This is the EM-GE Zenit. It was manufactured by by Moritz & Gerstenberger from about 1936 to 1940 in Zella Mehlis, Germany (the same town where the Tell airguns were made).
This single shot air pistol has an “over-lever” cocking mechanism that pushes the piston back towards the rear of the pistol. When cocked and open, the barrel is automatically tilted downwards revealing the breach. The rear of the cocking lever also forms the fixed rear sight. The foresight is adjustable in both elevation and windage. The barrel is made from a brass insert and was only available in .177 calibre. This particular example has a rifled barrel although smoothbore was also an option. The stock is made from walnut with a gorgeous medallion of the company’s emblem on each side.
There are two other main variants. One nickel-plated with black plastic grips – very rare – and another wood grip version but with “Geco” medallions in the grip which was destined for the US market.
One other variant is known which is a target model with a long barrel. Only one such example is thought to exist. I wonder if this was actually a production model or whether someone added a longer barrel to a standard Zenit.
These pistols are quite rare and you won’t see them for sale very often. However, whilst they are very interesting, use them with caution as the rear cap has been known to fly off under the pressure of the mainspring and cause the shooter some considerable harm!
Until next time…. happy “safe” shooting!