Q: I inherited a pistol with four barrels stacked one atop the other. After the bullet in the top barrel is fired, the next barrel below moves up to be fired and so on. It seems to be about .25 caliber. The right grip reads "Reform Pistol" and unfortunately the left grip is missing. I haven't been able to find information on this pistol anywhere.
A: According to Firearms Curiosa by Lewis Winant, the Reform .25 ACP pistol was fairly popular on the continent prior to WWI because it was very flat and easy to carry in evening clothes. Designed by Germany's August Schuler, the Reform is a very curious double-action pistol. After the first barrel fires, the next pull on the trigger raises the next barrel up to the firing pin. As the 2nd and 3rd rounds were fired, the spent case from the barrel above was ejected by gas pressure vented up through a small hole in the barrel below. The 4th round had to be punched out manually. The high hammer spur doubles as a case deflector. Similar pistols were made by other firms in Belgium and Germany.
You are correct in thinking the missing grip reduces the value, and it will be a difficult to find an original. Triple K offers reproduction Reform grips and replacing the missing side would at least improve the salability of the pistol. A survey of auction websites shows complete ones selling for as low as $350 to as high as $1,475.
2222 Commercial Street, San Diego, CA 92113
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|Title Annotation:||QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2015|
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