7mm Bar Pistol/Ammo

There was some discussion about whether the 7mm Bar Pistol used rimfire ammo designated 7mm Bar. I have recently come into posession of an early Bar Pistol, one chambered for 7mm rather than 6.35mm which the later models used. I verified this thru the simple expedient of dropping a 6.35mm projectile down the barrel. Fell right thru.

Anyway, I proceeded to remove the bullets from some 6.35 ammo and test fired this little gem. It fired, all strikes dead center (more or less).

BTW, I would like to get a few 7mm Bar rounds, if anyone is willing to sell one or more.
PM me if you can accommodate.

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This gun was manufactured in very early 1900’s by which time an idea of a revolver with more that 4 rounds in a cylinder was well established. Any idea why this type of hand rotated cylinder with only 4 shots was even considered? I understand that only several hundred of these pistols exist. That indicates to me that Bär pistol is not a popular design, which can be easily anticipated from its limitations.

I have been frustrated by the lack of information about this weapon so that anything I say is largely conjecture.

Owning one is interesting since you can get a better feel for it’s qualities than from a picture. And holding the thing suggests that it’s concealability is superior to any revolver. It is 7/16" (11.5mm) thick, less than a pack of playing cards. A bit too big to fit in a vest pocket but of a size that one could easily slip into a pants pocket. The trigger folds up so that it is unlikely that it would snag.

That said, the ability to “flip the cylinder” to get at more firepower is a bit of overreach. I have had the cylinder fall on the floor, get popped out of battery and be the subject of lots of fumbling. Then again, I have not practiced with the thing. I think that one ought best to think of it as a two barreled derringer with improved reloading capability rather than as something that offers 4 rapid shots. See what I mean?

In that context, you can see why small autos killed it in microseconds.

There was a lighting fixture called the Angle Lamp. It was designed so that the wick came out of the side of the fuel reservoir. The result was that there was no shadow cast under it. Evidentially a concern back in the day. It came to market shortly before the ubiquity of electric lighting. It died quickly. Sorta similar, no?

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Here is a 7mm Bar ball and blank rounds.


i think there are a mistake on the first post

“7mm Bar Pistol used rimfire ammo”

apparently the cartridge is center fire

The J. P. Sauer & Sohn Bär Pistol, while made at the Sauer factory in Suhl, in Eastern Germany, was designed by a Swiss named Burkhard Behr, and it is thought that the name of the pistol, “Bär” meaning “Bear” in English, was a play on his name, although it could pertain to the flat loading mechanism, not truly a “cylinder” but rather a flat, rotating bar.

According to White & Munhall, the 7 mm Bär Cartridge was actually patented in Gemany on November 2, 1897, by Fräulein Balcerie Schlapal of Zurich, Switzerland. The first caliber for the pistol was that special 7 mm centerfire cartridge made for it, followed by a version chambered for the 6.35 mm (.25 Auto) cartridge. I do not know how many of these were produced, but by production standards of relatively modern handguns, the number was small. I have a picture of one of these Bär Pistols in my files, a 6.35 mm version, with a serial number of 3293. Production of the pistol is reported to have been discontinued “before World War One.”

Their is likely an old Sauer trademark on the gun, which is a caricature of a “Caveman.”

More information can be found on the pistol in these references:

“Handguns” magazine, issue of December 1997, Pages ll-12
“The American Rifleman,” Questions and Answers section, issue of June 1964, page 89.

Relatively detailed information on the 7 mm Bär cartridge can be found on Page 16, “Center Fire Metric Pistol and Revolver Cartridges,” by Henry White and Burton Munhall, published in 1948. The cartridge was made in several loadings, including Ball, Blank, Tear Gas and signal flare. Perhaps others, this is our of my field so I have no specimens of this caliber at hand.

Hope this is of help.

John Moss

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After reading John Moss’s post I checked my copy of White and Munhall, a reference I must admit I don’t use that often. In it they stated the 7mm Bar blanks had I slightly necked crimp and the Tear Gas cartridges had a card wad “held by folding in the case mouth”. Based on this, the picture of the “blank” I posted above could actually be the tear gas round.
7mm bar 2a 7mm bar  wad


After all these years, I still use the W&M books, including their cartridge headstamp guide, as reference works all the time. Over the years, when I have found an ID error in the headstamp guide, I mark it, in the book, at that headstamp drawing. Considering it was a pioneer work for headstamps, there are not all that many that are misidentified. It was a good work, as far as they could take it at the time.

John Moss