Previous Post
Next Post
(Image Michael Arnold)

The men racing toward the hijacked Air France flight 8969 belonged to the French counterterrorist unit, Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale (a.k.a. GIGN), and they carried a variety of weapons and specialized equipment. Captain Thierry Prungnaud took point in the assault that ended with the rescue of all the passengers and crew still onboard the aircraft.

Immediately after the front-side door was forced open by the GIGN team, Captain Prungnaud moved into the airliner and into the sights of the four members of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria. Within a matter of seconds he killed two of the terrorists and seriously injured a third.

But, unlike what might be assumed by those not familiar with this elite French force, the firearm that went through the door first and into the hail of terrorist rifle bullets wasn’t an automatic rifle or a semiautomatic pistol. Instead, the three terrorists succumbed to wounds inflicted by a .357 Magnum revolver.

The weapon used by the GIGN point-man to, in his own words, ‘neutralize three of [the four terrorists]’ was the French-manufactured Manurhin MR73. This firearm was designed specifically to stand up to the incredibly punishing training regimen employed by this elite force.

Each member is required to fire 150 rounds of full-power .357 ammunition through their MR73s every day. In fact, during the initial proof-of-concept tests, 170,000 full-power cartridges were fired through an MR73…and the revolver was still functioning perfectly when the tests were finally suspended.

The level of training – which caused other brands of revolvers to literally come apart at the seams – resulted in the kind of rapid, and extremely accurate, marksmanship demonstrated in the rescue of the Air France hostages. That the assault team was employing six-shot ‘wheel-guns’ was, according to the first commander of the GIGN, a decided advantage.

He maintained that the limited number of cartridges resulted in carefully-placed shots. The outcome of Prungnaud’s terrorist engagement provides proof that the highly-skilled operatives are indeed incredibly efficient, and lethal, when using their Manurhin revolvers.

What about a ‘normal’ shooter?

The above account of one of the myriad of actions (mostly secret) involving the GIGN and their preferred sidearm indicates the toughness and accuracy of the MR73, albeit in the trained hands of an elite force. But, what about  for the non-elite shooter? Like yours truly, for example?

(Image Michael Arnold)

The day I processed the FFL for the Manurhin MR73 through Tom McElwayne of Shooters Den  I was heading to a property for a feral hog hunt, so I didn’t have time to try out the MR73 sent by the North American Importer Kebco.

I decided to take the revolver, and a box of Hornady’s 140-grain FTX LEVERevolution ammunition to my hunt. Who knew, maybe I’d have the opportunity to try out the wheel gun ammunition on a feral hog.

When I arrived at the site of my hunt, I decided to use my host’s range to put the first few rounds through the Manurhin revolver. There was no bench close enough to the target stands for handgun shooters, or at least not for this handgun shooter. Instead, I used a post that was 25 paces from the targets on which to rest my hands.

(Image Michael Arnold)

Those are my first three shots. I stopped while I was ahead. (As another aside, when I sent the photo to Ken Buch, he asked why all the shots weren’t in the same hole…) My first three shots turned out to be no fluke. The Manurhin MR73 was incredibly accurate with all four of the ammunition types used.

These included two varieties of Hornady rounds (the other was 135-grain Critical Duty), as well as Remington 125-grain SJHP cartridges and Speer 158-grain Gold Dot. The Hornady 140-grain FTX loads are designed for hunting applications. The other three cartridge types are more in line with the MR73’s raison d’être – to stop those intent on harming others from achieving their goal.

Courtesy Manurhin and Kebco

Before moving forward with the results of my range analysis, I should point out that not only is the MR73 a wonderfully-accurate, and tough handgun but it’s handsome as well. The accompanying photos  will hopefully convince you that this is a seriously attractive revolver.

Thanks to Ledbetter’s Gun Racks For Less (Image Michael Arnold)

The explanation may lie in the design having originated within the French company. Whatever the reason, this revolver looks as good as it shoots.

(Image Michael Arnold)

NRA Twenty-Five Yard Targets at 42 yards?

O.K., I have some explaining to do. All of the data gathered for the Manurhin MR73 came from sessions at my local gun range. I arrived with my NRA-approved 25 yard slow-fire pistol targets planning to fire from the bench at, well, 25 yards.

But someone had removed the 25-yard free-standing frames for repair. I was left with fixed-frames positioned 42 yards from the bench. I could have fired off-hand from 25 yards, but that wasn’t appealing. This change in my design actually turned out to be fortuitous because the resulting groups were actually quite presentable.

All of the cartridge types resulted in group diameters of 4-5 inches, reflecting the inherent accuracy of the MR73. The bullet weights of the four types of ammunition varied from 125-grains to 158-grains. The velocities of the various bullets ranged all the way from ~1100 fps to well over 1500 fps as they left the muzzle.

(Image Michael Arnold)

If the Manurhin .357 Magnum was finicky about what weight and velocity, it should have shown up in this analysis. Instead, it compensated for both the widely-varying loads and the ‘experimental error’ due to the shooter’s quivering.

