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Old August 9, 2013, 07:25 PM   #1
barnbwt
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Steyr 1912 (Hahn)

I bought one of these guys online a couple days ago, just waiting on it to arrive at this point. They are neat old stripper-clip fed guns that saw service in WWI and in lesser police roles during WWII. They are recoil operated locked breech guns in 9mm Steyr, a chambering extremely close to 9mm Largo. Their action employees a rotating barrel, in the vein of the Beretta PX4. Aside from a safety mechanism that isn't the world's most durable (not like I'd be using it much at the range anyway), they look to be very well designed and built sidearms.


Stock Photo

Alongside the other clip fed beast, the C96 Mauser

Photo from the actual listing. The pistol comes with a nice box, as well as custom or aftermarket wood grip scales. I personally think they suit the pistol better than the checkered originals. This one is an Austrian Army issue model, tastefully import stamped, still in 9mm Steyr.

Contrary to what I was expecting, there actually appears to be a modicum of aftermarket support for these guns (a modicum is a very small amount ). An Austrian company makes repro barrels in 9mm Para as well as Steyr, and also extended barrel versions.

Which got me thinking; has anyone here heard of one being rechambered to 7.62x25 with either a new barrel or by sleeving? Most 7.62 and 9mm Largo pistols are capable of being converted to each other's ammunition, I'm curious if the same is true for the very similar Steyr. 7.62x25 is spec'd as .040 longer than 9mm Steyr, but I suspect that there is some extra room in the magwell, and that some tok is shorter than others. Seems like a great alternative to the too-rare-and-expensive-to-shoot broomhandle

TCB
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Old August 23, 2013, 05:42 PM   #2
barnbwt
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Well, it finally came home, today



The seller managed to find two clips for it and generously sent those as well (a 5$ value or so). Condition is better than the CZ52 I bought, except for the barrel interior, which is as crusty as a juggler but still has decent rifling. All other metal is very flat and smooth, aside from very scattered and faint pitting, and hairline scratches. I didn't know stainless existed back then, but there are several pieces like the mag follower that actually look polished.

I can tell the grips are fatter than the original scales would have been, adding a good .25" to the width, which I find comfortable for a magwell as long as this. The screw head has started a crack in the bottom of the grip where the wood is thin which I can easily repair. The slide release/bullet fountain button is tiny and quite hard to actuate; as with many service pistols, it would be faster to just slingshot the slide after loading (safer for both your thumbs, too). The manual safety/slide latch gets a lot of bad rep for wearing easily, but mine appears to function, and isn't difficult to switch. It switches up for safe and is really far back, so it's easier for your weak hand to move it to safe, but a thumb can swipe it down quickly to fire. The slide is fairly hard to draw back, probably almost as tough as my CZ52 with the 20lb Wolff spring in it, but the giant knobs on the rear make it easier to get a grip than the CZ.

The trigger is light and smooth, with a good deal of first stage takeup before a squishy but short release. Really light --around 3-4lbs. I'm convinced the sear is worn down, since the barrel indicates this was not a match shooter's gun . However, jostling the pistol, banging on the hammer, racking/releasing the slide, and the like would not dislodge it, so I will trust it to not run away for now. I do notice occasional hammer follow on manual racking, especially if done slow, in which I can tell the sear only ~1/2 engages --the hammer stays back, but isn't rotated down quite far enough to clear the slide, and is banged loose by it when the slide is released (it I try to ride the slide forward, it will actually block the slide's motion). My hope is that the energetic operation of the slide by recoil will avoid this scenario most times. The hammer is pretty small, too, with a short pivot and horn that makes it tough to manually cock/drop, which I think stands out from other guns of the day whose hammers looked more at home on revolvers. It definitely smacks pretty good, though.

Takedown is an absolute pain, though simple. The spring loaded push pin at the front must've ripped the thumbnails off countless Austrian troops. I did get it out, though, for a field strip. All parts are smooth non-corroded metal, the rotary cams very slick. Other than being a machining/tooling nightmare, the design is quite simple and clever. Relative motion of the frame cams the barrel to rotate, in so doing it pulls away from the breechface a hair for very strong initial extraction, after which the slide separates and ejects the casing. There are a total of three lugs that hold the barrel back, not counting the camming surface which is set at a steep angle to the bore, for a total bearing surface that has got to be twice that of my CZ52's rollers, and probably more than a 1911's. The gun feels lighter and is much more balanced than the CZ, the slide side panels are only 2mm or so thick. The moulded/machined cam surfaces are about 3/32" tall.

