View Full Version : (Late 1800s German?) Revolver I Found in the Closet

January 27, 2008, 01:29 PM
Hi. I found this revolver in the closet of my great uncle's house. He's in his 90s, and has an excellent memory, but had no idea where the gun came from. His house isn't that old either. Maybe 30's.

There are no numbers or brands on the gun anywhere that I can see. Only the letter "U" with two markings above it. From a lot of googling and guessing at what the objects were, I found a lot of guns that were marked with "Double Crown over "U"

Looks like that's what I have here.

There are 6 chambers in the cylinder.
As far as I can tell, the size of the bullets are close to the size of a .45. Pretty big. Some other guns like this take a 10.5 mm bullet. So again, I guess this is the size.

After more research, the closest thing I can find that looks like my revolver is a Reichsrevolver (German?) from the late 1800s. WWI military revolver.

Am I right? Why are there no other markings?

Here are two photos of the gun. One of the left side, and one of the right.

January 27, 2008, 01:57 PM
Reminds me of a Webley at first glance, but more like a turn of the century Nagent style from Belgium or Italy. You might google that and see what you come up with. BTW it's cool! :)

Edited for spelling - Nagant is correct, no "e" in there..I'm searching the net too...

January 27, 2008, 02:46 PM
Looks very similar to the Dreyse line, maybe 11mm? The time period would be right but I don't have comprehensive enough reference sources to nail it down.

January 27, 2008, 03:45 PM
This is a commercial version of the 1883 Reichsrevolver made before WW1, with an ejection system that allows empties to be punched out of the cylinder while the cylinder is still in the revolver; the original 1883 had no ejection system, and the whole cylinder had to be taken out and the cylinder pin used as a punch to get the empties out. There definitely SHOULD be some maker's marks and/or an address on it to show who manufactured it, but the proofs show that it is German. The proper chambering will be 11mm German Revolver.

January 27, 2008, 03:50 PM
The marks are the final proof mark for German revolvers

Jim Watson
January 27, 2008, 03:54 PM
It fits Boothroyd's description of a Reichsrevolver double action "officer's model", but I cannot find a picture to be sure. The non-coms got single actions with no extractors and that is what is in the books and websites.

Caliber is variously referred to as 10.55 - 10.6 - 11 mm German service revolver, not enough different from .44 Russian to matter. Maybe even interchangeable.

One source says: Hans Reckendorf in his book Die Militär-Faustfeuerwaffen des Deutschen Reiches wrote after diligent research: "for 200 troop issued revolvers one finds one officer's model."

Another says: "I have seen double-action Reichsrevolvers in the 1883 style, but all of these were manufactured for the commercial market."
It was common for officers in those days to have to furnish their own sidearms for the service ammunition.

Of the (crown) (crown) U proofmark, the first (crown) is the proof test of a standard weight bullet over a case full of (black) powder fired in each chamber. The (crown) U is for inspection after proof testing. That is all the testing a revolver got under the 1891 German proof law.

I don't know why there is no maker's mark or serial number. Ezell lists half a page of makers of Reichsrevolvers, including Dreyse and Mauser.

Looks like SDC beat me to the draw.

James K
January 27, 2008, 06:36 PM
It is definitely German, but it does not appear to be a Model 1883, either the double or single action version. It is similar, and undoubtedly the same caliber, but it differs from the official pattern in subtle but definite ways.

I believe it is one of those "clones" of the miltary revolver Jim Watson mentions as being made for the commercial market. The "crown U" was the final and definitive proof for revolvers proved in the unfinished condition. (If the gun was proved in the finished condition, a "crown B" was added, and later the "crown G" indicating a rifled barrel. The three marks make up the famous "bug" proofs seen on early 20th century German guns, notably Luger pistols.)


January 27, 2008, 09:42 PM
Thank you guys for all of the info. I couldn't find anything that looked exactly the same either. I found one that was really similar:
This looks closest, except butt isn't rounded.

These look similar as well.

But no numbers or brands seems weird. I wonder if someone filed them off...

James K
January 27, 2008, 10:11 PM
Your first pic looks close. The others are true Reichsrevolver. Look at the front of the frame below the barrel, and the way the trigger guard attaches, quite different from the one you showed and the one in your first link.

FWIW, per Geschichte und Technik der eurpopäischen Militärrevolver, there is no difference in appearance between the double and single action models of the 1883 revolver except the trigger itself.

As to markings, the contract revolvers were marked with the maker's name/trademark. But there was no law in Germany requiring that commercial arms be marked with the maker's name, so many were not.

Just another FWIW, a revolver almost identical to yours was selling in the Alfa catalog in 1911 for 30 marks; a single action Reichsrevolver was 60. For comparison, a Colt New Service was 128, a Luger with shoulder stock, 150.