Skip to main content

The Model 1883 Reichsrevolver

The Model 1883 Reichsrevolver

The 1883, a shorter version of the 1879 Reichsrevolver, was chambered in 10.6x25R. It was unique in that it featured a safety lever on the right side of the gun.

The Model 1883 Reichsrevolver was a hefty solid-frame single-action revolver. It was based on the first Reichsrevolver, the Model 1879. That gun weighed 2.5 pounds and measured a foot long. It was the first centerfire handgun adopted by the fledgling German Empire—a simple design in line with similar European revolvers of the period.

As mentioned, it had a seven-inch barrel, and the subsequent Model 1883 featured a shorter 45/8-inch barrel (some reference say five-inch). It was notable for being one of the few military revolvers with a safety lever, which could be placed in the Safe position when the hammer was at half cock.

The gun was in use until 1908, when it was replaced by the 9mm Luger—although it saw service in World War I and to a small extent World War II when the Germans found their backs to the wall. It also saw action in the Boxer Rebellion and various colonial skirmishes.

Various arsenals produced these guns including F. Dresys, Mauser and some government arsenals such as Erfurt—where my Model 1883 in sample was made in 1893. Like some other guns, the original Model 1879 was designed by a commission and wasn’t considered entirely satisfactory by many. The 1883 suffered from many of the same issues.

The six-shot gun was loaded via a gate on the right side similar to a conventional single action, but it was slow to unload because empties had to be removed with the help of a small rod—after the cylinder had been removed from the gun. The cylinder was taken out by the hammer being at half cock and the center axis pin removed.

The ammo—full designation 10.6x25R—took a heeled bullet with the diameter of .452, although .44 caliber bullets work okay. Original ammo fired a 262-grain bullet at about 700 fps. Original rounds are near impossible to find, although ammo can be made from .44 Russian cases.

The 10.6 round closely resembles the .44 Russian, but while it’s been reported you can shoot .44 Russian ammo in these guns, I certainly don’t recommend it.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Handguns Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Handguns stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now