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the rare gun collection of the late firearms designer Karl R. Lewis

top of page | home page | biography of Karl R. Lewis | words from his son | contact info
Browning designs | Colt designs | Dan Wesson designs | whole collection

February 1, 2016

The Whole Collection

This page shows all the guns in the entire collection, with information about each, providing a better overall look at the collection.

The collection as a whole also includes a great deal of supporting documentation and reference material which bear witness to the rarity and historical importance of these guns.

Mr. Lewis' story is known among his family and his few remaining former colleagues, but it is our desire that his rightful place in the history of firearms design be recognized and remembered.

If you want more information about a gun you own, please look here.

All other inquiries should be directed to the Webmaster, William E. Miller at

See the Blue Book of Gun Values Online
now download free & low-cost info about your gun from the Blue Book
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this page shows the whole collection
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revolver with interchangeable barrels


The revolver with the interchangeable barrels was Mr. Lewis' first prototype. He spent 6 months making it by hand at home on the kitchen table in Miami, FL. He had a hand drill, two files and a hack saw. He patented it in 1952.

I have the original patents of declarations. It took him 6 months to make by hand. It was the first interchangeable barrel revolver made in history and documented.

Val and Bruce Browning of John M. Browning, shot this revolver and liked the concept. Six years later after they had met Mr. Lewis they decided to go into business with him.

Value of revolver is unknown.

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.22 Caliber Prototype


This revolver has no cylinder and has a plastic window to see the action as it functions in movement. This revolver has a powder one piece frame. It has no exposed hammer with it and has 9 moving parts. A 22 cal. with a 4" barrel. This revolver is the one that is on the left in the photograph. Cost unknown.

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.38 cal. and .357 cal. Browning prototypes
(hammerless and with hammer - documents in background are the relevant patents)





These revolvers are prototypes designed and patented by Karl R. Lewis while he was employed by Browning in Ogden, Utah. He made them at a gun shop called Bellmore Johnson Tool Company in Hamden, Conn. September 3, 1958. This same company made the famous Whitney Pistol. These revolvers were patented in 1952 in Miami, Florida under Karl R. Lewis.

At the time these guns were made, Mr. Lewis and Browning were contemplating putting these guns on the market. Browning decided not to venture into making revolvers at that time and stay with manufacturing rifles.

Mr. Lewis left Browning in 1962 after many years of designing for them. I have all the paperwork concerning these guns and Mr. Lewis' log books from the time. These guns were never exhibited anywhere to my knowledge.

It cost $45,000 for manufacturing cost not including lawyer and patent costs for these two revolvers. I have all the documents to prove this along with letters from Browning concerning these revolvers.

Mr. Lewis designed the lever rifle known as the BLR while he was at Browning. The patents and blueprints are in his name and I have photos of the BLR that he photographed while he was testing it for safety against Savage, Remington, Winchesters, Marlins and Sako. The rest of the rifles blew up and proved to be very dangerous. The BLR wouldn't blow up and it pushed the clip out the bottom. The hunter would go home safe.

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powder frame 10-shot 22-cal. revolvers




Both of these revolvers are of a one piece cast frame construction with shroud included. The barrel is 4" long. It is 8" long overall with a 5 1/2" height. It weighs 1 lb. 6 oz. and has a cast aluminum alloy frame with steel barrel liner and steel cylinder holding 10 shots. The cylinder turns to the left, and swings out to the left to reload. It has simultaneous ejection by knurled end push rod, which is housed in a slot in the frame when the cylinder is closed. The gun will use either short, long or long rifle rimfire .22 cartridges.

The rear sight is of Partridge type, with 1/8" wide rear notch, and is adjustable for elevation and windage by clicks. The front sight is a ramp mounted thick blade integral with the barrel. The Rifling has six narrow lands and wide grooves, right handed. The stock is of Walnut, fits the hand well, and gives a pleasant grip. The gun has nice flowing lines giving a pleasing appearance.

The gun has an outside hammer of unusual design with downward projecting hammer spur lying close to the frame and hardly projecting to the rear at all. The hammer can't be cocked by hand, so that the only use of the hammer is to show when the gun is cocked and to permit decocking without firing by using the thumb on the hammer spur to let the hammer down as the trigger is pulled.

