The Mauser brothers’ first handgun was the single shot C77, which they quickly followed with the C78 “zig zag” revolver, so named for the cam grooves on the circumference of its cylinder. What we are looking at today is the patent model submitted for the brothers’ patent on the hinged-frame version of the revolver. It has a number of variations from the later production model. Most significantly, it is chambered for the original Mauser revolver cartridge, which was a scaled-down version of the 11mm Mauser rifle round – bottleneck and all. After the German military expressed a preference for a straight-wall cartridge Mauser changed the design, and only a very few revolvers were made for that first round. We also have an example of the cartridge itself to show you, which is as rare as the revolver.
Thanks to the Liege Arms Museum for access to film this for you! If you are in Belgium, definitely plan to stop into the museum, part of the Grand Curtius. They have a very good selection of interesting and unusual arms on display. Further thanks to the Paul Mauser Archive for helping to arrange this filming! The Archive is a wealth of information for researchers, and make sure to check out the recent book on Mauser coauthored by Mauro Baudino and Gerben van Vlimmeren: