Hafdasa’s Ballester Campeon Competition .22LR Pistol

Made after World War Two until 1957, the Ballester Campeon was a .22 rimfire competition pistol built on the frame of the Argentine Ballester-Molina .45 ACP service pistol. Two versions were made, a standard 5 inch (127mm) barrel with normal sights and the longer 7.5 inch (190mm) Campeon model with larger adjustable sights. Both use the floating chamber system to function, allowing them to run reliably regardless of barrel length. A few thousand of the standard .22s were made, and only a few hundred of the Campeons.


  1. Floating chamber? I get the impression that this is designed to act like a buffer in some way as to prevent extremely nasty extraction. I don’t like the possibility of ruptured casings stuck in the breech. And I don’t like the idea of oiling a pistol every magazine or so… I could be wrong.

    • “designed to act like a buffer in some way as to prevent extremely nasty extraction”
      I always though this feature was meant to make possible reliable cycling of heavy (for .22 rim-fire cartridge) action.

  2. Yeah, the floating chamber acts as a gas piston that is co-axial with the bore of the barrel

    It provides enough extra impulse for a .22lr case to reliably cycle a fully size Browning slide.

    The .22 case head is too small to do the cycling on its own, with the limited gas pressure that is available

  3. .22lr and .22 short, don’t actually need an extractor in a blowback action.

    For example the gevarm (didn’t HAFDASA manufacture a clone of the Gevarm? ) open bolt .22 rifle that Ian reviewed, doesn’t have an extractor.

    The purpose of having an extractor on a blowback. 22 is;

    To enable an unfired case to be easily removed

    And to guide a fired case onto the ejector and to better control the angle that it gets ejected out of the gun.

    There’s no reason to buffer or soften the extraction of a .22lr or .22 short case

  4. I think you meant that when you tighten the set screw (clockwise), the rear sight will rise and when yoou loosen it (counter-clockwise), the sight will lower.

  5. I think you meant that when you tighten the set screw (clockwise), the rear sight will rise and when you loosen it (counter-clockwise), the sight will lower.

  6. Floating chamber is an invention of David Marshall willams aka “Carbine Williams”. lt works as pressure space widener in .22 Colt Ace pistols and as an action starter in Winchester Model 50 shotguns. lt functions as a true in line gas piston located at breech section of barrel forming the chamber inside.

    ln well made guns and ammo, autoloading pistols do not need extractor to draw out the fired case to get to the ejector. lt only functions to extract out live rounds from the chamber. Long recoil types are exceptions and as the open bolt firers contain the live round in the chamber only at instant of firing, they do not need the extractor at all. But, when fouling occurs and also even a little irregularity presents within the chamber, the little mass of fired case would be beaten by the friction and cause the brass to stop as the big massed bolt continioing rearward travel and therefore an extractor would be necessary. lMHO.

    • “in Winchester Model 50 ”
      What about Remington Model 550? Considering it can use .22 rim-fire cartridge of various lengths without adjustment, I presume that floating chamber is there to provide this feature.
      Could such solution be used also in case of bigger cartridges? For example for .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R?

      • “Floating Chamber” might be used all different lenght and same caliber simple blowback firearms. However, there are other actions realizing that purpose including pure blowback.

        Winchester Model 50 uses that facility in “Locked Breech” field. Some classify this gun as “lnertia Operated” since the bolt delocks by the gained momentum coming through recoiled floating chamber, some as “Gas Operated” since the floating breech forming an in line gas piston and some as ” Recoil Operated” since the floating chamber forming a recoiling auxilary barrel. However, Model 50 was a step over known “Long Recoil” system up to that time and most of the confusements come from the lack of common terminolgy.

    • Williams patented a floating chamber…

      Which means that he paid a fee to some bureaucrats who (aside from normal Civil service slothfulness, apathy and inefficiency)…

      Have an incentive not to try too hard to find a reason for him not pay the fees.

      Add to that, that like every other group of human beings, those bureaucrats have limited time and limited knowledge. Some people might treat the abstraction of a state as though it is a deity (looking at a belief in statism as a religious belief is very revealing and informative the same goes for looking at it as a kuhnian paradigm), the individual humans who act in its name are no more omniscient and omnipotent than the individual humans who act in the names of santa claus or the tooth fairy.

