the Jennings .22 LR Semi-Auto

Discussion in '.22-Rimfire Forum' started by Rhuga, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Rhuga

    Rhuga Member

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    I have had one of these guns for years. It was cheap to buy then and is cheap to buy now.
    I have had 2 problems with it:
    1. The safety could be a lot better. It will go off safe just rubbing against the inside of your pocket. Even in a holster the safety button will catch something and move to "Fire".
    2. Rapid fire can not be accomplished due to the action not being able to extract the spent shell and feed in a new one. I have to fire mine with a small pause between trigger pulls to keep from jamming. I saw on YouTube where you can make a modification on the extractor and the front of the chamber that can help this a lot. But, that requires a gunsmith to accomplish and I wonder if the gun is worth it?
    While I love to fire the .22 LR caliber in different guns that I have. The Ruger MKlll. .22/.45 Target Pistol is the best. That was a great investment.
  2. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    We are one of the few professional shops that would touch it. We would charge somewhere around $40 and would specifically NOT guarantee function over time. The safety can be stiffened up also, but again no guarantee it will stay that way.

    The problem is the alloy the major parts are made from. Wears too easily.

    So, money spent with no guarantee the mods will last. It is always the customer's choice if the gun is worth it.
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Rhuga:

    While you may love your Jennings, it is what is referred to as a "Saturday Night Special". It is a throw away gun made cheap and sold that way. Bad guys would carry the gun, use it, and throw it away as it had no value to speak of. They are made of pot metal (a zinc alloy that melts are low temperatures and is soft) making them not very durable at all. In short, they are junk guns.

    They also fail by shooting the slide off the back of the frame at the shooter. I saw this happen to one of my fellow shooters about 20 years ago when the gun was brand new.

    The best place for this gun is the trash can. If that bothers you then disassemble it and throw out the parts at a rate of a few a week in the regular trash pick-up. Some cities' police will offer to take the gun and dispose of it correctly relieving you of any responsibility.

    Sorry, but it is what it is..... a unsafe, crummy pot metal gun.

    LDBennett
  4. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Stone Chimney i did a "hard face weld" for one way back when, if you've a fine enough stick unit and rod's its doable , then reform per spec and it should be right to then make the mod's and get a real exact finish , the one i did was for a gent who would rack up 500 rounds a month easy with it , nice guy , bank manager , been robbed once .. carried it everywhere

    from memory, if you can get new parts retreat the metal, so it gets a better hardness and do the checks for warpage etc as you do and its way better

    a magazine had a great write up on a few similar guns and had a jennings in it too , they retreated new parts and made them great little guns
  5. Airfoil

    Airfoil New Member

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    Central New York
    I had a jennings auto like yours. It's a good starter gun as long as you don't shoot yourself in the foot. I got rid of it and got a Berreta Minx. It has a tip up barrel and is real easy to load since you don't have to work the action. It has a nice walnut grip and is a small carry gun you don't have to worry about. Since then I have gone to double action revolvers. If someone grabs you from behind you only need one hand, it always works and you can carry it with the hammer on an empty cylinder.
  6. locknloadnow

    locknloadnow New Member

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    old thread but worth updating, because nowhere on the net does anyone cover all the issues with this gun in detail. My wife bought a J22 new about 25 years ago. We still have it. It's a good snake/tackle box/glovebox gun, but has feed/extract/eject issues, and also slam fire/chain fire issues, as the slide breech bolt face wears.

    1. the barrel chamber opening protrudes from the barrel frame collar, this eventually pounds into the slide breech face, causing loss of headspace. The gun will start to chain fire i.e. 2-3 shots from one trigger pull, or slam fire i.e. fire a round when it's chambered hard from a fresh full clip. The gun will fire from the bolt face hitting the case head, without using the firing pin. Like hitting a 22 bullet case head with a flat hammer, eventually it may go off anyway. The fix is, file down the chamber face flush with the frame collar, to restore headspace.

