Austro-Hungarian Weapons - Roth Steyr Pistols
Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft Steyr 1908-13 (53,000 pieces)
Fegyver és Gépgyár Budapest 1910-14 (34,100 pieces)
Georg Roth's association with the Steyr factory began in the early 1900s, and the prototype Roth-Steyr pistol appeared in 1904, designed by Karel Krnka and referred to as the Krnka M1904 Pistol.
Development continued until the finalized design was adopted for the Austro-Hungarian cavalry in 1907. Later it was also adopted by the Austro-Hungarian air force.
The pistol chambered a unique Roth-Steyr 8mm rimless cartridge, its mechanism is also unique, as well as one of the few Roth-Krnka designs using something other than long recoil. The most remarkable feature is the bolt extending for the full length of the receiver. The hollow front of the bolt completely surrounds the barrel, the rear portion being solid except for the striker tunnel. This bolt fits inside the tubular receiver, forged and machined as part of the pistol frame. Two lugs on the barrel-breech engage with cam grooves in the inner surface of the hollowed bolt, while two lugs on the outer surface of the muzzle fit grooves in the muzzle bush.
Bolt and barrel recoil for about 12mm on firing, locked together by the engagement of the rear barrel cams in the bolt grooves. Simultaneously the muzzle cams move backward in the helical grooves in the muzzle bush. The grooves in the bolt rotate the barrel lugs through 90 degrees during this early recoil phase. When the barrel has been rotated, the muzzle lugs reach the end of the grooves in the muzzle bush and stop the barrel. However, the lugs in the breech ailgn with a straight section of the grooves inside the bolt. This releases the bolt to run back alone, extracting and ejecting the spent case. The top round in the integral butt magazine then rises through a slot in the bolt, to be pushed forward into the chamber as the bolt returns. Counter-rotation of grooves and lugs then rotates the barrel back to its locked position as the return spring pushes the entire bolt/barrel mechanism forward again.
The Roth-Steyr also has an unusual striker mechanism. As the bolt goes forward, the striker is held by the sear with minimal compression of the striker spring. Pulling the trigger forces the striker back, compressing the striker spring, until it is released by the sear
to fire the cartridge. This mechanism, very similar to the Roth-Sauer pattern, is said to have demanded by the cavalry; demanding a conscious effort to fire, it guards against a skittish horse jolting a conventional cocked hammer out of
engagement with the sear. The Roth-Steyr was never marketed commercially. The place of manufacture is marked on top of the barrel.
The 8x19mm cartridge was very powerful, with ball ammo it penetrated a 260mm (10") thick fir at a distance of 25m
Most Roth-Steyrs (including those made in Hungary) carry a 'W-n' military proof mark, applied by the Austrian government arsenal in Wiener-Neustadt, together with the Hapsburg eagle.
Some of the Roth-Steyrs were reissued after WW1 in Austria. Pistols reissued before 1926 received a 2nd Wn date.
This example shows the 1st acceptance in 1910 (Wn-10) and the 2nd acceptance in 1925 (Wn-25).
Pistols reissued after 1926 carry a 'Hv' Heeresverwaltung (Army Administration), Austrian Army acceptance proof mark with the date of issuance 1927-1938.
Sometimes they just overstamped the old acceptance mark making it illegible. Use the serial number data below to find your manufacturing date.
The internal magazine was loaded with stripper clips.
A brass disc in the right grip may display unit identification marks.
No Austro-Hungarian guns have been encountered dated later than 1914, though a few were assembled after the end of WW1. By 1939 the pistol was still in use by the Hungarian army. Some guns, obtained as war reparations in 1919, were still used by the Italian army as late as 1941. The design overall was complex and difficult to manufacture, but it was robust enough to survive until WW2.
Roth Steyr M1907 Pistol Assembly Drawing
Holster photos courtesy of CollectibleFirearms.com
Acceptance date - Serial numbers reported: Steyr manufactured: Wn09: 1355 - 23107 Wn10: 23949 - 45167 Wn11: 46444 Wn12: 47863 - 47929 Lw12: 48161 Wn13: 50157 - 53009 Budapest manufactured: Wn10: 1 - 225 Wn11: 218 - 741 Wn12: 6345 - 25196 Wn13: 26036 - 30472 Wn14: 34052 - 34058 Austrian Reissue acceptance dates reported: Wn-25 Hv-27 Hv-35