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Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag”

Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag”

Peter Paul and Wilhelm Mauser wanted to create a revolver that would really stand out from the competition at the 1879 German military handgun trials—and with their Model 1878, dubbed the “Zig-Zag,” they had succeeded. Initially produced as a solid-frame gun, it evolved into a top-break design that featured an unusual cylinder with machined inclined and parallel grooves. However, the unique design coupling the rotation of that cylinder to both the hammer and trigger was regarded by the German military authorities as being overly complex, and the revolver was summarily rejected. Nonetheless, the Zig-Zag revolver did become a moderate commercial success and was offered in calibers from 6 mm to 10.4 mm.

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; all have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email nfmstaff@nrahq.org.

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