Roth Steyr 1907 at a Run-n-Gun Steel Match (Video)

We have a monthly pistol competition here called Steelworkers – a bunch of stages of all steel targets. I finally accumulated enough stripper clips (3) for my 1907 Roth-Steyr to be able to compete, so I figured I should give it a run!

The 1907 was used by the Austro-Hungarian cavalry, and is in my opinion one of the best pistols of World War I. It is a solid and durable design firing a reasonably powerful cartridge (for the time, at least – 8mm Steyr is a 113gr projectile at about 1070fps) and with reasonable sights and good handling. It is mechanically innovative, with a firing mechanism functionally identical to today’s “safe-action” systems. The striker is halfway cocked by the action of the gun cycling, and the remaining half is done by the trigger press. The 1907 uses a proprietary stripper clip holding 10 rounds, with a movable follower built in. Pressing down on the clip’s follower puts an even pressure on the cartridges, helping to make it a very smooth design to use – I would rate it as equal or better than any other type of stripper clip I have used.

Overall I took 17th place of 21 shooters – although on stage #1 I am very pleased to have taken 10th! The strong hand and weak hand requirements there clearly helped me level the playing field. 🙂

49 Comments

  1. Warner Bros. “What’s Opera, Doc?” singing voice:

    “Steyr and magic helmet! And I’ll give you a sa–ample….!”

    Love the proto-Glock/ “safe action avant la lettre” Roth Steyr action match. Bravo!

    I’m looking for a Star Model 1914 clip loader myself.

  2. Where oh where oh where did you get 3 stripper clips? I have had a Roth Steyr for over 30 years now, I have a repro holster, and even handload the 8mm rounds (I cast my own bullets using a Nambu mold I aquired), but…Every time I see Roth Steyr stripper clips show on Gunbroker or anywhere else they are 100 plus dollars and I am ALWAYS out-bid. Ian you know people in this area: can you please plead, nay BEG that SOMEONE make reporduction Roth-Steyr clips? I know I am legion in my lust for these weird, never used again, unique and, to load fast, esential Roth Steyr tool.

    • “even handload the 8mm rounds (I cast my own bullets using a Nambu mold I aquired)”
      IIRC cases can be crafted from .30 Carbine, however this cartridge use .321″ bullets, which is, I guess, legacy of 8mm Gasser revolver round.

      • There were also .321″ rifle cartridge of American origin:
        .32 Winchester Self-Loading
        .32 Winchester Special (not to be confused with .32-20 Winchester Center-Fire)
        .32 Remington Autoloading
        Can anyone make clear to me why .32 Winchester Special was crafted? Difference between it and .30-30 (Treinta Treinta) is so small (.308 vs .321) that these cartridge look redundant to me. Want someone used well-worn .30 barrels to make good .321 barrels? Same question is for .32 Remington Autoloading vs .30 Remington Autoloading.

        • In case of Repetierpistole M.7 bullet diameter is also same as in 8x50R Mannlicher (not to be confused with 8x50R Lebel) which also is .321″

        • The .32 Special was the black powder cartridge for the 1894 Winchester. Since smokeless powder was so new on the market, the separate cartridge was warranted to satisfy the shooters who weren’t ready to change.

      • My mold drops .320 or EXACTLY 8mm. that is handy for Roth Steyr, Nambu (I don’t have one but have hopes to one day), and 8mm French 1892 Revolver (which I do have and that one Fiochi is no longer making). I also have a .311 RCBS mold I use for 32 ACP and 32 MAS (32 French Long) and it would also load for 30 Pedersen. As to Brass, you can make Roth Styer from 30 Carbine but load it mild, they tend to split after about 3-4 reloadings. If you have a lathe you can turn down the rim on 32 H&R Magnum then cut a gove then trim to length. These days I just buy as many boxes of Fiochi as I can since they are making the factory brass and I plan to load for this old beast long after they again stop making it..
        THe Roth Steyr is aexcellent crafterm beautiful pistol and deserves to live on

    • That trigger pull, might not have been so slow if you pointed the pistol in the general direction of a chap on a galloping horse while galloping past. Point at the blur, pull the trigger alot. Ideally duck behind your horse, it being a target presumably.

