Chinese Warlord Pistols: Massive FN 1900 Copies in .30 Mauser

It’s not too late to join the “Pistols of the Warlords” Kickstarter!

The armies of Warlord Era China had quite a fondness for the FN 1900 pistol, but they also made extensive use of the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge. So what would be a more natural choice than to make copies of the FN 1900 in 7.63mm Mauser? We can look past the fast that the FN design (and its Chinese copies) used a simple blowback mechanism that was not strong enough for extended use with a cartridge as potent as the Mauser round…

There are a variety of different patterns of 7.63mm FN copies made in China. Some are only a tiny bit larger than the genuine FN 1900, often with a round-bottomed grip. Others are larger – some of them a LOT larger – with longer magazines and fitted for shoulder stocks.


    • 7.62 Tokarev is 7.63 Mauser with a more powerful powder charge. 7.63 Mauser works OK in pistols chambered for 7.62 Tokarev.

      • But not vice-versa. 7.62 Tokarev has the shoulder further forward than 7.63 Mauser.

        Chambering 7.62 T in a 7.63 M results in a “crush fit” condition, with the attendant potential for a high-pressure event. It’s really a less extreme (in terms of explosive potential) version of 12.7 x 70mm Schuler vs. .500 Jeffrey.

        It could still blow up an older pistol, like a C/96, or one of these, right in the shooter’s face.

        Just because something can be done is not necessarily an indication that it should be.



  1. 7.62x25mm is capably used in straight blowback actions, albeit Soviet designs were all submachine guns w/ likely more mass in the bolt than in a Chinese pistol slide.

  2. The only question with blowback operation is;

    whether you can get away with using the weight necessary for controlling breech opening

    In a gun of that type?

    • The Spanish Campo-Giro/Astra design got away with it by using very strong recoil springs rather than an extra-heavy bolt or slide. Some other designs, like the Langenhan 7.65mm Browning, could unhook the bolt from the recoil spring to make loading and cocking easier.

      Still others like the Manufrance in 9 x 20mmSR got around the whole problem by having a tip-down barrel for loading and a trigger-cocking only firing mechanism independent of the bolt/slide. Some Berettas later used a similar barrel system in 6.35mm, 7.65mm, and 9mm Short, plus conventional double-action searages. The Heckler & Koch VP-70 combined the Astra’s heavy recoil spring with the Manufrance’s trigger-cocking only searage in 9 x 19mm.

      On the whole, if you can put up with an admittedly smooth if a bit heavy trigger pull-through every time, the Manufrance or VP-70 type systems would seem to be the best, or rather least-worst, choices for maximum simplicity in a service self-loading pistol.



      • VP70 spring is not exceptional,
        instead it has very deep grooved rifling as well as a buffer system hidden underneath the barrel. In my opinion, it would work probably well even without these grooves, important is that slide does not batter the frame.

        Do you know what other guns (old and newer) beside it, and Manufrance use that DAO striker type trigger ?
        I’ve searched through Hogg and Weeks Pistols encyclopedia book, but not found any.

        • VP-70 and the various Manufrance guns are the only ones I’ve ever heard of.

          There was also the COP 4-barrel pocket pistol Ian showed us a while back, but it’s more of an updated Sharps-type “derringer”, not a self-loader.



  3. I have seen Japanese trucks with what I presume to be the company name on the doors, but in reverse on one door; if the company name were TOM’S TRUCKING, the other door would be GNIKCURT S’TOM. This seems perfectly fine in Japanese; they sometimes write horizontally, sometimes vertically, and usually right to left, but sometimes left to right, and I had the impression that advertising, t-shirts, etc could do just about anything. I am no expert in Japanese; got to about a 3rd or 4th grade level in reading and writing. I’d bet the backwards RUS was the result of applying this same characteristic to the foreign characters.

    • Thats a great observation we westerners did not think about.

      I sometimes wonder does these asiatic writing systems also structure a mans intelligence and mind in perhaps some different way compared to our alphabet.

      • The ‘hard’ version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or ‘linguistic determinism’— the idea that language fundamentally determines the nature of cognition, and the dimensions of one’s cognitive horizions— is generally rejected, but a ‘soft’ Sapir-Whorf that asserts language is one of many factors that informs cognition has plenty of support.

        • I’ve observed in my own country, that has several dialects of the same language, that one of them absolutely depicts a people with slightly different mindset and look on life (especially work ethic) opposed to the ones with other dialect, or the official one, sorta like in south Italy/Sicily/Sardinia etc. Like the way you speak some words, or these words themselves they use structure your mind and manners and mannerisms. However it could be argued even that joining people with these different dialects in one nation is an frankensteinish affair, and that with different historical flow they could even end up separated (and it was even for some time tried hardly by outside influences to have it that way)

      • I have taken several month-long vacations in Japan, and it usually takes me several days to get my pronunciation and grammar back to “good enough” that I can ask directions (not “where is such-and-so?” because I will not understand “go past the barber shop and turn left at the department store”; instead, ask “is such-and-so in this (pointing) direction?”, to get a yes/no answer). I do find that my thought processes change to match the language, but whether that change is the inverse of Japanese speaking English, or whether it is because I am in a foreign country, I do not know.