The excellent accuracy at 42 yards suggests how well the MR73 will perform in its different guises. First, when the revolver is used in self-defense situations, it will likely involve targets engaged at bayonet range. Such was the case in the assault of the hijacked Air France jetliner.

The bullets from Captain Prungnaud’s MR73 landed precisely, killing or severely wounding the hijackers, yet missing the plane’s crew who were standing beside them.

The second conclusion applies to hunting applications, specifically when pairing the Manurhin revolver with the Hornady 140-grain FTX LEVERevolution ammunition. The group sizes obtained when using these cartridges provides support for using the MR73 and the Hornady ‘big-game’ load for species such as whitetail deer and feral hog.

Muzzle energy for this cartridge was ~650 ft-lbs, and thus I personally wouldn’t want to exceed the 50-yard mark when firing these at game animals. However, within 50 yards, I would have confidence in bullet placement and penetration.

(Image Michael Arnold)

How does the Manurhin MR73 handle?

Here is where I switch from quantitative to qualitative observations. In other words, I want to address the topic of how it felt to hold the MR73 post-trigger break, especially when firing the loads with the highest velocities and/or heaviest bullets.

Let me first mention that I fired 12 cartridges per ammunition type, and that I did all my shooting in one session at the range. So this revolver is quite shootable. However, I wouldn’t want to leave you with the impression that the response of the MR73 to sending a bullet down its bore was ‘mild’.

Another anecdote should illustrate this point. When discussing the design of my range analysis with Ken Buch, he mentioned that the MR73 could be very, um, noticeable when one touched off a full-power load. I heard the warning, but at the start of my session, I ignored Ken’s advice.

My first 12 shots were fired minus my shooting gloves. After the 12th cartridge, I noticed that a bruise was starting to form on the palm of my right hand. The remainder of the session saw me decked out in my lightly-padded gloves.


I think it is apparent that I am greatly impressed with the Manurhin MR73. I’m a history nerd, as well as a person who is humbled by those who sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Needless to say, I was captivated by both the origin and application of the MR73 as the GIGN’s preferred sidearm.

Likewise, my rangework with this revolver confirmed its capability for both personal-defense and hunting applications. And Manurhin makes them in a variety of barrel legths.

So, if you are looking for an incredibly tough, powerful and yet handsome handgun – one that you will enjoy showing off to your friends – I would refer you to the Manurhin MR73. It’s guaranteed to impress your friends. It will also impress anyone, or anything, at which you shoot.

Armscor ammunition

Specifications: Manurhin MR73 Revolver

Caliber: .357 Magnum
Grips: Factory Rubber Trausch
Front Sight: Ramp
Barrel Length: 5.25″ tested (available in lengths from 2.5 to 6″)
Material: Proprietary carbon steel
Capacity: 6 rounds
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Twist: 1:18 ¾” RH
Finish: High polish blue
Overall Length: 10 ½”
Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz
MSRP: $3200

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Style * * * * *
This is a seriously attractive handgun. The grips aren’t only functional, but look like a piece of artwork. Likewise, the overall lines on this revolver and the finish give it the appearance of what it is – a product designed to look as good as it shoots.

Reliability * * * * *
The history of this firearm speaks much louder than anything I can write concerning its reliability. However, it performed flawlessly with all of the loads I used.

Accuracy * * * * *
I’ll restate what I found with each of the four types of ammunition – whether at a distance of 25-paces, or 42-yards, the MR73 gave excellent accuracy with Remington, Hornady and Speer cartridges.

Overall * * * * *
Having never heard of (let alone fired) the Manurhin MR73 before, I definitely started out with a clean slate regarding my opinion of this firearm. I have come away disappointed from other esoteric guns, but not this one. While it’s not inexpensive, this is one of the finest handguns I have encountered.


Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Only key board commando’s will be surprised that the revolver armed dude put down the terrorists.

    It ain’t the arrow. It’s the Indian. Period. Full stop.

    Caliber and action type wars are for the noobs and those with egos to big to be in the same room with them.

    • I think we’d all be better Indians with 150 rd/day practice. (jealous … maybe after the first week)

      • Yeah, I had to reread that. Wow. But if that’s your job, doesn’t it make sense? I believe most people think that’s representative of their local police force, and the main reason they’re so satisfied with cops carrying everywhere while screeching about good citizens carrying *anywhere*. Average local police officer is probably closer to 150/year.

        Seems like a great gun, tho that price tag sounds like a 4″ Python.

        • If they only have to qualify once a year, it’s more like 150 rounds in three years.

          It’s all about the money. The NYCPD has 36,000 sworn officers. The cheapest I have been able to find 115 grain FMJ ammunition is 15¢ per round. Therefore, it would cost $3.24 million annually to provide each officer with one 50-round box of practice ammunition per month. Can you imagine the reaction of the mayor and city council if they police commissioner told them, “I need another $3 million plus each year so that my cops can learn to hit what they shoot at?”