      • Sounds less elegant, I assume you would then hack and stab at your downed adversary, or shoot if you had any bullets left. Or someone else would, bayonet style- Culloden. I.e. You get, someone else.

  3. Well done, Ian! Accuracy trumps speed anyway, well, except in competition that is, lol. But 10th place isn’t bad. Considering you used a 100+ year old pistol, you did well. I’ve done a few bowling pin shoots and am embarrassed to tell you my placement. It’s harder than it looks.

  4. “The 1907 was used by the Austro-Hungarian cavalry, and is in my opinion one of the best pistols of World War I.”
    But remember it was very hard and expensive to manufacture. Quantity of parts is low but they have peculiar shape. In comparison Steyr Hahn is more industry friendly.

    “It is a solid and durable design firing a reasonably powerful cartridge (for the time, at least – 8mm Steyr is a 113gr projectile at about 1070fps) and with reasonable sights and good handling.”
    Now I wonder about result of Mannlicher M1901 vs Repetierpistole M.7 comparison.
    Ballistic data for 7.63mm Mannlicher are as follow (from KYNOCH catalog):
    POWDER: 7 grs. Smokeless
    BULLET: 85 gr. Metal-covered
    MUZZLE VELOCITY: 1050 fps (Energy: 208)
    50 YARDS VELOCITY: 979 fps (Energy: 181)
    100 YARDS VELOCITY: 917 fps (Energy: 159)

    • Expensive the Roth-Steyr was, but it was not meant to be considered “disposable” or “replaceable,” which meant that if you lost your side-arm, you would really be screwed unless you had a convenient crate of loaded revolvers right under your bed. Remember that it was designed during a relatively “peaceful” era, with very short conflicts occurring left and right. The Steyr Hahn was more suited to industry under wartime constraints with simpler parts, but it was an infantry pistol, not a cavalry pistol. Let’s not compare apples with pomegranates. On horseback, you DON’T want your loaded side-arm to accidentally shoot your mount (or your squad mate) through the brain, especially since your trigger finger is bound to be on the trigger itself in the middle of battle!

      Did I mess up?

      • The cavalry ideally carried three if I remember from a previous discussion on here, the revolver had a capacity of eight cartridges this held ten similarly powered ones. They increased the power with the 1912 pistol, but decreased capacity back to 8. They must have thought the increased power was worth it.

        • The revolver has a “safe action” in the sense of a drop safety also, handy for cavalry probably- The potential of dropping it is increased, particularly the height of said drop.

          • That might explain skewer swords, you lanced them. Let go, and carried on- With pistols, the action was repeated, in a staggered fashion, all the way back. First wave fire, second close behind skewer- This is happening quickly mind. Continue, until you re-group past the objective.

      • Sadly I don’t have info about work hours needed to craft one Repetierpistole M.7 and Steyr Hahn, here you can see drawings:
        http://tonnel-ufo.ru/eanglish/weapon/pistol-roth-steyr-m-1907-repetierpistole-m7.php
        of some parts of Repetierpistole M.7

        “that it was designed during a relatively “peaceful” era, with very short conflicts occurring left and right”
        So far I know small production was because it was rather bad deal for Steyr to produce at given price.

  5. It’s a beautiful pistol, functional, well made. I liked the M1898 Rast & Gasser revolver which is another Austro-Hungarian gem of around the same era. This Roth Steyr is similarly elegant I think, with a novel mechanism.

  6. This is kick-arse.Awesome. A friend of might just bought one of these a week ago at a gun show and showed it to me and I got to play with it, the first time I have handled one and the pistol just felt “right”. He mentioned the issue about finding stripper clips. One sold on Gun Auction for 150.00 bucks eight years ago. I just retired so my gun buying days are about over but this is one I regret never having owned and fired.
    How about running a Webley-Fosbery through its paces with prideaux quick loaders?

