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Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol

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Ian takes a look at the Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol in this episode of Forgotten Weapons. This was one of many firearms originally developed and patented for Remington by Joseph Rider, who was one of the company’s chief engineers. It’s an incredibly tiny, compact and flat gun – the whole thing can fit in the palm of Ian’s hand. It would have made an excellent gentleman’s pistol, for those who did not want just one or two shots in a derringer.

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The Magazine Pistol is one of Rider’s most interesting designs, Ian says. It is a manually operated, 5-shot repeater chambered for the .32 extra-short rimfire cartridge, which is the same round used by the Chicago Palm Protector.

It had a tube magazine under the barrel, a cocking piece instead of a hammer, and a simple yet clever vertically shifting breech block that gave a very impressive amount of firepower in this small, flat and narrow weapon. The design was similar to many handguns designed and made in Europe at the time, which led to the development of the semi-automatic pistol.

Ian shows how the pistol works. There are two levers on the top: the rear one is the hammer, and the other is the action lever. Pulling the front lever cocks the hammer, cycling the cartridge out of one magazine tube up into the barrel to chamber it. The magazine tube has a spring and follower inside, and tiny as it looks, it did hold five rounds. He shows how the breech lock works, as well, and how the cartridge was ejected and how the rounds would cycle and fire.

There were around 15,000 of these pistols manufactured between 1871 and 1888 – not exactly a success, but not a commercial failure for Remington, either. They now represent one of the few times Americans used tube magazines in a handgun, as the feature was more popular in Austria.

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