Austro-Hungarian Rast Gasser Revolvers



Rast & Gasser M1898 Army Revolver

Manufacturer: Approx. 200,000 by Rast & Gasser, Ottakring, Vienna, 1898-1918
Type: solid-frame revolver
Caliber: 8mm Rast & Gasser (8.1x27mm, 8.2x27.5mm)
Length overall: 225mm [8.86"], Barrel: 116mm [4.57"] rifled, 4 grooves, RH
Weight unloaded: 850g
Magazine: 8-chamber cylinder
Muzzle velocity: 240m/s [787 fps]

'Red' photos courtesy of CollectibleFirearms.com

The last handgun to carry Gasser's name was the 8mm Rast & Gasser Model 1898 service revolver (double action), adopted by the army of Austria-Hungary. This revolver was issued to NCOs and officers of the army. The M1898 was a very well made weapon that had several unusual features for a revolver. One was a method of stripping which was effected by squeezing and pulling down on the trigger guard and flipping the side plate open. Another was the very positive safety. This 8-shot solid-frame pattern had an ejector rod beneath the barrel. The Abadie-type loading gate on the right side of the frame behind the cylinder disconnected the hammer from the trigger when it was opened for loading. The trigger mechanism could be used in either a single or double-action mode. The angular Rast & Gasser had its grip too square to the bore to aid instinctive shooting. The frame is marked 'PATENT RAST & GASSER WIEN' above the trigger. The serial numbers are on the left side of the frame and barrel, an on the cylinder. During WW2 the M1898 revolver was still in widespread use in Central Europe and the Balkans, and numbers were in use with the Italian Army. The main reason for this retention was undoubtedly the high standard of manufacture used in this revolver.

Cylinder removal:

1. Turn the loading gate to the horizontal opened position
2. Pull the ejector assembly latch downward and turn it slightly, so it's side lug will lock it in position
3. Pull the ejector assembly and the attached cylinder base pin forward out of the frame
4. Remove the cylinder toward the right.

Acceptance date - Reported serial numbers tabulation:

Wn15:  32550 -  61716
Wn16:  68881 - 113303
Wn17:  124808 - 150618
Wn18:  165998 - 187391
Hv32:  196739

ML marked revolvers:
74517, 99652, 113303, 150618, 165998, 166229, 171955, 173253

Reproduction holster


Rast & Gasser M1898 Belgian(?) 'ML' marked Revolver

A few examples of these revolvers are found with an 'ML' mark on their cylinders and barrels.
There are several theories:
- Most likely the 'ML' mark indicates that the barrels & cylinders were made by Manufacture Liegeoise d'Armes as a subcontractor to Gasser, and the caliber is 8mm Rast & Gasser. 'Wn' Austrian military acceptance marks were reported on 'ML' marked revolvers. Manufacturing dates indicate 1916-1918. ML was under German control during this time, so the subcontracting idea seems logical.

- Some sources claim that the 'ML' stands for 'Molybdan Legiertem Stahl' (Molybdenum Alloy Steel) indicating a better material. Question: If it is a better material, an improvement, why didn't they made all subsequent revolvers this way after a certain serial number?

- Some sources claim that there are 'ML' marked revolvers in caliber 7.62x39mm Nagant. These revolvers are Belgian made copies of the Rast & Gasser. These revolvers have redesigned cylinders and the barrels to accept the Nagant cartridge and the barrel and the butt were shortened to make the revolver smaller. All reported 'ML' marked revolvers are in the original 8x27mm caliber so far, which gives doubt for this theory.

- Other sources claim the 'ML' to be an Austrian inspection mark. Why there are no similar inspection marks on the other revolvers?

If you have an 'ML' marked M1898, please provide your serial number, the caliber, markings, and date if any.


Rast & Gasser M1898 Revolver with Tambour Patent grip safety

An extremely rare version of the Rast Gasser M1898. This revolver has an additional grip safety, patented by Joseph Tambour of Wien, patent #9360. Only 4 revolvers are known with this modification. May worth US$5000+.
This revolver is referred to on page 248-49 of Joschi Schuy's Gasser Revolver book.
Known serials: 10499


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