A Condensed History of the Auto Mag
The Auto Mag is the 12th handgun mini-replica and the 7th pistol in the Famous Handguns of the World Collection
Its’ celebrity is not due to its use by the military or law enforcement agencies or its’ participation in battles or shoot-outs. It is primarily known in the gun world for its’ complicated manufacturing history and, even more so, by the general public for its movie history. James Bond made the Walther PPK famous and “Dirty” Harry Callahan did so for the Auto Mag.
The .44 Auto Mag pistol(AMP) was designed by Harry Sanford and Max Gera from 1969 to 1971. It is a large caliber, seven round, magazine fed, semi-automatic pistol and was made from chrome-moly steel, weighed 57 oz. and was 11.5″ in length with a 6.5″ barrel. A model with an 8.5″ barrel was also produced.
In 1970, Auto Mag Corporation president Harry Sanford opened a factory in Pasadena, California. The first pistol was shipped on August 8, 1971, and the factory declared bankruptcy on May 3, 1972, after making fewer than 3,000 pistols. The company opened and closed under different names eleven times between 1971 and 2002.
The “Aristocrat of Big-Bore Semi-Automatic Pistols” was ahead of its’ time. Over-engineered and complex, the Auto Mag required methodical attention to detail and craftsmanship at all stages of the manufacturing process. In 1971, the company lost nearly $1,000 on each pistol sold at a price of $247.50. At the time of its’ introduction, the Auto Mag pistol(AMP) fired the most powerful production handgun round on the market.
The Auto-Mag was used by Dirty Harry Callahan(Clint Eastwood) in the movie “Sudden Impact”. The 8.5″ barrel version was used so the weapon would look more intimidating.
In 2015, a new South Carolina based company called Auto Mag Ltd. Corp. purchased the rights to the Auto Mag from the original owners and set about re-introducing this iconic handgun to the marketplace. The first 77 Founders Edition pistols with an 8.5″ barrel, sold for $3,995 each. Classic Edition pistols with a 6.5″ barrel were planned to sell for $3,495 each.
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