Campo Giro pistols

The count of Campo Giro (Don Venancio Lopez de Ceballos y Aguirre) was a widely known army officer and firearms designer at the turn of the century. The automatic pistols which bear his name originated around 1900. The earliest form, dating from 1904 to 1905 (often referred to as Modelo 1904), was a recoil-operated arm with an obliquetravel locking wedge housed below the barrel at the chamber. This 1904 Type (or prototype) was reportedly made at the Oviedo Arsenal (Fab. de Armas Portatiles de Oviedo). The only available data are: over-all length, 10.7 inches; barrel length, 6.7 inches; number of grooves, 4.

1904 Type-Three distinct forms of the 1904 Type are known. Only the external differences between them are reported. The first, or standard type, featured a spur hammer and had a sharp, angular grip frame contour with a straight rear edge. The second form introduced large radius edges on the grip frame and gave a very generous radius to the rear edge. The third type had a round-head hammer and a rounded-edge grip frame. All three forms accepted a stock formed from heavy wire which could be screwed into the base of the grip frame. The caliber of these early types is very probably the 9 mm. Bergmann. A blowback version in 7.65 mm. caliber has been reported, but this has not been confirmed. Some of these may have been made by Esperanza y Unceta; all must be classed as experimental.

1910 Type-The 1910 type had even larger radius curves on the grip frame and featured very small wood grip pieces rather than the molded hard rubber pieces of the earlier type. The caliber of the 1910 type is known to be 9 mm. Bergmann. The first order received was for the production of 1000 specimens. The pistol had created a very favorable impression in the army because of its rapidity of fire, easy loading, and accuracy. Campo Giro and the manufacturers, however, were not entirely satisfied and, after certain defects had been eliminated and improvements made, a new model was submitted to the Commission of Artillery Testing in 1913 and was accepted. In this new type a muffling system reduced to a minimum the violence of the return of the bolt and increased the accuracy of the weapon; a simple alteration in the mechanism made it easier to handle and some devices of „safety and double safety" were added, thus increasing the safety of the shooter greatly. This new model displaced the older one and 13,200 of the improved model were made.

In one of its reports the Testing Commission made the following comments, after testing the new model: „The Count of Campo Giro has done the State and the Army a great service with his intelligence, perseverence, and ability, not only with the creation of the new type of pistol now declared official, but with the continuation of his labors and creation of a new type of weapon, even better perfected than the former."

Unfortunately the Count did not have the opportunity to see the full fruition of his labors, for he died soon after the delivery of the first lot of the new pistols and before they were in full scale production.

Mod. 1913-The Modelo 1913 of the Campo Giro was made by Esperanza y Unceta, and specimens are so marked. Its caliber was 9 mm. Bergmann (or 9 mm. „Largo" in Spanish terminology). This new pattern differed radically from the earlier types in that it became a blowback system. The locking wedge was eliminated and a spring buffer was used. As first produced, the Modelo 1913 was based on patents taken out by Aguirre in 1912. It was the first commercial model, the serial numbers starting at 1 (Fig. 137, 138).

Mod. 1913/16:-A further modification and external simplification of the safety system took place in 1915 and led to the new model designation Modelo 1913/16. In 1921 the model designation was again changed to become Modelo 1921, as part of a plan to standardize the nomenclature of Spanish service weapons. Production was discontinued, however, in 1921 and was never resumed.

Measurements made in the author's laboratory on Campo Giros Serial No. 60 (marked Pista. Auta. Mod. 1913) and Serial No. 11337 (marked Pista. Auta. Mod. 1913/16) gave the data shown in Table 28.

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