Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gun Shop Treasures Found, Again

Waiting for my daughter to come in from NOVA I finally succumbed to boredom and went to the gun shop to hang out a bit. Found all the strap hangers in attendance. Then I went in and discovered a real treat. Just having come into the shop was a Simson MOD625A rifle. A .22 LR trainer produced for the German government before WWII, this rifle was in fine condition. You just don't see these very often. They are purported to be very accurate rifles but I've never had the pleasure of firing one.

The Simson firm has an interesting story.
In 1854 the brothers Löb and Moses Simson bought one third of a steelhammer works in Suhl (Germany). The production of carbon steel began and the firm Simson & Co. was founded in 1856. The factory produced guns and gunbarrels in the years following.

In 1871 the first steam engine started its service and the enterprise established production of bicycles in 1896, which was followed by the start of automobile production in 1907. The racing car Simson Supra is famous.

During World War I, Simson produced Mauser Gewehr 98 rifles for the German Army. In the aftermath of the war and the Treaty of Versailles, the reorganized Reichswehr was allowed to buy new handguns from only one company, so as to limit the ability of the German arms industry to recover. Larger manufacturers such as DWM were passed over in favor of Simson precisely because of its lower production capacity, and as such Simson was the sole producer of military-contract Luger pistols from 1925 to 1934.[1] Simson produced approximately 12,000 Lugers during this timeframe.[2] Simson also was responsible for repairing and refurbishing existing firearms of the Reichswehr, though DWM was employed in the capacity as well, in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles. In addition to Lugers, Simson also repaired and refurbished Gewehr 98 and Karabiner 98b rifles, MG08 machine guns, and MP18 submachine guns.[3]

During the 1920s, Simson also produced .25 ACP vest pocket pistols, or Westentaschenpistolen, for commercial sale. Until 1989, this was Simson's only venture into commercial handgun production. These pistols were available in two almost identical models, the first known as Model 1 in German and Model 1922 in the United States, and the second as Model 2 in Germany and Model 1927 in the US.[4]

Adolf Hitler's dictatorship forced the Jewish family Simson to flee the country in 1936. Under the framework of dispossession of Jewish industrialists a trustee took control of the firm, and so by merger with other factories the Berlin Suhler Waffen- und Fahrzeugwerke (BSW) was formed.

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