By Dietrich Apel

Stendebach, Carl Friedrich Philip Stendebach

Carl Friedrich Philip Stendebach

Gun Maker. Inventor, Businessman 

Trade Mark:  STENDA

Busines Locations: Suhl, Leipzig-Gohlis, Augsburg

Partners: Gustav Kersten, Alfred Loesche, Vierordt

Friedrich Stendebach must have been a restless fellow since he had numerous addresses in his 30 years as a gun maker, inventor and businessman.  Not much is known about his personal life, but his unusual looking guns raise our interest and curiosity. Two articles with good photos and patent drawings can best make you understand the thinking behind his patents and their practical value. The article about two unusual German Double Rifles was written by Fredrik Franzen and published in The Double Gun Journal Volume 12, Issue 4. <>

Patents and History

The following complete history was written by Axel Eichendorff and  found in a web-site.

“Friedrich Stendebach’s last gun action patent, DRP # 229533 of 1907 had an “older predecessor” of this action.  You have to go back to George Jeffries of Norwich British patent # 22 of 1862. Both the Jeffries’ and the Stendebach actions are effectively break-open actions turned sideways. On both actions the barrels are held to the breech face by the dovetail-shaped underlug going sideways into a corresponding cut in the action bar. In drawings this lug is curved on the Stendebach but wedge-shaped on the Jeffries.). To allow the barrels to move away from the breech face both actions have their hinges set over to the left beyond the centerline of the left barrel. The purpose of both inventors was to get away from the up-down stresses that is used to “break open” a conventional gun.

A Behr vs. Stendebach patent dispute was about another design, the Behr DRP 154950 of 1904 for killing cattle that showed some similarities to both Behr’s and Stendebach’s designs for unconventional break-open rifles.

Apparently Friedrich Stendebach’s action designs, though very strong, were not very successful, reflected by the rarity of Stendebach patent guns and the confusing and muddled history of his many companies.

Friedrich Stendebach, at Beiersgrund 3 in Suhl” is mentioned as a Gun and Bullet Factory in 1899 with the trademark “STENDA”. By 1906 he also had a bullet factory in Leipzig-Gohlis. At the start of WW1 a “Stendebach & Co.” existed also, making guns with Stendebach’s and Kersten’s designs. The “& Co” partner was no other than Gustav Kersten, after he retired from the army. Franz Jaeger in Suhl had decided not to make guns of his uncle’s designs, preferring his own inventions. Stendebach & Co. went into receivership in 1916, the receiver being Gustav Lösche, Wilhelmstr.13 in Magdeburg, founded in 1873 by his father Alfred Loesche, “Hofbüchsenmacher” , Gunmaker to a Court since 1911, but mostly a dealer in guns and ammunition who also advertised a “gunsmith shop in house”. The business relations of Loesche with Stendebach were intensive before and after the failing of “Stendebach & Co.”

Apparently Stendebach then teamed up with the former “maker” of Kersten guns under the name “Vierordt, Stendebach & Cie. GmbH” with branches in Frankfurt a/Main, Säckingen, Gmünden a/Main., Suhl and finally Augsburg. To add to the confusion, there was in the 1920s  the STENDA-Werke GmbH, Amtmannsweg 37 in Suhl, owned by Max Stendebach,.

Augsburg seems to have been the last station of Friedrich Stendebach. Here he offered in the 1930s “original Stendebach guns”, Mauser actioned rifles and cartridges and bullets of his own design. For his Mauser rifles he had his own proprietary cartridge, the forgotten 8×71 Stendebach Ideal M30 with his own “Ideal Universal” bullet, a complicated soft nose with a hard and a soft lead core, separated by a steel ball.”

Stendebach’s most successful invention, in fact the only one still remembered, was his Stendebach Ideal shotgun slug.  At the bottom of this page you will find a link to a pdf with pages of a Stendebach catalog that shows mostly his ammunition and patent drawings of his two gun inventions.

Click Here to view a Friedrich Stendebach catalog from circa 1912.

Below is a great article about the hunting gun actions of Stendebach which appeared in the October 1909 issue of the periodical Der Waffenschmied Zietung

The following article appeared in the Winter 2001 issue (Vol. 12, Iss.4) of the Double Gun Journal and is courtesy of Fredrik Franzén, the author and Daniel and Joanna Côté, the editors of the Journal. A back issue with the full article is available by calling (800) 447-1658.

Nr.201-T Stendebach

Click to open PDF file