This is the plastic gripped Limit air pistol. If you’ve read my previous article on the plastic gripped “deluxe” Briton, you’ll have realised that this one appears to be identical. You’re not wrong!
Both the deluxe Briton and the plastic gripped Limit are identical in every way except for the colour of the plastic grips and the brand mark just ahead of the rear sight where it also states “Made in England”. This pistol doesn’t have the brass washers that have been seen on the deluxe Briton. However, it is possible that they were lost as you will come to understand as you read on. Of course, it’s also possible that the Limit never had brass washers at all.
When I first received this air pistol I noted that the grips felt as though there was a spring between them. They would easily move out of position. Something wasn’t right with them. I decided to take the pistol apart and investigate. Sure enough, there were two foam pads separating the grips. There was no way that these foam pads were original parts!
As I also had the “deluxe” Briton in my collection, I decided to compare the two pistols. It became quite apparent that there were a few parts missing from the Limit. It was immediately obvious that the grip spacer was missing along with the cylindrical spacer that prevents the frame from collapsing when the lower grip screw is tightened. Using the parts from the “deluxe” Briton, I had duplicates made in order to return the Limit air pistol to its original condition.
The other point of note was that the grips appeared to have been painted black at some stage. No doubt someone didn’t like the brown appearance of the original grips. I removed the remnants of the black paint using a brass-wired brush.
I further stripped the pistol down removing the mainspring and barrel and realised that the piston was a Diana Mod2 piston. It would appear that at some point in the life of this air pistol, it had been stripped down probably to replace a broken mainspring or the piston seal. Perhaps whilst replacements were sought, it had been stored away and forgotten about inevitably leading to parts being lost.
The photo below shows the Diana style piston head made from washers. Simple but effective. I have since replaced it with a barrel and piston assembly, along with the muzzle nut, from a tin-plate Briton returning the pistol to its original condition.
This particular example is blued. However, John Griffiths of the Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols owns a black lacquered example which he believes, although he can’t be 100% certain, that it is the original finish. Until further examples finished in black lacquer are found, we may never know if the pistol was available in both finishes.
I think it is safe to suggest that whoever made the deluxe Briton most likely also manufactured this air pistol. It’s unlikely that two different manufacturers would produce near-identical air pistols.
However, it isn’t known who retailed the Limit brand of air pistols. It has been suggested in the Encylopedia of Spring Air Pistols that it might have been Lincoln Jeffries & Co. as they had used the “Limit” trade name for air rifles and pellets. However, Lincoln Jeffries & Co. stopped making airguns in 1935. We know that the deluxe Briton and perhaps the deluxe Limit was manufactured or sold up into the 1950s. Therefore, this discounts Lincoln Jeffries & Co. as the manufacturer or retailer of the deluxe Limit air pistol.
There are always more mysteries and questions to be solved it seems!
Until next time, happy shooting!