Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1323: German Mauser Model 1878 'Zig-Zag' Revolver

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

German Mauser Model 1878 'Zig-Zag' Single Action Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,500

German Mauser Model 1878 'Zig-Zag' Single Action Revolver

Manufacturer: Mauser
Model: 1878
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 10.6 mm
Barrel: 5 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 301
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 252
Class: Antique

Developed in 1878, the C78 or Model 1878 "Zig-Zag" revolver was the first handgun designed and developed by Paul Mauser and his firm. A competitor to be the first centerfire cartridge-fed handgun adopted by the German military, the 1878 scored high marks in overall performance, though concerns about the complexity of the design led them to choose the 1879 Reichs revolver instead. At the heart of the mechanism is the combination of an angular track (the titular "Zig-Zag") machined into the side of the cylinder and a toothed reciprocating bar linked to the hammer, which serves to both advance and lock the cylinder, in contrast to the more commonly seen pawl/sprocket and stop arrangement. Additionally, the spring responsible for resetting the cocking bar also powers the hammer, replacing the grip frame mounted leaf spring commonly seen in that era. For loading, the barrel assembly is hinged at the rear of the top strap, automatically pushing the hammer back to the safety notch when opened, with the closure latch doubling as the lever for a star-pattern extractor assembly. Sights are fixed, with "GEBR. MAUSER & Cie OBERNDORF a/N WURTTEMBERG.1878.PATENT" on top of the barrel rib, "crown/V" German proof (not to be confused with the London proof) on the left of the barrel shroud and frame. Matching full and partial serial number on various components including the walnut grip panels.

Rating Definition:

Very good, retains 30% period refurbished blue finish with smooth gray and brown patina on the balance with some scattered areas of light to moderate corrosion and pitting, and defined barrel markings. Grips are fine with a few light wear areas in the otherwise sharp checkering and some light handling marks. Mechanically excellent.

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