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Old January 12, 2012, 09:38 AM   #1
Rifleman1776
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Jennings .22

My wife asked for a carry pistol. Mine is a .22lr and I decided to get the same caliber for her. (caliber isn't the issue here, no need to talk about that)
At a gun show I picked up a Jennings .22 SA. It was pretty much a trade and I don't really have any money involved. I didn't study the gun very much but the trade only involved a $45.00 item I had paid almost nothing for originally. I took it home fired some test rounds through, reloaded and locked in the safe until wifey gets or carry permit. A couple years later she still hasn't gotten the permit. I recently took it out to shoot and clean. Would not function at all. I mean not at all. It wouldn't shoot, I couldn't pull the slide. By nothing, I mean nothing. So yesterday I, very carefully, (live round in chamber) started disassembling. What I discovered borders on horrific. This has to be one of the poorest designed, most cheaply made guns I have ever seen. Everything flimsy and loose fitting. The problem was caused by rough edges of the grip inlay interfering with the safety lever and the flimsy actuating spring it operates. The fix was simple. I told a gunsmith friend about this and he was not surprised. Over the years he has replaced hundreds of firing pins on this model but won't do it anymore. He now refuses to even take them into the shop. This model is sold under many names. Jennings and Raven are just two. I know this is America but it seems some sort of quality standards should exist. Do avoid these junkers they are, IMHO, dangerous.
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Old January 12, 2012, 10:17 AM   #2
Fishbed77
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Your experience seems about par for the course for the Bryco/Jennings/Raven guns.

That said, I've had the opportunity to shoot a .25 Raven before, and it wasn't that bad of a shooter. Actually pretty accurate for a gun I was scared to hold correctly because I didn't want the slide flying back into the web of my hand.

That said, I would never trust my life with one.
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Old January 12, 2012, 10:37 AM   #3
crispy
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Who in their right mind would trust their life to one?

That said, my Jimenez JA-22 (the current new and improved model) works fine and it is fun to shoot. That said, it is more of a gimmick gun.

I shot it as my BUG in a steel match special stage this fall. Of course, the safety is the big problem. You just barely bump it and it engages causing you to lock up. I still finished mid-pack with it.

But it was the hit of the match. Who in their right mind brings a JA-22 as their BUG...?
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Old January 12, 2012, 10:43 AM   #4
Hal
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Reason number one to like "junkers"....

Used to be good odds that the gun being pointed at you by a bad guy was a Raven or a Jennings....

Sadly, the bad guys have become better equipped.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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I own a 90's vintage (they're like fine wines, you know, and only get better with age) J-22. It's the ultimate in firearms excitement. It's never exactly certain what will happen when you squeeze that spongy 30 lb trigger. Will it send a round downrange? Well...maybe. If so, will it hit what you aimed at? Well, maybe - the "sights" are essentially cosmetic. Will the rearward thrust of the slide give you a nice gash in the web of your hand? Maybe, though in my case the maybe is contingent only on whether it fires or not. If it fires, I'm gittin' slide bitten. Will it shuck the spent cartridge and replace it with a fresh one from that exquisitely engineered mag? Maybe - if it hasn't chosen that particular moment to consume, digest and excrete either the extractor pin, the extractor spring, or the extractor itself, which may well be manufactured from tinfoil.

Put short, a trip to the range with a Jennings pistol is the opportunity of a lifetime - all the suspense, mystery, and adventure one could ever hope for.

Last edited by csmsss; January 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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This is why they are considered "throw aways". You pull the trigger aiming at something you intend to put holes in, pull the trigger until it jams, and throw it away!!!!!!!

My first piece was a Jennings .380. That thing would ONLY cycle generic ball ammo. Other than that was a FTF of some sort. I was lucky I guess, as I knew other folks that had the same weapon that wouldn't cycle anything for more than 3 rounds before becoming the Jam-O-Matic that they are known for being. I remember back in 1994 at gun shows these guys would set up, and have 50 weapons on a table a mix of Jennings and Ravens of differing calibers. $90 got you anything on the table. I should have known better, and ALMOST kept the gun to remind me of why you buy quality......
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:22 AM   #7
Skans
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I still have a Jennings J-22 (chrome with wood grips) that I purchased new around 1990. I think I paid $70-something for it.

