View Full Version : pre wwII falling block pistol

September 5, 2009, 09:03 PM
I have pistol that my father brought home after serving in Europe during WWII. I have been trying to find out some info on it's origin, purpose, value, etc. It has a falling/rolling block action, octagon barrel 9+" long, a fairly intricate adjustable front and back site, finely checkered wooden pistol grip and wooden foregrip. If anyone can help identify this pistol, it would be appreciated. The only markings on the gun are manufacturer.

James K
September 5, 2009, 11:02 PM
A Google search turned up a similarly marked 16 gauge underlever double barrel shotgun. Another source shows them in operation from 1921 to 1926.

Fr. probably stands for Franz, and Söhne is "Sons". Suhl is the well known arms making center in Germany. Since they seem little known as maufacturers, it is probable they were retailers, putting their name on "guild guns" made by groups of small manufacturers.

The gun sounds like a European single shot target pistol. If it is .22 LR, it could have been used in both indoor and outdoor competition. If it is another caliber (like 4mm) it would be for indoor use.

I can't really even make a guess at value; maybe someone else can help.


September 6, 2009, 08:19 AM
I don't have the tools to accurately measure it but, the bore is roughly 7mm, the chamber is 0.4" + dia. and 1.5" + long. I have tried to attach pictures but, am not sure it will work. I am computer dummy.

September 7, 2009, 09:07 AM
Not having much luck here. Does anyone have a suggestion on where to go from here to research ths pistol.

September 8, 2009, 12:22 PM
8X42 and 6.5X42 were relatively common target rounds, perhaps there was a 7mm version of it. Time for a chamber cast.

James K
September 8, 2009, 05:02 PM
Hi, Scorch,

I give up. I have never heard of a 6.5x42. The 8x42 was an old bottleneck cartridge for single shot rifles; chambering in a pistol would be possible but certainly not common.

Hi, wortonb,

Is the cartridge rimfire or center fire? you should be able to tell from the breech face.


September 8, 2009, 06:48 PM
Scorch: my measurements are crude at best. a casting would definately be in order. I was more interested in the history of the gun than the caliber. but the caliber might shed more light on the history. I have considered doing a casting and probably will. Thank you very much for your info.

Jim: It is definitely centerfire. thanks.

September 9, 2009, 10:23 AM
IMHO, it's most likely pre-WW I, like late 19th Century (ca.1890's) - When pistols of that kind ( usually referred to as either "target" or "parlor" guns), were made with all sorts of single-shot actions (FB, TB, break-open, lever, whatever) in Europe by multiple different small makers in various countries like Belgium, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France & England.

"Suhl" was a gun-making part of old Germany, IIRC - and Fr.Jung & Sohn most likely one of the strictly-regulated/licensed guild members there, something that may be traceable, through a search down that avenue.

Many of these pistols were of high quality, because the target market was affluent young men of fashion - the times, during which dueling was still quite common.
The buyers generally were thought to have wanted to stay in practice incase of a challenge to their "honor".

The smaller bores were usually the indoor/parlor guns, with the larger bore shot outdoors.


James K
September 9, 2009, 07:50 PM
If the 1921-1926 dates are accurate, the gun would not have been 19th century, and nothing in the description indicates a duelling pistol. (I have never seen a duelling pistol with adjustable sights or even one with breech loading.) By the 1920's pistol duelling was well out of fashion in Germany, although some college fraternities still practiced with unbuttoned rapiers so the participants could show the famous scar.

I have little doubt it is a target pistol; as PetahW says, a larger caliber would indicate an outdoor pistol, not a "parlor" pistol or even for use on an indoor range. But a picture would help, as would a chamber cast even one using soft wax.


September 11, 2009, 02:45 PM
FR. JUNG & SOHNE were certainly in operation by the 1830s in Suhl. Two elegant pairs of percussion pistols were auctioned by Hermann Historica, see: http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm54.pl?f=NR&c=&t=temartic_S_D&db=kat54_s.txt and http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm52.pl?f=NR&c=&t=temartic_S_D&db=kat52_S.txt
This example is later however. Target shooting was enormously popular in Germany during the latter 19th century with many clubs or Schützenverein. In 1861 these were united under the umbrella Deutsche Schützenbund which is still the German Olympic organisation.

September 11, 2009, 05:46 PM
FWIW, Perhaps I was misundersttod, but I never said I thought the pistol in the OP to be a dueling pistol.

I said:

"Many of these pistols were of high quality, because the target market was affluent young men of fashion - the times, during which dueling was still quite common. The buyers generally were thought to have wanted to stay in practice incase of a challenge to their "honor"."

BTW - Adjustable sights, etc, were thought to offer an unfair advantage, and against the rules of Code Duello.


James K
September 11, 2009, 06:47 PM
Hi, Neruda,

Those are two pair of beautiful pistols. I wish I had the money to buy them. It goes without saying that my source on the dates for Jung & Sons is totally wrong. I did think that type of gun was too early for the 1920's, but people do buy old style guns.

Hi, PetahW,

I think we agree that the gun in question is not a dueler. The date I had, as I said above, is obviously incorrect, so 19th century would be more in line with the characteristics of the gun itself.


September 12, 2009, 01:11 PM
Hello Jim and others;
There is a picture attached to my post of Sept. 6. I will try to post additional pictures here.

September 13, 2009, 09:51 AM
If you have a brass punch, you can drive out the wedge holding the front stock in place, underneath should be proof marks that would probably allow for an easier assessment of age and caliber. An oddity, the barrel dimensions found there are usually plug gauge, not as measured between the grooves as done today.