Fiala Pistol

The pistol shown here is a Fiala Model 1920 chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. This particular model came with three interchangeable barrels of different lengths and a detachable shoulder stock in a fitted leather case. Only about 1500 of these were ever made in 1920 and 1921 before the company declared bankruptcy.

A rather unique aspect of this pistol is its appearance. It looks similar to the Colt 22 semi-auto pistol and other pistols of this time period. It is in fact a magazine fed, manually operated single-shot repeating action.

The original slide was cracked on both sides, as most of them are, because of a design defect. This problem was corrected during the manufacture of the replacement slide.

I actually tried to obtain a quote to build this slide at a CNC (computer numerical control) machine shop. I was told that writing the program and trying to duplicate the compound curves at the rear of the slide could not be quoted. It would be accepted only on a cost-plus basis. Sometimes the use of manual equipment, with jigs and fixtures, still remains the best solution.



Custom Oversize Rifle bolt

The correct Mauser-style bolt in these photos was custom built in .750” (3/4 inch) diameter for a .505 Gibbs cartridge. The receiver was also rebored to accept the larger bolt diameter. All of this work was done the old school way on manual equipment.

The .505 Gibbs has a cartridge rim diameter of .640” (inches). Some additional room is needed on the bolt face to make the case feed reliably in and out of the chamber as the cartridge is tipped up while being chambered. When the original bolt diameter is only .700” of an inch, some changes are needed.

The previous gunsmith had removed all of the supporting structure on the original .700” diameter bolt face rim. Maintaining a grip on the cartridge was achieved by brazing an extension on the outside diameter of the bolt and in front of the locking lug opposite the extractor. The cartridge fed unreliably because the supporting rim was gone and a positive grip could not be reliably maintained between the extractor and the brazed extension.

The rifle bolts shown here compare the original .700” diameter factory bolt with the modifications mentioned and a custom-made replacement bolt of .750” diameter.