Original Imperial German M1879 Reichsrevolver by F. v. Dreyse with Regiment Marking - Matching Serial 7146

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is one of the great romantic era Imperial German Army Revolvers, complete with some very interesting regiment markings. The M1879 Reichsrevolver, or Reichs-Commissions-Revolver Modell 1879, was a service revolver used by the German Army from 1879 to 1908, when it was superseded by the Luger. The Model of 1879 was issued with a 7" 10.6mm x 25R mm Barrel, which sported a rather fancy ring to the muzzle. In 1883 they introduced a shorter barrel version that had only a 5" barrel, the M1883. Although the design was dated, the weapon was extremely robust, and they were still used through World War I. The M1879 is referred to as the "cavalry model" and the M1883 as the "officer's model," by collectors, which were not official designations.

These revolvers were single action only and were fitted with a robust safety lever on the left hand side of the frame, which functions differently depending on hammer position. If the hammer is in the fire position, the safety locks the hammer completely. If in the half-cock position, it locks the hammer there, facilitating reloading of the revolver or removal of the cylinder. They also have a very robust ring on the bottom of the grip, for securing the revolver to the uniform.

There were made by various different makers, and this example is marked F. v. DREYSE / SOMMERDA, for Franz von Dreyse, the son of the famous inventor and firearms manufacturer Johann Nicolaus von Dreyse. The father and son had started a gun factory in Sommerda together, which Franz continued after his father passed in 1867, until his own passing in 1894.

Our Revolver bears all matching serial number 7146, even on the inside of the grip and the small screws. There are various proof marks on most parts, was was standard for German issued weapons. It also bears a regimental mark on the pommel plate: R. I. M. 25. 11., with the stylized R that indicates it was a "Reserve" unit. However we have been told that the other letters signify that while it was for a reserve unit, it was an early Machine Gun regiment. We unfortunately have not been able to verify this, and leave it as an excellent research opportunity.

The right side of the barrel is marked .44 SPL, however this was added after importation into the United States, long after original production, and does not indicate any changes were made. The .44 Special was an evolution of the .44 Russian cartridge, which would work in the Reichsrevolver, and someone added this marking to indicate that .44 SPL could work, but from what we have seen, this is not recommended.

The grips are in excellent condition, though the metal work is worn, as expected for a gun of this age. However, condition is solid, and some portions of the frame have a good amount of the original plum colored finish. Bore is bright with clear lands and grooves, the loading gate works perfectly, and mechanically the action is very tight.

In full working order, very substantial and a great example of a solid German design. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1885
Caliber: 10.6×25mmR
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 7 inches
Overall Length: 14 inches
Action: Single Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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