Author Topic: Olga's pistol  (Read 39388 times)

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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2011, 01:01:39 PM »
Hello everybody this is my first posting on this site. I am a ex-military/history major guy who knows something about firearms. I think Olga's pistol could be a Browning 25 auto (AKA 6.35mm). i have an old firearms book that mentions the Czarist Secret police geting some when they first came out in 1906.  It is rather small and could fit easily into her boot. If not this it could be some other type of .25 or .32 small automatic pistol.  I know browning pistols were quite popular in Europe during this time period and the Tsar could have got hold of one from one of his bodyguards.
 Sadly I don't think it would have done Olga a whole lot of good if she had still had it on 17 july 1918 when she and the rest of her family were murdered. Olga had had a nervous breakdown while working as an nurse and was still emotionaly fragile. Her last weeks alive she was very depressed and had lost alot of weight. She gets to watch her mother and father shot dead in front of her with very little warning. She is on the floor arms around Tatiana crying. Olga has a few minutes to compose herself enough to get the pistol out of her boot before the Chekists come back in to finish the surviors off. If she remembered how to operate the pistol. There is no record of her or her sisters ever firing one. Olga has no more than a few seconds to aim and fire it at Petr Ermakov before he is on top of her. Emerkov is an ex-con with 9 years in prison behind him. he is also wired up on hate/vodka/adrenilin as high as he can get. Olga would have had on her a Browning 25.auto which has a 6 round magazine. this is a very weak pistol cartridge. There are numerous examples of men in Emerkov's state who have been shot several times with more powerfull rounds and it did not even make them blink. So with a whole lot of luck Olga might have been able to wound him and he might have died of complications some weeks later.  Also right behind him is Yakov Yurovsky who is armed with a Mauser c96 pistol who calmly shot and killed Tatiana. He could have shot and killed Olga with no real effort.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2011, 03:08:34 PM »
Are these the proper model?



I found them listed online as "baby Brownings," and no wonder. It is, in its own morbid way, kind of cute. These were the best photos I could find that give a sense of its size.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #62 on: September 18, 2011, 05:37:20 AM »
I would agree with James (welcome, James!). While researching my as yet unpublished novel about Rasputin I visited the museum of the British Army Small Arms School Corps and handled a baby Browning and its ammunition. It does, indeed, fit comfortably into the palm of a hand and the rounds are tiny (just slightly larger than .22), and .22 rifle cartridges carry much more propellant, so are more powerful. You would have to be very lucky to do much damage with one! At the time of the 20 July 1944 plot, at least one German General (I need to look up which one) shot himself in the head with something similar, and lived (as did Unity Mitford, though she was brain-damaged). The standard Nagant revolver used by the Russian Army is a vastly more substantial weapon, and the .455 Webley used by the British then is larger still (and its ammunition is virtually 'dum-dum' in its effect, i.e. it mushrooms.

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #63 on: September 19, 2011, 11:35:17 AM »
Being a firearms guy I would like to state the following:
The 455 Webley round fires a big slow moving bullet while it is a effective manstopper it does not move fast enough to expand like a dum dum or hollow point.

25 auto: fires a 50 grain bullet at 760 fps (feet per second)
Nagant M-1895: 7.62mm/32 caliber 103-105 grain bullet 892 fps
While the M-1895 is somewhat more powerfull than the 25 auto it is not a great manstopper either. There is an artical on the net from the American handgunner  magazine by David M Fortier "Comrade Nagants revolver No Wonder the Soviet Union Fell Apart" which if you can find it provides a good desrciption on what its like to fire ect the M-1895.

I think the German General who tried to commit suicide and only ended up blinding himself after the 20 July 44 plot may have been using a 32 auto/7.65mm or 380 auto/9mm kurz

For more firearms information you might want to log on to Gun & Game

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #64 on: September 19, 2011, 11:44:37 AM »
Yes, Sarushka that does look like the proper model

Kalafrana, believe it or not one day hopefully soon I plan on making a posting on the handguns possibly used to shoot Rasputin. I think one was a Browning and the other was a Savage. Both were automatics.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #65 on: September 19, 2011, 12:39:03 PM »
There has been a suggestion that a Webley was used on Rasputin to finish him off, and I've used that in my novel.

I think I may have read the article on the Nagant you allude to. As I understand it, the main problem is that it is awkward to load and unload. The Webley is self-ejecting, which makes life much easier. My fictitious hero has lost an arm in the war (his motivation for getting involved in the plot), so needed to find the easiest pistol for him to use.

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #66 on: September 26, 2011, 02:33:37 PM »
Ann
 In reading the Raspution section on this forum he appears to have been shot with a 455 Webely lead bullet. I would say a 265 Gn 690 fps round nose one. If your hero has one arm you need to get a Webley revolver and see how he can break it open with a artificial limb. I would recommend being a agent he carry one with a 4 inch barrel with a round pistol grip. Besides the inet you might want to get the book "The Webley Story".
PLEASE no hollow point or dum dum  ammo. The British stopped using these rounds in the early 1900s do to the Hague convention and from what I have red took some really bad PR before they did so. These 455 Webley rounds in real life did not expand or mushroom because they were too slow 690 fps. In order for a hollow point bullet to reliably expand it needs to be going over 1200 fps.
 The other handguns mentioned used on Rasputin were a baby Browning 25 auto as described above and a Savage. The Savage auto pistol was made in 32 auto and 380 auto calibers. There is some good information on the net on these pistols, including a site dedicated to them. There are also books "10 shots Quick" and Savage Automatic Pistols". There was I believe at least one artical on thses pistols in an US gun magazine either "The American Rifleman" or "Guns and Ammo". Beside firearms websites like gun & game there is also a US talk radio program Tom Gresham gun talk. Finally, Savage Arms is still in business you may want to contact them.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #67 on: September 27, 2011, 03:37:27 AM »
James

Thanks for all that. The SASC museum have been extremely helpful and sorted practicalities out for me. The pistol expert I talked to was old enough to have trained on the .38 revolver, for which the British Army drill when breaking it open was to knock the barrel against your thigh while pressing the catch down with the right thumb. He also recommended that the hero should  use the quick loader which was available in 1914-18, though not issued, and using his belt to hold the revolver when needed. He said he had once served with a one-armed Colonel who took part in shooting competitions using a Luger with a drum magazine, but his batman did the loading!

Fear not, I have no plans for dum-dums!

Incidentally, my ex-husband used to go shooting with a Smith & Wesson .455 before they were banned in this country, and used to make his own ammunition, which involved heating up bits of lead over a gas ring and re-using the spent cases.

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #68 on: September 27, 2011, 06:49:42 PM »
Ann
Gald to be of help. I am not sure if a quick loader was around at this time. you might want to make a posting on the Great War Forum. Sticking a pistol in your belt in the small of your back would be a could place to carry a conceled weapon under one of the long heavy coats of the period. Good thing Rasputin was killed in the wintertime. To bad about your ex-husband losing his pistol. Lucky for me I live in the US and they haven't been banned. I wish you luck on your book.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Olga's pistol
« Reply #69 on: December 05, 2011, 05:02:08 PM »
Ann
In doing some more reading there was a Prideaux speedloader available commercialy back then. they are very rare today so I don't think they were made in vast numbers back then.

JW
In your posting #4 you mention the gunfight at the OK Corral. Well, Virgil Earp who was at this fight owned and may have used a S&W Model No 3 revolver in it. This type of handgun was also the Russian Armys standard handgun for many years and one of them was used by the Cheka kill team to kill the IF.

Just thought yu would both like to know.