Monday, January 30, 2023

Week 5 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

January 29: In 1861 Kansas joins the Union as a free state; in 1944 the last U.S. battleship, the USS Missouri is launched

January 30: In 1930 The Lone Ranger debuts on WXYZ radio

January 31: In 1606 Guy Fawkes dies from a fall during his execution

February 1: National Freedom Day: President Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in the U.S.

February 2: In 1848 the Treat of Guadalupe Hildalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War and adding California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and west Texas to the U.S.

February 3: in 1787 Spain recognizes U.S. Independence; in 1870 the 15th Amendment was ratified.

February 4: In 1789 George Washington is unanimously elected the 1st President of the United States; in 1900 the Hopkins and Allen gun factory in Norwich, CT burns to the ground; in 1924 Frank Kenn buys Marlin Firearms at auction for $100

Gun of the Week: Savage/Stevens 325

Built from surplus quick detachable barrels left from WWII, the Stevens 325 began manufacture in 1947 with the 325A. 

The guns were chambered in 30-30 Win, designed as affordable alternatives to the Marlin and Winchester lever actions. They had spoon style bolt handles, hardwood stocks and detachable 3 round box magazines. The rifle evolved into the models 325B, 325C, 340 then the model 840 before being retired in 1985. Read more here

Cartridge of the Week: 32 H&R Magnum

like all magnum revolver cartridges, the 32 H&R Mag was produced by lengthening a previous weaker cartridge, this time the .32 S&W Long.

Introduced in 1984 as a joint effort between H&R and Federal Premium Ammunition. The cartridge has been chambered in guns by H&R, S&W, Ruger, Marlin, Charter Arms and others, it remains popular despite being upstaged by the .327 Federal Magnum. 

Gun Quote of the Week:

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”Robert A. Heinlein from Beyond This Horizon

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This Rifle was submitted for competition in the Optics Mounting category in our Second Annual Golden Poop Awards, Cleatus Douche (pronounced Dooshay) hails from Bacon Level, Alabama

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Do you have your ticket to the Boogaloo? You can get one here

Gun T-Shirt of the Week:

This shirt was worn in the movie Happy Gilmore, buy them here

Friday, January 27, 2023

Interesting Firearm Photos#66


RIP 007

German waffenfabrik, taken over by US forces, sometime in 1945

The stolen Ford Bonnie and Clyde were driving when ambushed

Monday, January 23, 2023

Week 4 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

January 22: in 1944, WWII, Allies commence Operation Shingle; in 1987, amid allegations of fraud, Pennsylvania State Treasurer R. Budd Dywer commits suicide during a live press conference, he is later exonerated.

January 23: in 1855 John Moses Browning is born

January 24: in 1848 James Marshall discovers gold at Sutter's Mill, starting the 1849 California Gold Rush

January 25: in 1787 American Daniel Shays leads a rebellion, fighting against debtors prisons.

January 26: in 1880 General Douglas MacArthur is born

January 27: in 1945, WWII, the Red Army liberates Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland; in 1977 the Pyrodex gun powder factory in Issaquah WA explodes killing 4 including the inventor of the powder

January 28: in 1915 by act of Congress the United States Coast Guard is created.

Gun of the Week: Ruger Single Six

The Ruger Single Six is a single action, 6-shot revolver developed in the early 1950s to fill a void left by the Colt Single Action Army leaving production in 1941.

The single six has been produced ever since its introduction in 1953 with one major change, in 1973 Ruger introduced a new lock work that incorporated a transfer bar safety (known as the "New Model Single Six). Both blued and stainless versions are offered, and at times a fixed sight version has been offered, a sort of mini-Vaquero, known colloquially as the "Vaquerito".
The gun is usually found in .22 Long Rifle, sometimes with a .22 Magnum companion cylinder. It has also been chambered in .17 HMR and even in .32 H&R Magnum & .327 Federal Magnum. Barrel lengths have been offered in 4 5/8", 5 1/2", 6 1/2" and 9 1/2".
The Single Six evolved into other models with higher capacities, the Single Seven, Single Nine and the Single Ten. Ruger also offers a budget priced version with an aluminum frame called the Wrangler.
See more here

Cartridge of the Week: 380 ACP

Known as the 380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), the 380 Auto, 9x17mm and in Europe as the 9mm Kurz or 9mm Browning Short, the 380 ACP was developed by John Browning in 1908 for Colt's 1908 Pocket Hammerless pistol

The 380 is a 9mm, having a bullet diameter of 9mm or .355", same as the more popular 9mm Luger. The bullet weights are lighter than its bigger brother, usually 85-100 grain. Used primarily today for defensive pocket pistols, just as it was developed for more than 100 years ago.

Gun Quote of the Week:

"Gun control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her panty hose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound." — unknown

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This "Streamlined Shot-the-Wad" bolt action shotgun was built for Golden Poop Gunsmithing competition by Jake Jeb Joseph Jasper Jinglehiemer 

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Good ol' Yosemite Sam, the gold mining purveyor of obscure and not sure if obscene obscenities

available in a multitude of sizes, get them here

Gun Shirt of the Week:

Friday, January 20, 2023

Firearm Factory of the Month: Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works

This month we take a look at Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works.