        • A few million dollars is probably nothing to the NYPD. Their budget was like $5.5 billion last year

        • I don’t see the issue here. If you have an officer making $40-80k a year (before overtime, which might double salary) plus benefits, I don’t see the harm in requiring them to at least monthly put about $50 of ammo down range (figure 4 boxes of $.25 a round train and defend type stuff, not necessarily all $.50-1.50 a round jhp). That works out to $600 a year. Not entirely a drop in the bucket, but that is still about .4-1.5% in training what it costs just to pay the officer. Let alone once you add in benefits.

          And doesn’t ignore the possible millions of dollars in tax payer money it costs for a lawsuit when there is an obviously bad shot by an officer.

          $230 million last year spent on lawsuits. Sadly it didn’t come out of the NYPD budget or maybe they’d make it a priority to both get officers to the range more often, but also more training in conflict de-escalation, active shooter training, high pressure situation training, etc. Sure won’t stop all that, but it might stop a few bad shots and save tax payers a few tens of millions. Even if all of that training cost as much as the city saved, it would still means a few more NYC citizens and visitors would be alive or not dealing with having been shot (or choked out, etc. etc.)

          I am not trying to claim every single legal settlement the officer/city was actually in the wrong, screwed up, etc.. But a lot of them that is the case.

    • We’re going to have to agree to disagree… With 150 rounds per day through any platform you’re going to get spectacular results. The advantage of more modern platforms is that they help substitute quantity for quality. Nobody in their right mind will argue that .357 is not a devastatingly effective round. There are a few major issues…

      1. Is it an effective enough round to justify the piles of training necessary to become effective with it?
      2. Does it do something that justifies prioritizing training with it over the primary fighting weapon of the person in question? (Typically a rifle.)
      3. Given that 99.9% of the people handed a revolver will never reach the level of proficiency necessary to get the most out of the platform, is there a way to substitute technology for training?

      The reason revolvers are functionally obsolete is not that they aren’t effective. It’s that if you grab two guys off of the street and give one an automatic and another a revolver, which will have the best return on investment in terms of training time versus combat effectiveness?

      • I know that right off the bat people generally shoot revolvers better with zero prior shooting experience. I’ve taught over a dozen people how to shoot and they almost always shoot the revolvers well the first time out. Easier controls as well.

        That doesn’t mean they can’t become very proficient with a semi auto, but it is hard to beat a revolvers fixed barrel and stupidly simple controls.

        • He didn’t say “taught to shoot” or “shoot well”. He said “combat effectiveness”.

          The former is part of the latter but the two are not synonymous. Excelling at one part of the skill set doesn’t mean you’ve got the set just like having a big ass engine in your garage doesn’t mean you’ve got a muscle car.

        • “Combat effectiveness”, huh? Brings up the obvious question of police in an urban environment and 16-rd mags. I, for one, could support the idea that such officers should be limited to 6-rd reloads, because spraying the countryside is such an obviously bad idea. Like the man says, you will tend to be a lot more careful about shot placement if that spraying may cost your life. Shooting 150 rounds a day will cause 6 rounds to be plenty 99.9% of the time. Because you will AIM!

        • Says somebody who has never had to shoot a religious fanatic or drugged up gangbanger who takes multiple hits to put down.

        • “Shooting 150 rounds a day will cause 6 rounds to be plenty 99.9% of the time.”

          True. But what percentage of civilians shoot 150 rounds per day every day or even twice a week? About 0.0%. That’s 25 speed loaders worth of ammo every day.

          If I toss that into my preferred ammo buying websites the best price I can find (granted, I’m not really really trying here) with a club discount is $18.04/box of 50. That’s $54.12/day, $378.84/week or $1623.60 per month. Reloading for savings, please, no one is going to shoot that much and then reload 4500 rounds a month.

          As such, unless you’re fabulously wealthy, sponsored or on the taxpayers dime, shooting 150 rounds/day of .375 is completely unrealistic.

        • I have a Colt OP 38sp 6″ sitting in my closet safe for my wife. Okay I have it for me, but it is in the bedroom safe in case my wife needs to use it. She isn’t comfortable with guns and I can’t get her to shoot one at the range (yet). She has shot my 10/22 a few times. Someone comes in that door, I’d rather she have a revolver in her hands. She knows the principals of aiming. I doubt she will in a high stress situation, but the damn thing is pretty intimidating compared to my G17. She is going to handle the recoil a lot better with that 38sp revolver. Some +p SJHP 158gr bullets (not something I’d normally shoot through my Colt OP. I shoot almost exclusively reloads loaded to about 750fps 158gr SWC) are still going to make a mess out of whatever they hit. Revolver or semi-auto, she likely isn’t reloading it. She also probably isn’t going to dump 17+1 at someone coming through the door. If she has to pull the trigger with no training, she is probably getting one or two or three shots off and either it worked, or the dude(s) have run the F away.

          I’d rather she be willing to go to the range and train and I could keep a second G17 with light in the safe, or a G19, for her.

          With limited training, I’d absolutely say a semi-automatic is a better choice than a revolver unless you are talking target shooting. I don’t get to the range NEARLY as much as I’d like, but I still probably average once a month and about half my trips I am taking one or more pistols. Figure 1000-1500 rounds a year through various pistol platforms right now. Last couple of years have been nuts in my life. I am hoping to up how often I go by about 50% this coming year. My Colt OP is my most accurate handgun. My Cz50 is actually #2. Everything else is about the same in the 2-3″ range off a rest at 17yds for 5rnds (OP is around 1″ off bags at 17yds single action, the Cz50 is about 1.5″), except my M57 at around 5″ at that distance.

