Experimental Auto Revolver

RIA Auctions are auctioning off an one-of-a-kind .45 auto revolver, origins unknown. The expected sale price is $1,500 – $2,500.

Produced by an unknown inventor, this pistol combines features and ergonomic principals from both semi-automatic pistols and turn of the century revolvers in a highly unusual fashion. The working guts of the pistol can be broken down to three chief systems. The first is a recoil driven semi-automatic pistol, with an in-line reciprocating barrel and a bolt/slide assembly which moves in-line with the barrel and does not appear to lock, differing from more conventional short-recoil designs, while also including a barrel extension that interfaces with the dropped hammer, using the mainspring to provide additional resistance on discharge, but not extending far enough to re-cock the hammer. Second is the magazine, which is a fully enclosed rotary design similar to a Mannlicher or a Marlin. Finally, the rear of the pistol shows similarities to a Civil War-era Starr double action revolver in both shape and function. No hard data has been uncovered about the origin of the pistol; while it is pictured on page 192 of the “World’s Guns” catalog from Golden State Arms, circa 1958, the catalog lists it as being “of unknown origin”.

Ian of Forgotten Weapons has reviewed it here …

Thanks to Jay for the tip.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Zachary marrs

    I think it was forgotten weapons that showed it, but it was a auto revolver that fed the cylinder from a magazine, now that I want

  • Nicks87

    Does anybody know if this thing ever worked or what caliber it was? I dont think he mentioned in the video.

    • gunslinger

      .45, per the article text

  • guest

    TFB, if the video clearly explains that it is a rotary magazine fed semiauto pistol, how does this translate into “auto revolver”? You do know the basics right, what makes a revolver a revolver? In that way this is as much a “revolver” as a 10/22 with a factory 10 rd magazine is.

    • Ian McCollum

      I called it an auto-revolver because I wanted to make sure that it would appear in searches from people trying to find this specific gun. It’s often thought to be a revolver from the mediocre photos generally available, and I couldn’t come up with a better name.

      • guest

        Besides the aesthetics this gun is nowhere near being a revolver though. At least put quotation marks around the “revolver” part.

  • Eric

    It kind of reminds me of one of the guns that was used in the TV show Firefly.


  • Burst

    Two questions for Ian:
    1.In the 1958 catalog, was the gun fully assembled?
    2. Based on speculation, what’s missing from the rear frame? Could the mystery switch operate as a decocker?

    • Ian McCollum

      In the old catalog, it was missing the same bits as it is today. I expect they were basically the locking block and firing pin. I doubt the lever could have been a decocker, because it’s in the wrong place to work on the trigger mechanism. Anything’s possible, though…

  • Darren Hruska

    Seeing that this oddity seems to be “deactivated”, I think it’s possible that this gun wasn’t made here in the U.S.A. I have a feeling it may have came from the U.K., but that’s just a gut feeling.

    • Ian McCollum

      It has not been deactivated to UK specs – the barrel is still unmolested.

      • Darren Hruska

        Ah, you’re right. I believe some nasty welds would have also been thrown into there.
        Coming to think about it, the magazine and action remind me a bit of the M1941 Johnson rifle (even if ever-so-slightly), and while it’s a long stretch, it may have drawn inspiration from such a design.
        Anyways, love the channel! Been subscribed for quite a while.

  • Thracian Beast

    Great post!! What a really odd and unique mystery revolver. The only two auto revolvers I can think of off hand are the Mateba Unica , and the Webley auto.

    I really hope someone figures out who designed this wild contraption.

  • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

    did the chamber have occular rings or or flared at the throat to allow the case to expand into the chamber wall with its case mouth and pull the barrel and its mass back?

    how did the magazine publisher come to have the gun?
    how did the current owner come by it?