Manufactured by Walther in the mid-20th century, shipped to Swiss gunsmith Glaser in Zurich as part of a custom order of six guns for professional target shooters, all serial numbers ranging between 779150 and 779160. This is serial number 779150. 7,65mm, 8+1 rounds, straight blowback, custom “BOHLER STAHL ANTINIT” stainless steel 127mm barrel with matching slide, hard chromium finish, gold plated trigger with checkered face. You know it’s fancy when it starts looking like a prop from Romeo + Juliet.
Ordnance Of The Week: Colt anti-tank .90 caliber Automatic Weapon, 1941
The Experimental .90 caliber cannon was designed by engineers working for the US Ordnance Department with work beginning in 1937. There were four designs in various configurations with differing actions and feed mechanisms in development by numerous companies under the Ordnance Department’s direction concurrently, these were designated the T1 to T4, the weapon pictured above is the final incarnation, the T4. The first three prototypes were intended to be the main armament for aircraft. However, they were all subsequently rejected due to a variety of issues including being too heavy and suffering from slow rates of fire. The development of these aircraft cannon designs continued concurrently until the project was discontinued in 1940.
Cal. .90 Automatic Aircraft Cannon, Model T2, (source)
The T4, the last of the experimental cannons was also intended to be an aircraft cannon however, by 1941 when the above photographs were taken, it had been repurposed as a anti-tank weapon. At first glance the T4 looks like a scaled up Browning .50 caliber M2 machine gun, but instead it is chambered in a huge .90 caliber or 23mm round which weighed 0.45 lbs and used a long-recoil operation similar to that used in Browning’s original 37mm Autocannon.
With the shortcomings of the T1-3 now obvious and need for aircraft guns was mostly filled by the .50 caliber BrowningColt repurposed the T4 to fill an anti-armour role, which the .50 caliber M2 had originally been designed for twenty years earlier. The T4 was outfitted with a 2x power telescopic sight mounted on top of the receiver, which considering the weapon’s probable recoil - even with its large recoil spring, may have been at best little use and at worst a danger to the operator. According to the original caption of image #2 the T4 was allegedly capable of an impressive 800 rounds per minute, a significant increase from the rates of fire listed for the earlier T-variants. The original notes on the reverse of the photograph also described the gun as having “right or left hand feed” from a side mounted loading tray which fed from either 10-round clips or a flexible belt of the large proprietary .90 caliber rounds
The T4, like its cousins, was never adopted and by 1941 the average thickness of European tank armour had increased to the point where the T4 would have proved ineffective against German armour such as the Panzer IV, although it may have proved effective against thinner Japanese armour in the Pacific. It is unclear if Colt got to the stage of testing the weapon against armour and sadly there is little information on the performance of the T4.
Designed in1899 by Halvard Landstad in Oslo, patented the following year. Only one gun made. 7,5mm Nagant, 6 rounds removable box magazine/left grip panel and a flat cylinder with two chambers. A pull of the trigger would first cock the hammer and cycle the cylinder - much like a double action revolver - and then release the hammer, firing the cartridge. The energy from the recoil would be harnessed to push back the slide, ejecting the spent round and loading another one in the bottom chamber of the cylinder. And somehow that would compete with a regular semi-automatic pistol. … I mean visually it does and win, but you know.
Halvard Folkestad Landstad’s 1900 pistol is a fascinating combination of design elements from revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Designed during the late 1890s for military service, the Landstad Automatic Revolver proved to be overly complex and was ultimately rejected.
Landstad patented his design in several European countries including his native Norway, Great Britain and German. His Norwegian patent was granted in April 1899. The pistol combined a magazine with a more traditional revolving cylinder. The cylinder, however, was flat had just two chambers rather than five or six (see image #2). The pistol was 23cm long and weighed 1kg.
Once a magazine is loaded the rod beneath the barrel is retracted to charge the action. This pushes the bolt to the rear and as it returns it cocks the striker and strips a round from the magazine loading it into the lower of the two chambers. When the trigger is pulled the cylinder is rotated 180 degrees by a pawl indexing the loaded chamber with the striker. Once the trigger is fully pulled the striker is released and the weapon fired. Unlike other automatic revolvers the Landstad ejects spent cases. The bolt moves to the rear and the spent case is ejected. As the bolt returns forward the process repeated and a new round is loaded into the lower chamber.
Landstad’s pistol chambered Emile Nagant’s 7.5mm 1882 Ordnance cartridge, using a curved box magazine (see image #3). With a magazine capacity of six rounds the Landstad pistol had little advantage over a more traditional revolver. The heavy trigger pull needed to index the cylinder for each shot had all the disadvantages of a double action revolver and none of the advantages of a semi-automatic pistol. What the unusual system did allow, however, was for the weapon to be carried fully loaded but without a round in the chamber preventing accidental discharge.
The pistol pistol failed to impress during trials and the Norwegian military rejected it. It seems that very few working prototypes were made. The Model No.1 pictured is the only Landstad pistol known to exist. The British NRA were given the prototype in 1955 following Landstad’s death and has since been purchased by a Norwegian collector.