Now the bad news (not really); 7.62x25 Tokarev will not quite fit . It fits the clips perfectly, but is about .5mm too long to get through the slide opening, and about 1-1.5mm too long for the magwell (rake angle). Interestingly, one round will sit comfortably below the slide in the feed ramp, and will strip/feed like it was made to. I'll have to look around and see if shorter bullets exist in 308 caliber (the tok's round nose sticks out really far) because this gun is just screaming to be in that caliber (I can hear it even now...)

The box is in fairly good condition, considering what its age must be. There's one joint that's coming unglued (with an old Elmer's glue repair) that I can hit with some Titebond III to cure for the rest of time. It's made of something like cherry, I think, and has a light satin varnish. The felt interior is a DIY job, and is starting to come up at the edges where the contact-adhesive is deteriorating. The felt is in pretty good shape, and its contrast in workmanship compared to the rest leads me to believe it may be a recent addition (and the box was originally unlined). I know cloth is a bad thing to store guns on, but it obviously hasn't hurt this one recently. There is a clever 8x3 + 1 holes drilled for loose rounds, but the pattern looks cool, and they do hold 9mm/tokarev snugly. The block is short enough that a loaded clip can sit atop it with the lid shut. The brass hinges/latches are tarnished but in working condition. The box really adds to the class of the pistol, the LGS guys were pretty impressed with the whole package. It's kinda making me want to look into making functional "shadow boxes" for my other old guns. Line it with the colors/flag of the nation, and etch or burn an insignia on the interior/exterior --instant cool.

If I'm not distracted by a box-building kick by this, I'll be looking into reaming out the barrel and having it sleeved for Tokarev (if shorter OAL bullets exist). That or getting a replacement barrel. The round is cooler, and the thicker sleeve would make me feel better, too (the barrel is pretty thin for a 9mm as is --about as thin as my CZ52 9mm conversion barrel). I would test this guy out this weekend, but there is no ammo to be had, hence the 7.62x25 in the clips . I'll wait for someone to sell both ammo and clips online and pick up some of each

TCB

PS-the box makes it really easy to take a nice picture of the gun, btw
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File Type: jpg P8210077.jpg (142.9 KB, 5 views)
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:42 PM   #3
James K
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I am not sure what the bottle necked rounds in the clip are, but they are not for that gun unless it has been altered.

There are barrels available for 9mm Parabellum and the gun is convertible just by changing barrels (the Germans converted tens of thousands in the WWII era, and marked them "08").

Someone called it "the other 1911" and it was a very durable and reliable pistol, used by the Austrians and Germans through WWII, though in a secondary role in the latter conflict.

A recent article on them repeated the old saw that the barrel was locked by the torque of the bullet engaging the lands; nonsense. The barrel is mechanicaly locked to the slide until the bullet leaves the barrel, just like any other locked breech recoil-operated pistol.

Jim
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:10 PM   #4
barnbwt
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Not to worry...

Quote:
I'll be looking into reaming out the barrel and having it sleeved for Tokarev (if shorter OAL bullets exist). That or getting a replacement barrel. The round is cooler, and the thicker sleeve would make me feel better, too (the barrel is pretty thin for a 9mm as is --about as thin as my CZ52 9mm conversion barrel). I would test this guy out this weekend, but there is no ammo to be had, hence the 7.62x25 in the clips. I'll wait for someone to sell both ammo and clips online and pick up some of each
I like tokarev, I'm investing heavily in it through several different platforms, and I'd love to add another to the stable if it isn't a major hassle or Bubba-mod. The latter is mostly contingent on finding ammo with a short enough AOL (I think hollow/flat points might just hack it, I only need 1mm or so), and the former on finding a replacement or spare barrel at some point.

For now, I will bide my time and spring for some Steyr food when it shows up. Until then, the old warhorse can sit there and look pretty

I'll never understand why the Germans went to the trouble of machining brand new barrels with all that tooling (granted it was left over in Austria), and didn't bother to figure a way to give it a detachable magazine. Would have absolutely given the Luger, the Brownings, and the 1911 a real run for their money (those designs have slightly better safeties, though). With good barrels, these guns are supposed to be pretty accurate, too, since they are machined fairly tight for guns of the era.

