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 Iver Johnson Hercules SxS - what year?
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wildslide
Starting Member

5 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  11:59:59 AM  Show Profile
Hi All,

Firstly thanks for a great resource in this forum. I have an old IJ 12ga SxS shotgun. It has the Owl Head butt plate and 'hercules grade' on the block. The serial # is 3962.

I am trying to ascertain the year (or approximate year of this particular gun). I know they were discontinued in 1941(?)

On another note, I am looking for the twin gun in .410 SxS so if anyone knows of one for sale/auction please let me know.

Thanks, Steve

Old Fool
Senior Member

USA
1837 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  1:05:42 PM  Show Profile
The Hercules was made from 1918 to 1943. The Hercules Model was mfg. in both USA and Canada by Cooey. The Hercules name was dropped in 1936 and became known as the "Iver Johnson Hammerless" until the end of production. Case colored frames were standard until 1936, blue frames were standard 1937-1943. A special run of Hercules Doubles was built in the 1930s for Montgomery Ward under the "Western Field" Model 53 nomenclature. All Western Field guns had a beavertail forearm, twin ivory sights, and recoil pad. Hercules 28 ga. SxSs are extremely rare.

Your gun was made between 1918 and 1936.

He who governs least governs best.

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b.goforth
Member

966 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  2:50:05 PM  Show Profile
steve,
old fool has some interesting information but it dosen't quite jive with the information i have. first i would like to state i don't know as much about iver johnsons shotguns as i do their handguns but i do have a lot of catalogs.

the first iver johnson double barrel shotgun was first offered about 1913. it was simply called the 'iver johnson hammerless double gun', the distinguishing feature was the mono-bloc construction of the barrels. about 1924/25 the mono-block was dropped and the barrels were constructed the same as the single barrels and then joined together, name still was 'iver johnson hammerless double gun'. the name "hercules grade" first appeared in catalog 27A (1927/1929) and was applied to the 'iver johnson supertrap hammerless double gun' only. it was applied as a grade not a model. by the 1932 catalog the name 'hercules grade' was applied to both the 'iver johnson hammerless double gun' and the 'iver johnson supertrap hammerless double gun'. i believe this was done to tell them apart from the new "skeet-er" introduced in 1932. the 'supertrap hammerless double gun' is not listed in a 1942 price list but the 'iver johnson hammerless double barrel hercules grade', and the 'skeet-er' are.

in the past shotguns (single & double) marked "hercules" have been identified as being made by iver johnson, but if it is not marked 'hercules grade' it is not an iver johnson. steven made some gun for montgomery wards marked hercules (the ones i have seen were single barrels).

iver johnson did a large export business in canada and even several sales offices there but i have never found any indication that any of their firearms were ever manufactured anywhere but fitchburg, ma.

finding a 410 bore 'iver johnson hammerless double barrel hercules grade', will be hard as there were less of them than the better known 410 'skeet-er'

from the information i have this gun marked 'hercules gade' would have been manufactured in 1930 (earlist) to 1942 (latest) era. i have factory serial numbers for iver johnson handguns but none for their shotguns.
bill
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Old Fool
Senior Member

USA
1837 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  5:37:31 PM  Show Profile
I yield to the guru with better references, however I do believe that Cooey did manufacture some, what I cannot find is whether they were sold under the Cooey name or IJ.

He who governs least governs best.

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Old Fool
Senior Member

USA
1837 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  08:35:23 AM  Show Profile
From the Blue Book "Cooey manufactured both double and single barrel shotguns for Iver Johnson (Hercules and Champion) during the late 1920s-early 1930s (see Iver Johnson section). Cooey also manufactured single shot shotguns. Pre-1961 Cooey mfg. models include: .22 rimfire smoothbore, 37A, 410, 84, Canuck 25, and Canuck 410. Post-1961 Cooey firearms made by Winchester include: Models 84 and 840."

He who governs least governs best.

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b.goforth
Member

966 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  1:53:49 PM  Show Profile
don't believe everything you read in the blue book or standard catalog of firearms, by thier very nature they cover a lot of firearms and rely on the research of others most is acceptable some is not. cooey may have acted as the importing agent for Iver Johnson shotguns and rifles but i will stand behind my statement iver johnson did not license the manufacture of thier firearms to another company and the only record of their purchasing other companies firearms came in the 1970s and 1980s after the family sold the company and name. iver johnson's arms & cycle works is one of the few firearms manufacturer to remain in control of the family of the founder for over 100 years. the company was sold to outside interests about 1975 after the death of luther m otto III, iver johnson's grandson & son of iver's daughter mary louise. i guess i should state that iver johnson died young (in 1895) and never saw his company become the large business it became in the early 1900s. his wife (mary elizabeth) and sons (fredrick iver, john lovell & walter clof) deserve the credit for this.
bill
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Old Fool
Senior Member

USA
1837 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  3:57:28 PM  Show Profile
Nothing personal, but since you do not list any sources I will have to go with the Blue Book until/if a better source is listed.

He who governs least governs best.

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He Dog
Advanced Member

Australia
36988 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  5:04:21 PM  Show Profile
Bill's book will be out very shortly. You can check the bibliography.

The average response time for a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 is 1400 feet per second.
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Old hickory
Senior Member

1275 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2006 :  11:42:11 AM  Show Profile
wildslide : the .410 Hercules show up occassionally. There was one at auction here about 3 months ago that looked like 90% and I think sold for around $1200. I bought one at a local gunshop 6 months ago in 80% condition for $800 cash. I'm not interested in selling but just mention that they do pop up. About 3 years ago I saw one at a gunshow that they wanted $500 for but it was in poor but shootable condition. Good luck.
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b.goforth
Member

966 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2006 :  2:34:13 PM  Show Profile
hedog,
the book should be available from the publisher in the next couple of weeks. it been a long hard couple of years
bill
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Old Fool
Senior Member

USA
1837 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2006 :  3:35:05 PM  Show Profile
I have a litle more information the Hercules was manufactured by Cooey in 16 and 20ga prior to 1936. I will post more information as I find it.


He who governs least governs best.

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captkirk3@dslextreme.com
Administrator

5098 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2006 :  4:40:40 PM  Show Profile
I Mainly agree with B.Goforth's assessment......also, NOTE: Cooey was noted mainly for its manufacturing of .22 Calibers Traing rifles...The Company was known as H.W. Cooey Machine @ Arms Company Limited, Cobour, Ontario Canada.

As for the HERCULES name...Hercules was a trade name used by J. Stevens Arms Company on Shotguns....
Also HERCULES was a trade name used by The Montgomery Ward & Company on Arms made by Iver Johnson.....
The Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works---Manufacturer of sporting arms since it started as Johnson, Bye & Company in 1871 at Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1883 became Iver Johnson & Company, and was again changed to its current form in 1884. In 1891 the firm moved to
Finchburg, Massachusetts...Scorced from Robert H. Balderson Official Guide to Gun Marks 3rd Edition and My data base..........


Captain Kirk, Tech Staff<P><BR>

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