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Thread: fiala pistol

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    fiala pistol

    does anyone know where i could purchase a magazine for my fiala pistol ?

  2. #2
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    Mag for rare pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by dalebea65@sbcglobal.net View Post
    does anyone know where i could purchase a magazine for my fiala pistol ?
    Best I can tell, these were made briefly in 1920, making them pretty rare. Doubt you will find magazines available. Might be possible to adapt a more common one, or even make one from scratch. If you want a shooter, buy one.

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    If you want an authentic magazine to complete a collectible, you may be out of luck, to be honest. It appears they made about as many magazines as they made guns. Original spare Fiala magazines just don't appear on the market. The ones that do appear were ones originally issued with a gun and I saw one listed for auction at $200.

    If you want to shoot the gun as a repeater, a competent gunsmith may be able to adapt a magazine for a Colt Woodsman or a High Standard semi-auto which are close but not a precise match.


    I'll put my Fiala notes out here in case anyone has any more correct information on the subject:

    The Fiala manually operated repeating pistol.

    The story is it was the brainchild of Arctic explorer Anthony Fiala (b. 1869 – d. 1950). He wanted a .22 pistol/carbine combo but found semiautos did not work well in frigid weather, hence the Fiala manual repeater design with the ergonomics of an automatic pistol. The design was patented by designer Lucius Diehm. Schall & Co. began production in 1920 based on Diehm's patents and Fiala's ideas of what an explorer's weapon should be. Fiala Arms branded pistols have a polar bear logo and 7.5" barrels; Schall branded pistols have 6.5" barrels. Apparently manual repeaters did not sell well in competition with semi-autos in the 1920s and 1930s. The Fiala was marketed by a string of companies between 1920 and 1935; if one went out of business, someone else would buy the inventory and try selling it. There appears to be more speculation than hard data on this gun outside of a few ads, and we all know advertising. (And as I accumulated notes, I shudda kept sources but didn't.)

    Gun Trader's Guide 35th edition lists the Fiala Outfitters, Inc. Repeating Pistol good condition $365, new with box $675.
    A complete set would be one frame, 3 barrels in 2.75", 7.5", and 20" lengths, a detachable shoulder stock, and carrying case. The set can go for $3000. Most extant carrying cases have lost their handles, so a set with case with handle is rare.

    It does look a little like a Colt Woodsman or High Standard; some people have acquired them and thought they had a "broken" semiauto since it had to be manually operated. My late stepdad had one, he wished he had kept it. They are fairly rare, highly collectible, and were put on the ATF Curio and Relic list, so they can be owned with the shoulder stock.

    Major Anthony Fiala of the N.Y. National Guard
    (b. 1869 Jersey City, NJ - d. 1950)
    worked at a newspaper in various positions, from technical to cartoonist
    served in the Spanish-American War (and as as war correspondent for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
    wrote the book "Troop 'C' in Service" (1899)
    joined Baldwin-Ziegler Polar expedition, 1901
    commander of the Ziegler Polar Expedition, 1903-1905
    wrote "Fighting the Polar Ice" (1906)
    led the Fiala Polar Expedition, 1908
    (all his Polar expeditions were Arctic)
    went with Theodore Roosevelt's Amazon expedition, 1913-1914
    machine gun company commander Mexican Border War, 1915
    ran Fiala Outfitters, Inc., New York, expedition outfitter
    contributed to the design and manufacture of the Fiala manual repeating pistol, 1920-1923
    figure head for "The Committee For the Defence Of British Homes" which gathered guns in the US for the British Home Guard in WWII
    obituary Brooklyn Daily Eagle very laudatory; he died before his 81st birthday

    Like his namesake gun, the man is largely forgotten but it seems he lived a full life.
    Cogito me cogitare; ergo, cogito me esse.

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    Interesting read, learned something new today, thanks.


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