    2. as the slide is alumi-zinc alloy and relatively soft, as it gets pounded in from use, the slide closes too far FORWARD on the frame, causing the extractor claw to ride up on the barrel collar, and move out to the right side. Then the claw is not engaging the cartridge case rim. The fix is, using a small file, file the groove in the right side of the barrel further forward on the barrel and frame, so the extractor can grab the case head upon closing the slide. The extractor should not move outward to the left at all, when a round is chambered. If it does, file the groove more.

    3. As the slide wears, it keeps slamming into the barrel/frame upon closing over time, the slide bends upward at the ejection port, and to the right- the ejection port is the weak point, being it's cut out. The left side is a solid rail, so it is stronger. What this does is, cause the slide to progressively bend to the right and upwards, at the snout. It can only go so far before contacting the barrel, but on a heavily worn J22, you can see air space between the right side of the frame and the slide, and it's bulged there. This leads to:

    4. The firing pin channel on the bottom of the slide, also bends to the right, with the rest of the slide- this causes the channel to rub on the inside upper feed lips of the clip, spreading them apart with time. You can tell a worn slide by looking underneath it, the firing pin channel will have a slight curve to one side as it approaches the bolt face area. This spreads the clip rails apart wider, causing the shells to pop up too high while feeding. Eventually the rounds stick up so high when trying to feed, the shell misses the chamber opening, and the front nose of the cartridge (the bullet nose) hits above the chamber, jamming the gun. This is an additional problem, to the extractor not gripping the cartridge, so even if you fix the extractor problem, it still may not feed, until you close up the clip rails. If you close them up too tight, they will grab the firing pin channel in the slide, and be hard to work the slide. So just close them up a little bit, and tap the feed lips down slightly, so the cartridges don't climb too high and miss the chamber.

    5. The main large slide spring, is probably too strong for the average 22 LR standard velocity round. I have not experimented yet, but am going to progressively cut coils from the spring, until standard velocity rounds will fire and eject without jamming. A spring that is too strong, will not allow a std. velocity round to fully work the slide and eject the spent shell, as the force of the std. vel. round isn't enough to fully expose the ejector blade. It all has to work together.

    The guns can be serviced per above, and used long term. The fix is, keep an extra slide or 2, and an extra clip or 2. When a slide becomes so worn it can no longer be tweaked, change the slide and start over again.

    by what I can read and glean on the clips, the plastic replacement clips feed much better than the metal clips- that's because plastic won't bend and stay there like metal, and is smoother than metal with less friction. If you can get a plastic clip, buy one.

    soft potmetal guns typically develop problems like this, the 1900 era little pocket pistols also had bent frames, etc. that would give over time and cause the guns not to function.

    If someone made a mild steel slide for a J22 it would last forever. Let me just add, I'm not a cheap SOB that won't buy a good firearm, I have rifles and pistols worth $2000 and up. I see the Jennings as a challenge as to how much life can be squeezed from such a cheap pistol. They are cheap fun, and if you are the tinkering type with some mechanical aptitude, they are easy to fix and work on. Just be careful, because a J22 that is worn, can be a dangerous firearm. Never carry one with a shell in the chamber.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  7. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    There are other threads on this subject here at TFF.

    One link: http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=66411&highlight=jennings j-22

    I cannot copy the others without losing this reply.

    The bottom line is that these pistols were scaled up (by Bruce Jennings) to handle .22 LR length cartridges. They are mechanically more sophisticated copies of the Armi Galesi from Italy. The Galesi traces its ancestry back to the German Walther single action pocket pistols, as do several other Italian and French pocket pistols.

    Unfortunately, the quality of materials, quality control, and typical workmanship on these Jennings family pistols is often way below their Italian parents, and often not good enough to cycle anything like what could be called reliably even new out of the box, or after a reasonable break in period.

    While they are not as bad as their detractors often claim, I do not advise their purchase or sale.

    Since the Brandon Maxfield lawsuit verdict of 2003 (that was, in part, about $5,000,000.00 against the gunshop that only sold the Jennings Group made pistol that was involved) I will not transfer ownership of any Jennings Group product nor will I do any work on one. Competent product liability lawyers charge about $500.00 per hour and do not take a case for less than $5,000.00 up front. I have better things to do with my money than pay lawyers.
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