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Marius Berger’s Ring-Trigger Tube-Magazine Pistol

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The 1880s and 1890s were a fertile period of experimentation with repeating handguns. One such example is this design by Marius Berger, manufactured in France by St Etienne in 1880 and 1881. It uses a ring trigger and a 4-stage cycle in which pulling the trigger sequentially:

1) Opens the breech, extracting the empty case
2) Ejects the empty case as an elevator lifts the next round up from the magazine tube
3) Chambers a new cartridge and closes the breech behind it
4) Fires the cartridge

This particular example, serial number 14, has an interesting and unusual magazine tube design. Instead of removing the follower and loading rounds in the front of the tube, or loading them through the action from the back, this tube has two parts. The inner liner can be rotated to open up the side of the tube, thereby allowing rounds to be dropped in place. The inner tube liner is then rotated back into position, sealing the tube and releasing the follower to push rounds onto the elevator.

Guns like the Berger (and the wide array of Austrian manually-operated pistols of this period) were rendered obsolete as smokeless powder made semiautomatic pistols viable by the mid 1890s. In my opinion, however, they are a really interesting and marvelously varied area of experimentation!

Thanks to the Institute of Military Technology ( for giving me the opportunity to bring this remarkable pistol to you!

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