The firm of Vincenzo Bernardelli, located at Gardone V.T., Italy, is one of the oldest manufacturers of Europe still in operation. It was founded in 1865 and has long enjoyed a reputation for fine workmanship.
Bernardelli learned the art of firearms manufacture as an employee of the Franzini Arms Factory located in Gardone Val Trompia. This was one of the important factories of its day, and Bernardelli had become chief of the Damascus barrel division. In 1865 he had decided to set up his own small factory for the making of barrels in the little village of San Carlo. In the course of a decade his work had developed to the point where he was making entire guns, although in limited numbers. In this he was aided by his four sons, Pietro, Lodovico, Antonio, and Giulio, each of whom was responsible for some particular manufacturing process or detail. The firm soon outgrew its original quarters and began a search for better facilities and room for expansion.
In 1899 Vincenzo Bernardelli died and the management was taken over completely by his capable sons. In 1908 a large factory, formerly a textile establishment, and a large surrounding area for future development became available and were secured. Adequate water power for current operations was included in the purchase.
Following World War I the factory was modernized. Special new machinery was installed and power facilities were increased. Following World War II the plant was again expanded and newer machinery and manufacturing methods were installed. New types of weapons were added, such as automatic pistols and automatic rifles. During the period 1928 to 1933 the firm had manufactured the 10.4 mm. Italian Service revolver, known as the Ordinanza Mod. 89, but no modern type of revolver had been made until after World War II. Now one is being produced in both .22 and .32 calibers.
A new model of the Bernardelli automatic pistol appeared in 1959 and was designated the Model 60. This model is made in .22 L.R., 7.65 mm., and 9 mm. Short calibers. As with the previous models, the system has the fixed barrel, a magazine disconnector safety as well as the thumb operated safety, twin buffer springs in the frame, and the usual good quality of finish and workmanship. In addition, this model has an external hammer which may be carried at half-cock with safety. The sear group assembly is newly designed to give a better trigger pull. The takedown has been simplified. The slide is drawn back 1.5 cm. (ca. 3/a inch) then, after the slide release button is pushed, the slide is raised at the rear end and removed by sliding it over the front end of the barrel. On the .22 L.R. type, if provided with the 200-mm. barrel, it is necessary to unscrew and remove the front sight ramp to permit the slide to pass over it.
The automatic pistols are:
.22 cal. L.R. or Short. „Baby" Model. Mag. cap. 5 ctges. Introduced in 1949.
.22 cal. L.R. Standard Model. 90-mm. barrel. Mag. cap. 8 ctges. Introduced in 1949 (Fig. 126).
.22 cal. L.R. Standard Model with 150-, 220-, or 250-mm. barrel.
6.35 mm. (Browning) V.P. Model. Two magazines. Standard mag. holds 5 ctges., long mag. holds 8 ctges. Introduced in 1945.
7.65 mm./9 mm. (Brng.) Pocket Model. Same model takes either 7.65 or 9 mm. barrels, interchangeably. Special 7.65 mm. barrels can be supplied in lengths of 150, 200, and 250 mm. on order. Special mag. with cap. of 17 ctges. also available. Introduced in 1947.
9 mm. Long or 9 mm. Parabellum. Model U.B. Large Pocket Model. Mag. cap. 8 ctges. Introduced in 1950.
Factory data for the various models are given in Table 26.
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