September 12, 2019 40

Mateba MTR-8

Mateba MTR-8

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on I’m Ian McCollum, and today we have a cool unicorn gun of a revolver to take a look at. This is a Mateba (or Mateeba, heard it pronounced both ways) MTR-8 revolver. Now Mateba … is best known for their semi- automatic revolver designs, and this is
the forerunner to those. And I think there are a lot of people out there who think that this is also semi-auto. It’s not, this is a standard DASA
(double action or single action) revolver. It is chambered for .38 Special, in this
case. They did also make them in .22, .32 (I believe it was .32 Smith & Wesson), and
.357 Magnum. Now the inventor was a guy by the name of Emilio Ghisoni. He was an
Italian, born in 1937, and his father actually ran a manufacturing business
that did, I think, mostly culinary equipment, like serious commercial kitchen
machinery. And Ghisoni ended up working for the business when his father
died, at about age 20. And continued the business, became a mechanical engineer
and, well, he was really interested in firearms. So he started designing some
guns that the company, Mateba, started producing. Now this one, they only
made about 500 of these total, in a variety of configurations.
The four different calibres, they also made some
carbine versions of the gun. Not very many, there’s maybe something
like a dozen of these in the US today, so they’re pretty obscure guns. Now of course, the interesting mechanical element to this, is that the cylinder has
been located both forward and down compared to what you would normally
expect on a revolver. And that was because this was designed primarily for
competition, and the idea was to reduce the time in between follow-up shots. So
having a very low axis, the line of recoil is pretty much right in line with
the top of the shooters hand, and a very forward, heavy, weight balance. The theory
is this helps keep the bore, the muzzle, from climbing much with each shot.
Now unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to shoot one of these, and I can’t take this one out to the range, so I haven’t been able to test that out myself. But
hopefully someday I will be able to. Now there are a couple other interesting things
about this, so let’s take a closer look at it. Definitely an interesting and
distinctive looking gun. And we have some markings we can take a look at. So here on the right side of the
receiver we have the Mateba marking, and Mateba is actually an
abbreviation (two letters at a time) for Macchine Termo Balistiche
(that’s probably not pronounced right), but MA TE BA. Made in Pavia, Italy.
And then there’s a little bit more on the left side. This is a caliber .38
gun, as opposed to .22, .32 or .357. And it is serial number 84 in this case. And lastly, up on the front of the
barrel we have the Italian proof marks. An interesting incongruity with this gun is it’s designed for competition shooting
and yet, it literally has a three inch barrel. Because the cylinder is out this
far forward, that’s it for the barrel, 76mm. However barrel length, it
does not correlate with accuracy in any mechanical way. As long as
you have just enough barrel length to get the bullet spinning appropriately,
it all comes down then to barrel quality, and a longer barrel does
not make a gun more accurate. What typically does make it more
accurate, in practical terms, is a long sight radius. Because the longer the
sight radius, the less margin of error there is when you line up those sights
on your target, and the more likely you are, as a practical matter, to actually
hit. And on the MTR-8 here, the sight radius goes from here, all the way back
to there. So it’s got like a 10-inch sight radius, despite having a three inch
barrel. The front sight is a big square post there, and that drops into a square notch on the back. Those sights aren’t aren’t bad, maybe not
the greatest that they possibly could be, but not bad. The grip looks a little bit thin,
but I think that’s largely because of just the shape of the rest of the gun. It
actually feels really quite good in the hand. Now as a double action revolver, this is hammer fired, and the hammer is entirely shrouded back here. However you have
these two levers on each side which allow you to manually
cock the hammer to single action. And again, because the hammer is back here, but you have to have the hand up here to rotate the cylinder, that hand mechanism is all external on
the gun. So when I go to manually cock the hammer, you can see it operating this
mechanism, and rotating the cylinder like so. Now the single action trigger pull
isn’t bad, again it’s not great, but not bad. And then the double action
trigger pull is actually quite long, but it’s pretty smooth, it’s a nice trigger pull. Now one of the final unusual elements is the cylinder release itself, which is
kind of like a typical revolver, but not where you would normally look for it
because of the placement of the cylinder. There is a catch at the front, right here,
pull that down, and then we can tip the cylinder out and then this thing falls off of it. So if it doesn’t fall off, if you had
cartridges in it, you have an ejector rod here, that is going to push this off the
back of the cylinder. And this is your speed loader, which you cannot fire the
gun without. This does not just hold the cartridges steady so it’s quick and easy
to load, it also acts as a spacer and holds the cartridges back from the face
of the cylinder. So if you don’t have this, the firing pin isn’t long
enough to fire the cartridges. Now in order to load this we’re going to take
this little plug, rotate it 90 degrees, like so, and then this opens up like a clamshell. So
what you would then do is load your eight cartridges in there, close this
plate over the back, we have holes here for the pins that line it up on the
cylinder. And these holes are in line with the primers on the
cartridges and then … you lock it back into place like that, and then
you’re ready to go. And when loaded that’s
going to look like this. This is actually kind of cool,
this holds cartridges a little more steady than most
of the actual speed loaders I’ve used. There’s really not much rattle at all in there. And then that drops right in, like so. And to eject it, we just push on the front, that’s gonna pull it out far
enough that we can remove it. Once you’ve fired, this would take
all of your spent cases out as a unit. So nice and clean, easy and efficient. These are a little bit of a pain in the butt,
slow to load the clips themselves, but once you have them loaded,
they are very fast to load into the gun. So you can see the hand moving
here as I start to manually cock the hammer, that finger right there, the
hand, is acting on these alignment pins right here. And then there is a cylinder
stop at the back, right there, which is located up at the top of the frame. So if we look through the side here with the speed loader removed, as I cock it you can
see the hand come down, push on that pin until it has rotated one full
notch and locked in position. The hand is now down until I drop the
hammer, and then it retracts back up. In addition to the recoil absorption and the bore
axis, one of the other mechanical advantages to Ghisoni moving the cylinder out in
front like this, is it decoupled the size of the cylinder … basically from the
rest of the design of the gun. So he was able to make the cylinder larger in
order to accommodate larger capacities. So on the .32 … like I said, I think
it was Smith & Wesson, the .32 design which by the way was the MTB-12, that had
a 12 round capacity. And the .22 rimfire version had a 14 round capacity. Then
there were also some carbine versions of these made and those had potentially
even larger cylinders, because again the size of the cylinder didn’t really
impact any of the handling aside from adding some weight. My understanding is
the .22 caliber carbine versions could go as high as 20 round
capacity, in .22 rimfire. So the designer, Emilio Ghisoni, not only did
this and the semi-auto Mateba revolvers, he was also responsible for designing the
Chiappa Rhino, which is a gun that more people are familiar with. The Rhino is
another revolver which attempts to mitigate muzzle climb, in that case by
firing out of the bottom chamber in the cylinder instead of the top one. So
that of course brings the recoil axis down, and another interesting revolver
to take a look at. So a bunch of cool, different stuff all from this same designer.
Unfortunately he passed away in 2008, so we won’t be seeing any new
designs from him, but … Hopefully you guys enjoyed the
video, hopefully I’ll get a chance to take one of these out and do some
shooting with it at some point. Until then, thanks for watching and stay tuned for
another cool Forgotten Weapon tomorrow.

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