Roth Steyr pistols are highly desired by collectors, with prices running up to $2,000. It’s a curio/relic in the eyes of the the ATF. It has many advanced features for a 1907 design, 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 fire the pistol. The pistol shown above belonged in the 11th Landwehr Infantry Regiment, as the 73rd pistol 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 and stripper clips are hard to come by. One seeker was willing to pay $75 for one. Who knows 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. The Roth Steyr was the first semi-auto to be adopted by a major army anywhere.
It’s 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. Most wartime exploits with the Roth Steyr were not recorded in English. About 90,000 were used during the war. I haven’t come across any accounts similar to Winston Churchill’s adventures with his trusted Mauser. The accounts are probably there, maybe in an old wartime diary somewhere, scribbled in German, or maybe Hungarian. Some of the pistols were used in WWII.
Gems like the Roth Steyr routinely turn up in gun “buy backs.” All the more reason for private buyers to monitor these gun turn-ins to rescue the valuable items from the smelter.
Perhaps the better tactic is to have the state forbid the wasteful destruction of valuable items for the purpose of political propaganda. Arizona and some other states require the guns taken in to be sold through normal commercial channels. The funds resulting from these sales are used to reduce the tax burden.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.