          Anyway even if it is on different platforms, I’d bet I probably put more rounds down range than your average cop from most jurisdictions. Maybe not some of the training scenarios like drawing from a holster (my club/range doesn’t allow holster draws), but rapid fire (if done in a controlled manner) is allowed. I don’t pretend I am some operator or SWAT officer, but form what I’ve seen, I am probably at least as skilled or a little better than your average police officer who isn’t in to guns (IE not recreationally shooting or training outside of mandated work training/recertification).

          Ain’t no fuzzy way in bunny hell I’d reach for a revolver instead of a semi-auto in a situation where someone is shooting back (or has a weapon, advancing on me, etc.). I hope I can drop someone in a round or two. I don’t want to rely on that. Especially if they are behind cover or I’ve been injured. In the time it takes me to put 17+1 downrange form my G17 (or 19+1 as I normally leave one with a +2 extended baseplate on it) I MIGHT have finished reloading my Colt OP from a speed loader and I am ready to fire the next 6 rounds. If I am lucky and feeling my oats that day I might have finished reloading and squeezed off another round or two.

          Hostage rescue volume of fire is not a good thing. In a big crowd also not. So many situations volume of fire is NOT a good thing. But there are plenty of situations where volume of fire IS a good thing. Ain’t doing that with a revolver.

        • That depends entirely on what you mean by “substitute”.

          If we take the amount of time one needs to use to learn to rapidly reload a revolver under stress and do so without looking at the gun, reduce that to the time it takes to reload an autoloader, take the saved time and apply that to proper marksmanship we probably don’t get spray and pray.

          Not every shortcut is a bad one. This is especially true of things that lend themselves to efficiency.

          I don’t think one can read too much into the GIGN using such a handgun and doing so effectively. Numerous reasons for this but ultimately there is nearly no relation between what they do/did with this revolver and a normal person.

        • If it works… the entirety of Soviet infantry doctrine past 1942 was based on spray and pray at the individual infantryman level. Can’t say it wasn’t effective. What most people forget is that the AK was designed more as an up-sized SMG than a KD range rifle. It’s a valid approach, especially when you focus on weapons you don’t expect the user to ever actually fire like sidearms or personal defense weapons.

        • We citizens are not Soviet rifle divisions. We cannot adopt the spray and pray method. It would land us in deep shit with the system.

          And I would hate to think of a hostage rescue team spraying and praying. I think that was the russian approach to Beslan and the theater.

        • For personal defense, you are rarely engaging at ranges where it makes an appreciable difference. “Spray and Pray” is a euphemism for a reason. I’m much more concerned about putting multiple rounds on target with acceptable (minute of asshole) accuracy than I am with putting single round in the X ring with slow fire. For the former, an automatic offers distinct advantages. Try doing a failure to stop drill with a wheel gun and get back to me.

          The reality is that no matter the caliber, a handgun is not a magic death ray. In my training I count on five solid hits to incapacitate a target. (2 to the chest, 2 to the pelvic girdle, 1 to the head, in that order) That’s hard to do with a pocket 9 or a wheel gun.

        • @serge regarding: “Magic death ray” comment.

          This is the sole reason I dropped off the pocket gun idea at my job. (Carrying an actual handgun is not necessarily viable (ie G19/23/32 size) because of how I move and what I need to wear) Looking around at what distances I might have to shoot, something like the LCP I had or a J-frame at ~50 yards was damn near impossible with the sights, the small size, and generally, 10lb trigger pulls. Especially considering a 200Bpm heart rate and everything else associated.

          You’re absolutely correct, a failure drill with 6/7 rounds for one guy is going to be a project. Can it be done? For sure. Is it going to be easier with more ammo and a larger firearm, absolutely.

          I will argue the purpose of transition was not necessarily for proficiency, (though I’m sure it was a factor) but for capacity and loading. Autos are faster in every regard to load, reload, and clear malfunctions. They also (generally) carry double the capacity of a revolver. Continuity of fire rules the day.

      • With 150 rounds of full charge .357 Magnum per day through just about any other platform you’re going to shoot it loose inside a year. The MR73 is built to last.

      • It’s also worth noting that according to Wikipedia, the GIGN uses Glock and SIG semi-automatic pistols in addition to the MR73 and Smith and Wesson revolvers. I don’t think any modern counter-terrorism force would ever rely exclusively on revolvers. I also suspect that the reference to revolvers might be outdated.

        The single biggest advantage to a revolver over a semi-automatic is that it is not subject to limp wrist issues. It will go bang if you pull the trigger, no matter what grip you use or how you point it.

        That said, the first round out of a semi-automatic is not subject to limp wrist issues either. Dropping and popping another magazine into a revolver isn’t an option. Many semi-automatics are less prone to limp wrist issues than their predecessors.

        Revolvers are wonderful for certain purposes. So are semi-automatics. Pick the right tool for the right job.

