“Sweet sister Sadie, where the hell did you get that?” That’s the lined uttered by Horace King when he first spots Harry Callahan’s Auto Mag in the 1983 movie “Sudden Impact.” I must say I’ve been asking myself the same question! I certainly did not expect to ever own one of these pistols—I’ve never even seen one for sale, but when I saw this listed for sale online a couple of weeks ago I was intrigued—it was not cheap, but I did some quick math about what I could sell to come up with the funds, and after some quick research on the pistol I made the leap! I was initially apprehensive—I did not know a whole lot about the pistol but did read that early owners sometimes were fond of overly powerful loads that could damage the pistol. The seller, though, was super helpful and sent lots of pictures to ease my concerns, and when it showed up this week it looked even better in person. You could write a book about the history of the Auto Mag—literally, since there have been books written about it, so I’ll just give a quick summary. The pistol’s design dates from the late 1960s, when Harry Sanford and Max Gera had the idea to develop a semi-automatic handgun chambered for a round equivalent to the .44 Magnum, using a round based on a cut-down .308 Winchester case, although Gera left the company before the pistol went into production in 1971. The original company went into bankruptcy a year later and over the next 10 years the pistol went under ten more different names before finally ending production in 1982. Mine’s marked as a “High Standard” Model 180 made by TDE, which stands for Trust Deed Estates, one of the other operating companies. There’s a new effort underway to resurrect the Auto Mag with some design improvement—it seems to be progressing pretty well (better than the abortive efforts to bring the Bren Ten back!) although pricing announced in 2018 was $3500US, or $4600 Cdn. OK—enough history, now onto the pistol itself. It’s big—no question, but more manageable than the Desert Eagle, with a grip that’s a bit smaller and a weight that’s about a half pound less. I’ve got small hands and have no problem with the trigger reach. I’ve got no snap caps or fired rounds so I’m reluctant to try the trigger pull—a replacement firing pin would be likely almost impossible to find. It’s is a fairly unique design—a recoil-operated action that uses a rotating bolt for lockup using dual recoil springs (like the Desert Eagle, although the Auto Mag has two separate recoil rods instead of the single unit with the Desert Eagle). Here’s a (slightly blurry) picture of the bolt. This is the bolt head, looking not night and day different from an AR15 bolt. The larger lug on the bolt is impinged on by the “accelerator” to give a boost to the bolt when its cycling. You can see the accelerator on the underside of the barrel just in front of the chamber area. Here’s a better look at it— it’s the piece with the curved left side. The complete upper—barrel and all—moves back a small amount under recoil, and the accelerator impacts the frame and rotates backwards and the top part of the accelerator contacts the bolt lug and gives it a boost. Here you can see the dual recoil rods underneath the barrel. The trigger is grooved and adjustable for overtravel, although I’ll be leaving it as is! The recoil rods thread into heli-coils in the cocking piece, and the recesses in cocking piece allow it to interface with lugs at the rear of the bolt: The front sight is plain stainless steel machined into the rib. The rear sight is black and serrated, and adjustable for windage and elevation: There is some factory ammunition available in the States but I couldn't find any in Canada so I'm taking this opportunity to finally get into reloading—luckily enough a set of RCBS dies and some Starline cases came with the pistol. I've got everything I need except powder which is slowly making its way from Ontario. I'll update the thread once I've had a chance to take it out.