I have fired several hundred rounds through it over the years - mostly CCI stingers, but not always. There are several comments I'd like to make about this gun:

1. Mine has a metal safety lever, not plastic; the grips fit solidly on the gun. Even though everyone likes to think all Jennings/Ravens/Lorcin are identical, they are not. The older chrome/wood grip Jennings seem to have been built a little better.

2. I've never broken a part on my Jennings J-22; and it functions reliably as long as you keep it clean. This means cleaning it after about 20-50 shots fired.

3. I carried mine on a motorcycle from Florida to New Mexico back to Georgia and then Florida again through lots of rain. It didn't rust, flake, corrode, or fall apart.

4. The slide will bite the web of your hand if you aren't careful.

5. Its easy to conceal, but I never trusted it with a round chambered, so I never carried it with a round chambered. Hey, it's a cheap zamak .22 - I'm not stupid!

6. Because it has a fixed barrel, accuracy isn't all that bad for a cheap little .22.

7. You can find parts on gunbroker for these things pretty easily. Oh, and by the way, if you look through all of those parts listings, you will see that a lot of these guns are well used and have been abused pretty badly. I'd bet that most never bothered to ever put a drop of oil or grease on them.

8. This reminds me - I have a bunch of .22's just sitting around, and I think I'm going to give the J-22 a little workout on my next range visit! If it survives 1000 rounds of range abuse without breakage, at least I can say it's more durable than a Rohrbaugh R9.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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Skans, my J-22 is from about the same time period as yours, and it has the plastic safety which, to its credit, actually seems to work.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:58 AM   #9
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Skans sums up my findings with the two older J-22's I've had for many yrs. Both also 70's era guns. One chrome, the other blue'd(black).

Warning:

Pay particular attention to #5 of what Skans posted. Many years ago, I dropped one of my J-22's on a carpeted floor, which had a round chambered with safety on. The gun fired. Thankfully no one was hurt.

In amazement, I picked the gun up and checked to insure the safety was on,it was. Where I was at at the time I couldn't safely function check the safety. A couple days later I was able to chamber a round ,set the safety and function check. With a rd. chambered( or not) the trigger would not pull with the safety on.

Over the years, I've found from others, that this is not uncommon for the J-22...sooo....don't carry with a round in the chamber.
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Old January 12, 2012, 02:47 PM   #10
3o3brit
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I agree, the early chrome and wood grip models aren’t that bad.
I picked one up for less than $100 and it shoots just fine with CCI Mini-Mags.

Here is the grouping from 7 yards. The lower right are the first two shots I fired to test function. Then the full 7 round group above it.


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Old January 12, 2012, 05:10 PM   #11
Opinated
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I had one briefly back in the 1980s, the little Jennings .22 auto. Broke after firing the second round. Dealer took it back. WARNING- never dry fire a Jennings .22. I saw one that the firing pin had deeply embossed the edge of the chamber.
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Old January 12, 2012, 06:39 PM   #12
Skans
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Quote:
Skans, my J-22 is from about the same time period as yours, and it has the plastic safety which, to its credit, actually seems to work.
Cmsss, you have me wondering about this - I'm going to have to check it tonight. Honestly, I've never used the safety on the gun, but I thought it was metal??? Maybe not?
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Old January 12, 2012, 06:56 PM   #13
shortwave
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I believe the safety on mine are plastic as well. The blue'd(black) one has plastic black grips and the safeties on both the chrome and black guns have safeties made of what looks like the same black plastic . They are both 70's era models.
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Old January 12, 2012, 07:10 PM   #14
lee n. field
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Quote:
Do avoid these junkers they are, IMHO, dangerous.
Well, now you know. It was a $75 lesson for me, back in '93 or so. Total POS. (IMHO, YMMV, Insert Standard Disclaimer Here.)
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Old January 12, 2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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I bought a chrome/wood J-22 in 1985. It was very picky about ammo and being cleaned. I sold it a few months ago to a guy who collects them. Mine had a metal safety also.

