 caliber revolvers spanned several decades, with different models and variations. Iver Johnson revolvers in .32 caliber were produced from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

Before World War II, Iver Johnson’s arms cycle works had three different models of shotguns.

  • The Initial Model: manufactured between 1894 and 1895, had a single post-latch system and lacked an external hammer extending from the gun.
  • The Subsequent Model: produced from 1896 to 1908, employed a double post latch system and included a safety lever on the trigger face for the hammerless shotgun.
  • The Second Model’s Third Variation: the safety automatic revolver was manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and is unsafe with modern smokeless ammo.
  • The Second Model, the Fourth Variation: also known as the Double top latch, was produced between 1899 and 1901. During this period, a new frame was introduced, and it featured a serial number with a “d” letter prefix engraved on the top of the barrel rib.
  • The Third Model, Variation: was made in 1904. This revolver is chambered for the .32 S & W Black Powder cartridge and is not considered safe to use with modern ammunition.
Iver Johnson's 32 Arms Revolver: Models Production Date

The Iver Johnson 32 revolver: Manufacture Dates

Based on the serial number, the manufacturing dates of these shotguns can be determined.

Revolvers with no letter prefix:

1909 and 1919

Shotguns with a single-letter prefix:

1920 and 1929

Revolvers with a two-letter prefix:

1930 and 1939

Shotguns with an all-letter serial number:

1940 and 1950

If the word “CHAMPION” appears above all other markings, the shotgun was made before 1925, and if the word appears below all other markings, the shotgun was made after 1925.

The Iver Johnson Shotgun: How to Look Up the Serial Numbers

The serial number on an Iver Johnson shotgun is typically located on the receiver or the barrel. It is usually a combination of letters and numbers and may be stamped, engraved, or etched onto the firearm. The Serial Number may also be stamped on the trigger guard beneath the left grip panel.

The records of an Iver Johnson serial number are usually found in the following:

  • The manufacturer’s records,
  • The wholesaler’s records,
  • The retailer’s records,
  • The first purchasers (assuming that they haven’t pawned or sold the weapon or it hasn’t been stolen from them.)
The Iver Johnson Shotgun: How to Look Up the Serial Numbers

The Iver Johnson .32: Year of Manufacture

The Iver Johnson .32 revolver was introduced in the late 1800s and remained in production until the mid-20th century.

The Iver Johnson revolver includes a chart that displays a range of serial numbers along with the corresponding years when those numbers were in use, based on markings and other available resources.

The Iver Johnson .32: Year of Manufacture

This chart helps to narrow down the manufacturing time frame to a period of four years or less, by examining the prefixes and production dates associated with the serial numbers.

Letter Code

Year of Manufacture


1978 - 1992


1978 - 1983


1978 - 1980










1983 - 1986








1982 - 1983


1985 - 1986

Components of an Iver Johnson Serial Number

Iver Johnson’s serial numbers had different formats over the years:

  • They could include letters as prefixes, suffixes, or even as the actual serial number.
  • These formats varied and could include all numbers, numbers with one or two letters as prefixes, or even all letters.
  • The letters could carry specific meanings, such as indicating the model or variant of the firearm, the type of ammunition it was chambered for, or other manufacturing details.
Components of an Iver Johnson Serial Number


Where is the serial number on the Iver Johnson revolver?

The serial number of the Iver Johnson revolver is stamped on the bottom of the grip frame or the bottom of the barrel near the muzzle or on the underside.

What year was the Iver Johnson revolver made?

Iver Johnson firearms began manufacturing in 1867, with the first Model produced between 1894 and 1896 and the second in 1897. The production of Iver Johnson firearms has continued up to the present day, though there have been changes in ownership over the years.

Do revolvers have serial numbers?

Yes, revolvers have serial numbers. A serial number can track and trace firearms for various purposes, such as law enforcement investigations, record-keeping, and firearm identification.


Locating the serial number on an Iver Johnson revolver can be done by referencing various parts of the firearm, such as the grip frame, barrel, cylinder crane, or frame.

You can check your Iver Johnson revolver’s year of production by using the database specified above or alternatively contact the manufacturer for any inquiries.

We have reviewed the Serial numbers of the Iver Johnson Arms 32 revolvers. Do you have an Iver Johnson revolver? What’s your serial number? Leave a comment below.

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Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.