VCS Bergmann Model 1896 No. 3 6.5mm Semi-Automatic Pistol, Antique

SOLD FOR: $2,625

LSB#: 240109RY005

Make: Valentin Christoph Schilling Company

Model: Bergmann Model 1896 No. 3

Serial#: 1352

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1896

Caliber/Gauge: 6.5mm Bergmann, Grooved (the bolt has an extractor, but it is broken)

Action Type: Semi-Automatic Single Action Pistol, Clip-Fed Internal Magazine

Barrel Length: 4 1/2″

Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed to a base at the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “U”-notch integral to the bolt’s top cover.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered wood. The escutcheons and screw appear to be original, but the wood has been replaced. The grips have light handling wear with a few scattered light marks. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-plus condition as not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original, the difference in finish condition between the frame and bolt top-cover may indicate the part has been replaced.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore. There is a slight bulge about halfway down the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 4 out of 10.

Overall Condition: The pistol retains about 20% of its current metal finish. Strongest finish is on the bolt’s top-cover. There is infrequent other finish in well-protected areas. Most surfaces have worn to white, showing scattered light surface erosion. There are some light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The extractor and firing pin are damaged. The magazine sideplate is bent out slightly, preventing the latch from catching properly. The screw heads are tool marked with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall this pistol is in Fair condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action does not function correctly. We were not able to pull the bolt all the way to the rear. The extractor and firing pin are damaged. The magazine sideplate does not catch properly in the closed position. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, it may need a thorough cleaning to meet your maintenance standards.

Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: Among the earliest autoloading handguns were the Bergmann pistols. Theodor Bergmann was a managing partner in the Gaggenau Ironworks and was able to acquire rights to a patent from Otto Brauswetter for a self-loading handgun. Bergmann then assigned Louis Schmeisser to improve the design. Finally, Bergmann left the Gaggenau Ironworks altogether to produce pistols based upon these improvements. There were a series of designs, the Models of 1892, 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899, each with tweaks to the design of the pistols, cartridges, and offering different frame sizes. Early versions fo the Model 1896 used a conical cartridge with no rim and no groove, relying on gas pressure to eject the fired cartridge. This was quickly altered to give the design an extractor and the cartridge an extractor groove for reliability.

This pistol is a Bergmann Model 1896 No. 3, chambered for a 6.5mm cartridge. The pistol shows its age and has some mechanical issues, but is a fascinating piece of early autoloading history. It would make a great display in a collection as-is and may be worth having restored. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud

VCS Bergmann Model 1896 No. 3 6.5mm Semi-Automatic Pistol, Antique
VCS Bergmann Model 1896 No. 3 6.5mm Semi-Automatic Pistol, Antique