Schouboe Prototype .45 Pistols at James D Julia

The Schouboe is best known in the US as one of the pistols that competed in the 1907 Army pistol trials, unsuccessfully. It was designed in Demark by Jens Schouboe, whose much more notable accomplishment was the Madsen light machine gun. The Schouboe pistol was a simple blowback design chambered in .45 caliber, but used a special cartridge with a lightweight bullet (63 grains; an aluminum-jacketed wooden core) at a high velocity (about 1600fps). This is the reason is was dismissed form the US Army trials, as they wanted a pistol using the .new .45 ACP cartridge (230 grains at 800 fps). I was particularly impressed by the very simple disassembly procedure, which is faster than any modern pistol I can think of. This Julia auction includes two different Schouboe pistols; one is a standard example with metal grips (and missing its magazine), and the other is a fancy gold-inlaid example made for the President of Uruguay.

8 Comments

  1. Actually this fellow’s name Schuboe reads like ‘Shoobow’. Ian, I will send you a May 1945 Copenhagen uprising photo, showing Danish underground soldiers with a 1912 Schoboe and a Suomi SMG for some Vintage Friday airing.

  2. Ian:
    At elapsed time points 3:18 and 5:19 you show a view of the muzzle and this raises a question; it appears to have a polygon bore. Was this to accommodate the aluminum-jacketed projectiles or were other weapons of his design so configured? Just curious…

  3. “The Schouboe pistol was a simple blowback design chambered in .45 caliber, but used a special cartridge with a lightweight bullet (63 grains; an aluminum-jacketed wooden core) at a high velocity (about 1600fps). This is the reason is was dismissed form the US Army trials, as they wanted a pistol using the .new .45 ACP cartridge (230 grains at 800 fps).”
    Do you know original requirements for this trials? IIRC they were caliber equal .45 and some minimal muzzle energy level, so the Schouboe cartridge satisfy this objectives. I’m wondering about accuracy of this pistol – light bullets lost velocity faster than heavy and bigger-diameter bullets lost velocity faster than smaller-diameter, so I assume .45 Schouboe lost velocity especially fast.
    You can see .45 Schoubue cartridges on municion: http://www.municion.org/Schouboe/45Schouboe.htm

  4. Actually, the Schoeboe cartridge, which is at the heart of this design, is a pretty clever concept.

    In many ways, it was a forerunner of modern-day “frangible” bullet rounds like the Glaser, CorBon, etc., relaying on high velocity to generate striking energy without the risk of overpenetration.

    A 63 grain bullet at 1600 feet per second has a muzzle energy of 358 foot pounds (485j). When a bullet consisting of a thin gilding metal jacket, an aluminum forward core and a wooden after core hits someone going that fast, it will penetrate even heavy clothing. Once inside the body cavity, though, it will tend to mushroom, and when it turns over it will likely open up its rear end like a basin, if it doesn’t come apart entirely.

    The result will be the sort of avulsed internal permanent crush cavity we today associate with a 5.56 x 45mm M193 Ball with the old 55-grain spire-point bullet, that tends to actually blow up in the body cavity.

    I don’t think there’s much doubt that the “weak” Schoeboe round would be an effective “stopper”, based on internal trauma. I also suspect that after the cadaver and bullock tests the were done around that time, the Ordnance Board was concerned about whether or not such a bullet wold be considered a violation of the Hague Convention. I know the United States never actually signed on to it, but by and large our forces have always abided by it mainly to gain protection for any of our personnel who ended up as POWs.

    I agree its penetration wouldn’t be up to that of the 230 grain hardball. And the Army was still thinking in terms of bringing down horses. (Brutal and inhumane, but sensible, as horsedrawn transport was used by all sides in both World Wars and especially so from 1914 to 1918.)

    But in a situation where penetration had to be controlled, say where hostages were being held, or where it would pose an overall hazard (say, in an aircraft), the Schoeboe approach has a lot to recommend it.

    BTW, the company’s name is pronounced “Dansk Wreck-ill Rifle Syndicate”. The second word is really the only one that isn’t pronounced pretty much as though it were written in English. “Madsen”, IIRC, was originally their telegraph address, just as “Parabellum” (“Prepare for War” in Latin) was DWM’s.

    cheers

    eon

    • Actually, it sounds more like the original 5.7×28mm round as used in the P90. The original round used a light plastic cored bullet fired at a high velocity.

      For various reasons this was later changed to a heavier more conventional bullet.

    • Particularly because it’s a fairly early design, there’s trade offs with high speed but lightweight bullets though as alluded to.

  5. There is a (originally French IIRC) THV bullets that use same super-light bullet concept. Stopping power is reported to be excellent and there is almost no risk of overpenetration. Due the bullet shape it also cuts through soft armor easily but rapidly loses velocity in tissue.

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