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Old May 14, 2015, 04:10 PM   #1
McShooty
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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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Old May 14, 2015, 07:37 PM   #2
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Could you make one ???

First you had a Tingle and CVA cloned it and called it a Prospector. besides this Lewis, there was another clone whose name escapes me at the moment. Anyway, the hammer on a friends CVA broke in this same manner. He made a replacement, using mostly hand tools and even though it's not as pretty as the original, it works. Would it be possible for you, to go this route? .....

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Old May 14, 2015, 08:07 PM   #3
kwhi43
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I wonder if J. Lewis is related to Rob Lewis of Cincinnati Ohio who made both of
my target pistols?
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Old May 16, 2015, 10:42 AM   #4
McShooty
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I don't think I am good enough at metal to make a decent replacement, but perhaps I could find someone with enough interest to do the job. I have JB welded it now and it seems solid. I have to dress the excess a bit so the hammer will fit in its slot. Whether it will pop a cap and hold together has yet to be determined.
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Old May 17, 2015, 12:25 PM   #5
BirchOrr
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Beautiful pistol!

Birch
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Old May 17, 2015, 02:40 PM   #6
Pahoo
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Not pretty but works !!!

Quote:
I don't think I am good enough at metal to make a decent replacement,
My buddy made a hammer out of piece of drill-rod and even though it looks a bit goofy, it shoots great and he is winning matches with it. He also installed a trigger stop.
I don't know how much you have into this piece but might be possible that the hammer off a CVA-Prospector, would fit. You see them listed from time to time, on Ebay.
If you want to sell what you have, sell it here .....

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Old December 11, 2021, 02:15 PM   #7
hrt4me
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did the Lewis pre-date the Tingle?
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Old January 3, 2022, 08:26 AM   #8
darkgael
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I have come back to this thread a number of times. Ii like the lines of that Lewis pistol.
I will search out a Lewis or a Tingle target pistol…..maybe I can tap the gun fund when it happens.
For now i use this underhammer .50 made by Bob Worthington at Greyhaven Arms:
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File Type: jpeg D8D110AA-167D-43C9-BD40-77BF296867E6.jpeg (352.1 KB, 36 views)
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Old January 3, 2022, 12:17 PM   #9
Pahoo
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Very nice !!!

darkgael
You are showing an "under-hammer lock which is probably the simplest lock, ever invented. I recently restored an Ethan-Allen rifle and it sure was interesting. Excellent picture and I thank you !!!....

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Old January 14, 2022, 03:19 PM   #10
McShooty
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History waking up again. I know the availability of the Lewis and Tingle overlapped, but I am not sure which one appeared first. I suspect the Tingle did. It seemed to me at the time that the Lewis was better made and finished. Anyhow, my Lewis is still sitting in the gun room with no hammer, waiting for something to happen. Maybe this year?
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Old February 12, 2022, 02:38 PM   #11
bladesmith 1
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To the best of my knowledge Lewis was first. He made target pistols when no one else did. At one time I had a 36, 40, 45, and 50 cal Lewis pistols. The first three I bought used, the last one I ordered. Matter of fact my good friend and brother in law ordered 50s along with me. We would shoot them at Friendship where I met Jack. At one time he had moved his shop [ gun screw making business and gunsmith for different modern manufactures along with gunsmith for the International team ] to the western side of lower Ohio. It was all log cabins and shop, and it caught fire when he was off to some gun shows. No insurance so he had to rebuild everything on his own dime. That took a lot out of him. Using his pistol for the percussion class, my Lyman revolver, and my home made flint pistol I made Master class at Friendship. I made two more of them for hunting - one for me and one for my son. I shot a 6 and 8 point over the years. The 50 Jack made for me I had him get it engraved. If I did my part 100s could be shot at 25yds offhand. Those used ones all had the brass Colt pistol grip where as his latter ones used a Ruger pistol grip and a coil spring. I use to tease him that the old ones were better. That leaf spring always seemed [ right or wrong ] to hit the cap harder. At least they always went off where as the coil spring models needed a nice new nipple to be reliable.
McShooty, find a good micro welder - that's something a good welder could fix. I never did dri-fire mine. I think that could be a problem the way the hammer is designed. If a cap isn't on a nipple, the top of the hammer is taking all the force when it hits the frame. Good luck. I sold all mine years ago - your post brought back memories. Thanks
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Old February 19, 2022, 12:42 PM   #12
bladesmith 1
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One other thing - Jack used Bill Large barrels. Bill was one of the original founders of the NMLRA and was known for his chunk gun shooting. He's gone now, but was a master gun barrel maker. I use to camp next to both of them along with Ted Cash and Turner Kirkland [ who started Dixie Gun Works ] at Friendship. There was many a great story told by them.
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Old May 12, 2022, 10:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Ted Cash and Turner Kirkland [ who started Dixie Gun Works ] at Friendship. There was many a great story told by them.
I’ll bet. There had to have been. A lot of history originating with those men.
When was that? (If you don’t mind my asking.)
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Old May 18, 2022, 01:08 PM   #14
bladesmith 1
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Sorry I didn't get back. I don't remember exactly, but I had my permanent camping spot next to the pistol shack, so long as I paid in advance each year for the spring and fall shoot. I can still remember a bi-centennial parade celebrating the founding of our nation, going right by my camping spot, so that was what - 1975. We'd shoot pistol all day and trap with a shotgun I made at night. Then a year or two latter they wanted my spot, and a couple of others, for day parking. That's when I got moved over on the first row through the gate up front next to all those greats. Bill Large was quite a character. The association was unhappy with him because he didn't believe inlines should be allowed to shoot down there. He claimed the NMLRA should only promote [ as it said inside the front cover of Muzzleblast ] hammer guns. He was one of the original founders of the association. I used one of his barrels in a fullstock Hawken flinter I made to tie for first place in the Silhouette Rifle match. We shot 50, 100, 150, 175, and 200 yards offhand. Back then there were about 1800 shooters and all six rows of " commercial row " was full. We'd shoot pistol all day, and trap or visit vendors till late at night.
Jack Lewis had a booth down there for years and years. He once made one of his pistols in 54 cal for a guy who lived out west. He wanted the same cal as his Elk hunting rifle. He broke is leg the week before the hunt but went anyways to be the camp cook. Well, everyone went out hunting he he stayed back by the camp fire playing with his pistol. He said a big 6x6 bull walked almost right in camp, so he shot it. The others came back that night and couldn't believe their eyes. I better shut up, could go on and on.
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Old May 19, 2022, 07:28 AM   #15
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Bladesmith: Thanks for the tales.
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