        I also find that 3 weeks is about my limit; after that, my accent, comprehension, or something has changed enough that the natives think I know a whole lot more of the traditions, customs, history, and everything else than I really do, and it leads to uncomfortable situations where I fail to live up to both our expectations.

        • My comment was going into this primarily writing direction and its influence, because from my perspective and maybe laziness, it would be unthinkable that I learn all these chinese or japanese characters and what they depict – but maybe if being put into such place as you said with your experiences, I would quickly develop an interest.
          About japanese, I’ve read suggestions that UNLESS you plan to live there (for a long time), its simply not worth the (huge) effort and pains to get an excellent understanding of that language.

          • Spoken and written Japanese are the same language, but the spoken language is far easier to learn. The dictionary verb is THE present tense — we, you, I, they, everybody, nobody makes no difference. There are only three irregular verbs, and only because they have oddball roots — from there on, they are as regular as all the others. There are six verb forms, which differ in forming the tenses. “taberu”, I/you/etc eat, becomes “tabeta”, I/you/etc ate; it’s a “ru”-dropping verb. The future tense is more of a “probable” tense. The only real trick is polite conjugation, where “taberu” becames “tabemasu”, which is a “su” verb, and the past tense is “tabemashita”.

            I believe that anyone can learn these basic grammar rules in a week, couple of hours a night. The grammar is incredibly simple, almost rigid to a fault. Any sentence becomes a question merely by adding “ka” to the end; no verb changes, no word order changes. Sentence order is subject wa object o verb. Change either wa or o to ga to emphasize that one. You can conjugate adverbs. Of course there are quirks and tricks, but from a spoken point of view, it is the simplest language I am familiar with. The writing does have a logic to it, and I got so good with a dictionary that I could usually open it to within 5-10 pages of what I was looking for. But ….

            All this is of course from someone who basically self-taught himself the basics while in the navy, and took a writing class afterwards until I realized that the only way to get and stay proficient in writing would be to read a couple of hours every night, and I was not interested in such a heavy long-term investment. Most Japanese declined to guess how various people and location names were pronounced if they had not seen them before.

            The written language is the spoken language, but seems like night and day different.

            My vacations were in the boonies, mostly, and I am convinced my rudimentary speaking was a large part of making that possible, of convincing inn-keepers that I would not want scrambled eggs for breakfast. My reading and writing was mainly useful in making it easier to recognize specific train station and bus destination signs, although not their meaning.

  4. Using 7.63 Mauser cartfidge, a blowback pistol with 10cm barrel needs approximately 360 gram of recoiling elements weight… With the same round, a blowback pistol having 15 cm barrel needs roughly 600 gram of recoiling elements…”Recoiling elements” refer to all weights of the bolt with its parts, , the weight of recoil spring with its moving parts and leverage effects of hammer or striker… Through these weights, the empty case recoils as unsupported from the chamber only two milimeters which its beefed back sections still remaining inside the chamber support… For declining the calculated weights, it should be necessary to deepen the chamber to a level which the back of case being flush with the breech back face… The heavy recoil springs have no use to delay the bolt recoil speed for “the bullet travel in the bore” time since shrinking through their inertia as leaving their support… Their support begin some little shorter time after the bullet leaving the barrel according to their elasticity and their violent impact at bolt returning stage would give harm both at the frame and bolt… IMHO…

    • As you correctly say, for blowback concept the 7.63x25mm (and so much more 7.62x25mm) cartridge is untenable. It is well known that the vz.52 pistol lock up with rollers, the way they are proportioned, is marginal.

      There are known cases of swollen slide sides which may be results of souped-up SMG shots, but still, it is not up to the task in long term. The Tokarev’s design inspired by Browning action fairs lot better and afaik does not indicate a problem in that sense.

    • I will maybe run my own calculations on 7.62 for amusement, but I agree with you and your numbers, especially that 2mm recoil that blowback could sustain.

      As for the russian prototype handgun which is another great find – it looks to me slightly too expensive finished and made (for russian mass production standards) to justify replacing the TT (of course that prototype series would be manually made and thus very expensive, but I feel even serial production one would achieve no savings compared to TT, so why bother setting up a new factory)

  5. On that gibberish on slides, this is still ongoing. China is way too large and culturally independent to adopt wholesale English based culture like Europe did. They have their own words/ designations for everything Western. As a matter of fact I have heard from a Chinese person word “engrich/ angrych” (whichever is the better way) to describe the language we speak.

  6. Remember that special italian 9×19 or 9×23 amunition made for a straight blowback pistol. The casehead was made solid for I can not remember mms so that it would not bulge or blow up when being prematuraly extracted

    • Do you mean 9mm Glisenti (which is 9x19mm) or something else entirely? 9mm Glisenti was used in Beretta straight blowback pistols, but it wasn’t designed for them.

      • That must be it! I was thinking that 9mm Glisenti does not have any special design of the casehead, so it probably was not what BOBTAIL101 meant. Interesting design indeed, but it was probably introduced too late to gain any wider traction.

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