This Arminius model ARM 357 is a 6 shot, single-action revolver that is chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, but it can also easily accept the .38 special round. This revolver has a blued finish on the barrel and cylinder, and what appears to be a simulated color case hardening finish on the receiver. It is equipped with a 5 1/2 inch barrel and utilizes a blade front sight and a square notch rear sight, both of which are not adjustable for either windage or elevation. The grip panels are a smooth wood and include a round metal disc inlay of the Arminius company logo at the top of each grip. The model ARM 357 is based upon the Colt M1873 single action army revolver. It differs in the Colt M1873 design by having a floating firing pin in the standing breech. This change was due mostly to comply with the United States gun control act of 1968 in regards to imported firearms.
The Arminius model ARM 357 that is featured on this page ranks as the most damaged firearm in the collection. It has been awarded this status by no fault of the manufacturer, but rather from a previous owner. This firearm was stored in a in-ground floor safe at a residence that had some water issues when the occupants were away for an extended period of time. Upon their arrival home and discovering the problem, they set out to repair the minor damage to the house but had some how forgot about the items stored in the safe. On the surface, all looked well but it was forgotten that when the water flooded the part of the house where the safe was located, it allowed the safe to be partially filled with water. It was not until much later that they realized that the items in the safe were actually sitting in water. The pictures here show the firearm in nearly the same condition that I received it. When the pictures were taken, the firearm was not operational. The hammer could not be pulled back and both the cylinder and loading gate were frozen solid in place. This revolver will make for a fun restoration project when it is awarded its turn on the workbench.
The .357 Magnum round is the worlds oldest handgun "magnum" cartridge. Smith & Wesson played a major part in the development and success of the .357 magnum cartridge. it is Philip Sharpe, whom at the time was a firearms author and experimenter who is credited for the development of the round in the 1930s. In his book "Complete Guide to Handloading", Phillip Sharpe summarizes his extensive testing in the development of the .357 Magnum. Elmer Keith also played a large role in the development of the .357 magnum due in part to his testing of the .38 Special cartridge and loading it to far beyond normally accepted limits. Many police agencies at this time were using such cartridges as the .32 or .38 special and were asking for a more powerful round. S&W's Vice President Major Douglas B. Wesson agreed to design a new revolver that would handle "high-intensity" .38 Special loads if Winchester would develop a new cartridge for it. Winchester went to work and a short while later introduced the .357 Magnum, which is dimensionally identical to the .38 Special except for having a .125 inch longer case then that of the .38 special. On April 8, 1935 the first revolvers known as the .357 Magnum Models were then introduced by S&W. The classic Model 19, is one of the original S&W .357's.
About the Arminius name and firearms.
Arminius was originally the name of a German hero from around the first century AD(17 BC - AD 21). He was a chieftain of the Cherusci who defeated the Roman army by destroying three legions under Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest(described as clades Variana by Roman historians) late in the summer of 9 AD. He successfully blocked the efforts of Germanicus to reconquer the Germanic territories east of the Rhine river. Although Arminius was unsuccessful in forging a unity among the Germanic tribes, his victory over the Romans had a far reaching effect on the history of both the Germanic tribes, and ultimately of Europe.
Moving ahead to modern day firearms, there have been two different German firearms manufactures that have used the Arminius name. In addition, to a Spanish gun maker by the name of Gregorio Boluburu, who also used the Arminius trademark.
The first German company to do so was Pickert Waffenwerk that was founded by Friedrich Pickert who was a cousin of Carl Walther. The company was located in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia, Germany. This firm manufactured inexpensive yet well made pocket revolvers form the early 1900's until the WWII era. They produced a variety of revolvers in calibers ranging from 5.5mm to .38 caliber. The revolvers can be found in many numerous varieties to include a vast range of barrel lengths, calibers, number of chambers per cylinder and so on. It is possible to find these firearms in any number of different combinations. Often the only identification on the firearm will be the Arminius name engraved beneath the head of the German hero.
The second German company to use the Arminius name was Herman Weihrauch Waffenfabrik of Mellrichstadt, Bayern(Bavaria), West Germany. The company was originally located in Zella-Mehlis, Germany but fled to West Germany when Thuringia came under Soviet control after WWII. Originally the firm manufactured bicycles and sporting arms, but after the move to West Germany they began to manufacture air rifles as well as other sporting arms. These included a number of revolvers that were manufactured using the Arminius trade name. These Arminius revolvers made by Weihrauch should not be confused with the Arminius revolvers made by the earlier Pickert Waffenwerk firm before WWII. The Herman Weihrauch Waffenfabrik revolvers are side opening hand ejector models that were based on the designs of Colt and Smith & Wesson and are sturdy sidearms made of good quality. The revolvers will be found with a two digit number code stamped on them. This number will be the date that the firearm went through the West German proof facility and will most likely also indicate the date of manufacture.
Today, the Arminius brand of firearms are still being made in Germany. The address and full name of the company is, Hermann Weihrauch Revolver GmbH, Postfach 25, 97634 Mellrichstadt. Their phone number is (+49)9776-707678. The abbreviation "GmbH" from above indicates "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" and is literally translated as "company with limited liability" which has become the most common corporation form in Germany.