A lucky finding
A couple of years back I had to spend all the Easter holidays helping my father in law refurbishing the house up in the Alps where he grew up. Needless to say I wasn’t enthusiastic at all about it, especially because before doing any actual work we had to get rid of tons of old rotten furniture that was stored in the lower floor, uninhabited for decades. Half way through the second day I was so fed up with the stench of mildew and rotten wood and fabric that I was about to quit when, emptying yet another wardrobe, I came across something quite heavy, wrapped in oily rags. For some strange reason, the wrap caught my attention and I started undoing it. After removing the first layer the wrap started to get a familiar shape and my heart started beating faster and faster, with each rag I removed. The when I unwrapped the last one I found myself staring at leather pistol holster that,by its weight ,had to be full! I opened it and it contained one of the most odd looking side-arms I have ever seen a 7,65mm Frommer Stop Model 1912, compete with a second magazine and a bore brush. The wrap didn’t contain any ammo, but I knew I would have found some, so I went back to the wardrobe and after a few minutes I dug out a small box whose original content were businesses cards, but that was too heavy for such content, and it actually contained 25 rounds of very old looking 7,65mm ammunition. Bingo! I had the full lot: pistol, two mags, 25 original rounds, a holster and even a bore brush. I reported the finding to the “old man”, and he told me that that must have been his father’s pistol from WW1. Despite being of Italian ethnicity, he was born in an Austrian controlled area so at the outbreak of WW1 he had to serve in the Austrian Army as an officer in the 3rd Tiroler Kaiserjager Regiment. As the only one in the family with a gun permit I was allowed to keep it, but before that I needed to get the weapon cleared by the Police Authorities. I took the gun to the local Carabinieri station, (Gendarmerie), where it remained until the routine check were completed and the gun cleared.
The Frommer Stop 12M (Model 1912) pistol was designed in late 1910 by Rudolf Frommer and manufactured by the Hungarian state Small Arms and Machine Factory, Fegyver és Gépgyár (FEG) for the Honvédség, the Hungarian component of the Austro-Hungarian Army, that adopted it in 1912. The gun remained in use after the end of the war, when it was re designated 18M (Model 1918), by the newly independent Hungarian Army, and was not replaced until 1945. The pistol was also offered commercially in 9mm Short (.380 acp) after 1919, but these do not have any military acceptance markings.
The 12M represent the final development of Frommer’s long recoil patented system pistol series that included the 1901, 1906 and 1910 models.
In most handgun designs the action remains locked only for the time needed to allow pressure to decrease to a safe level and the barrel recoils only a few millimetres before the bolt is released. In Frommer’s design, the breech stayed locked until the bolt had reached its full rearward position.
The Frommer Stop has three main parts: the barrel, bolt assembly, and receiver. Over the grip, the receiver features two horizontal cylinders, the top one housing the two return springs for the barrel and bolt, both sharing a single guide rod. The bottom cylinder houses the barrel and bolt assembly. The barrel and rod are centred by the bushing, that is held in place by the barrel nut, the nut retaining pin is fitted to the front end of the springs rod.
Ejection in assured by a spring-loaded ejector, built into the left inside wall of the barrel extension and by an extractor on the right hand side of the rotating bolt head. The bolt head features two lugs and looks like a miniature version of the used in the M95 Manlicher rifle. The firing pin runs through the centrer of the bolt carrier and bolt head. The bolt head telescopes in helical grooves inside the bolt carrier, and engages a recess inside the barrel extension to lock the breech, so the bolt carrier is able to reciprocate inside the barrel extension, but cannot rotate.
The bolt catch is located just above the sear and engages the bolt carrier when it reaches the fully retracted position. Both bolt catch and sear are tensioned by a vertical coil spring located between them. The weapon does not have any manual safeties, the only safety device being grip safety, that engages the connector bar, locking the trigger only.
The pistol is fed by a 7 rounds magazine, held in place by a retaining catch at the bottom of the grip. The weapon is designed to fire the proprietary 7,65x17mm Frommer Long ammunition, dimensionally almost identical to the Browning .32 ammo, but with a far more powerful load and an heavier bullet (78-80 grains, compared to 60-72 grains of the .32 Brouning) resulting in far greater muzzle velocity and muzzle energy. The Frommer Sop can fire standard .32 ACP rounds, but cycling can be problematic.
The Frommer Stop in my possession bears the Hungarian Military acceptance marking on the trigger guard, that identifies it as manufactured in 1918; the six digit serial number 227493, confirms that the pistol was part of one of the last 1918 production runs.
The front of the grip is marked IKR 207, as unit identification mark and weapon number. The unit marking could mean 1st Kaiserjager Regiment, but at the moment I am not 100% sure. 207 is the number in the regiment’s inventory.
The holster is one of a few Hungarian made variants. Both weapon and holster have possibly been issued to the Austrian Landswher toward the endo of the war because of supplies shortages.
Field stripping of the Pisztoly 12M
This is one of the trickiest weapons I ever disassemble and it it wasn’t for Internet, I would never go past removing the barrel nut and bushing!
After removing the magazine and safely clearing the chamber, use the magazine corner to depress the barrel nut locking pin and unscrew the barrel nut itself.
Maintain pressure on the bushing and release it slowly. Remove the bushing paying attention not to loose the nut locking pin, as it rests on the tip of the spring rod.
Then remove the recoil spring from the front of the receiver.
The bushing has a notch that is used to rotate the spring rod; use it to depress and turn the rood 90°.
This disengages the rod from the bolt carrier that, after cocking the hammer, can be then pulled out from the rear of the receiver.
Turn the rod a further 90° to release it from the receiver and pull it out from the front, the barrel can then be removed from the rear. The bolt head and bolt carrier can then be separated.
The barrel can then be pulled out from the rear of the receiver. To reassemble the weapon, reverse the procedure.
Type: Long barrel recoil operated semi-automatic pistol
Calibre: 7,65x17mm Frommer Long, Frommer 9mm, 9mm Browning Short
Overall length: 160mm (6.3″), height: 110mm (4.33″)
Barrel length: 100mm (3.94″), 4 right hand twist grooves
Weight with empty mag: 580g (20.5oz),
Weight with full mag: 634g (22.4oz)
Magazine: removable, 7 rounds
7.65 cal. Bullet weight: 4.65g, Shell weight: 2.85g, Powder weight: .23g
Muzzle velocity: 342m/s (1125 fps) with 7.65x17mm Frommer Long cartridge
© 2016 – 2017, Francesco Cortellini. All rights reserved.