AMT Automag IV – A Browning in .45 Winchester Magnum

The pistol in this video is coming up for auction here.

The Automag series of pistol introduced by Arcadia Machine & Tool in the late 1980s and early 1990s were produced by the same man as the original Auto Mag Pistol – Harry Sanford – but they share nothing mechanical with that first generation gun. The later Automags (note the single word spelling, instead of two words) are mechanically Browning pistols, with tilting barrels as opposed to the rotating bolt of the original. Four different types were brought to market – the II in .22 Magnum, the III in .30 Carbine, the IV in .45 Winchester Magnum, and the V in .50 Action Express. None sold particularly well, and only the II remains in production today through High Standard.


  1. “II in .22 Magnum, the III in .30 Carbine, the IV in .45 Winchester Magnum, and the V in .50 Action Express”
    Now I noticed that: II .22, III .30, IV .45, V .50
    Interestingly, the “smallest” one survived in production.
    I want to note that while up-scaling known pattern of weapon might looks to be simple operation, it is not necessarily so.
    Independently from origin of design (entirely new or upscaled prior existing) all automatic pistol having… very high ballistic performance ends very heavy, take for example NAACO Brigadier, firing cartridge ballistic-wise close to .45 Winchester Magnum, having capacity 8, was around 1,5 kg heavy, empty, even though aluminum alloy was used.
    All such designs ends with mediocre popularity at best starting yet in 19th century with Gabbett-Fairfax MARS

    • Why does every generation have people obsessed with “Magnum force” munitions? The answer is lots of punching power!!

      • People often confuse the missions of the rifle and the pistol. The pistol is a defensive weapon intended for use in a restricted range band, i.e under 50 meters on average. The rifle is an offensive weapon, intended for use at ranges up to 1000 meters, depending on cartridge.

        For the defensive mission vs. human opponents, there’s not much point in anything heavier that the .357 Magnum. It has enough power to put all but the largest bipedal targets on the ground with a center hit, but not so much that it “blows through”, creating a hazard on the far side of same. Its recoil, blast and flash are also at roughly the upper limit that 99% of shooters can tolerate in aimed, rapid fire.

        The .44 magnum (and the moribund .41 Magnum) both exceed those limits by considerable margins, unless you use “medium velocity” loads, which reduce their energy and striking power to about the level of the .357 or the old .45 Colt.

        The .44 magnum’s full performance can only be attained in barrels longer than 16″. Which tells you that the vaunted .44 is a lever-action carbine cartridge, not a revolver round.

        Note that in a 20″ barrel, .357 125-grain loads can achieve velocities and energies near those of the 7.62 x 39mm. So even the .357 is somewhat more powerful than the .44 enthusiasts might think.

        The .357 is a superb revolver cartridge and not a bad carbine round as well. The .44 is a superb carbine cartridge that is no business in a revolver.

        As for the power level necessary for defensive use, the old Red Army did a study based on WW2 combat reports, and concluded that the minimum energy to cripple or kill a man with a center-torso hit was roughly 400 J. That’s about 300 FPE, or almost exactly dead-center between the energy levels of the .38 Special 158-grain round nose lead standard velocity load, and the .45 ACP 230-grain G,i. hardball or the 9 x 19mm 124 grain FMJ.

        In short, the 9mm is probably all you really need. But the .357 can do the same job with its “medium velocity” loads.

        In neither case is a .4 Magnum’s power level either necessary or even particularly desirable.

        Beating yourself up is not the key to ending a fight.



        • Beating yourself up IS the key to NOT starting a fight with an angry grizzly bear. Handguns in .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, et al are FAR more reassuring in this role than a .357. And much easier to carry than a rifle when you’re waist deep in an icy river. They’re far superior for humanely taking big game for those who enjoy the challenge of hunting with a handgun. These rounds also decisively knock over steel when competing in silhouette matches. Hollywood & video games have greatly exaggerated the use of powerful handguns in tactical use. No one in their right mind carries a .50 Desert Eagle for personal protection or when knocking down doors. But these firearms ARE useful to those who require what they offer.

          • Even the .454 is marginal on the big bruins; probably only the .500 S&W or Linebaugh can be considered adequate for the purpose among handgun calibers.

            The best medicine for Ol’ Ephraim short of an actual rifle in at least .30-06 (220 grain solid) is probably a 12-gauge 3″ Magnum “deer gun” loaded with Brenneke-type sabot slugs. I’d advise a pump for reliability and an extended magazine (6-shot minimum), as even with that, you will need multiple center hits.

            The Winchester Stainless Marine and Mossberg 550 Marine-coated Milspec are probably the best choices. Although the Marlin Stainless Guide Gun in .457 WWG has its attractions, being designed from the ground up for that specific job.



