Austro-Hungarian Roth Sauer Pistols



Roth-Sauer Pistol 1900 Patent

Type: automatic pistol (recoil operated)
Chambering: 7.65x17mm Roth-Sauer Auto
Length overall: 170mm [6.69"]
Empty Weight: 655g [23.1oz]
Barrel: 100mm [3.94"] rifled
Magazine: 7-round detachable box

Early Pistols are marked 'PATENT ROTH' on top of the frame, while Sauer's Savage-Hunter trademark appears in an oval on the grips. Later Pistols carry a Gothic style 'Roth Steyr' name on the right side of the frame, with the Sauer logo on the grips.

Georg Roth owned ammunition factories in Wien [Bécs - Vienna] and Pressburg [Pozsony - Bratislava]. He collaborated with Karel Krnka from 1898 on the design of this pistol. It was patented by Roth and Krnka in 1900. The Roth factories were not sufficiently equipped for large scale pistol manufacture. The pistol was manufactured by J.P. Sauer & Sohn in Suhl. The Patent was sold to Sauer in 1910. The pistol was named Roth-Sauer and sold under this name.
This, like so many of Krnka's designs, used an unnecessarily complicated long recoil action. The barrel and bolt recoiled together, locked by a lug on the bolt engaging a recess in the breech. The bolt struck a cam at the end of the recoil stroke, rotating it through 20 degrees to unlock, and was then held while the barrel ran forward alone. A spent case was extracted and ejected during this phase; the barrel tripped the bolt as it stopped, allowing the bolt to come forward to chamber a fresh round. The bolt was rotated back to its locked position as it entered the breech, whereupon the entire locked assembly ran forward to the firing position. The Roth-Sauer was fired by a partially self-cocking striker mechanism. As the bolt closed, the sear held the striker with its spring under partial compression. Pulling the trigger completed compression of this spring and then released the striker. The mechanism was not fully self-cocking, however once the striker had been released, it could only be re-cocked by manually re-cycling the bolt. All this complication seems unnecessary in relation to the special 7.65mm cartridge designed by Roth for the Roth-Sauer, but somewhat weaker than the normal 7.65mm Auto round. Additional features of interest include use of the cocking knob as a safety, locking the action when rotated, and an integral butt magazine which required charger-loading through the open bolt-way.


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