Austro-Hungarian Rast Gasser Revolvers
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.
Wn1: 5608 - 8919 Wn?: 10927 - 11259 Wn14: 23995 Wn15: 32550 - 61716 Wn16: 68881 - 113303 Wn17: 115159 - 150618 Wn18: 165998 - 188906 Hv31: 73418 Hv32: 196739 ML marked revolvers: 73418, 74517, 836xx, 88419, 99652, 105409, 113303, 115159, 120182, 125381, 150618, 151311, 165998, 166229, 171955, 172207, 173253, 175598, 183xxx, 188906, 222182 Non-ML marked revolvers: Please provide serials
- Another theory is that the 'ML' mark indicates that the barrels & cylinders were made by Manufacture Liegeoise d'Armes as a subcontractor to 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 possible.
- 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 other weapons manufactured at the same time at the same facilities?
If you have an 'ML' marked M1898, please provide your serial number, the caliber, markings, and date if any.
If you have access to a hardness testing equipment, please provide test results of the ML and non-ML marked parts.
Also, if you notice any tiny cracks or other signs of metallurgical issues on these revolvers, please send me a note. (None reported so far)
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. Worth over US$5000 (2005).
This revolver is referred to on page 248-49 of Joschi Schuy's Gasser Revolver book.
Known serials: 10499