View Full Version : Nirosta steel Stenda Beholla?

August 10, 2010, 10:40 AM
I recently purchased a Stenda pistol that I'm guessing was nickeled after it made its way into the states. Took it out shooting and got a lot of light strikes, I figure the firing pin spring needs to be replaced. Although it may have been the PRVI ammo I was using, going to try it with some Winchester white box and see if that helps.

I was browsing my local for sale forum and noticed someone selling 1930 Sauer and Sohn and the seller was making a big point that it was Nirosta steel. I noticed the proof marks looked just like some on my recently acquired Stenda.
Here's a pic of the proof directly right of the serial number
Couple more pics

So is it rare for a Stenda to be made with Krupp Nirosta steel, or are all of them made with Nirosta steel? Does this raise the value of pistol as well?

Mike Irwin
August 10, 2010, 10:49 AM
Nirosta is a trademark used on a variety of Krupp-manufactured stainless steels. It was first registered in 1922.

I don't know about how rare a Stenda is made with stainless steel, but I've not heard of 1930 Sauers being made of it, either.

August 10, 2010, 11:16 AM
The crown over N is the standard German Nitro proof, nothing to do with the Nirosta. I don't think I've seen pre-war guns made completely from stainless steel either, the Nirosta was an option for the barrel in some Sauer guns. A lot of "stainless" looking guns from that time are actually made with aluminum frames.
Found this little tibbit googling:
Stendawerke Waffenfabrik GmbH of Suhl, Germany took over production of the Beholla pistol from
Becker & Hollander shortly after the end of the First World War and after some design changes to simplify
field stripping, manufactured Stenda pistols until about 1926. Stenda pistols with serial numbers into the 70000
range have been observed but it is thought that the numbering continued from the Beholla period and so
probably only about 25,000 pistols were manufactured by Stenda.
That explains the BH monogram on your gun.

August 10, 2010, 11:54 AM
Looks like you're right that's definitely the nitro proof mark. That's too bad I was excited to have a Krupp steel gun.

Bill DeShivs
August 10, 2010, 12:58 PM
Your Stenda is nickel plated, I believe from the factory. It is made of carbon steel. The plating protects the steel from rust-hence "nirosta." (no rust).

August 10, 2010, 02:41 PM
Well that's cool if it's nickel plated from the factory. I figured someone nickeled it so they could say it was an officer's gun. Does it being made of carbon steel explain why it attracts a magnet? Also now I'm a little confused if I was right about it being a Nirosta stamp or if it's a Nitro stamp. Ill take a closer look tonight to see if its topped by a crown or three interlocking rings.

August 10, 2010, 03:04 PM
Although based on the picture it doesn't really look like a crown or the three interlocking circles indicative of the Nirosta symbol. My guess would be it's the Nitro proof. If it makes any difference the proof appears on the frame, slide and barrel. You can faintly make out the proof on the slide in the first picture right above the proof on the frame. Although its more worn and the "N" looks like a "J". The final proof on the barrel is unfortunately lost in the flash.

Bill DeShivs
August 10, 2010, 04:09 PM
The stainless used in guns will attract a magnet.
I suspect your gun is not stainless. There would be no reason to nickel plate stainless and it's a difficult process.

Mike Irwin
August 10, 2010, 04:43 PM
I didn't realize the gun was this old. I can't see images while I'm at the office, so I wasn't sure of the time frame, but I thought we were talking something quite a bit later.

August 10, 2010, 06:02 PM
Yea from the info I've found online it should date between 1919-1924 or so. Also as far as the finish I assumed it was nickel, not at all sure. Any easy way to determine what it's plated with? The finish is flaking off in places which is what made me think it wasn't original.

James K
August 10, 2010, 06:57 PM
IMHO, the first assessment is correct; the gun was made of plain steel and nickel plated in the U.S., not at the factory. It shows signs under the plating of having been buffed and polished unevenly.

The Beholla (the name is a combination of BEcker and HOLLAnder, the original maker) is not a bad pistol but more a collector piece than a shooting gun. They are fairly common and bring around $250-300 if in good shape.

As indicated above, manufacture was taken over by Stenda and the gun is also called the Stenda.

The crown/N proof mark indicates that the gun was proved with nitrocellulose (smokeless) powder (as opposed to black powder) and has nothing to do with the type of metal from which the gun was made.


August 10, 2010, 08:18 PM
Hey, thanks for all the replies and info. Looks like I picked the right forum to ask this question on. Seems like a lot of knowledgeable people here who know their stuff, and this was a fairly esoteric question. It's too bad it's not made of Nirosta steel, but heck I had no idea what that was two days ago. As long as I get it running somewhat reliably it'll be worth it, although I didn't spend too much on it so it'll be hard to be disappointed.

September 6, 2010, 09:17 AM
The other respondents to your question pretty well sorted it out for you. The "N" is a nitro powder proof test acceptance mark found on all German pistols of that era. And the plating is undoubtedly recent. The Germans plated very few guns. and they didn't use buffing wheels (which wipe out markings) to polish them.
"Nirosta" ia a Krupp trade mark for their stainless steel. Some manufacturers, notably Sauer, offered barrels made of Nirosta steel as an option. The stainless barrel addeded less that 10% to the cost of the gun. Surprisingly, very few people bought the stainless barrel.