First gas-operated semi-automatic pistol (Apr, 1980)
First gas-operated semi-automatic pistol
Self-loading handguns are usually either blowback-or recoil-operated. The new Wildey is unique—the world’s first production-model gas-operated semi-automatic pistol. In the patented Wildey system, a portion of the powder gases is exhausted from the barrel through six ports, where it impinges on the operating piston, driving it rearward to operate the slide and rotary bolt action. An adjustable gas-regulator ring controls the gas flow to accommodate various cartridge loads. With the gas ports completely cut off by the regulator, the Wildey becomes a manually operated handgun.
Winchester-Western has developed two new cartridges especially for the Wildey Auto Pistol: 9-mm Winchester magnum, with the highest velocity of any commercially loaded handgun round, and 45 Winchester magnum, the largest caliber among magnum pistol cartridges.
The ballistics are impressive: 9-mm Winchester magnum loads with 115-grain full-metal-case bullets deliver a muzzle velocity of 1475 fps and muzzle energy of 555 ft-lb. The numbers for the 45 Winchester magnum with 230-grain FMC bullet are 1400 fps and 1000 ft-lb. For $16.15 you can buy a box of either fifty 9-mm magnum cartridges or twenty 45 magnum cartridges.
The double-action Wildey Auto Pistol is constructed of stainless steel, and has a fixed barrel, available in your choice of five-, six-, seven-, eight-, or 10-inch lengths. With the six-inch barrel, the Wildey measures 10 inches overall and weighs about 51 ounces.
The 9-mm magnum version holds 15 cartridges in its magazine, while the 45 magnum’s capacity is eight rounds. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and the ramp front sight is mounted on a ventilated rib. Grips are made of select hardwood, finely checkered.
The new Wildey is ideal for big-game hunting and metallic silhouette target shooting, the sports for which it was designed. Recoil levels of the powerful 9-mm magnum and 45 magnum pistols are well below those of revolvers firing 357 magnum and 44 magnum cartridges.
Suggested retail prices for the pistols start at $389.95. The manufacturer is Wildey Firearms Co., Inc., Box 284, Cold Spring, N.Y. 10516-Paul Wahl