      • According to THE “MARS” PISTOL (manual for that automatic pistol):
        THIS Pistol occupies a unique position in that it is only Automatic Pistol which can fire a heavy projectile at a high velocity.
        The Revolver is essentially a short range weapon of low velocity, but possesses a stopping power absolutely lacking in the Automatic Pistol at present [i.e. October 1902] on the market. The projectiles of the latter attain fairly high velocities, but being of small size and light weight, they are totally deficient in the stopping power essential to a defensive weapon.
        The shock-producing effect of a Pistol bullet depends upon the striking area, mass, weight, and a velocity of the projectile. Thus the maximum useful effect can only be obtained from a heavy bullet travelling at a high velocity, and in this respect no other approaches the combination of shock-producing and ranging powerrs found in the “Mars.”

        • In that manual you can also found table, which show comparative energies developed in the Colt Revolver, Colt Automatic, Mauser Automatic and “Mars” Pistols
          Pistol. – Calibre. – Weight of Bullet. – Charge of Powder – Muzzle Velocity. – Energy in foot lbs.
          _ – ins. – grs. – grs. – ft. per sec.
          Colt revolver – ·455 – 265 – 18 – 700 – 287
          Colt automatic – ·360 – 105 – 7·8 – 1,260 – 364
          Mauser – ·300 – 85 – 7·75 – 1,400 – 379
          “Mars” – ·450 – 220 – 12 – 1,250 – 760
          “Mars” – ·360 – 160 – 12 – 1,640 – 969
          “Mars” (8 1/2 mm) – ·335 – 140 – 10 – 1,750 – 950

      • “The answer is lots of punching power!!”
        Or apparently you will find in every generation someone with mind similar to one fictional character – Herr Professor Direktor Doktor Ing. Otto-Alfred Flotz
        (see 6th image from top here: )
        Other question is that someone will be able to actually build and made it works and also importantly – able to found someone wanting to fund such project.

  2. I had planned to buy the A3 as I was really having fun with my first M1 Carbine and thought it would be a fun plinker. But I heard repeatedly about malfunctions and mag issues. Not sure how true that was but I eventually held off.

    • I have a amt I call it my hog leg I love it I has all kinds of punching power that is my automag

  3. Way back, when I had little money (& even less good sense…), I bought one of these pistols. I thought it would be great for hunting hogs in the thick Florida brush. The LAR & Desert Eagles were hovering around $1000 at the time & this was on a gun show table for $400, so I couldn’t resist. I was not impressed. It was mediocre in every respect: it rattled, shot 6″ groups & only fed the factory ball ammo. So I traded it off for a Ruger Redhawk & only got about $250 out of it. Now I see them for sale for $1000 or more. Same thing with the Taurus .22 Hornet I had to have – I took a loss when trading it & now people are paying ridiculous prices for them, too.

  4. This must be a tough market to succeed in. Another hurdle – technical curiosity contained in original version, which would at least draw attention, was commuted into rather unexciting stereotypical solution. No wonder they are FWs by now.

    However, as someone mentioned, practical use for this sort of things exist. Self-defense against dangerous animals for one; pistol size firearm has sure advantage in tight spaces and quick reaction time. I recall reading in N.G. of North pole expedition when members of team carried .44 Magnums and it paid off – they were forced to dispatch a polar bear at one point. It done at close range with one shot.

    • So if most conventional ways to get big-caliber automatic pistol failed, then maybe we need unconventional solution, for example something like GYROJET:
      with being rocket-launcher rather than bullet-thrower, it have not to withstand so serious forces as “classic”, but at cost of muzzle velocity being lower than maximal velocity of projectile, there were also problems with reliability (misfires) and accuracy, nonetheless with weight of around 620 g it was much lighter than classic automatic pistol of similar (~ 13 mm) caliber

  5. For grizzly bear you want spray.

    The bear that ate idiot “bear hugger” treadwell was shot with two full mags of 12 ga from wardens and 1 of 41 s&w from cop. It died at their feet!

    They spray is more effective and easier to aim.

  6. For grizzly bear you want spray.

    The bear that ate idiot “bear hugger” treadwell was shot with two full mags of 12 ga from wardens and 1 of 41 s&w from cop. It died at their feet!

    They spray is more effective and easier to aim.

    I researched this after Canada stopped allowing long guns across border

  7. The Automag safety is a direct copy of the French 1935 A or S Pistols. It is interesting that they are also chambered in the 32 French long caliber. and the Automags are in 9mm long or 45 win mag thats a 45 long ect. FG 42

  8. “This pistol has a large and devoted cult following”

    “It’s so KEWL !!”

    “How would like to buy one I have for sale”

    “HELL NO! Are you CRAZY!!”

    The story of the Super Power rifle, pistol, revolver, carbine, you name it, in four sentences

  9. I heard way back in the day, that the magnum revolvers were designed to give the heat something that would go through the engine block of a car

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