As it may have been shown in some recent articles here in TFB, my browsing in old photo negatives files and notes has sometimes resulted in successfully unearthing material that proved to be of some interest for our readers, if the Comments that followed are to be believed. Well, in January, 1991, I was in Buenos Aires with son/photographer Felipe gathering material for articles when my great friend Pantaleón Kotelchuck, a weapons technician of Argentina’s Federal Police and top advisor of RENAR – Registro Nacional de Armas (National Guns Register), suggested a visit to a local company called Lasserre S.A. to take a look at some of its products, which were sold in the local market under the name Rexio. A couple of quick phone calls by the always-cooperative “Panta” were enough to take us to Avellaneda, one of the cities that form the Metropolitan area of the nation’s capital.
With relatively small, modest facilities and pretty simple machines and tools installed in a single, equally, small-sized production building, the concern was specialized in making break-action, single-shot “Pistolones” (Big Pistols), both in single- and double-barrel configurations, plus a two-caliber “arma de supervivencia”, or survival gun, with a metal folding stock. Now, over a quarter of a century later, I tried to find my old, hand-written notes on the said visit and guns involved, but with no results. They must have been lost during one of my several home-moving activities in this time frame, so what follows will be based on memory (uh!) only, plus a couple of things found online. And our own photos, of course.
First of all, one may wonder why the heck someone may want or need a one-shot handgun in such a puny caliber. Also first, I’d say it’s a way of giving you the basic fun of owning and shooting a firearm, plain as that. Then, it may prove handy for small game (e.g. rabbits, partridges, etc.) hunting, pest control, and anti-snake use, as common examples. For home or personal defense? Well, sometimes you may not have any gun at hand, and some gun is definitely better than no gun, at all. And a .410 shell fired from a short-barrel gun is very noisy! Add to that: a break-barrel pistol is simple to operate by most untrained hands, can cause a lot of pain on the recipient’s side, man or beast, and barely needs any aiming at the very close ranges it is generally expected to be employed. Oh, yes: in the case of the Argie pistol, it was almost as cheap as dirt! And this counts much in this neck of the woods, too.
The basic Rexio Standard model was fitted with a 250mm barrel, which gave it an overall length of 350mm. Weight was 1,3kg. To keep manufacture costs low, the gun frame was made of Zamac alloy, which generally combines zinc with elements of aluminum, magnesium and copper in variable compositions. That’s not a good option when it comes to general material strength, and I’ve heard stories of broken Rexio pistol frames, but not really of any kaboom events. The gun also came with an option to fire .45 Colt (the so-called Long Colt) cartridges in addition to the 2/12 and 3in .410 shells.
Firing the gun is as straightforward as possible. Press forward the catch just ahead of the trigger guard to unlock the barrel from position and open the breech for ammo loading. Cock the huge hammer, take aim (in my gun, just a small bead-type front sight) and press the trigger. As expected, opening the gun again will extract the fired cartridge from the chamber for manual removal. That’s it.
The company also produced a two barrel (over/under) gun with the same caliber options called the Rexio Super, with a more modern configuration, the grip/trigger guard giving a first-look impression of a semi-auto pistol. I believe that the barrels were also 250mm in length, but could not find my original notes on the gun for additional size and weight data. But I remember well how fun it was to shoot it.
Get the Rexio Super, give it a couple of short, 152mm barrels, and viola, you have created the compact Rexio Super 152! Here it is:
Now, get a Rexio Super pistol, give it a couple of much longer (400mm, or so) barrels and a foldable metal stock, and you’ve got an “arma de supervivencia” (survival gun). The guys in Buenos Aires, in fact, came out with an old M6 USAF Air Crew Survival Weapon-inspired gun with an over/under (.22LR/.410) barrel configuration, but which could also be supplied in a .410-only configuration. As far as I know, production somehow was very limited, so I was lucky enough to have laid my hands on and actually fired this weapon. Gracias, amigos!