Mateba Autorevolver

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Mateba Autorevolver
Mateba Model 6 Unica (Dynamic Sportiva)
TypeAutomatic revolver
Place of originItaly
Production history
DesignerEmilio Ghisoni
ManufacturerMA.TE.BA. Arms (Macchine Termo-Balistiche), via Villa Serafina, 2/B. 27100 Pavia (Italy) MATEBA Montebelluna, Italy
Mass2.96 lb (1.35 kg)
Length275 mm (10.83 in)
Barrel length76 mm (3 in), 102 mm (4 in), 127 mm (5 in), 152 mm (6 in), 178 mm (7 in), 203 mm (8 in), and 457 mm (18 in)

ActionRecoil operated semi-automatic revolver
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Feed system6-Round Cylinder
SightsIron sights
Fixed Two-Dot Night Sight

The Mateba Model 6 Unica (often known simply as the Mateba or the Mateba Autorevolver) is a recoil operated semi-automatic revolver, one of only a few of this type ever produced. It was developed by Mateba, based in Pavia, Italy. Inventor Emilio Ghisoni (1937–2008), who was also famous for later designing the Chiappa Rhino, is listed as the owner of U.S. Patent 4,712,466 which details the operation of the weapon. International produced and manufactured.


The Mateba Model 6 uses the recoil from firing to rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer, unlike conventional revolvers, which depend on the user physically pulling the trigger and/or cocking the hammer to actuate the weapon's mechanism of operation.

The Mateba Autorevolver's barrel alignment is different from most other revolvers. The barrel is aligned with the bottom of the cylinder instead of the top. This lowers the bore axis (line of the barrel) which directs the recoil in line with the shooter's hand thereby reducing the twisting motion or muzzle flip of normal revolvers.[1]

The gun's entire upper assembly (barrel, cylinder and frame) are mounted on rails on the lower frame, which houses the trigger, hammer, and grip, and recoils 1/2 of an inch, or 12.7mm, on firing. The rearward motion of the upper assembly cocks the hammer, and the cylinder is rotated on the forward stroke.[2] This unique action makes this revolver a semi automatic weapon, making it one of the very few semi automatic revolver designs, another notable design being the Webley–Fosbery Self-Cocking Automatic Revolver. The inclusion of the 454 Casull chambering makes the gun one of, if not the, most powerful semi-automatic handgun ever produced. This chambering places the Mateba in comparison to firearms like the Wildey pistol chambered in .475 Wildey Magnum and .44 Mag examples of the AutoMag pistol.


The Mateba Autorevolver and Grifone were produced in 2 finishes:

  • Blued
  • Satin Nickel

Early models of the Unica 6 Autorevolver did not include a mounting point at the front of the frame forward of the trigger guard, and instead had a simple bevel. Late model Unica 6's and Grifones are sometimes seen with mismatched parts, e.g. blued cylinders on a nickel frame or grifone stamped upper receivers on unica 6 lowers, this was due to Italian bankruptcy laws requiring the company to continue operations after declaring insolvency without manufacturing any new inventory, while liquidating all existing inventory and assets.[3] After this receivership period, all remaining stock leftover including parts was sold to CDNN Investments in Abilene, Texas and liquidated at discount rates.[4]

The following are the primary variants of the Mateba revolver:[5][6][7][8]

  • Defense - 4" Barrel, .357 Magnum
  • Home Protection - 5" Barrel, .44 Remington Magnum
  • Dynamic Sportiva - Either 5" or 6" barrel, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum
  • Hunter - 8 3/8" threaded Barrel, .357 Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum (.44 S&W Special), .454 Casull

In addition, their barrels can be changed with interchangeable 3", 4", 5", 6", 7" and 8" inch barrels.

There was apparently chambering in 30-357 AeT offered according to manuals released in 2000-2001, it is unknown if any were actually produced in this caliber.[9]

Mateba Grifone[edit]

Also available was the Mateba Grifone, a revolver carbine which came in three primary variants:[10]

  • Grifone - The standard Grifone mated an 460 mm (18 in) barrel, handguard and buttstock to the Autorevolver's frame and action, and included a barrel shroud with 4 widely spaced slots at the top.
  • Grifone MoSer - Chambered in .454 Casull and mated to a longer 510 mm (20 in) barrel, Including a longer shroud with 5 widely spaced slots at the top.
  • Grifone Short - Included a shorter 320 mm (13 in) barrel and shroud with 4 narrowly spaced slots.

It was available in the following Calibers:

The buttstock came in 2 styles, a solid traditionally shaped walnut stock, or a "skeletonized" style all metal stock with a walnut cheekrest. [11]

Multiple cartridge capability[edit]

Rear view of the Unica 6 with cylinder in open position.

Mateba Autorevolvers chambered in .357 Magnum can be loaded with .38 Special ammunition. Typical .38 Special loads do not have enough power to fully cycle the recoil mechanism, but the weapon will still function with a double-action trigger pull.[1] There are two optional recoil springs designed specifically for .38 Special cartridges that can be installed by the operator to overcome this problem (.38 Special and .38 wadcutter). Replacing the spring requires the removal of the slide assembly, which is blocked by a retaining pin held in place by a small set screw in the triggerguard. The barrel shroud acts as the spring keeper and guide rod bushing.

Autorevolvers chambered in 44 Magnum can have the recoil spring swapped out to shoot 44 special and 454 Casull can fire 45 Long Colt with a spring swap.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mateba Model 6 Unica. Archived 2007-08-23 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  2. ^ Mateba, the future of revolvers?. Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  3. ^ [1] Article 104 - Italian Bankruptcy law
  4. ^ "The Mateba 6 Unica Autorevolver - Reviews, photos and videos at Matebafan". Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  5. ^ MATEBA AutoRevolver 6-Defence. Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  6. ^ MATEBA AutoRevolver 6-Dynamic Sportiva. Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  7. ^ MATEBA AutoRevolver 6-Home Protection. Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  8. ^ MATEBA AutoRevolver 6-Hunter. Retrieved on August 19, 2008.
  9. ^ "Mateba Unica 6 Semi Automatic Revolver Manual | PDF".
  10. ^ [2] Italian National Weapons Catalogue
  11. ^ MATEBA Grifone. Retrieved on August 19, 2008.