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Old 05-10-2018, 11:27 AM
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Default Firing a 125-year-old semiautomatic pistol...

In the process of putting together a coming article on the C-93 Borchardt pistol, I have been consulting with a good friend of mine who is a noted collector of Luger pistols. As many of you may know, the Borchardt was the invention of a naturalized American, Hugo Borchardt, and the gun was the direct predecessor of the Luger. It was credited with being the first commercially successful semiautomatic pistol. These guns, which were made in Germany, are extremely rare, with only about 3000 made in the last decade of the 19th Century.

Here is a picture I took of the gun that my friend owns. It's in spectacular condition.



The C-93 was sold complete with a shoulder stock. Here is a picture of of this combination.



Can this gun actually be shot? Yep. Here is my friend tapping off a few rounds back in 2010 at 25 yards. He called the flyer. Bear in mind that this is the equivalent of a modern pilot flying a WWI Spad biplane!



I've spent the past week doing a lot of research on the history of this fascinating firearm; the article will be scheduled for future publication in the Dillon's Blue Press. I thought you might be interested in seeing these pictures.

John
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2018, 12:32 PM
HOUSTON RICK HOUSTON RICK is offline
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Interesting, thank you for posting. If you are not careful, you learn something new everyday here.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:46 PM
robertrwalsh robertrwalsh is offline
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I am not sure I would fire a weapon that is that valuable. Never the less, it is neat.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:49 PM
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I had no idea they are that rare. I await your article with great interest.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:56 PM
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I had an original owners manual for one of these several years ago which I sold. That's as close as I ever came to owning one! Ralph Shattuck used to have one which he'd put on display and it was avery impressive. Await your article.
Jim
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:02 PM
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I’d have to shoot it! I figure if I could afford one then I could afford any devaluation that shooting would cause!
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:13 PM
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The article will probably be very good -- but it has the potential to be fantastic if it culminates in the final range trip using that shirt of his buttoned up over a IDPA cardboard target!

Just kidding. Very cool old pistol!
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:52 PM
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An amazing example. I think the alien in the movie "Aliens" was designed after it. LOL
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:52 PM
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I've done a little reloading for 100+ year old pistols. I'm never sure about the pistol's springs. So, I regard the original ballistics as maximum loads. I start well below published data and increase the powder charge until I get reliable functioning. No point in pushing an old gun to the limit.

Last edited by Freischütz; 05-10-2018 at 02:53 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freischütz View Post
I've done a little reloading for 100+ year old pistols. I'm never sure about the pistol's springs. So, I regard the original ballistics as maximum loads. I start well below published data and increase the powder charge until I get reliable functioning. No point in pushing an old gun to the limit.
No problem on ammo. The 7.63x25mm Borchardt cartridge has nearly-identical modern counterparts in the 7.63x25mm Mauser and the 7.65x21mm Luger (.30 Luger). The 7.62x25mm Tokarev is dimensionally suitable, but is way over-powered. The .30 Luger is about ideal in power. All can be reloaded and will work in the Borchardt.

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Old 05-10-2018, 04:25 PM
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I'd have been as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:51 PM
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How very fun. I'm jealous. I love the old autoloaders from the turn of the century. I have a collection of Lugers, Broomhandles, Colt 1902s, and a Bergmann.

I don't think I'll every be able to afford a Borchardt. Simpsons just sold one for $17,500. It wasn't quite as nice as your friend's pistol, but close.

I look forward to the article. What would be great is if you guys took some video of you guys shooting it, and posted it on youtube. I think it would be the only one!
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:53 PM
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That's fantastic! I have hesitated even shooting my wife's Artillery Luger lately and it's only 104.
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:51 PM
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Nice piece and look forward to the article. I shoot two guns that are over 100+ years old. A Colt Model 1903 Hammer and a Colt Model 1909.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:00 PM
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I have a 1911 produced in 1913, so that makes 105 years old...

Somewhere on You Tube there is footage of R.L. Wilson firing an original Paterson Colt. IMHO, bad judgement on steroids.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:01 PM
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Looks like the workmanship is outta this world. Thanks for sharing.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:05 PM
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I know a Borchardt is a unique weapon but I, and I expect others on here, routinely shoot firearms well over 100 years old. I particularly enjoy my Winchester lever actions in this category!
Jim
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:22 PM
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Other than regular range sessions with my carry pistol, nearly all of my shooting these days is done with firearms over 100 years old. Not a one of them is a Borschardt, but I can continue to hope! Old Colts, S&W's, Springfields, Sharps, Remingtons, Winchesters, Marlins, and a couple of hand-made percussion rifles of pre-Civil War era. They are all interesting, and they are all still shooting!
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
No problem on ammo. The 7.63x25mm Borchardt cartridge has nearly-identical modern counterparts in the 7.63x25mm Mauser and the 7.65x25mm Luger (.30 Luger). The 7.62x25mm Tokarev is dimensionally suitable, but is way over-powered. The .30 Luger is about ideal. All can be reloaded and will work in the Borchardt.