        • Revolvers also work in contact with the target. GIGN sometimes shots at contact distance. You don’t have to worry about pushing the slide out of battery and disabling the firearm with a revolver.

  2. Being DA-only (not mentioned in the review, but I looked it up), how heavy is the trigger pull?

    • A DAO revolver with an exposed hammer spur? Now that’s innovative!

    • Actually it’s DA/SA, see,

      If it weren’t there would be no reason to have an exposed hammer.

    • Both triggers can be adjusted, and imo rival the Python for quality (and the Ruger for strength & reliability). Overall build quality probably exceeds the Python. Exceedingly nice guns, Korth is probably the next step up.

    • The Manurhin SR73 is not DAO. Mine has about a 3.5 lb DA pull, and about 1 lb SA. NOTE: because the SR73 uses two separate springs for the hammer and the trigger, the user can easily adjust the trigger pull without affecting the strength of the hammer strike.

  3. The French National Railway Police carry 5 shot Ruger SP101. In 38 special with 3 inch barrels. Overrun from the latest contract have been floating around the internet for $340-500.

    • It’s explicitly a beefed up model 19 frame but a different trigger mechanism. Only very slightly larger, but of a much tougher steel. Agree it’s not very affordable. I got a surplus gun for that reason.

      • Perhaps someday I’ll have an abundance of extra cash and someone will come along with a beefed up and polished GP100.

        • A beefed up GP100, jesus. It’s already a tank, wouldn’t surprise me if it held up pretty well with .44mag. Guess that would make it similar in size to the model 69, minus the sleeved barrel and that damn hole.

        • I’d like to see a 5 round .41 magnum GP100. Probably still have to be beefed up, but they can fit 5 .44 special rounds that are 0.19 inches bigger in diameter, so I think they could make it work. Of course if anybody ever does that it will be Ruger, which is probably a good thing since I don’t think I’ll be having an extra $3k burning a hole in my pocket anytime soon. Probably also won’t happen unless they can make it good for ‘Ruger only’ loads.

        • Manurhin also makes the MR-88, which is a Ruger GP-100 with a Manurhin made barrel and cylinder at about half the price of an MR-73

  4. Also has a cold hammer forged barrel and user adjustable mainspring and trigger spring. Mine is a very, very used 4″ barrel police surplus gun but it’s still solid. The rest of the gun is worn and dinged up, but the bore is mirror-perfect.

    • Same. I got mine surplus for about $450 if I remember correctly. Surface is dinged up, wood grips look like all the corners were rounded down with a belt sander. Shoots like a dream, and fits my hand better than any of the .357 Rugers or Smiths I own.

  5. The style of the gun reminds me a lot of an 1873 Colt.
    And despite the value of the gun, to say it is “not inexpensive” is something of an understatement. But then, it is in league price-wise with a whole bunch of custom 1911s.(Not that I can afford those either).

  6. I once saw one NIB unfired. The surface finish was impressive, somewhere between Colt Python and Korth.

    • Indeed; even my surplus beater, with its deep turn-line and slightly peened bolt stops (that’s from a shitload of rapid DA, btw) still shows evidence in the nooks & crannies of a very nice high polish blue, and of course the mechanism for the trigger and crane are marvelous to use.

  7. An impressive item to add to the list of impressive items I will never come close to being able to pay for.

    Good going though, taking out three terrorists and wounding a fourth with a six-gun! There’s the value of intensive training for ya!!!

    Which I also cannot afford the cost of …. darn it …….

  8. The French have often pulled off some amazing hostage rescues compared to the Moron Cops here in the U.S. that have often shot the hostages too.

    In regards to Manurhin they make some very well made firearms. I have several of their Walther PPK/s guns. Few people know that after WWII there never was another German made Walther PP series of pistols, as they were all made in France and then shipped to Germany where they were blued. German law mandates who ever finishes the gun gets to put their name on it so your made in Germany Walther if its post WWII is not made in Germany at all. This was verified in a letter sent to the Original Swat Magazine when Chuck Taylor was editor. The letter came from the President of Manuhrin at the time. They let the “cat out of the bag” when Walther took the Walther banner trade mark away and gave it to Smith & Wesson which then made the Walther PPK/s and promptly trashed Walthers name by making pure junk. Walther later in time booted Smith the hell out of the picture and it could not have come soon enough. Smith even bastardized the PPK/s by changing the back strap because too many people in the U.S. got hammer bite because of their obese meaty paws. Three hundred pound Jethro’s get hammer bite often.

    Despite the Manuhrin being a nicely made gun if your going to fork over $3,000 bucks I would recommend you buy “THE SNAKE” I.E THE Colt Python , I have had 3 and now currently have an almost unfired 6 inch blued. Truly the most accurate .357 I have ever owned. Few people know that “The Snake” had a squeeze bore that tapered toward the muzzle. Supposedly this aided in the Colts outstanding accuracy. The down side was these guns can go out of time far more quickly than the Smith Guns. Parts are a problem for both the Colt and the current Smith guns as new Smith guns now all have junk MIM cast parts in them and many have junk two piece barrels that are cranked into the frame with a tool that goes into the muzzle and mates with the rifling. Brother it took a real Moron at Smith to come up with that idea and an even bigger Moron to come up with “burning” the rifling in now with an EDM machine. Just when you thought Smith could not make guns even cheaper. Bend over when you go into the gun store today. Smith sees you coming. And the new Colt .357 is not even made by them as they “farm out” for the junk MIM cast internal parts. Again bend over sucker they see you coming.

    I do have some of the older Smiths and have one pinned and recessed Model 19. I never shoot .357 mag cartridges out it for obvious reasons as the 19’s were known for only a 2,000 round life if that. I just shoot an a occasional box of .38 specials through it. I might had Smith no longer makes the original high quality Goncalo Alves wood grips either, the wood grips they use today look like shit. Again bend over they see you coming.

    • You know, I used to go by the “older guns were better” mantra as well. But after owning and handling many of the older and “better” smiths, I have to say that the new ones have better fit and finish. By a good margin as well. The new edm rifling, while not my favorite, is extremely accurate.

      The new Colt? Well, I own the new King Cobra. The quality blows away S&W of today and yesteryear. The only revolver I’ve handled that was nicer overall than the new KC is a 1968 4” Python. A stunning firearm. But you know what? The new KC has a trigger that matches the old Python. Colt has upped their game. I’d love to see Ruger and Smith up theirs to the same level.

    • It’s cute that vlad tetanus thinks we’ll believe he owns a gun. Satan still talking to you personally, vlad?

      • He has 3 pythons? That’s neat, I’ll be nice to compare to my 3 M134s sitting in my basement. Yes, I know there’s 4 in the registry, the last guy just won’t part with his.

        • Likely his other pets being ferrets, gerbils and a skittish donkey. (the snakes mentioned actual being slimy reptiles)

    • Pythons are nice as long as you don’t mind them shooting themselves out of time. I watched enough Pythons fall to pieces after a couple years of Silhouette shooting to never want one. A couple people had MRs and a lot of Dan Wesson’s and they held up to the regimen of full power .357 a lot better than the Colt.

    • How long do you think your benevolent overlords will let you keep those guns once they install their socialist utopia?

      Wait…let me guess… They’ll take mine, but you get to keep yours.

      Having read your comments on the internet, the communists will recognize your inherent superiority (i.e., eagerness to grovel) and welcome you to their inner sanctum, where you’ll enjoy all the perks that the rest of us are denied.

      Isn’t that how your dreams play out?

      • Let’s be honest, the only guns Vlad owns is a Mosin garbage stick that’s half rusted shut and an old HiPoint he stole from his meth dealer.

    • Vlad, surely you know you can’t *own* those Pythons, or any property. They belong to the people…by which we mean the state.

  9. The MR 73 is indeed a fine revolver.

    It is a copy and adaptation of the S&W.

    Kind of like how you would build a model 19 Smith with no budget.

    The smoothness comes from a preponderance of leaf springs. A lead spring to power the hammer, the trigger return, and the hand.

    Humorous, as most companies go to coil springs for “longevity and durability”. Most likely, coil springs reduce the cost of manufacture and tuning a “for the masses” gun.

    Looks like the MR 73 is plenty durable with all its smoothness. I’d spend the coin to but a 3 or 4 inch MR73 before I’d buy a 1911 for that much cash.

    I’m not good enough with a 1911 to tell the difference between a $1000 and a $3500 model. I can appreciate the slickness of a fine revolver.

    • You apprehend the spring issue quite well.

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong or undependable about leaf or V-springs in guns. Colt and S&W used them quite successfully for years. High-end “best gun” shotguns have used leaf springs (especially in side-lock guns like H&H’s) for over 100 years. One of the advantages of a leaf or V-spring is that you can, by thinning the spring progressively as you get from the root to the tip, cause the spring to have a progressive take-up, which can feel smoother and more uniform in some rotating lockworks.

      Coil springs are absolutely cheaper, because it’s very easy to automate production of a coil spring. Leaf/V-springs can be automated to some extent, with substantially more expensive tooling. A coil spring could be made on a mandrel on a lathe with a drag block in the compound if you wanted to go that route. I’ve made leaf/v springs for old guns in my shop – some go quickly, some don’t, but all of them can be made easily with simple tools (hacksaws, hand files, polishing paper, quenching oil, a torch or source of heat and some measuring tools).

      • Nothing as buttery smooth as a leaf spring – tapered as you mention.

        I thin and polish all my Smith and Wessons to get a great pull and even out the bumps in the pull.

        I never had as much luck with the V spring in Colts. I followed Skeeter Skeltons advice and used a drill bit in the V to bend the spring. They Colts are better but still stack at the end.

        I once saw a custom (Strahan?) Python with mainspring that looked like a pretzel but shot like a dream. More art than science, I think.

