Roth-Steyr 1907 at the Backup Gun Match

Posting a couple videos on interesting versions of the Roth-Steyr pistols recently made me think about just how nice of a pistol the 1907 is to shoot, So, I figured I’d bring it out to the monthly Backup Gun Match. Alas, I had ammo from two different lots, one of which would not reliably cycle the gun. This led to a lot of malfunction clearing and a pretty dismal score…


  1. A funny trend.
    Every time (this year at least) Ian says “great ammo”, the cannon does not cycle normally. 😉

  2. Way to fight through those malfunctions Ian!! I have had the same experience with some 9mm Steyr ammo, one box was great(old Western Scrounger), the next underpowered (Precision Cartridge), then the next was great again (Fiocchi Black Box). But at least I had all the brass to reload so the next time should be better.

  3. The pistols of that era were normally designed to take very hot ammunition. The Roth, as a cavalry pistol, had to be capable of penetrating breast plates, equine skulls, etc. The heft of Roth 1907s and Mauser C96s allowed them to be both controllable and enduring while being fired with cartridges that were loaded to pressure levels that were much, much higher than those of today’s lawyer mandated squibs. The much lauded .455s and .45ACPs were relatively puny when compared to the Central European high velocity rounds; for killing “naked savages” rather than a horse and rider both protected by body armor.

  4. The 45 ACP was not developped for killing ‘naked savages’ but for the cavalry. The power requirement was basically the same as the later 45 (Long) Colt loadings.
    I am not sure for the Roth, but the C96 is not as strong as You might believe. Never forget, bolt thrust is pressure times cartridge case base area. So smaller cases allow for higher pressure.
    By the way, a lawyer would never ask for squib level ammo. A squib is far more dangerous than a load the shake the gun a little too much.

    • The issue with 45 ACP was apparently the American willingness to do pragmatic things at times (selectively pragmatic, anyway). Cavalry in the US Army viewed enemy horses as acceptable targets, and would shoot a horse out from under some enemy horseman. European cavalrymen were a bit disturbed by this idea.

      • Handguns may also be called upon to dispatch your own wounded or out of control horses.
        By the way, I don’t think US Army was alone viewing enemy horses as acceptable targets.

    • ‘’The 45 ACP was not developed for killing ‘naked savages’’’
      I’m uneasy quoting Wikipedia as a source, but:

      ‘After successful military trials, it was adopted as the standard chambering for Colt’s M1911 pistol.[2] The round was developed due to a lack of stopping power experienced in the Moro Rebellion using the .38 Long Colt.’

      • Wikipedia is as good or bad as any other encyclopedia, which means that it’s only as reliable as its sources. Unfortunately Wikipedia does not give a source to that piece of information, which makes it somewhat dubious. The significance of the Moro rebellion experience seems to be “common knowledge” among military historians and historical gun enthusiasts, but how significant it really was is still open to debate. In any case, even Wikipedia mentions another, perhaps more significant reason for the development of the .45 ACP: “… the Thompson–LaGarde Tests of 1904 led the Army and the Cavalry to decide a minimum of 45 caliber was required in a new handgun.”

        The meaningfulness of the Thompson-LaGarde tests have been later widely discussed and even disputed, but nevertheless they seem to have been a significant factor in the decisions at the time.

        • Yeah – at least on wikipedia you can add a “citation needed” flag, or even sit the text if you have better info.

          In this modern age when anyone can publish easily and create their own channel etc. that also means we cannot simply trust a handful of channel owners, we need to be constantly vigilant about what is fact, what is conjecture, what is rumor, etc.

  5. Several years ago I got down to the last match of the year with my G26 and fired three entries using a mix of 4 different types of ammo in two bullet weights, including one box of 25 hollow point loads that cost a buck and a quarter a pop; because it was that or not go. Totally blew the last plate rack because I could not get the elevation dialed in under pressure. Impressed with the way you were unfazed by the malfunctions.

  6. “I can unload it out the top!”

    So, like dropping a loaded mag for a Colt 9mm SMG: it spews like snakes out of a peanut can. 😉

  7. It’s puzzling how the first semi-automatic handguns used elaborate locking mechanisms instead of simple blowback.

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