    • -“Webley-Fosbery through its paces with prideaux quick loaders”

      ROFL!! I have lusted for a W-F since Boggie mentioned it in Maltese Falcon. I would have better luck finding the Bird! and the Prideaux is like Unicorn tears in terms of rare…

      • I owned one once and got a friend into them and he bought a W-F with a prideaux quick loader. That was when you could still purchase a W-F for under a $1,000.00, got mine, which was pretty ropey for 450. Of course, you could pic up a nice 1911A1 for 150 bucks then, a very nice 1911 for 400, cut Webley Mk. VI”s were going for 75 a pop and uncut! ones for 40 bucks. A few (blush) years ago I guess. These W-F’s have been gobbled up now.

  7. I always wondered why these guns aren’t produced anymore…
    If Mauser made brand new C96 at 1 500 € each, they would sell 1 million pistols in less than two month in Europe alone.
    Roth Steyr, Steyr Hahn, Colt Pocket Hammerless, all those beautiful guns of the early 1900 would sell like hot cakes.
    With “new” technologies like lost wax casting or CNC machining, the company would make gozilious profit.

    I remember brand-new Luger P-08 by Frankonia a few years ago, sold for… 10 000 € (basic model, standard finish, no spare mag, no accessory). This is killing me : if they sold it 2 000 € each (which is still expensive but the P-08 is (surprisingly) a mythic pistol), they would have sold 100 000 of em. At 10 000 each, they didn’t sold more than a handful.

    Imagine a modern C96, with realistic sights, fiberglass stock, optional picatinny rails, modern steel, polymer frame and bull barrel. It would be the new IPSC idol, the survival gun of countless adventurers (which are coming back from the XIXth century thanks to the survivalism trend) and could without problems rival with modern concepts like PDW.

  8. Ian,
    I watched your struggle with the Styer pistol, which you claim to “love” and though it is interesting that you dislike the H&K G3, which offers a lot fewer issues. I agree by the way about the H&K G3, which is why I went to considerable effort and expense to eliminate those issues. Now my CETME is upgraded to the HK MSG 90 standard; actually only the receiver remains original, and it shoots like a dream. Of course you could claim that this is an entirely new rifle, therefore it is not an H&K G3; but, at least I had the option to upgrade, but that option is not avaliable for your Styer. Still, have fun with your difficult toy and keep making those videos.
    Your loyal Patron supporter.
    Mark Burgess

    • The G3 is a modern firearm in Ian’s books, but the Roth-Styer even with it’s quirks is a wonderful example of an innovative early service semi-auto pistol. And it actually did not give him that much trouble. The only malfunction was a failure to extract, which Ian did not deal with correctly, most likely because he, like nearly everyone today, is not used to stripper clip loaded pistols.

    • “Love” should be taken in context here. If it is weird and 100 years old, I love it. if is remotely modern, meh.

  9. Ian have you made any attempts to have a sheet metal shop make rare stripper clips? or magazines for that matter? A sheet metal worker did make them back in the day, and at some point shop time/hour is going to be cheaper than buying originals.

      • If you do, and decide to have them made: Add me to teh buyer’s list. If enough of us request such a thing maybe we can create an economy of scale circumstance

          • “Gone Like the snowflake that melts on the river, gone like the first rays, of days early dawn. Like the foam from the fountain, like the mist from the mountain. Young Billy McFadzean’s dear life has gone.”

    • I think the trick would be to have a pistol in hand to make (and fit) functional strippers. Certainly could be done if you were not trying to make replica strippers but just something that would work but you would have to have the pistol to make it happen. I have a friend who is fantastic with sheet metal and is making myself and me model and dummy (built from parts kits) machine guns and I think he could make it it happen, but again it would require an example. That is always the problem with stuff like this, you have to have several dominoes lined up, a pistol, the skills, the means (such as a convenient mini-shop, and the desire to make it happen, not to mention the ability the focus if you have a lot going on. I just retired and I already have a huge list of repro stuff I want to make, but I have to set up my own little shop. Cottage industry can accomplish much when the stars align.

  10. I have probably mentioned this potential mechanism before or something similar, but I was looking at a schematic drawing of this pistol.