      • Leaf springs definitely have more fatigue issues. Not because of the shape, so much as 1) they are harder to design to prevent fatigue failure, 2) fatigue mechanics was not well understood at all in the days they were common in machinery. They’re also hideously expensive to replace for a ‘consumable,’ unless based in sheet metal, which robs a lot of the freedom to optimize the design like you describe. All these things conspire to make coil springs the item of choice nowadays. You can also get similarly good performance from a coil spring, but it requires high quality spring guide rods & plungers (and good design)…and ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

    • The lockwork is a bit different, yielding a double and single action much nicer than you can generally obtain with a Smith (is more like a Python in quality).

      • I have owned 2 Pythons and was never impressed. Stacked just like any other Colt but was smoother.

        I’ll take a buffed Smith model 10 over a Python any day.

        The Manurhin is in a league above a buffed Smith.

        But you pay for it.

        • The MR73 doesn’t stack nearly as much. Colt fans like the hitching because it’s familiar; the MR73 is more similar to a Smith in ‘feel’ but is smoother and can get lighter than one in both double and single action. I actually prefer the DA simply because the SA has such short travel to break I find it unnerving (it’s more like a good rifle trigger that what I expect from a handgun). DA force on my gun is a smooth arc-shaped profile, with peak force seemingly about the middle of travel, and drops a bit as you progress to the break; very nice in rapid fire.

  10. Well, I feel stupid.
    I saw a PP clone at a gun show a few years back and “saw” Manhurin and thought it was a cheap Chinese knockoff. I kept going.
    A little googling and now know it was a Manurhin. It was a pretty good deal too.

    • Manurhin made most all Walther PPs after the war. Excellent quality and the Germans took full advantage of their manufacturing.

      In Europe, guns are “made” where they are proofed ( I think). So Walther had Manurhin make the guns and send to Germany for proofing.

  11. I wanted one until I saw the price. Probably worth every penny but that’s too rich for me.

    • Ditto. I love .357, own a couple (Smith and Ruger), and found this article fascinating. I’m all “I’m gonna get one,” til I saw the price tag. Dayum, just ain’t gonna happen, too much on the list that’s far easier on the wallet.

      • Man I hear ya, got a perfect spot in the safe for a python or the like. But damn those snakes are hard to grasp, LGS had one a couple months ago for $1800 but I couldn’t swing it. The reality of math….what’s the going rate for a kidney now?

  12. “The second conclusion applies to hunting applications, specifically when pairing the Manurhin revolver with the Hornady 140-grain FTX LEVERevolution ammunition. The group sizes obtained when using these cartridges provides support for using the MR73 and the Hornady ‘big-game’ load for species such as whitetail deer and feral hog.”

    FWIW, that ammo *specifically* will not work in my MR73. The design of the hand that advances the cylinder is such, that a *specific* recoil impulse (not too weak, not too strong) will cause it to fail to reset in rapid-fire, resulting in a dead trigger. Would happen consistently 2-3 times per cylinder until I’d spent that ammo. Darn shame too, as it loads into the cylinder really quickly & easily because of the pointed tips.

    • The trigger reset can be adjusted by turning in the screw. Try about 1/2 a turn at a time until you have reliable reset

      • It’s not the trigger spring, it’s the hand spring (which drives the pawl that engages the cylinder star). A fairly well known issue. That spring relaxing is why I notice the problem, and replacing it would change the ‘magic load’ that the gun hates, possibly enough to push it out of the range of common 357 loads. However, that spring no longer exists as a replacement part 😉

    • The original wire spring tensioning the hand of the MR73 was changed over to the leaf design to forestall its bounce under recoil.

      One of the GIGN shooting drills was the 7 meter fast response. The revolver was loaded with five .357 Magnum rounds and carried in a belt holster; in the pocket the shooter had 5 more loose .357 Magnum rounds. At the sound of a whistle, the range officers were given 25 seconds to fire the ten cartridges at the target located 7 meters away; the instructors had only 20 seconds. It turns out that in order to have the time to reload and fire the other five rounds in the allotted time, the first 5 rounds must be fired in less than 5 seconds to satisfy the requirements; no more than 3 to 4 seconds can be allowed for top placements.

      At this rate of fire, in the original MR73 design that tensioned the hand with a “safety pin” spring, the hand did not have enough time to return to the ratchet and rotate the cylinder, and consequently it slipped over the ratchet, causing the firing pin to strike the primer of the last expended shell. Owing to the inertia of the hand thrown backward by Magnum recoil forces, the music wire spring was not strong enough to return it forward in time to engage the teeth of the ratchet of the ejector and ensure the rotation of the cylinder. Manurhin’s engineers were slow to understand why this happened to some police shooters, because the factory testers never managed to replicate the malfunction. Shooters training with S&W M10, M13, or M19 under similar conditions never experienced this malfunction. Tensioning the MR73 cylinder hand by a flat spring fixed it at least for the 158gr Norma .357 Magnum load issued by GIGN.

      • Yup, that’s how it goes down. I think 110gr loads are fast enough to cause the issue, but don’t have enough recoil to jostle the hand far enough. 158gr or higher loads have plenty of momentum, but don’t apply it to the gun/hand as quickly, so the lightweight part doesn’t bounce as far during operation. Both very light and heavier loads run great, and so far it’s just those 147gr FTX deals that had the issue (but pretty consistently). And yeah, at a rof that was probably a little faster than 1 shot per second. Most likely my issue is due to the hand spring being a bit worn –it’s a very well used surplus gun– but obviously it won’t be replaced very easily, so the best solution is to simply avoid those problem loads. Still a pity, they drop into revolver chambers so nicely.

