The Replica Prop Forum

The Replica Prop Forum
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gun Pron Wednesday - Iver Johnson Model 55A .22 LR Target

I have been searching for an 8 or 9 shot .22 LR revolver for a long time.  Either an H&R or an IJ.  My friend Ken and his wife Sam have a booth at the various gun shows, and Ken always keeps an eye out for me for anything he thinks I might be interested in.

A couple of months ago Ken and Sam were at the show about 14 miles down the road from my house.  I don't normally go to the shows because I have to use a cane to walk and after 10 minutes or so of walking my back starts to spasm.  Anyway, Ken and Sam were at the show and Ken looked around knowing that I'm looking for certain firearms particularly older types for my "Farmers Guns" collection.  He helped me locate my Mossberg 185A 20 ga bolt action shotgun which I still need to do a proper write up on and he helped me find this newest addition.

Earlier Models of the 55a manufactured before 1961 had an actual Leatherette Case, not the cardboard one one seen here.

As far as I can tell so far this was manufactured between 1961 and 1978.  I can't find an online source unless I want to pay for a subscription or sign up for ANOTHER account.

Underneath the cardboard liner there is some of the original paperwork

The interior of the box looks very good.  According to the seller other than being test fired at the factory, this revolver has never been fire otherwise.  That will be changing as soon as I can get to the range.

The grips are actually a dark marbled brown plastic.  My lighting isn't the greatest, sorry.

No no cartridge extractor on this side.  It is supposed to be a target model, no need for quickly unloading or reloading.

The closed loading gate.  Earlier models did not have a loading gate.  This model also does not have a Hammer the Hammer Action, which is similar to the transfer bar safety system.

With the loading gate open.

The spring loaded retaining pin that holds the cylinder pin in place.

With the Cylinder pin slid out to remove the cylinder, you can see the cut in the cylinder pin the spring loaded retaining pin rides in to keep the cylinder pin in place.

The rim extending up around the cylinder is called a "Flash Control" and is cut to allow the cylinder to be removed from the frame past the barrels forcing cone.

You can see the cut out and the raised wall of the "Flash Control" in the cylinder better in this and the next photo.

8 shots, plus you can see the cutout in the rear face of the cylinder to allow a shooter to use either the cylinder pin, pocket knife or fingernail to remove the fired cases.

The front face of the cylinder, you can see the raised lip of the "Flash Control" and you can see the cutout to allow the cylinder to be inserted into or removed from the frame past the forcing cone.

The inside of the frame, you can see the forcing cone and the cylinder hand in addition to the spring loaded cylinder pin retainer.

I'm not entirely certain what this block on the back of the trigger guard is for, unless it's to preven overtravel of the trigger.

The sights on this revolver are not what we would call "Target" sights today, but when this pistol was manufactured they were adequate.

With the hammer at full cock you can see the firing pin on the hammer.  As I wrote up top, this revolver does not have the "Hammer the Hammer" action.

Some info I found from various place on the net.  All of the information is clickable to where I got it from if you would like to see for yourself.

"the model 55 Target was introduced in march of 1955 as the first of the 50 series solid frame double action revolvers.
model 50 rod ejecting sestern style introduced in 1961 (sidewinder)
model 55S short barrel introduced same time as 55 (cadet)
model 56 starter introduced in 1956 (blank firing only)
model 57 introduced in 1956 adjustable sights (also marked target).
in 1961 a loading gate was added to the right side and the A was added to all the model numbers (see below)

I.J. TARGET MODEL 55------------------------------------1955-1960
The year 1955 Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works introduced a new designed solid frame double action revolver. For the next few years they introduced at least one new model a year, the first year two new models were introduced. The Model 55 is a large solid frame revolver with pull pin cylinder release, blue finish and large oversize one piece plastic grips (they called them Tenite). Does not have Hammer the Hammer action. Barrel length: 4 ½ inch and 6 inches; .22 rimfire caliber with 8 rounds cylinder capacity, recessed chambers and Flash Control front rim (cylinder unfluted until 1958); Weight with 4 ½ inch barrel 26 ounces, with 6 inch barrel 27 ounces; Frame height 4 inches; Frame length 4 7/8 inches; Overall length: with 4 ½ inch barrel 9 ¼ inches, with 6 inch barrel 10 ¾ inches.
I.J. TARGET MODEL 55A----------------------------------------1961-1978
The difference between this A series and the earlier series is the addition of a loading gate to the right side of the frame. All specifications are the same except a small weight gain because of the loading gate. This model was also called Iver Johnson Sportsman in the 1974 to 1978 era DOES NOT HAVE HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION
VALUE: 100%=$225 60%=$95

the fluted cylinder was added to all 50 series in production in 1958. so your remolver was manufactured between 1955 and 1957. your revolver has the blade type frint sight so was most likely manufactured in 1957 or very early 1958. what is the letter code used as a serial number prefix."


"I.J. Target Model 55A (Iver Johnson Sportman)

.22 rimfire cal., similar to I.J. Target Model 55, except has a loading gate on right side of frame, approx. 29-30 oz. Mfg. 1961-1978."


"Designed by fellow Scandinavian immigrant Andrew Fyrberg while at Iver Johnson and patented in 1896 under #566,393, this ‘Hammer the Hammer’ action was positively revolutionary for handguns. Up until then you risked an accidental discharge from a dropped revolver if the gun was carried with a hammer down on a loaded cylinder, which as you may imagine, was a real concern at the time."


Unknown said...

My model 57a has a defective cylinder. Where might I find a replacement? Everywhere I look they don't seem to match...

Mark/GreyLocke said...

Numrich arms has it listed on their website

Unknown said...

Very good little part behind trigger is the target trigger it has a very light pull maybe a pound or so

Unknown said...

I just bought a Johnson model 55 I like to know what it's worth