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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends, country men, Roman's,

Would this be the spot to talk about the original Saturday night special, the mighty top break? The good old suicide special?

I might have a line on a very nice iver johnson (I think), chamberd in 38 smith and weason (I think). I will have more info when I get back into town in a while.

From what I have seen it looks mint, like it sat in a very dry sock drawer all these years. Nickle plated. Minimal degradation. They are asking a hundred which seems a little high, but I honestly dont know. Assuming it's in as nice of shape as it looked in the glass (only had a brief vist to look, hence the lack of details) would that be a fair price?

Other then being an about a hundred years old and being very mindful to use low power ammo, anything I should know?

Thanks!

Regards,
Foolsgold39
 

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you probably need to know how to spot wether it can shoot smokless powder or not (the grips and dates are usually the indicators) and then just check it over for propper lock up. I would buy a nice one for $100 in a second but not a bad one. I would not enjoy tracking down parts for one of these. I kind of want one for my youngest son because he thinks topbreaks are cool. The nice ones tend sell pretty fast on gunbroker.
 

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I've got an Iver Johnson in .32 S&W. My dad gave it to me. It's from around 1966. He told me that he had it before he went to Vietnam in 1968. I'ts in very good condition. It probably hasn't had 50 rounds fired in it. I've had it for about 20 years and have only shot about 15 rounds through it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It can be fun. I enjoy it quite a bit, especially being able to taylor a load for a specific rifle or handgun. If you enjoy meticulous work and attention to detail, you'll enjoy it as a hobby. I'm addicted to finding the magic one-hole-at-200-yards load for my varmint rifle. It'll never happen, but that doesn't stop me from constantly trying new combinations.
you probably need to know how to spot wether it can shoot smokless powder or not (the grips and dates are usually the indicators) and then just check it over for propper lock up. I would buy a nice one for $100 in a second but not a bad one. I would not enjoy tracking down parts for one of these. I kind of want one for my youngest son because he thinks topbreaks are cool. The nice ones tend sell pretty fast on gunbroker.
I've got an Iver Johnson in .32 S&W. My dad gave it to me. It's from around 1966. He told me that he had it before he went to Vietnam in 1968. I'ts in very good condition. It probably hasn't had 50 rounds fired in it. I've had it for about 20 years and have only shot about 15 rounds through it.
Magnut, yes, that is an excellent point. Definitely need to date it. Your son has good tastes. I think top breaks are super neat. Very old school cool. You might notice a theme, but I think it would be a neat kit gun.

Greg b,
That sounds like a very special little gun. I'm glad you own it. Family firearms are a very American tradition and I dig it. If your ever up to it, I would love to see a photo, but no worries one way or another.

Regards,
Foolsgold39
 

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Foolsgold39.... what kind of kit are we talking about? My idea of a kit gun right now is a good duty size wondernine with a laser and a nice big stack of happy sticks. One of these old top breaks probably wont do very well as a modern kit gun. Might be good for when you make a quick stop a CERN to travel back to the 1800s. It should help you blend in with the locals as long as your not sporting it in some kydex toy monstrosity of a holster tucked into a pair of skinny/penguin jeans.
 

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Foolsgold39.... what kind of kit are we talking about? My idea of a kit gun right now is a good duty size wondernine with a laser and a nice big stack of happy sticks. One of these old top breaks probably wont do very well as a modern kit gun. Might be good for when you make a quick stop a CERN to travel back to the 1800s. It should help you blend in with the locals as long as your not sporting it in some kydex toy monstrosity of a holster tucked into a pair of skinny/penguin jeans.
Maybe something like a S&W K22?

eldar
 

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Maybe something like a S&W K22?

eldar
I suggested a ruger bearcat earlier to him as I think he is refering to something like the K22 you mentioned. He is in Grizzley country though so its probably not a great suggestion. Something like a K22 or bearcat would be great for casual plinking when on the trail or river though as long as you have a cannon close by in the event of a bad wildlife encounter.

Or he could get an UZI.... kind of hard to go wrong with an UZI. Worst case scenario.....you still have an UZI!

I like the old breaktops but I wouldnt really want one for a trail or kit gun. Its kind of rare to see a nice one anymore and they are worth preserving just because they are breaktops. There are a couple of models that I am always on the lookout for but they seem to comeup for sale at bad times for me.
 

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But...there are GOOD break tops too, that would make perfectly serviceable kit guns.
I don’t think he was talking about those types of guns in the OP, though.
 
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But...there are GOOD break tops too, that would make perfectly serviceable kit guns.
I don't think he was talking about those types of guns in the OP, though.
I am guessing you are talking about more modern breaktops in 22lr likr the H&R 999. Those were pretty common back in the 90s. The NAA version that came out a few years was neat but I never got to handle one.

Of course Russia makes a really nice modern break top in 357 magnum but we dont get to have those. They had a cool smaller one in 9mm Makarov but I dont remember much other than a few pictures. Schofields are being made again of course. I would like to see something more modern with a breaktop. Maybe something like an LCR.
 

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My smallest top break is a New Baby Model 1911 in .22 short.
The trigger folds up flat against the frame just like they do on a Henry Kolb Baby Hammerless. I think it might qualify as an early SNS...

upload_2020-12-27_11-34-27.png
 

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I would like to see something more modern with a breaktop. Maybe something like an LCR.
Probably not going to happen. They simply cannot hold up to the big bore power and maintain specs over time, and they ESPECIALLY can't hold up to the abuse of people flipping them open and closed with one hand. People are bad enough on that, just snapping the cylinder closed on the modern revolvers. It would be worse for a top break, a company would go broke fixing them, or look bad when they denied service due to abuse.

As a kit gun, a new .22 or a light loaded .32 would survive longer, if it was either overbuilt or treated well by the owners. But that won't be cheap, and it won't appeal to enough folks to make production a good idea.
 

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Probably not going to happen. They simply cannot hold up to the big bore power and maintain specs over time, and they ESPECIALLY can't hold up to the abuse of people flipping them open and closed with one hand. People are bad enough on that, just snapping the cylinder closed on the modern revolvers. It would be worse for a top break, a company would go broke fixing them, or look bad when they denied service due to abuse.

As a kit gun, a new .22 or a light loaded .32 would survive longer, if it was either overbuilt or treated well by the owners. But that won't be cheap, and it won't appeal to enough folks to make production a good idea.
Yup... I pretty much agree. I dont know how the russians did it but they made 357 for the us market until clinton stopped it. It never went into production and was axed after that. It would have been interesting to see a modern take on the break top. I have to think being russian it was built pretty well.

https://military.wikia.org/wiki/MP412_REX
 

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For a while, back in the 80s, I used a Webly as a kit gun. It had been recut to take .45ACP in full moon clips. I loved it. Dad had an H&R in .32, but I only shot it once.Nice gun. No clue where it went after he died
 
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I inherited a 38 S&W Iver Johnson top break. By the serial number, it was the first year for smokeless powder models. I think it was a 1909 date of mfg but been a while since I checked. Came with a box of 38 Colt New Police ammo. It was Colt Manufacturing Company's proprietary name for what was essentially the . 38 S&W with a flat-nosed bullet.
 
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