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Old May 14, 2015, 04:10 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 4, 2012
Location: Northern Missouri
Posts: 471
A J. Lewis Target Pistol

A recent thread about the Tingle SS pistol reminded me of this similar item made by J. Lewis Mfg. of Cincinnati, Ohio. I bought this pistol from Mr. Lewis at his booth at Friendship circa 1970, I think. The serial number 53 appears on all parts. It is very nicely finished with very good adjustable target sights. The trigger is light and crisp. The 7/8” diameter barrel of 10” length made me wish for arms like Popeye’s, but it would really hang on the bull until I started to shake. I believe there might have been a shorter-barreled version.

I was happy with the way it shot. I could shoot a “90” offhand on the 25-yd target. I think maybe we used the NRA Timed and Rapid Fire target for that, don’t recall exactly. It could keep them in the black, and better, with a rest. I was never good enough to place in any of the slow fire pistol events, but I was happy. The gun, maybe because of close tolerances, seemed to foul rather quickly. I went to Mr. Lewis to consult with him about that, and he said, “Well you just have to take it down and clean it.” His tone of voice indicated that he thought I was not the sharpest person he ever sold a gun to. And he was right. I was green as grass with black powder.

Mr. Lewis claimed that his tolerances were so good that you could dry-fire the piece without banging up the nipple. I found this to be true and so I dry-fired for practice. With each dry shot, the top of the hammer banged solidly into the breech. I don’t recall how long it was until the hammer broke completely at the bottom of the cap recess. The appearance of the broken surfaces makes me suspect there was also a defect in the metal at that point. No matter, Mr. Lewis and his arms had disappeared rather quickly and at that point he was nowhere to be found. I occupied myself with other shooting and so the J. Lewis pistol has rested in a drawer for more than thirty years. What a shame!

Now I am contemplating a fix using JB Weld. It is pretty strong and may work. What do you think? Thanks for reading this account of some obscure BP history.
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