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The Vault

German Luger rifle

Georg Luger adapted his famously successful toggle lock form the Luger automatic pistol into a self-loading rifle for the German military. It was built in 8mm Mauser, but only a few prototypes were ever built.

Luger 1906 semiauto rifle in 8x57mm

Luger 1906 semiauto rifle in 8x57mm

According to the related patent (which you can download below, thanks to a fellow name JonMac who found if for a post on The Firearms Blog) the rifle incorporates an improvement over the Luger pistol mechanism. The pistol was known for having minimal spring pressure holding the toggle closed – a little dirt in the chamber or a bumping the cocking knobs upward could inadvertently keep the action from going fully into battery. This rifle design uses a different setup to put more positive spring pressure on the toggle when closed. This would probably not have been very easy to retrofit into the Luger pistol, simply because of space constraints.

Luger semiauto rifle toggle lock improvement

The rifle recoil spring would be the primary force on the toggle when the action was fully open. As the toggle closed, the leverage of this second spring would increase, solving one of the main faults in the Luger pistol.


UK Patent 4126 (Georg Luger, “Improvements in Recoil Operated Fire Arms”, July 26, 1906)


13 comments to German Luger rifle

  • Bill Martiny

    WOW, what a unique piece. Wish they had been mass produced. I’ve always been a fan of the pistol, and would love to have the opportunity to shoot a Luger rifle.

  • Tim G.

    What a beautiful rifle. I’d love to see one of these in person. Love the site guys. Keep up the good work.

  • David B

    I once had the opportunity to handle one of these which was owned by Interarms and was in their private collection whilst they had a branch in Manchester UK. If my memory serves me correctly it was numbered ’4′ on the woodwork. I can tell you the weapon has a VERY strong recoil spring and was unsuccessful largely due to the necessity for such a spring, and apparently suffered frequent stoppages. Production was stopped after a few prototypes as the problems could not be resolved. ( so I was told at the time). Glad I had the opportunity to see it though – I doubt I’ll ever see another. I believe the weapon was shipped back to Viginia when Interarms closed their Manchester site.

    • ShooterSean

      Do you know wheter this firearm used a detatchable magazine or a stripper fed, internal one, and how many rounds were able to be held in it?

      • Sherwin Cogan

        About the magazine: If you enlarge picture 1 (where the rifle is ‘vertical’ on the page) you can see the guide for stripper clips. In the same picture, the floor plate shows a hinge at the front and a thumb latch at the rear, for quickly and safely unloading the internal magazine. I wish the US Army had looked at that in 1936.
        I’ll bet that, if Germany had used that rifle in the trenches, they would have quickly and easily modified it to use removable magazines. Of course, in the trenches the Kar. 12 (or whatever they would have called it) would have needed a two-rifle two-man crew: one to shoot both of them alternately, and one to clean them.

  • Bill Martiny

    Perhaps with a smaller caliber, the need for a stout recoil spring would be negated. I’d still very much like to see one of these rifles “in the flesh”. New production guns in smaller, workable chamberings would be very welcome.

  • David B

    I am sure you are correct Bill. It was the necessity for the weapon to use the standard 7.92 cartridge that was the problem. The cartridge is too powerful for this design to function without the powerful spring. I’m sure a lighter cartridge would have solved the problem, but would have been unacceptable to the German military. I wonder if Interarms allows visitors to it’s collection in Alexandria, Virginia? I’m sure that is where this weapon is now.

  • Bill

    It’s shape is similar to Garand rifle

  • […] caliber. Guns.com has a little bit on the Luger and Pedersen rifles, and they’re riffing off this post over at Forgotten Weapons, which includes a link to a Luger patent for the rifle. FW also has plenty on the Pedersen and even […]

  • tac foley

    There is one such rifle in the museum of the Irish Permanent Defence Force in the Curragh, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland. How it got there is not known.

    If anybody is interested, please post your interest on the shooting forum of boards.ie


    tac foley
    President – Vintage Classic Rifle association of Ireland [www.vcrai.com]

  • Tuldok

    Say, it would have been really uncomfortable if that toggle mechanism hits your face while you are aiming down the sights.

  • Kit Fisto

    For anyone interested there is some info about the rifle in The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, vol. 2, p. 1649-1650, 1652-1655

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