The story of Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works begins with the man whose name the company bore.
The year was 1841, the place was Norfjord, Norway.
At the age of 16 Johnson began an apprenticeship with a gunsmith in Bergen, Norway and at 21 he opened his own gun shop in the town of Christianna.
In 1862 the United States was deep in a Civil War, we don't know if Johnson was recruited to move to the U.S. or he saw the demand created by war and sought to exploit it. Either way he emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Worcester, MA where he found employment at Allen and Wheellock.

While at Allen & Wheellock Johnson worked on the many pistols designed by Ethan Allen, many of those designs were under constant threat of lawsuit by Rollin White and Smith & Wesson (both Smith & Wesson were former employees at Allen & Wheellock).

After the Civil War, Johnson opened his own gunsmithing business in Fitchburg, MA. In 1871 he merged with another local gunsmith named Martin Bye. They formed the Johnson & Bye Company to make improvements to the pepperbox revolvers that were very common then.

A Johnson & Bye 7 shot 22 revolver

In 1873 Colt introduced their Single Action Army revolver, this was due to the White patent expiring, the door was opened for cartridge revolvers and the pepperbox became passe.
Johnson and Bye switched to making small revolvers and single shot "Derringers" for personal defense. This was when the "Saturday Night Special" was invented. Small, easily concealable and inexpensive handguns for the traveler, gambler and "sporting lady". They also began looking for new products to manufacture including toy guns, strollers as well as handcuffs and leg irons.
One product that began to catch on for them was bicycles (as well as tricycles).
The business partnership was dissolved in 1882 and Johnson changed the name of his company to "Iver Johnson & Co Revolvers". It was during this time that Oscar Frederick Mossberg went to work for Iver Johnson, building bicycles. He later formed OF Mossberg & Sons to build pistols and shotguns.

By 1888 Johnson had gained his U.S. citizenship and two years later began using the owl's head as his company's logo.

In 1891 Johnson moved his company to a new campus of buildings on river street in Fitchburg, where the company remained until 1975.

In 1894 Johnson purchased a Bicycle shop and changed his company's name once more to "Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works".

That following year Iver passed away, leaving his three sons, Frederick, Walter and John to take over.
They continued the path their father had started and even moved into motorcycles after the turn of the century.

In the early part of the 20th century, firearms demand grew significantly, and the brothers divested the cycles from their manufacturing concerns.

In the pre-WWI years the company went public and took on a number of investors, which led to the brothers being ousted from leadership positions within the company.
WWI provided opportunities for arms as well did the increase in crime that came during the Great Depression. WWII of course keep the doors open. While Johnson didn't get lucrative military contracts, the companies that did were somewhat diminished as competitors for the civilian market.
The company continued to sell its famous "Safety Automatic" revolver through the 50's and 60's, but competition led to declining sales and in 1971 new owners moved the company HQ to New Jersey it was also around this time that the company acquired the rights to the Plainfield M-1 Carbine, producing it both as a long arm and a pistol.

By 1975 the company's production was moved to Jacksonville, Arkansas and was now owned by Lynn Lloyd and Lou Imperato. The later went on to form the Henry Repeating Arms Company with his son Anthony.

By 1993 current owners of the Iver Johnson trademark (American Military Arms Corp.) were no longer using the name


nearly 6 million Safety Automatic revolvers were made, the transfer bar safety used in the Iver Johnson revolver is now used in virtually all revolvers.

Unfortunately, Iver Johnson made revolvers that were used in two high profile assassinations. The first being the assassination of Republican President William McKinley in 1901 with an Iver Johnson 32 caliber revolver.

Then in 1968 former Attorney General and Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angles with an Iver Johnson .22 caliber Cadet revolver.

While doing research I found several addresses for Iver Johnson in Fitchburg, all of them on River Street:

21 River Street
129 River Street
140 River Street
186 River Street
192 River Street
306 River Street 
343 River Street

It is not uncommon to find addresses on literature that no longer exist, either because the way in which addresses were assigned changed or due to construction, flooding, etc the place in which an address could exist is no longer so.

21 River Street is one such address, 129 seems off as it is the only other one that is an odd number (assuming they put odd on one side and even on the other)
The 140, 186 and 192 addresses are close enough to the factory to seem like they are or were correct.

The 306 River Street was a genuine address of an old building and could have been the first home of Iver Johnson's company in Fitchburg or perhaps the cycle shop that they purchased in 1894.

 after Iver Johnson moved out, Heywood Chair co, followed by a slew of others occupied the buildings.

As of this writing the buildings (most of them) still stand

In 2016, the smoke stack and surrounding structure were torn down

The Cabe 
Old Bike 
Fitchburg, MA 
Rock Island Auction 
Goforth, W. E. (2006). Iver Johnson's arms & cycle works firearms 1871-1993. Hudson, WI: Gun Show Books Pub.