        At least my TRR8 still likes ’em (that’s why I had them on hand). You basically get the bullets in the moon clip pointed roughly forward, throw them at the opened cylinder, and 99/100 times they drop right in on their own, lol. Unskilled man’s Miculek trick.

  13. Love me some wheel guns, Thanks for the review. I’d change the grips personally, but that’s neither here nor there. Beautiful piece nonetheless, but at 3k whooo! Way to rich for me, i’ll just have to make due with my ruger. I’m confident it’ll light up a bad guy if need be all the same.

  14. In Richard Marcinko’s book, Rogue Warrior, which is an autobiography of his career in the SEALs, there is a photo of a SEAL with a 4″ stainless S&W model 66.

    If you are going to review expensive revolvers, how about a Korth? I have read that they are the finest revolvers made with the possible exception of ones from highly respected custom shops.

    • That’s my opinion. I think the Smith has the best ergonomics of all the offerings (Colt, Korth, Dan Wesson), but couldn’t attain as nice a trigger as the Colt, which couldn’t attain the strength of the Ruger, which was never made with particularly impressive workmanship like the Colt or Korth or early-early Smiths. The MR73 seems like the best of all worlds, with Smith-style ergonomics, a highly respectable trigger, extremely sturdy design & high quality materials, and superlative workmanship. The price was the only downside, and even the French were unable to justify continuing production, so they moved onto the MR88 in later years, which was basically a licensed Ruger with perfectly acceptable but far more pedestrian quality & performance.

  15. The Korth is nice, but the Manurhin has been used in the field by GIGN for decades. There’s no substitute for real word usage.

    The tool steel used in the MR73 gives it crazy durability. The cylinder for example, is rated for 90,000 PSI. Considering SAAMI max pressure for the .357 mag is 35,000 psi, it’s no wonder the Manurhin survived a 170,000 round test without issue.

    While the MR73 evolved from the S&W K frame, the steels used, the production and the hours of hand fitting place it in another class. Unfortunately that means a corresponding high cost.

    For anyone interested in the details of the MR 73, here’s an excellent article

  16. A .357 magnum revolver is no slouch but if you take those operators and have them train just as hard with a good-quality semiautomatic pistol the results would be just as impressive with enough remaining ammo to take out the 4th bad guy.

    • The last service autopistol to equal the accuracy of the Manurhin MR73 was the SIG P49. Its 9mm Para round comes well short of the French GIGN ballistic requirements that led to its development and adoption. I cannot match its accuracy, energy, and durability with anything less than my 10mm widebody longslide SVI Infinity, at over twice its MSRP of $3,200. The MR73 is a hell of a bargain.

    • “A .357 magnum revolver is no slouch but if you take those operators and have them train just as hard with a good-quality semiautomatic pistol the results would be just as impressive with enough remaining ammo to take out the 4th bad guy.”

      Its interesting to note that in the 1980’s Pistolero Magazine went to Mexico where they shot barn yard pigs and they used the .357 mag, .38 Special, 9mm and .45 acp and they found no difference in killing power at point blank range between any of those calibers , none what so ever.

  17. There are SEVERAL of these revolvers up for sale on gunbroker. New & used. FWIW…

  18. I Bought a chapuis made MR73 in Nov 2017. By feb 2019 I had put 3,500 rounds of Geco 357 158 gr SJHP and 500 “soft” professionally reloaded 38spl LRN .
    The cylinder release catch broke. A gunsmith removed the catch which had split in two and pointed out the forcing cone was cracked and flame damaged. The frame above the forcing cone also had slight flame damage. There were “ghost” marks from the cartridges and ejector star on the recoil plate. The gunsmith attributed this damage to the gun not “liking” magnum loads.I returned the gun to the vendor who informed me I’d clearly been dangerously overloading my re-loads. Therefore my warranty is void. In an act of good will he informed the Police I was unsafe with fire arms and should have my licence revoked. I took the gun to a second gunsmith for another assessment, his conclusion was, the barrel was made of poor quality steel and the gun is fit for use with magnum loads. I have read only favourable reviews of the Manurhin made MR 73s. My theory is Chapuis have dropped the quality control ball. I deeply regret this purchase. Mainly due to abysmal customer service.

  19. I do consider all the ideas you have offered to your post.

    They’re really convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very quick for starters. May just
    you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  20. Newer ones, same name, not the same quality.
    Have an early 80’s, near mint, shoots incredibly smooth and accurate. That trigger! Don’t shoot it much anymore-older hands. Sad to see it be a safe queen.

  21. The Gign, does not rely only on the Revolver, here it is not a question between semiautomatic or or revolver, they carry both, and when they choose to use the revolver, if they do not solve with the 6 shots, they do not reload, but switch to semi-automatic. They choose according to the mission and personal preference of each operator

Comments are closed.