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.