The history of this much-loved and lauded pistol began in 1958, when firearms visionary, Harry Sanford, developed a pistol around the .44 Auto Mag cartridge, specifically for handgun hunting. Ten years later, through the efforts of a dedicated team of firearms designers and engineers, the big bore handgun was finally brought to market in small numbers.
The Auto Mag Pistol (AMP) was a full-sized semi-auto featuring a multi-lugged rotating bolt and was operated by the short recoil system. The AMP was machined from stainless steel with a 6.5-inch barrel and total overall length of 11.5 inches. The magazine capacity was seven plus one in the chamber. The Auto Mag was expensive to produce and was underpriced on the market. It is estimated that Auto Mag lost $1,000 on every pistol produced.
Attempts to keep the production going by TDE, a holding company, proved unsuccessful even though the price was raised significantly to reflect the actual production costs and Auto Mag was remarketed as a “collectors” pistol. In 1982, after several attempts to revive the pistol, Auto Mag threw in the towel and officially retired from the market place.
Stuff of legends, the Auto Mag was popularized by Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan in “Sudden Impact” and Mack Bolan of “The Executioner” book series who named his Auto Mag “Big Thunder.”
In 2015, after 40 some odd years of cult status, a private investor purchased the rights, plans and spare parts from the Sanford family. The new company, Auto Mag LTD, Corp., based out of South Carolina, has spent the past year reengineering the iconic pistol using advanced materials in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
Auto Mag is also now an officially registered trademark as of this month. As the prototype process continues to progress, Auto Mag engineers are working to bring back the Auto Mag, better than ever, while taking advantages of the improvements in materials and manufacturing technology advances available today.
Auto Mag LTD, Corp. will be offering current Auto Mag owners refurbishing services for existing models, plus new caliber conversions will soon be available. ‘Go Behind the Scenes’ at Auto Mag and stay up to date with the prototyping and production of the new rendition of this legendary pistol at https://read.automag.com/.