Iver Johnsons, the both of them: On the left, a 9-shot 22 SUPERSHOT (says so right on the barrel, see below) and on the right, a Model 844, Supershot Sealed 8 (Third Model) and yes, it's an 8-shot.
The William Goforth book, Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works Firearms 1871-1993, arrived today from Gun Show Books,* so I now know the one on the left was made in 1930 and the one on the right between 1956 and '58 (records from those years, the last for this model, are lost or jumbled). The late Mr. Goforth thought very highly of the line, referring to the last as "...the ultimate .22 caliber top break revolver. Even the modern H&R Model 999 Sportsman did not have the looks and balance of the .22 Supershot Sealed 8 revolver." [pp 75 - 76] Of the Third Model in particular, he wrote that they were, "...most likely the best top break .22 Rimfire revolvers manufactured by anyone." [p. 88]
High praise indeed, and while the later Trailsman 66 might make a slightly better "kit gun," being a bit shorter and having a chrome lined barrel (!), I've found my Sealed 8 enjoyable to shoot despite a certain balkiness (and it'll be headed to the gunsmith to address that). The 1930 Supershot has yet to visit the range -- I am planning on tomorrow for that.
The Goforth book makes fascinating reading; he focuses on both history and technical features, weaving a remarkable perspective on the company. Profusely illustrated, large-format paperback, 224 pp -- and full of information you can't find anywhere else. I recommend it.
* Purchasing from Gun Show Books was a notably pleasant experience, with prompt e-mails acknowledging my order, followed by accurate shipping and arrival estimates. The book was extremely well packaged, arriving in pristine condition. I'll certainly look to them for firearms books in the future.
4 months ago