5/3/2023 – Arms, Armor & Militaria

Arms, Armor & Militaria | Lot 143

  • May 3, 2023
  • 10:05 AM EDT
  • Cincinnati


Borchardt Model 1893 Pistol by Ludwig Loewe with Detachable Stock and Three Matching Magazines

7.65x25mm Borchardt. 7.4″ barrel length. SN: 1010. Blued finish overall, straw colored safety and trigger bar, and nitre blued small parts with boxed checkered walnut grips. Short recoil operated toggle action pistol fed by detachable single stack magazines and accompanied by accoutrements detailed below. The pistol displays matching serial numbers to all parts. The grips are pencil marked with the serial number, but the firing pin is not numbered. The top of the barrel extension is marked WAFFENFABRIK/LOEWE/BERLIN with toggle link further stamped D.R.P./No75837, while the right side is struck SYSTEM BORCHARDT. PATENT. German Commercial proofs appear on the major components of the action and are as follows: {Crown/U}, {Crown/B}, and {Crown/G} to barrel above the marking 172,68; both {Crown/B} and {Crown/U} to left barrel extension and toggle link, and finally, {Crown/B} to left bolt. The sights consist of a V-notch rear sight attached to its base by machine screws and a single pin front blade with a triangular profile. The mainspring housing of the pistol, which was referred to in the original manual as the “Spring box”, features a T-shaped lug for attaching a shoulder stock. Included in the lot is a walnut semi-pistol grip detachable shoulder board style stock with a blued mounting bracket and a brass sling loop. The stock is devoid of markings and is not serial numbered. Pistol additionally comes with its tool kit that fits into a wood case shaped like a magazine. The tool kit includes an oiler, three piece cleaning rod, and a single handle pin. Finally, the pistol comes with a set of three nickel finished magazines with wood base plugs. All three magazines are marked PATENT and have a serial number 1010 matching the Borchardt pistol itself.

In 1884, French chemist Paul Marie Eugene Vieille devised a new form of nitrocellulose based gunpowder he dubbed Poudre B. This invention was dramatically more powerful than the black powder and compressed black powders then in use in firearms, moreover, it produced far less smoke and lesser quantities of unburnt particles than black powder. The very next year, American inventor Hiram Maxim patented a method of utilizing recoil energy to operate the toggle action of a Winchester rifle. What began was a period of intensive and revolutionary firearms design as engineers and inventors of all sorts set about applying the principle of automatic operation in every major configuration of firearm. In 1893, Hugo Borchardt, then working as an arms designer for German firm Ludwig Loewe & Cie. Trust, completed Construction 1893, or C93 for short. This handgun combined a short recoil operated toggle action with a new smokeless bottleneck cartridge capable of propelling an 85 grain projectile to a velocity of 1,300 feet per second at the muzzle. These were impressive characteristics indeed, but other inventors were hard at work introducing their own takes on self loading pistols. Yet Borchardt was able to draw upon previous experience to claim another crucial advantage for his design.

Before moving to Germany, Borchardt had worked for the Sharps Rifle Company where he secured the rights to inventor James Paris Lee’s repeating bolt action box magazine fed rifles. By incorporating a detachable magazine into his C93, Borchardt and Loewe could offer buyers a short recoil operated autoloading pistol fed by detachable box magazines as early as 1894. The United States Navy tested the design that year as they evaluated the potential of new self loading designs. While they were impressed by the pistol’s accuracy and even its reliability compared to contemporaries, the Navy considered the design awkward to carry and use, and a poor substitute for a modern fighting revolver. Further military reviews followed, and generally met with the same results even as new competitors entered the market. In 1897, another Loewe (which in 1896 had incorporated to form DWM) employee, Georg Luger, was dispatched to Switzerland to observe military trials there and begin working out how to improve the design and make it a viable military arm. By reducing the dimensions of the pistol’s cartridge and moving the mainspring to the backstrap, Luger was able to significantly reduce the pistol’s profile and transform Borchardt’s patented design into something as handy as a revolver. Borchardt himself had elected not to work on the upgrades to his original design, and by 1900 the Borchardt-Luger pistol was already known simply as the Luger pistol. This marked the end of the Borchardt’s viability and production ended with some 3,100 examples produced in total. The lot offered here is from the first batch of 1,100 pistols made by Loewe before it became DWM in 1896. This Borchardt appeared on the cover of GUNS magazine in June of 1969.

  • Price Realized
  • $21,500


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