what was the first reliable, mass production semi-auto


June 3, 2003, 12:12 PM
I've been wondering this. The oldest semi-auto I have seen is a Colt 1903 Hammerless .32. Who can learn me something here?

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June 3, 2003, 12:15 PM
I would presume it was the Mauser C-96 Broomhandle realeased in 1896, followed by the Luger. And yes, both are reliable if you use FMJ ammo. I own and shoot both regularly and would use the Luger as a carry piece if needed.

June 3, 2003, 12:17 PM
Concur. The Mauser is usually touted as the first successful production autopistol, and it is reliable.

June 3, 2003, 12:35 PM
Browning made a 32 ACP sold by FN that sold more than a million units. Believe it was Model 1900. Colt's also produced a 1900 Model 38 ACP with dual parallel links. This became the father of the venerable Colt/Browning 45 Automatic Colt Pistol.

June 3, 2003, 05:36 PM
the first successful reliable production was indeed the mauser c-96 chambered, i believe in 7.62mm

June 4, 2003, 05:19 PM
when this question was posted I instantly thought of a French Semi auto ... I cant remember the name. It was used in a John Wayne movie. The name of the movie also escapes me ... He is a father of two grown men and a girl. The girls son has been kidnapped .... One of the sons is home from school in England and rides a motorcycle, carries the French pistol .....

Big Jake ..... youngest son is played by Robert Mitchums son.

Anyway .. does anyone know the name of that piece?

June 4, 2003, 05:26 PM
i think it was the bergman (or somthing like that). it was like a mauser c-96 but didn't have the squared off mag housing...i'm not sure it was ever mass produced

June 6, 2003, 05:24 AM
Axeman, I believe the pistol in "Big Jake" was a Bergmann no. 3 pistol, at least from what I remember of the movie.

June 6, 2003, 01:03 PM
big jake was actually a very good movie ad was full of classic western character actors . maureen o'harra (sp?) was the wife/mother. the younger son, sniper and MC rider was mitchum's son and the older boy was wayne's son.

the leading "bad guy" was richard boone who did the movie on a handshake/telephone call...they never discussed salary. after the movie was completed, he got a call from the rolls-royce dealer asking him to come down..."mr wayne said you should have whatever you'd like", very classy guys

June 7, 2003, 11:05 AM
Bergman .... doesnt sound french but either does surrender. (hahahahaha I kill myself)

Thanks for the info. I actually really like the movie, it is not the Duke best work (The Shootist) but it is a good western/modern piece.

Here is a link to a Bergman No 5 picture. German manufacturer.


Jim K
June 8, 2003, 12:14 AM
A bit hard to tell, as there was a lot going on in firearms and ammunition design in that era. But I think the first successful auto pistol in terms of actual manufacture and sale (not experimental or test models) was the Borchardt, which was patented in 1893 and was in production at least two years before the Mauser C96.

The earliest auto pistols I can find in the books date to 1892. These are the Kromar, the Schwarzlose, and the Schoenberger-Laumann. The Kromar and Schoenberger-Laumann, along with the Salvator-Dormus of 1894 were entered in Austrian trials in 1894; none were found acceptable. Mannlicher and Bergman were also early pioneers (though the Bergmann No. 5 pictured above dates to 1897). Browning's first pistol was gas operated and dates to 1895, although it was not patented until 1897, when Browning patented a group of pistols including a rotating barrel design, the blowback that became the FN Model 1900, and the double link locking system that evolved into the Model 1911.


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