Many of us at TFB do not just merely write about firearms. We work at retail gun stores, museums, are attorneys, gunsmiths, historical researchers and perform R&D work for firearm manufacturers. We take pride in fully immersing ourselves into the #pewpewlife as Colion Noir would say. We will not state we are premier experts in any given category, but we also believe we are very well versed in all facets of firearms. As a result, we sometimes get asked, “can you identify my guns?” We all enjoy a challenge, so we resoundingly say, “Yes!”
A new segment we would like to provide to you, our readers, is to identify and loosely give you values (as best as can be discerned from only photos) for your unknown or questionable firearms.
Recently, one of our readers gave us our 1st opportunity with an old shotgun and a revolver. Here are those firearms and what we found.
powell & clement co. Model 1895 “Peerless ejector” 12 gauge single-shot shotgun
From the photos you will see below, this 1st firearm is a Powell & Clement Co. shotgun that has some definite age behind it. The owner was wondering about some more history behind this brand as well as a potential price or value for the firearm.
The Powell & Clement Company was a firearms manufacturer out of Cincinatti, Ohio from approximately 1891 – 1903. Although their production of firearms spans that time period, they actually got their start as a business long before 1891. Powell & Clement Co. started all the way back in 1827 selling and distributing firearms, ammunition, bicycles, fishing tackle, tennis and lawn equipment. They made their mark through catalogs as was common throughout the 19th century.
So that is a short overview of Powell & Clement as a company. Now, onto this specific firearm.
This shotgun, a “Peerless Ejector” Model 1895, features cut checkering on the stock and forearm, as was standard and appropriate for the time. Standardized press checkering was not a commercialized or common practice until a significantly later date. Also, firearm manufacturers back then were more prideful and considered craftsmen more so than they were concerned with significantly high output.
This model, being a more economical variation of a single-shot shotgun, employed a plastic butt plate. This is probably since it was a hardware store or catalog firearm and was a measure to keep the price down.
Iver Johnson’s arms & cycle Works 2nd model safety automatic hammer black powder
This is a firearm that many people may have seen before so it is easy enough to identify as an Iver Johnson. The difficulty is figuring out which specific model it is from the dozens and dozens they made over the years.
Some simple, but identifying characteristics of this revolver are it has a… hammer… top-break… double-post latch… 5-shot cylinder… .38 caliber… and it is a 2 pin frame. Very mundane things to point out, yes, but in sum, they come together to eliminate multiple, potential models and point towards one in particular.
Based on this assortment of features, and specific phrasing stamped on the revolver, it should be an Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works “2nd Model Safety Automatic” that accepts black powder cartridges.
It uses the “hammer-the-hammer” action that Iver Johnson was known for. It also has the iconic owl on the hard plastic grips. Finally, if the name on the top rib of the barrel did not give away the manufacturer, the shiny chrome-like finish was another signature touch put on many Iver Johnson revolvers.
As far as a price or value of the revolver… based on the condition of it merely through photos, it should be in the ballpark of $125 -$175. With similar sentiments that I alluded to earlier, if this revolver is truly functioning and passes the “it can go bang test”, then it is above $100. The Blue Book value of this firearm if it is viewed at anywhere from 60% – 90% condition is formally $120 – $200. So like any firearm, it is entirely up to interpretation between the buyer, dealer, and any haggling or arm-wrestling that occurs thereafter.
We hope this was of help to the reader who sent in a request for help with his firearms!
If you have any weird, odd, hard-to-identify firearms we would be glad to help you identify them as best we can!
Send us some pictures, any context or background you do know about the gun and your requests to [email protected]