We spent a bunch of time earlier this week covering the Webley-Fosbery “automatic revolver”, and I would like to close out the week with another pistol of that type, but one that’s even weirder than the Fosbery. I don’t have much information on this piece, but did find some surprisingly good photos that were originally in a Norwegian magazine. Pretty much everything I know about it comes from the captions in the pictures, which you’ll see if you read Norwegian or translate them.

Anyway, this is a design patented in 1899 by a fellow named Halvard Landstad, who lived in Kristiana (now called Oslo) at the time. He designed the gun on his own dime, and presented it to military trials in 1901, which it failed miserably.

Landstad automatic revolver
Landstad automatic revolver (click to enlarge)

What makes this design really unusual is that it uses both a revolving cylinder and a box magazine (a bit like a Dardick, actually). The magazine – which doubled as the left grip panel – held six rounds of 7.5mm Nagant ammunition (a common caliber in that time and place). The top rear of the action contains a slide that comes back with each shot:

Landstad automatic revolver slide locked open
Top: ready to fire
Bottom: Slide back, ejecting case

More unusually, the cylinder was actually flat, with only two chambers:

Landstad cylinder partway rotated
Landstad cylinder mid-rotation. Note how it is flat, with only two chambers.

The firing cycle went like this: a round from the magazine would be loaded into the bottom chamber of the cylinder. Pulling the trigger would rotate the cylinder (like a DA revolver), moving the round up to the top, in line with the barrel. The hammer would fall, fire the round, and the recoil energy would cycle the slide assembly at the top rear, extracting and ejecting the empty case.

I’m unsure on a few points, like whether it could be fired single-action as well, and how the mechanism controlled loading of cartridges from the mag into the cylinder. Here are some photos of the Landstad disassembled:

Landstad automatic revolver disassembled
Left side, disassembled (click to enlarge)
Landstad automatic revolver disassembled
Right side, disassembled (click to enlarge)

And here’s the one patent drawing I found:

Landstad automatic revolver patent drawing
From Norwegian patent 8564, April 11 1899.

The gun never went into production, because of its dismal performance in trials. But it appears that the inventor kept the prototype gun, and brought it with him when he emigrated to the UK, living in Middlesex until his death in 1955. It was donated to the British NRA and kept in their museum at Bisley until 1977, when it was sold at auction.

The Landstad 1900 differs fundamentally from the more commonly known auto-revolvers like the Webley-Fosbery and Mateba in that it actually ejects cases when empty. The other guns are more accurately described as “self-cocking revolvers”, since they must be loaded and unloaded just like typical revolvers. Not a tremendously important distinction, but a valid one all the same.

Patents

Norgwegian Patent #8564 (Halvard Folkestad Landstad, “Automatisk revolver”, April 11, 1899)

German Patent 114,184 (Halvard Folkestad Landstad, “Selbstthatiger revolver”, August 1, 1899)

British Patent 22,479 (Halvard Folkestad Landstad, “Improvements in automatic revolvers”, January 13, 1900)