Quote:
A recent article on them repeated the old saw that the barrel was locked by the torque of the bullet engaging the lands
Wow, that's just stupid . Yeah, the gun is basically the Beretta PX4's great grand-pappy who fought in the war. Even the mode of takedown is similar, if not completly identical (remove a block at the front of the frame to free the slide), and the thumb safety is in the same spirit though frame-mounted.

TCB
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Old August 24, 2013, 02:17 PM   #5
James K
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I think the same article said that if the key is left out, the slide can come back off the frame. Not true for the Steyr-Hahn, but it is true for the old dual link Brownings. Leave out the key (Colt called it the slide stop) on those guns and the shooter will eat the slide. That was one of the many reasons the Army rejected the early Colts; the 1911 model, of course, corrected that and the other problems as well.

Jim
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Old August 24, 2013, 11:33 PM   #6
barnbwt
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Well, I contacted the Austrian company about doing a barrel on a 7.62 blank instead of 9mm. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and they'll be able to hook me up . They said it's CNC, so I wouldn't think the job would be any different for a different bore size, since it would be left unchambered, but who knows if their tooling or business model could accommodate it

It's a good thing that wedge isn't needed for anything but returning the gun to battery (it's no rougher than firing the gun with no recoil spring --that is to say, not terribly damaging if not done as a matter of course), because I'm certain they either got lost or thrown away by soldiers with bloody thumbnails on occasion.

I found some old ammo on clips for sale, so hopefully this guy will be getting a workout fairly soon. I also found my barrel may be in better shape than I'd thought . Apparently many of these guns are rotted nearly smooth on the inside, just like worn Broomhandles, but mine does actually still have what I would call "interrupted rifling lands" . If only the bore was in as good a shape as the rest of the gun; I guess the action does a really good job of keeping all corrosive junk out of everything but the barrel.

TCB
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Old August 25, 2013, 02:38 PM   #7
Two Old Dogs
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Barnbwt: Could you supply the details of contacting the company that reproduces 9mm Parabellum barrels for the Steyr M1911. Thanks
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Old August 25, 2013, 05:32 PM   #8
James K
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You don't pull the wedge out, you push down on the tab and push through using anything handy. If necessary, you can use a cartridge rim to pull it out, but it usually isn't necessary.

Jim
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Old August 26, 2013, 12:07 AM   #9
barnbwt
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"Barnbwt: Could you supply the details of contacting the company that reproduces 9mm Parabellum barrels for the Steyr M1911. Thanks"

The company is IGB, http://www.igbaustria.com/shop/produ...2---hahn.html& and they are unable to do a 30cal barrel for me. Oh well, no surprise there, though it would have made things easy . It would be fun to get an extended-length 9mm barrel at some point, though

"You don't pull the wedge out, you push down on the tab and push through using anything handy."
Not mine. The spring retainer is barbed, so it hangs up on the outside and inside of the gun as it is pushed; hence the need to pull like crazy while jiggling it, pushing it, and wiggling it until it pops free. I'm tempted to file a chamfer on the retainer hook so it doesn't hold quite so tenaciously, but I'm leaving it for now. Ain't no way Jet Li would rip the slide off this sucker in an instant

TCB
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Old August 26, 2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Unfortunately I cant add anything to the use or history of these fine weapons. I just wanted to say that it is a fine looking Steyr, nice buy. I have a soft spot for weapons of the Austro-Hungarian empire, especially those made in Budapest. I just got my Frommer Stop a week ago.
Good luck with your new piece of history.
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Old August 26, 2013, 06:47 PM   #11
James K
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Here's how I get the wedge out on mine. Using the bullet of a cartridge (or any suitable tool), push down and in on the spring end (the grooved end). Push the wedge in or through as far as the tool allows. If the tool is a cartridge, use the bullet end to push it in, then use the rim of the cartridge to lever it out from the other end. At that point, the wedge should be far enough out to pull it with the fingers.

If the spring tab is sharp or has burrs on it, it can be smoothed up; it should be flat or a bit rounded on top.

Jim
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