Of the three calibers available in the 1896 model Bergmann pistol, the 6.5mm No.3 was the most popular. Approximately 4,000 of these guns were produced, and they found a worldwide following. The No.3 pistol was pretty much identical in concept to the 5mm No.2 Bergmann, but scaled up for the slightly larger 6.5mm cartridge. The No.4 was on the same frame as the No.3, but chambered for a larger still 8mm cartridge, and only a few hundred of these were made.
R.K. Wilson grants the 6.5mm Bergmann with “appreciable stopping power” (particularly with the lead bullets), and rates it much superior to the .25 ACP (which was not introduced until 1905). That may be setting the bar pretty low today, but it was a respectable achievement for a safe and reliable pocket pistol in 1896. In terms of design, the No.3 Bergmann did use a dust cover over the ejection port, which reciprocated automatically with the bolt. The smaller No.2 did not include this feature. In addition, shortly after the beginning of No.3 production the method of retaining the barrel was changed. Early examples use a retaining screw and a lug on the barrel, but the lug was changed for a fully threaded barrel fairly quickly. In these models, removing the barrel requires removing the retaining screw and then unscrewing the barrel. Since the retaining screw holds it in place and maintains headspace, the barrel does not have to be torqued down when installed – thus making is still easy to remove for cleaning.
Bergmann was willing to accommodate quite a few design alterations, including different barrel lengths, different grips, shoulder stocks and even things like set triggers for target shooting. We will look at examples of all these features...