      It is not unusual to find ideas that have been patented by different people over the years, and example of that is the wankel engine, first patented as a steam engine in the 19th century

      Or with several patents running at the same time…

      I can’t remember the name of the guy at present, I’ll post it as soon as I remember it.

      Ian did several posts about a late 19th century / early 20th century designer who held a patent for a “williams” floating chamber, about 3 months after Williams was born.

      As soon as we drop the mechanistic “Whig” (inevitably onwards and upwards) and “Tory” (because of dog the king or nowadays, the Pentagon) theories of history, history becomes so much more interesting

      And the histories written under those paradigms become so much more obviously ripe for revisiting and revising

      • Wait, now I confused. To make clear: Your post mean Williams should fail to patent his solution, as this solution was patented earlier in U.S. Patent Office. Yes?

          • Patent Office archieves are full of repetitions especially by unsufficiently trained examiners and limited time. For example, Civolani patent of so called “lnertia Operation” has no reference to Sjogren’s granted nearly more than half century ago. Compare the Glock and Bubits Caracal based patents… ln fact granted patents are the results of patent law offices merits. l had had to work some examiners being not aware of the difference of “movable” and “removable” barrels.

  7. Keith refers to the fact, I believe, that an invention must be “new” to be patented. The publication of the Clausius patent in 1900 alone would prevent any later application for a floating chamber, because its no longer new. Unless the new inventor adds additional elements which are patentable.

  8. l believe, neither Mr. Williams nor the examiner in search of his application were aware of the presence of Clasius’s patent since most of the resarch being made through titles one by one by hand. Only the experts should have to known such details which could not be among the patent office examiners.

      • There was a claim for royalties against the us Krag and Jorgensen rifle

        By someone who held a patent for a bridge of steel between a horizontal magazine and the ejection port. ..

        The response of the individuals claiming to act in the name of the unseeable and untouchable deity of “the united state” was that the state was sovereign, and it chose not to be sued in this case.

        So much for paying it’s bureauctic priesthood a fee for a patent.

        If I stumble across the ref, I’ll post it.

        The actual patented rifle was like something you would expect from a five year old

  9. I’m probably trying to make too many points in single posts.

    I’ll try to elaborate a few of them a little bit more clearly.

    A lot of the published historical works on guns are fundamentally philosophically flawed.

    They are assuming either a very linear mechanistic development, where there is an assumption that development is almost inevitably onwards and upwards towards the light. What existed at any one time, existed for a good reason and was the best available…
    And whatever succeeded it must have been “better”.

    Or they assume that because something was produced by or used by certain special people or in a special place, then the artifact must somehow be special as well.

    These are varieties of respectively the “whig” and “Tory” theories and philosophies of history.

    Anyone who has ever questioned the merits of say a Remington 721, 700 etc design compared to a Mauser 98 on an Internet forum will have got a full taste of both schools in the responses they received:

    Of course the Remington turd burger is superior, it’s more modern (regardless that many of its features pre date the 1890s) (“whig”).

    Or, of course the Remington turd burglar is superior, it’s made by and used by very special people in a very special place (“Tory”).

    Some of the published texts will give you both theories at the same time, for example Smith and Smith.

    Implicit in both philosophies, is the idea that “good” ideas are adopted almost automatically, and without human choices and human ideas.

    Either because they’re part of the onwards and upwards progress

    Or because great people decreed that they should in the name of dog, the king or the Pentagon.

    Incidentally, marxist historians subscribe to both schools. They have their own dialectical development of the material productive forces
    And they assume in a very circular argument that anything that they think is correct is proletarian, and it’s correct because it’s proletarian.

    These ideas both implicitly lead to an assumption that ideas are invented once

    If you are assuming that ideas almost inevitably get adopted, almost without human input, then there is no incentive to dig deeper than a patent…

    Hence the idea that it was Williams who invented the floating chamber.

    The actual history is far more chaotic, and full of human characters and human choices, along with a good deal of good and bad luck and randomness.

    • ” inevitably onwards and upwards towards the light”
      But this to work would need to be trued follows:
      there must be constant onwards and upwards direction
      all designers must be aware of this direction and succumb to it
      Which would mean trial and errors would never happen.
      Also even onward only would mean knowledge is never lost.

      “Hence the idea that it was Williams who invented the floating chamber.”
      I would rather agree on Williams invented this and when confronted with new data conclude that U.S.Patent Office failed.

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