POTD: Mauser’s Revolver – The Model 1878 11 mm Zig-Zag
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have an absolute gem of a revolver. This is the revolver designed by Paul Mauser himself, the Mauser Model 1878 Zig-Zag. The Mauser brothers today are much more known for their rifles that influenced most modern bolt action designs in some way but back in the 1870s the jury was still out on their specialty. At that point in time, they were the captain of their own ship and could try to tap into whatever small arms market they could to make it big. This Mauser Model 1878 or “Zig-Zag” as it is referred to nowadays was their submission to German military trials. This Zig-Zag has its name thanks to the zig-zag pattern on the cylinder. There is a fixed stud that rides in those grooves that making it possible for the cylinder to rotate and lock up correctly.
“This is a very fine example of a scarce early production Mauser Model 1878 revolver with the hinged frame. The revolver was nicknamed Zig-Zag because of the parallel and inclined grooves machined into the outside of the cylinder which actually rotate the cylinder during firing. As noted this is the hinged frame model with the ring-type cylinder locking lever/ejector located ahead of the trigger guard, and a safety latch on the left side of the frame that prevents the cylinder from rotating when engaged. The top of the barrel rib is marked “GEBR MAUSER & CIE OBERNDORF A/N. WURTTEMBERG. 1878 PATENT”. The matching serial number is marked on the cylinder lock/ejector, rear cylinder face, on the frame, on the inside of each grip panel and “99” is marked on the hammer. The revolver has later style round-butt with the lanyard loop on the end of the butt. It is fitted with two piece hard rubber grips with a relief stylized floral and vine pattern around the edges and checkering in the center. These pistols have a rust blue finish with a bright heat blue on the cylinder, hammer lock, cylinder lock and trigger, and casehardened cylinder latch/ejector and hammer. These revolvers were later chambered in the 9mm Mauser cartridge, (forerunner to the 9mm Parabellum). Although very well manufactured and reliable, the Mauser Model 1878 was expensive to manufacture and had limited commercial sales. They remained in service with the German Army for 18-20 years until it was replaced by the 1896 Mauser pistol. Examples of this distinctive Mauser revolver are scarce.”
Lot 1613: Mauser 1878 Revolver 11 mm. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/67/1613/mauser-1878-revolver-11-mm.