Gletcher Airguns M712
Very few shooting experiences make me smile from ear to ear, so I feel it necessary to share this very unique “full auto” fun surprise. The Gletcher M712 is an “adult” airgun that looks, feels and works just like an original Mauser “Broomhandle,” which is the American name for the C96, called that because of the wooden rounded grip. There are very few firearms that saw more service on both sides in the wars of the 20th Century, and the profile of the Broomhandle can’t be mistaken for any other firearm. First made in 1896, the gun fired the 7.63x25mm Mauser cartridge, the most powerful pistol cartridge of its day. Check out the Wikipedia page for all of the really interesting history on this gun. Buried in that history is a full auto version of the otherwise semi-auto Broomhandle called the M712 Schnellfeuer,German for “fast fire”.
If you are going to make a cool airgun version of an old classic, and you have some historical basis for doing so, why not make it full auto, right? That seems to be the thinking that went into the M712, and they not only pulled off a 100% believable Broomhandle Mauser, it also includes a smile factor full auto switch that actually works. I hadn’t shot a full auto airgun since the carnival games at Hampton Beach, NH when I was a kid, so my “I wonder what this switch does” moment was really nifty. This gun isn’t for young kids, but it really isn’t for actual grownups either.
Gletcher seems to be a very well kept secret, because I had never heard of them until I caught a press release from our friends at Media Direct. If you take a look through the Gletcher website, they make a replica if dozens of classics, including some really oddball stuff like the Polish Radom, Russian Tokerov, and even an Uzi for $199. Some of the guns are plastic and cost under $100. The metal guns like this Broomhandle are in the $119-$199 range, and they just released a Mosin Nagant! If you can’t get rimfire ammo and you want a practice gun, check out the Gletcher website. We don’t generally review airguns, but these guns are the exact weight and controls as the originals, and whether you shoot a Smith & Wesson revolver or a Sig 226, we hope to do some serious side by side comparisons of these guns in the future.
This Model 712 has an 18 round magazine and shoots only .177 cal BBs (There is a separate revolver line that shoots lead pellets through a rifled barrel). Loading the magazine is slightly agonizing when you shoot full auto because the BBs have to be loaded one at a time, but other than that I have no real complaints on the gun. The only quirk was that the full auto switch has to be pressed in hard to change the gun from full auto to semi and back again. Full auto you get about 3 mags per air cylinder, but I’m sure if you are careful you could probably get a couple more. The blowback operation doesn’t require a BB in the chamber, so you have to let off the trigger when the mag is empty, which is tricky to do because the rate of fire is pretty fast.
Velocity on the M712 is about 360 fps. This is enough to punch through aluminum cans at short distances, and it’ll knock steel cans off of a shelf. It was so fun shooting full auto that I didn’t take the time yet to see how “accurate” the gun can shoot on semi, so you can figure that out for yourself. Overall the gun is very clean and precise, but BBs through a smoothbore aren’t usually what you would call accurate.
No brainer came to mind when I shot the M712, especially if you are a WWI or WWII history buff. But if you look around the Gletcher website there is really something for just about everyone. The question will be can they keep up with orders when this article comes out, so if you are an early reader of GunsAmerica Digest, don’t dawdle. These are heirloom quality airguns at ridiculous prices.