    And I reckon you could perhaps put two .38 cal steel BB’s, which sit next to each other and fit in a horizontal cut at the front of the recoil spring “compressing piece” which are forced outwards by said piece being fully forward against a triangular piece which protrudes into them rearwards from the front of the frame.

    The BB’s sit inside two “divots” within the applicable part of the frame- To provide a delay, via blowback having to push the BB’s together against the triangle thus facilitating free movement for the remaining impetus of blowback.

    Interesting period I was looking at pictures of Austro-Hungarian forces, and it’s fair to say any elegance that existed prior soon faded during WW1.

    Just saying it’s layout seems appropriate for the above, I understand said forces are moving back anyway, but the BB’s sitting in the divots would still need to be compressed. Potentially cheaper method if viable, for a modern incarnation maybe.

    • Admittedly if at all feasible, it wouldn’t be internally accurate in regards a reproduction of the original. But it would enable an external resemblance, potentially simpler- cost etc.

      I know slides are functional, but they make pistols kinda samey.

  11. Ian, great video, I love this pistol. Any idea of a fair, ballpark price for one in good condition? Thanks!

      • Thanks, I have my eye on one here locally in Tucson, I love the feel and the sights. Hope to land it soon.

    • The one my friend picked up at a gun show in Texas in “fair” no finish consideration but no pitting and little wear was $500. he was a patient short and goes to different local shows and had seen the pistol with this individual at a prior show and it did not sell at a higher price. He isn’t shy about making offers and got it I think for a very fair price, of course he is an opportunistic buyer…he has a long list and a nice income and can purchase opportunistically. Me, I decide I want something and I get OCD and wind up always paying too much.

  12. A 1907 Roth Steyr poor quality replacement stripper clip can be made from an M 1 carbine stripper clip and crimping it a little. This is from Jan Sill’s site. MadMagyar’s Avatar
    MadMagyar MadMagyar is online now
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    This was all my brother had for years to charge his M.07. It was not very pretty (not easy re-crimping the end to fit the slot in the M.07) and did not charge a full load (not enough material to work with and have the charging “thumb-slide” to clear the last round deep into the magazine). But when it is that, or nothing, you tend to settle for that. He was proud of it – then I scored 5 clips and sold him 2 of them. He still keeps the carbine clip as an operational back-up. I will try to get a picture of it from him. We are driving up to SoS together, weather permitting, if he remembers to dig it out I can post a picture shortly after we return. Jeff

    Found this action pic and cropped it down to just the clip – you can see how big and bulky the thumb-slide is – when working with just hammer and pliers one cannot get too intricate – I think he can only fit 7 or 8 rounds – couple have been pushed already in this pic. Even if you could make the thumb-slide a little smaller I do not believe there will be enough material on a carbine clip to get a full 10 rounds.
    M07RSCarbChgClp.jpg
    Last edited by MadMagyar; 02-22-2015 at 10:08 AM. Reason: charging “thumb-slide” was “button” & added action picI I
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    There “was another thread asking about a safety on a Roth Steyr. I had one (sold in 1973) that had a safety. It had a 3/4” leaver on the right side of the frame almost in the middle of the exposed metal above the right side grip. The Serial # was 12128 (the 1 # was under the grip that had to be removed to see it) Made in Budapest. Marked W.n eagle 12. The condition of the gun was the left side of the gun was heavily pitted not deep but a lot of it. Right side was good. The holster was a “RAG” Thin worn & torn. Bought it for $20.00 Sold it for $45.00 (when that would have bought a mint BYF 42 Luger) a good percentage at the time, but I should have kept it. the Question is where is #12128 now? Is it on your list? Has anyone seen another with a safety?
    Thanks for reading Bob Benson MadMagyar’s Avatar

  13. Hey, I’m sure somebody has already thought of this for those stripper clips, but just throwing it out there:

    Bored college kids taking engineering classes. They can make a LOT of things when they set their minds to it. Do yourselves some favors and look up “Top 10 most diabolical homemade shotgun rounds”. Of the top 10, four or more were homemade projectiles machined by bored kids with nothing better do. One of them was made by a boy only 16 years old. Look some up and I’m sure they could make a mold or two for you.

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