Francotte .22LR Borchardt Lookalike (Video)

It’s fairly common today to see .22 caliber versions of larger firearms, marketed to folks who don’t want to spend as much for either the gun or its ammunition. For example, the ATI Sturmgewehrs, the Beretta ARX-160, and the GSG AK and MP5 lookalikes in .22 rimfire. Well, it’s not a new trend – very few trends are actually new.

While I was at the James D Julia auction house a few months back, one of the guns I saw but didn’t have time to publish a video about was a .22 rimfire target pistol made by Francotte which was pretty clearly made to mimic the design of the C93 Borchardt.


  1. Wonder the time it was made. With such a grip angle, it looks like a lenghtened sight radiused Luger more than a clumsy Borchardt.

    • More about August Francotte on “Club Littleguns” including a very similar “Luger Training Model” made in 1920’s for Switzerland.

  2. Single-shot or manually-repeating “semi-auto lookalike” target pistols were actually not that uncommon back then. Besides this one, there was the Smith & Wesson “Straight-Line Single-Shot”, which had a linear-moving striker, driven by a coil spring like the firing pin of a bolt-action rifle, but with a cocking setup that looked like the hammer of a semi-auto;,-oddities-and-competition/case-25-camp-perry/smith-wesson-straight-line-single-shot-pistol.aspx

    Webley made a .22 single-shot pistol on the frame of their .32 ACP self-loading pistol. It was a retarded blowback, that required the breech to be loaded and closed manually, but was self-ejecting with the breech staying open afterward. It came in 4 1/2″ and 9 inch barreled versions. Both were marketed commercially outside of Britain, and the short-barreled version was used as a training weapon by police in the UK that were issued the .32 Webley automatic for special purposes.

    There was a manually-repeating pistol that looked like a semi-auto but had to have its slide “racked” by hand for each shot, too. I can’t think of its name at the moment: I remember it resembled the Reising .22 self-loader.

    On the self-loading repeating side, in the 1960s and ’70s Erma made a number of models of their KGP series, in calibers from .22LR up to .380 ACP. These used a toggle system that looked like that of the Borchardt/Luger type, but was actually a retarded blowback, not a locked breech. By varying the position of the “knee joint”, it could accommodate these various cartridges with their various breech pressures with safety. At least one version of the .22 had a long barrel, target sights, and a forearm like the “Luger carbine” of the pre-WW1 period.

    Here in the U.S., Stoeger’s had their “Stoeger Luger” .22 LR with a toggle system, that was different from the Erma setup;

    It was made (or at least marketed) by Navy Arms for a while after Stoeger discontinued it. I don’t know if they actually manufactured them or fitted them up from leftover parts from Stoeger’s own production run. For that matter, I don’t know who made them for Stoeger; for all I know, Navy Arms may have made every one of them from 1969 on, or had them made by one of their foreign suppliers, like Uberti.

    More recently there was the peculiar American Arms P-98 .22 pistol, which was a 9/10 scale copy of the Walther p.38;

    Never having had one, I don’t know how reliable it was, but having worked rather extensively with the “full-grown” Manhurin-made P1 9mm in the past, I think it would make a nice plinker at the very least if it were good quality.

    I suppose you could put the Colt “Service Ace” .22 conversion for the 1911 in this category as well. And today we have .22 caliber versions of everything from 1911s to Walther P99s coming out of our ears.

    Who knows. Some of them might even be reliable.

    (I tried a Walther P99 .22 “clone” a while back. I was not impressed.)



  3. I had a Stoeger Luger once years ago and it was one of the most useful treasures I ever owned; it constantly hung up, failed to feed, miss-fired, had almost as much slack in the joints as I now do at age 76, was almost as accurate as throwing a rhinoceros and was as pretty as my Pit Bull. The value was that a college “friend” stole it and thereby allowed me to get rid of two piles of crap at once! Hope this excursion into yesteryear proves to be better designed, thought out and built.

  4. The .22 lr lookalikes are popular in Europe, since in most European countries it is easier to get a permit for a .22 lr firearm than a larger center-fire caliber. Furthermore, in some countries semi-auto firearms are limited to .22 lr. One could say that this practice is based on an incorrect belief on part of the politicians that .22 lr is not really highly lethal in the same way as center-fire cartridges, but shooters don’t make much noise about it, because it might give the wrong kind of ideas to the anti-gun politicians…

    • I’ve rarely experienced .22LR feeding reliably in any self-loading arm. Including the Remington Nylon 77, the Whitney Wolverine .22, and the Charter Arms Explorer II pistol.

      By comparison, my old Winchester .22 hammerless pump and H&R 999 Sportsman DA revolver never missed a trick. I just had to remember to only load 8 in the H&R’s 9-shot cylinder and keep an empty under the hammer. Like the Colt Peacemaker, the 999 did not have a rebounding hammer.

      My ideal .22s today would probably be a good-quality DA or SA revolver and lever-action carbine- the latter with a tubular magazine, of course.



  5. Francotte did some wonderful stuff. The various mod 12 BSA Martini .22s and big Westley Richards Martinis were copies of francotte’s system, with the action which comes out as an assembly.
    That pistol is gorgeous, the sights certainly imply something more serious than a low cost plinker, or even more up market target pistol.

  6. What did it sell for? It reminds me of the Fiala single shot pistol I had the 3 barrel set. Firing it with the 3″ barrel was fine the slide stayed locked but firing the long 10″ barrel was interesting in that the slide would unlock and half open. That gave it a very interesting recoil impulse.

    • THAT’s the one I couldn’t think of. Although my failing memory thought it looked like a Reising when it really more closely resembles a Colt Woodsman.

      I’d forgotten the interchangeable barrel feature. Also the shoulder stock and long barrel with wooden forend.

      Anthony Fiala, the designer, was a noted Arctic explorer. And he apparently considered a .22 LR pistol adequate for most things in that area you didn’t need a rifle for.

      Hm. Jackrabbits- definitely .22 fodder.

      Bears- .338 WM time.

      You know, he might have been on to something, there.



  7. In German the ch is a guttural k like sound. The name is in two parts, Borc and Hardt, I think. Hardt being a place in Baden-Württemberg, and another in Rhineland-Palatinate. Problem is I have no idea what Borc would mean!? Anyhow its is probably not Borshart as much as it is Borkhart. Correct me if I’m wrong!

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