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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.

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  1. Destruction of history isn’t limited to nut-job zealots in the Middle East, apparently.

  2. Barbarians !
    I got to fire one back in ’83. It was fun to shoot, logical in operation, relatively easy to load, and minute-of-bad -guy accurate.

    • But … Evil!

      Just look at the high-capacity stripazines! And those big bullets to make horrendously large wounds are … well … not that far in spec from modern ammo. But it’s beside the pointing children! Or something like that anyway.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but C&R eligibility doesn’t exempt you from the FFL paradigm … unless you have a C&R License.

    • Correct. A gun that’s 50 or more years old, can be shipped directly from the seller to the purchaser, as long as the purchaser has an FFL C&R license!

  4. They care about as much as ISIS cares when they blew up Palmyra. Same scorched-earth re-programming attitude.

  5. Oh well…lots of valuble old stuff gets destroyed. Being scarce usually means its worth more. I’ve seen things much more rare destroyed in my many years of being an antique dealer(mostly fine art). And maybe the retard who got 75bucks thought guns were “icky”. I bet my guy who has millions in old guns would’ve LOVED this?

    • Many of the ‘retards’ who frequent these gun turn-ins are 90 year old widows and 60 year old offspring who inherited a family treasure and have no idea what it’s worth or what to do with it.

      Using government resources to fleece these people out of their inheritances should be a criminal offense.

      • I was at one in Phoenix, talking to a widow who was turning in a WWII trophy. It was in a bag, and she would not even let me see it. She said her late husband had once used it for defense while they were out in the desert. Now she just wanted to turn it in to the police so she could be sure it was disposed of “properly”.

        • In order to properly insure that nobody else ever defends themselves with it?

          Sometimes I wonder if Phoenix and Tuscon are really part of Arizona, or even the United States…

  6. Not to worry – Remington will soon be announcing their redesign and update of the Roth-Steyr, to be released at next year’s SHOT show as the R07.

    • The Grendel P-10 is a modern 10-rd stripper clip charged handgun in .380. .380 in +P rounds, is about the same power as the 8X8.5 Roth.

      It didn’t take off, but is an interesting design.

  7. “It’s a curio/relic in the eyes of the the ATF, so it doesn’t have to run through the normal FFL process.”

    Not true. A curio and relics license is an FFL, albeit restricted to only certain guns. If you don’t have a C&R FFL, then you would still need to go through a licensed dealer to purchase one commercially, no different than any other used handgun.

    You may be thinking of antique guns, which are those made before 1898, or replicas not designed to fire “modern” rimfire or centerfire ammunition (mostly just black powder guns, basically). Those are exempt from FFL requirements.

    • Also, I just want to say that I hope the ghost of the former owner of that Roth-Steyr haunts the ever-loving shit out of his widow, or kids, or whoever turned it in to the “buyback”.

  8. I inherited a 41 caliber rimfire Vetterly rifle several years ago. The last ammo for it was manufactured in 1947. I found one box of old ammo for sale for $525. It was the first repeating rifle issued by a nation (Switzerland) in 1869. I donated it to a local museum.

  9. If I was a gang banger and had murdered someone, a no questions asked buy back would be a God’s sender. Cash or credit and the police would destroy the evidence.

    The fact is that 90% of the guns turned in are a widow who doesn’t want her husband’s 1914 Colt 1911 or Springfield 03 NM rifle or maybe a disgruntled wife who wants to dispose of Hubby’s guns out of sheer cruelty.

    Crime is not reduced since only a fraction of 1% of the guns ever are used to commit a crime.

  10. Assuming it was the Austrian 11th Landwehr, here is their regimental history:

    11th Imperial-Royal Landwehr Infantry Regiment (Jičin)
    51st Landwehr Infantry Brigade (Hohenmauth)
    26th Landwehr Infantry Division – IX Army Corps

    Established: 1889: Garrison: Jičín – III Battalion in Jaroměř
    Nationalities: 63% Czech – 36% German – 1% other
    Landwehr Recruiting District: Jičin and Königgrätz

    Commanding Officer: Colonel Emil Stangl
    Staff officers: Colonel Ignaz Bezděk – Lieut. Colonel Josef Basler – Lieut. Colonel Karl Petzold – Lieut. Colonel Franz Rutta – Lieut. Colonel Edgar Gautsch von Frankenborn – Major Rudolf Hug

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