The gun has several unusual features as follows:

  • serrated change lever on the left side of the frame, permitting the gun to be set for either single or double action operation.

  • unique single action, which will be described in detail later

  • screwdriver adjustment of the trigger pull to any desired figure (from 7 oz. to 7 lbs.) by a nylon screw in the bottom of the grip

This gun has never been put on the market. The inventor was Karl R. Lewis and a patent was granted to him on this model. The test fire report was outstanding having been fired 25,000 times by Val and Bruce Browning. With these test results, which I have, this revolver can be put in a box and manufactured for approximately $40.00. This would be an opportunity for the right person to put into production and make a great deal of money.

I have all the papers, patents, and outstanding test results. It is the fastest, most accurate double-action revolver ever invented. Remember that it only weighs 22 oz. and has 4 interchangeable grips. One to suit everyone.

The Prototype models cost $94,000 to produce and patent. One of the revolvers is ready to shoot and one is in pieces, to show the working process and has 3 spare handgun grips. Karl R. Lewis, who has the most patents in the gun field for one person, designed this revolver. Many of the guns on the market today were designed by Mr. Lewis. This was another one of his brilliant designs.

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.357 6-shot interchangeable barrel revolver


This model is a prototype with interchangeable barrels and cylinders. It has two barrels and two bore sleeves, single shot and double action lever all in one. It is constructed of aluminum and steel and has no exposed hammer.

It has three barrel lengths - 4", 6", and 8", interchangeable with steel sleeve bore. It has an adjustable 7 lb. to 7-oz. trigger along with adjustable sights, double or single-action and has 9 moving parts.

This model is a prototype designed and patented by Karl R. Lewis in 1952.

  • Barrels and cylinders.

  • Shroud Frame and cylinders construction.

  • Cylinder Crane.

  • Firing Mechanism with adjustable trigger pull.

  • Mr. Lewis took out of his pocket approximately $50,000 to build the revolver that you see in this photograph.

This is an amazing handgun within .003" (three thousands) clearance. A piece of art work.

I have the history of Karl Lewis and Dan Wesson when Mr. Lewis signed a contract dated April 5, 1968. This is the original.

When they went into business together, Mr. Wesson sent a letter to Mr. Lewis stating. "Go, man, go. Get the prototype ready to take to the NRA Gun Show in Dallas, TX" which was in 1968. This gun was Mr. Lewis' invention and patent.

Mr. Lewis used his basic frame design from the Mark III Trooper (that he invented while at Colts), added some trade secrets and some unique inventions such as the Interchangeable barrel (he patented in 1952) and other inventions like a one piece interchangeable grip, adjustable back site, double and single action spur, cylinder crane and adjustable trigger pull.

There were a total of 12 inventions in this revolver patented by Mr. Lewis. Then Mr. Lewis' gun was taken to Dallas, TX by Dan Wesson. In 2 days he received orders for 11,000 revolvers.

This gun was featured in Gun Digest- Feb. 1969, Guns- June 1970, Field & Stream- Jan. 1970 and Shooting Times- May 1971 and Feb. 1975.

I also have newspaper articles dated in the 60's and 70's concerning the Dan Wesson revolver as well as letters, documents, contracts, patents, diaries and approximately 60 lbs. of blueprints of various gun inventions that Mr. Lewis invented over 34 years in the gun world.

I also have 17 unopened letters (self-mailed by Mr. Lewis) detailing his inventions dating back to 1952.

This is untold and unknown history. This is the only collection of its kind in the world. A collectors dream.

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grenade launcher (I have the non-functional core ONLY, with no other parts to it)


Karl R. Lewis was also employed by Colt's in Hartford, Conn.

When he left Browning in 1962-63, Colts asked him could he design a grenade launcher that could be used in Vietnam. The government needed something to help the boys win the war.

Mr. Lewis went into hibernation and in 15 days had designed and invented a grenade launcher that would mount under the AR-15 and M-16. He went into competition against Ford Motor Company and Springfield Armory of Design.