John
The .30 Luger case is a good deal shorter (21mm).

I think the Mauser and Tokarev are probably about right. From what I understand, some of the Tokarev ammo is a bit on the hot side. The Mauser ammo is ok, and I have used it in my C96 Mauser.

50 Round Box - 7.63 Mauser Ammo - 85 Grain FMJ - Prvi Partizan PPR72 | SGAmmo.com

I've never shot a Borchardt pistol. I've only seen them displayed at gun shows (with stratospheric prices posted). I would enjoy the opportunity.

On the other hand, I routinely shoot rifles a bit older than the Borchardt.




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Old 05-11-2018, 11:39 AM
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Very impressive display! How about a rundown on makers and calibers?
Jim
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:46 PM
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Very nice. My 1922 Swiss Ordnance Waffenfabrik Bern Parabellum 06/24 gets shot at the rate of about 500 rounds per year



It’s actually one of my most accurate guns



This gentleman is a notorious collector and seller of Lugers, and also knows a bit about Borchardt

Luger firearms, early automatic pistols and accessories

DWM Borchardt in original case Original manual - 7,65

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Old 05-11-2018, 03:44 PM
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This one is only 109 years old.
Firing a 125-year-old semiautomatic pistol...-dsc00014-1-jpg
I do shoot it. But not very often and not much when I do.

And it shoots great and is very accurate.

It's a 1909 Portuguese Army contract.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:47 PM
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Amazing!

And just look at those gorgeous grips on that pistol!
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:51 PM
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Great thread. Thanks for the photos. Best, Joe
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:29 PM
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Here's the direct descendant of the Borchardt:






The Model 1900.

I shared photos of this one here: Luger for Variety - DWM 1900 American Eagle 7.65mm

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Old 05-11-2018, 09:48 PM
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125 years old ain't nothing. I have a 1842 Harpers Ferry musket, built in 1844 and a shortened 1863 Springfield rifle musket, built in 1864, that I shoot and I know folks that shoot muzzle loaders that date from 1809-1822.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:51 PM
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Ron is a very nice guy. I had forgotten how nice his Borchardt is
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:13 PM
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I recently acquired a 121yr old Broomhandle Mauser.
I don't re load.
Are there any commercial loads that would be resonable to fire in it?
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
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I recently acquired a 121yr old Broomhandle Mauser.
I don't re load.
Are there any commercial loads that would be resonable to fire in it?
This is what you are looking for:

50 Round Box - 7.63 Mauser Ammo - 85 Grain FMJ - Prvi Partizan PPR72 | SGAmmo.com

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Old 05-12-2018, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iby View Post
I recently acquired a 121yr old Broomhandle Mauser.
I don't re load.
Are there any commercial loads that would be resonable to fire in it?
What about some pics of it.
Don't be selfish.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:11 PM
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While we’re on the subject of old auto loaders my buddy has a Bergman Bayard 1910/21? Serial number 7 he’s been trying to sell. Any idea on value? It’s in nice shape but nowhere as nice as the beautys shown above.
OOPS just thought about checking GB. It looks like he’s asking in the right price range.
The only issue I remember was his had plain smooth wood stocks. Almost looked like poplar. Plus the grip screw was too long.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurusu View Post
What about some pics of it.
Don't be selfish.
I wish I had the patience to figure out the imgur thing
would like to share
Mike
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
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I wish I had the patience to figure out the imgur thing
would like to share
Mike
You can upload pictures saved in your computer directly. That's what I do.

Just scroll down to Manage Attachments and then choose "upload file from your computer".

As an an example my tired 107 year old C96 in the company of the Luger.

Firing a 125-year-old semiautomatic pistol...-dsc00026-jpg

Edit. But a good photographer I am not.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:24 PM
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:30 PM
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You did it! Lovely early model C96. Thank you.

Now for the second part if you want the picture bigger.

1 When the image is already in the picture management page select copy address.

2 go back to the message, put the cursor where you want the picture and then click on the square icon with the mountain and the sun. Paste the address you copied.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:40 PM
Freischütz Freischütz is offline
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I found that C96s often have weak bolt springs.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:23 PM
Bakebfr480 Bakebfr480 is online now
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Very nice! State of the art in its day!
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:35 PM
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I found that C96s often have weak bolt springs.
The bolt spring is weak in a C96, if it closes the bolt properly it has done it's part. A weak main spring on the other hand can be catastrophic.

Pierced primers in a bottle neck (valid for .30 Luger and Borchardt too) are generally caused by the shoulder of the cartridge being set on the wrong position, since those cartridges headspace on the shoulder, you can have a problem of excessive headspace on a otherwise perfect gun. That problem on a Luger can lead to a broken breechblock.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:44 PM
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I found that C96s often have weak bolt springs.
From my own experience the springs in a C96 should be changed out before any attempt is made to fire it. i made the mistake of not doing this once years ago and was fortunate not to be injured. The gun survived but it blew the empty out in pieces!
Jim
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