Sunday, September 27, 2009
If you ever needed information regarding a firearms made in or for Hungary this could well be the site for you to visit.
I'll have to do a bit more checking but it seem my Mosin Nagant, the one I called a M44 because it was sold to me as such, may indeed be the Model 48 also known as the 48 Minta or 48M in Hungary. The Hungarian 48M is a well made copy of the Soviet M44 and was made under license purchased from the Soviet Union by Hungary after pressure from the Warsau Pact for Hungary to do so. See: http://www.hungariae.com/Mosi44.htm. It simply amazes me that all this stuff can be found at my finger tips within seconds or minutes at most in the virtual library known as the Internet. It will never compare to a real library what with a real masonry building, wood chairs and desks (yes I like old fashioned libraries), bound paper pages (books and periodicals) and demure (yes that is a bit of a joke) yet hot (no that is not a joke at all - she has a lucky husband) librarians (see: http://thebredafallacy.blogspot.com/) but at least I can enjoy a wee bit of Irish Whiskey while browsing sites on the Internet at home (and no I am not enjoying any spirits right now - way too early even for me).
All the best,
One look at this pistol and you realize immediately, that is if you know anything about pistols, that it looks unusual - to say the least. (To take more than one look visit the links above, some have several photos.) You may be wondering about some features of this pistols such as why is there a lanyard loop on the bottom of the magazine. Well, if you go to the above link, or to this one: http://www.sunblest.net/gun/Stey12.htm, or even to this one: http://randyrick.us/AustrianFirearms/pm1912.htm you will learn something about this pistol and will realize that is not the magazine to which the lanyard loop is attached. The loop is actually attached to the bottom outside area of the magazine well, the magazine being internal. In fact the pistol is loaded using something that amounts to a stripper clip. While I suppose that saved lots of money because stripper clips are much less expensive than magazines to produce or purchase, I imagine that it could make this pistol a nightmare to clear in the case of a jam due to the internal magazine malfunctioning.
This pistol was reportedly chambered in 9x23mm Steyr with some chambered in 9x19mm. It was a recoil operated semi-automatic pistol, 8 1/2 inches long, with about a 5 inch barrel, had an external hammer, was fed from internal 8 round magazine (though some had an extended magazine), and it was produced from around 1912 through 1920.
I knew nothing about this pistol until this morning when I searched the net for a pistol to write up on my blog. When I saw it I immediately thought (as mentioned above) that it was pretty ugly looking, that it was pretty large looking, that it was blued steel and wood (I was starting to like it regardless of its ugly appearance) and that it must have been a strong pistol. According to this site: http://www.sunblest.net/gun/Stey12.htm, it was indeed a strong pistol. In fact the author of that site says this about it: "The Steyr pistol was extremely reliable and robust, deserving greater recognition than it received. As a pistol design, it must have been one of the strongest ever made. " One of the reasons it was built to be strong was because of the ammunition it was designed to fire. Even though it was only a 9MM round it was a hot one for the day. The round it shot, the 9x23 Steyr developed 1,115 fps at the muzzle. Yeah I know not earth shattering by today's standards but right up there with today's 9mm Luger ammo velocities and using steel made back then as opposed to more modern steel.
These pistols saw action during the big one - the war to end all wars - WWI. In all about 300,000 of them were produced. I would love to have one of them that was manufactured in 9mm Luger. That way I could easily find ammo for it. It seems there is 9x23 Steyr available for it, but my bet is that ammo would be cost prohibitive. A quick check of the net proves me correct, that is if I actually found the right ammo. I see that Midway USA offers Fiocchi brand 9mm Steyr ammunition. There are 50 rounds per box and a box retails for $40.99 (probably plus shipping). That is expensive 9mm ammo compared to 9mm Parabellum (9mm Luger). Reloading data is available but I will not go into that nor give links. You can find them yourselves and thus be solely responsible for blowing yourself up should you screw up handloading for this pistol. Of course if I found one in 9mm Parabellum I would have to make certain it was original manufacture and not one later refitted to that caliber for use by the Germans during the other big one - WWII.
There seem to be many variants of this pistol based upon for whom they were manufactured. First of all this was essentially manufactured for military use but there were some made for commercial distribution though not many. Secondly they were manufactured for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but many were also manufactured under contract for places like Romania, Bavaria, and Chile and of course there were those few also manufactured with the extended magazine (16 rounds). There were a number of accessories manufactured for this pistol to include its stripper clips (unknown if they are require din order to load the pistol or if they simply facilitate loading), the leather gear, and a wooden rifle type stock.
Perhaps you will someday find yourself in possession of one of these - if so, do yourself a favor and have it checked out by a competent gunsmith who is at least familiar with older military pistols - safety comes first at all times when shooting. It may not look all that pretty but it surely is a fascinating pistol with an interesting history, and it can be had at what seems a fairly reasonable price at that.