The government had a group of people, their best weapon engineers called The Think Tank Team, which Mr. Lewis also beat in the test trial competition in Fort Benning, Georgia. This was designed in 1966.

Mr. Lewis holds 2 patents on this invention. I have the patents. The government bought 50,000 of these and sent them to Vietnam.

Pertaining to the grenade launcher I have the following items:

  • 40mm launcher core (non-functional core ONLY, with no other parts)

  • bonus check from Colts

  • letter of congratulation from Colts

  • news articles about the launcher

  • government award plaque

  • two patents in Mr. Lewis' name

  • one 40mm dummy load

  • letter from Mr. Lewis explaining its versatility in the hands of one soldier

He also designed the Mark III. I have the patent on this and a letter from Colts stating that he has revolutionized the revolver world. He is the only man that has done anything for Colts since Samuel Colt in the last 100 years. Soon after came the Colt Trooper and Python.

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Wesson with interchangeable barrel


This is not a prototype. This is an original Dan Wesson from Monson, Mass. the company that Karl Lewis established with Dan Wesson in a remodeled schoolhouse. This revolver is 31yrs old. It has the original box, 2 barrels, 2 sleeves, 2 grips, 1 barrel wrench, 1 belt buckle and the original manual with Mr. Lewis' business card to the left of the picture and his Colt Engineering business card in the middle of the picture. The revolver is in 95% condition. Even though the serial number is high, the gun shoots excellent and is complete. A collectors item.

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photos of the finished "Pistol Pack"
(click photo for full-size)

(click photo for full-size)

(click photo for full-size)

The "Pistol Pack" is the finished product, not a prototype. It is over 30 years old, and has never been fired. It includes all accessories and paperwork and is shown with Mr. Lewis' business card.

This is a model 15-2V series.

38/357 mag., interchangeable barrel, bright blue finish, bull barrel vented. With it are 3 grips, 2 wood, and 1 rubber. Also a Dan Wesson sew on patch and belt buckle, package of feeler gauges, package of interchangeable colored front sight blades, instruction manual, barrel changing wrench, and Wesson warranty card and information booklet.

This revolver is known as the 15-2vh series target revolver. It comes with 2 1/2" barrel and sleeve and 4" and 6" and 8". It comes in a fiberglass brown carrying case lined with green foam rubber. To the best of my knowledge it has never been fired. It is in mint condition and again, over 30 years old. It also has Karl Lewis' business card in it.

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target pistol


This gun has a one of a kind horizontal trigger that is a set trigger and has a button for the trigger. It fires a 1/10th of a gram pull for superior accuracy.

It is 14" overall in length and 6 1/2" high. It has a 10x34 scope mounted with block mounts. This is a single shot. It has no patent on it that I know of. The firing mechanism could be adapted to a rifle for competition as well as a pistol.

I don't know anything about its history. It was Karl Lewis' personal toy. I don't know what it cost to make it. I would estimate it at $50,000 or more. This would be a money making opportunity for someone who wants to venture into the gun world.

this page shows the whole collection
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the collection
(click top photo for full size - very large)


The bottom photograph isn't complete. If you notice, the grenade launcher isn't there nor is the Dan Wesson Pistol Pack. If you look close you will see that the top of the 14" single shot 22 with the scope is cut in half. I do ask for forgiveness for I am not a true photographer.

Please contact me after you have studied the photos and information. Remember that this is the only collection like this in the world. It will make someone a proud owner of American gun history.

See the Blue Book of Gun Values Online
now download free & low-cost info about your gun from the Blue Book

microwave oven controller and display repairs nationwide


top of page | home page | biography of Karl R. Lewis | words from his son | contact info
Browning designs | Colt designs | Dan Wesson designs | whole collection

Contact Information

If you want more information about a gun you own, please look here.

All other inquiries should be directed to the Webmaster, William E. Miller at

See the Blue Book of Gun Values Online
now download free & low-cost info about your gun from the Blue Book

Web site text & content is 2001- 2016+ by John Lewis & William E. Miller - world rights reserved

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