Tuesday, December 13, 2016

OH: Roth Steyr Antique Destroyed in Cleveland "buy back"

Roth Steyr pistols are highly desired by collectors, with prices running up to $2,000.

It is a curio/relic listed by the ATF, so it does not have to run through the normal FFL license.  It has many advanced features for 1907, reminiscent of the Glock pistol today. Both were designed in Austria. Both are striker fired, instead of using a hammer.  Both have no traditional safety, instead opting for a partial or half/cocked striker system.  Both the Glock and the Roth Steyr partially cock the striker, with the trigger then pulled to finish cocking and firing the pistol. The pistol shown belonged in the 11th Landwehr Infantry Regiment, as the 73rd one issued, as shown by grip inset nut/medallion.

The Roth Steyr fires the obsolete 8X18.5 M7 Roth cartridge. The cartridge is occasionally manufactured in Europe  by Fiocchi, in limited runs. The ballistics are a 113 grain full metal jacketed bullet at about 1070 feet per second. The stripper clips are hard to come by.  One seeker was willing to pay $75 for one.  It is unknown if he found one or not.

The stripper clips hold 10 rounds, making the pistol, in 1907, a direct competitor with the 1896 Mauser, which was also fed with 10 round stripper clips. All the pistols were manufactured by the Austro-Hungarian government in Hungary or Austria. The Roth Steyr was the first semi-auto to be adopted by a major army anywhere. 

It is sad that no one at the Cleveland gun "buy back" recognized the historic nature of this antique.  Given the difficulty of obtaining ammunition, it seems a very unlikely crime gun.  I would love to have one in my collection.

The pistol was used extensively in WWI. The Austrians lost the war. Most wartime exploits with the Roth Steyr would not be recorded in English. About 90,000 were used during the war. I have not come across any accounts similar to Winston Churchill's adventures with his trust Mauser. The accounts are probably there, maybe in an old wartime diary in German, or Hungarian. Some of the pistols were used in WWII.

Gems like the Roth Steyr are routinely found at gun "buy backs". They are not found in quantity, but they are found. All the more reason for private buyers to monitor these gun turn ins, and to rescue the valuable items from the smelter.

Perhaps the better tactic is to have the state forbid the waste of destroying valuable resources for political propaganda. Arizona  and in some other states require the guns to be sold through normal commercial channels. The funds resulting from the sale ere used to reduce the tax burden.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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A SImple Man said...

My Great Grandfather was a Gallacian Kaiserjagger in the Austrian Hungarian Empire. Probably had one just like it,

Wireless.Phil said...

I live 20 miles from Cleveland and the "one" TV station aired the buyback info the night before the event with a short news mention the next day.

Seems they don't want the public to show-up and start buying guns?