TFB’s “Identify My Guns” – Powell & Clement Co. Shotgun and Iver Johnson Revolver

    Powell

    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.

    Powell & Clement

    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.

    Powell & Clement

    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.

    Powell & Clement
    The receiver, trigger, and hammer were likely case-colored when originally produced, even though now it is difficult to tell. As case-coloring ages from extended duration in sunlight, it goes from a swirled, “running-water,” blued coloring to a bright silver. On certain portions of this firearm, it begins to exhibit that.
    Powell & Clement
    On bordering edges of the metal, there is a lot of “yellow” present. That is more than likely from someone re-finishing and staining the wood. That too was a very common practice, and most people who would re-stain and re-finish firearms never fully took them apart to work on pieces individually; metal pieces separate from wood ones. As a result, some stain ran onto the edges of metal parts.
    Powell & Clement
    As far as a current value for this firearm, it can vary, but it is roughly in the realm of $100 – $150. There is a soft-hearted joke, or basic understanding in the arena of gun stores, that any used firearm that still goes “Bang!” is worth at least $100. If the break-open action of this firearm locks up tight, the simple bead front sight is accurate and true to the barrel, and the stock and forearm are not loose, someone may find more value in this firearm near that $150 mark. This is all left up to the interpretation of the dealer, the buyer and any haggling that might ensue, but overall, this is a cheap, but functional single-shot shotgun around $100 – $150.

    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.

    Powell

    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.

    Powell

    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.

    Powell

    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.

    Powell


    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]

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