I don't miss it at all.
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Old January 13, 2012, 07:56 AM   #16
Don P
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Purchased one in the late 80's and it was a large piece of junk. The slide should have read Jam-O-Matic. I was never able to get the gun to shoot more than 2 rounds without jamming and the second round was a blessing if it did chamber and shoot. It basically was a one shot gun.
For a small 22 I would go with Beretta, then Taurus
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:40 AM   #17
Skans
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I just checked the safety on my J-22. Put a magnet to it and its definitely steel. I still wouldn't carry it with a round chambered. BTW, the slide is steel aso. So is the magazine (which looks like aluminum). I guess only the frame is zamak.

Next range trip, the J-22 is going to get a thorough work-out; I'll report how this 22 year old "saturday night special" performs.

While I had my safe open and my magnet out, I decided to check out an FIE (Tanfoglio) EXCAM .25 I inherited. I thought the frame on these were alloy, but they are steel. It's actually a nicely made little gun, slide was smooth, hammer has an extra notch so that it can be carried with a round chambered - too bad it's a .25 and not .32acp. I might have to see what ammo is available in .25 acp. FWIW, it's almost exactly the same size as the Jennings - overall length is mabye 1/8" shorter.

I didn't know anyone actually collected J-22's - odd collection, but for some weird reason I'd really like to see it.
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:44 AM   #18
lee n. field
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Quote:
I decided to check out an FIE (Tanfoglio) EXCAM .25 I inherited. I thought the frame on these were alloy, but they are steel.
Excam .25, some were steel, some were mystery metal.
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Old January 13, 2012, 10:49 AM   #19
Chris D
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I have a 90's era J22, bought it brand new for $55. While it works sometimes, I would never carry it. It's fun when it works.

Mine fired off a round with the safety on. Squeeze hard enough and it would fire (ask me how my friend found out, just a .22" hole in the wall). I took it apart and soldered a bump onto the pin and it was fine after.

Doubt I'd ever sell it. But hey, its just a toy.
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Old January 13, 2012, 10:55 AM   #20
TacticalDefense1911
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The Jennings is, as you have seen, one terrible gun, lol! My wifes grandfather has one and he took it to the range one time when we got a bunch of the family together. It malfunctioned every other round. He asked me what was wrong with it and I said, "Its a Jennings."
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Old January 13, 2012, 01:25 PM   #21
Skans
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Jennings will malfunction if they are not thoroughly cleaned and lightly oiled. That's what's wrong with most of the ones I've seen - they are filthy! It's not a Glock, you need to clean and lightly oil them after shooting 4-5 magazines. And, they are much more reliable if you shoot CCI, not the cheap bulk .22LR. All I can say is that my J-22 is more reliable and has outlasted a Taurus PT-99 I purchased around the same time by 20 years.

Quote:
Mine fired off a round with the safety on.
If you remove the safety your problem will be solved.

I've got a question for everyone: Who makes a new .22LR semi-auto pocket pistol and sells them for $80 retail?

Last edited by Skans; January 13, 2012 at 01:35 PM.
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Old April 19, 2012, 03:49 PM   #22
pearlygates
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Love my JA pistols!

A little work and they are reliable shooters!



Old thread...sorry..just showing alittle love for my JAs!
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Old April 19, 2012, 04:15 PM   #23
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I have several, from the earliest ones, to the JA-22s. Two of my early ones have over 5K rounds through them and are very reliable. As mentioned, they have to be cleaned and lubed regularly; they're not like an M9 or Glock.
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Old April 20, 2012, 03:01 PM   #24
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I bought one in a moment of weakness back around 1991 or so. Believe it or not it has been mostly reliable, with the occasional failure to extract but nothing that would ruin a day of casual plinking. I definitely would not trust it for self defense, however. It stays reliable because I keep it clean and use only Mini-Mags or Stingers in it.



Why do I hang onto it? Well, because 1) it's not worth anything so there's no point in selling it, and 2) it is a good teaching tool for others who refuse to believe that a small, cheap pistol like this should be taken seriously. It only needs to keep running long enough to kill or injure the other guy, so if you're "the other guy" respect that your assailant has a gun in his hand and can still kill you with it.
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Old April 20, 2012, 09:46 PM   #25
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I had one in the late '80s.

Interesting version of a single-shot handgun.

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