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Dormus Salvator Model 1896  -

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Sold in auction (March 2014) for $31,625.00

SN 27. Caliber 8mm. In 1891 Archduke Carl Salvator and Sir Georg Dormus collaborated to design a semiautomatic pistol that culminated in the M1896 that was tested by the Austrian military. Patented in July 1891, very shortly after the Schöberger-Laumann pistol, patented in June 1891, this was the second workable self loading pistol design to see limited production, but was designed without reference to any earlier pattern, unlike the Schönberger, which was developed from his earlier manual repeating design by Josef Laumann. According to Mötz and Schuy (Vom Ursprung der Selbstladepistole), approximately 50 examples were made, of which 30 were submitted in late 1896 for formal Austrian Army testing. Although not military accepted, this example has all the characteristics of one of the test guns, being the third version made with squared off base to the butt with charger exit door rather than with the rounded bag shaped butt of earlier examples. This pistol has a 5.75” bbl with a fixed front and rear sight which does not recoil on firing, the action being purely blowback. Under the barrel is a charging rod, hand-checkered on its forward surface, that moves the bolt fully rearward where it may be retained by a combination slide release/safety lever, the upper of two levers, mounted on the frame to the left of the hammer. Pushing the lever fractionally down releases the bolt; pushing it down further rotates the hammer block out of the way, allowing the dropped hammer to contact the firing pin. The small lever immediately below provides counterforce tensioning. The gun is loaded via a stripper clip and has a hinged magazine door on the butt, pivoting on the same axle used to retain the generous lanyard ring. All major components are rust blued. The hammer, trigger and magazine cover are case hardened, the bolt is in the white, and the grip escutcheons are fire blued. Large, smooth walnut grips are varnished. None of the Salvator-Dormus pistols were manufacturer marked. Some will have a serial number on the barrel behind the rear sight and a few will have an Austrian acceptance mark on the left frame. This example is numbered 27 inside the lid of the magazine cover. PROVENANCE: Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess, Ex-Visser Collection, pictured “Vom Ursprung der Selbstladepistole”, page 204.



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