Unblinking Eye
The Warner Infallible Pistol

The Warner Infallible Pistol

(or More Than You Ever Wanted to Know
about the Warner Infallible)

by Ed Buffaloe


The Warner Infallible is the orphan child of self-loading pistols:  awkward, ugly, repeatedly maligned, and reportedly dangerous to your health.  But I have nonetheless developed a sort of perverse interest in it.  The early variant is actually quite rare.  Part of the mystique is that little has been written about the gun, so detailed information is scarce.  There are two primary resources on the Warner Infallible:  Donald M. Simmons Jr.’s groundbreaking article in the 1975 issue of Guns Illustrated entitled “The Fallible Infallible,” and Kenneth L. Cope’s article, “Warner’s Infallible Auto,” in the American Rifleman for June 1979.  So far as I can tell, neither article is available on the internet.

Infallible Instruction Sheet Illustration

Drawing of a late (Type II) Infallible pistol, from an instruction sheet.
The instruction sheet gives the following names for various parts of the gun: (1) Magazine thumb latch.
(2) Safety catch.  (3) Locking rod.  (4) Button [bolt stop locking button].
(5) Bolt stop (also cocking lever hook).

Historical Background

Kirtland Brothers c. 1895

From a Kirtland Bros. & Co. catalogue c. 1899

Kirtland Brothers & Company was an outfitter and outdoor equipment company that also sold dry goods and a variety of personal and household items in Lower Manhattan beginning in 1870.  An 1893 advertisement lists their address as 62 Fulton Street.  A later catalogue (circa 1899) shows the company as “Kirtland Bros & Co, Dealers in Family Supplies - Sporting & Military Goods,” with locations in New York, Chicago, and London.  The New York address in the later catalogue is 296 Broadway—only a few blocks away from the Fulton Street address.  Later still advertisements and catalogues list another nearby address at 90 Chambers Street and also 96 Chambers Street.

Franklin Brockway Warner was born 28 July 1862.  We find him listed as the director of Kirtland Brothers, 90 Chambers Street, in 1904 in the Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx.  Clues in a 1920’s catalogue indicate he may have managed Kirtland Brothers as early as 1891.  Late in 1913 Warner filed a patent on a telescope design, and in 1915 he filed two patents related to the manufacture of shotgun barrels.  In the 1915-1916 Directory of Directors in the City of New York, we find F.B. Warner listed as President and Director of Kirtland Brothers & Co. as well as President and Director of the Warner Arms Corporation.  In the same publication, his brother Marvin (born 10 January 1864) is listed as Director of Kirtland Brothers and Vice -President and Director of Warner Arms Corporation.  Early advertisements for the Schwarzlose pistol list the address of Warner Arms Corporation as 33 Prospect Street, Brooklyn, New York.  In the 1924 Kirtland Bros. & Co. catalogue F.B. Warner is listed as president of the company.  Warner died in 1931.

Andrew Fyrberg was a firearms designer and manufacturer.  In the 1880’s he designed a number of revolvers with or for Iver Johnson, and in 1896 began making revolvers and shotguns under his own name.  He is most famous for his 1891 (filing date) transfer-bar safety design for revolvers (U.S. patent 566,393) which was assigned to Iver Johnson.  He did business in Worcester, Massachusetts as Andrew Fyrberg & Sons from 1886 to 1902, and established Andrew Fyrberg & Co. in Hopkinton, Massachusetts from 1902 to 1910.  Sears, Roebuck & Co. bought a part interest in his Worcester company in 1902 and bought him out completely in 1905, moving the factory to Meriden, Connecticut.  It seems likely that Fyrberg licensed his 1903 top-break revolver design (U.S. patent 735,490) to Warner Arms, as the Warner revolvers appear nearly identical to guns marked Andrew Fyrberg & Co.  So far as we know, the Infallible is the only self-loading pistol Fyrberg ever designed.

The A.W. Schwarzlose Gesellschaft ended production of its Model 1909 Schwarzlose pistol in 1910 and the remaining stock of the pistols was sold off at wholesale prices.  Warner bought some of the Schwarzlose pistols and sold them under the auspices of the Kirtland Brothers as early as 1911.  As early as 1913, he purchased all remaining stock, parts and tooling for the Model 1909 and began selling Schwarzlose pistols as the “Warner Schwarzlose” under the auspices of the Warner Arms Corporation.  Warner established a factory in Norwich, Connecticut to make guns from the remaining Schwarzlose parts, which were also sold under the name Warner Schwarzlose, but were considerably modified from the German production guns.  When Schwarzlose parts began to run out, Warner apparently paid Andrew Fyrberg to design the Infallible pistol to be manufactured by the Warner Arms Corporation.

N.R. Davis Factory, Assonet, Mass.

N.R. Davis & Sons Factory - later Davis-Warner Arms Factory
on Water Street in Assonet, Massachusetts 

According to Duncan McConnell in his article “Who Made the Infallible Pistol?”, Nathan R. Davis began the manufacture of percussion arms in Assonet, Massachusetts in 1853.  He states:  “Subsequently [in 1883], the founder was joined by Nathan W. and William A. Davis, and this organization, N.R. Davis & Sons, became well known as manufacturers of double shotguns , both hammer and hammerless types in several grades.”  In 1917 N.R. Davis & Sons merged with the Warner Arms Corporation to form the Davis-Warner Arms Corporation, which had its factory on Water Street in Assonet, Massachusett, where the Davis Company had resided since 1874.

Timeline for the Warner Infallible

Based on information from advertisements and catalogues of the era, Franklin B. Warner must have founded his company, the Warner Arms Corporation, sometime between 1911 and 1913, in order to import Schwarzlose Model 1909 pistols into the U.S.  Warner Arms was originally located in Brooklyn, New York.

Patent Drawing US 1105416

Patent drawing from Fyrberg’s first patent, number 1,105,416.

In his book Firearms Identification (Volume I, page 216), J. Howard Matthews, Jr. relates:  “It is stated in records made in the early 1920's that the Warner Arms Corporation moved to Norwich, Conn., in 1913....”  I have been unable to verify this date, but it is consistent with other information I have uncovered.   After studying various catalogues, advertisements, and documents relating to the Warner Infallible pistol, I believe the early Infallible (referred to below as the Type I) began manufacture sometime in 1914 and continued through 1916.

By 1917, Warner Arms had merged with N.R. Davis and Company.  The new Davis-Warner Arms Corporation moved production of the Infallible to the N.R. Davis and Company facility in Assonet, Massachusetts.  Most guns produced at the Massachusetts address were of the later frame type (referred to below as the Type II).  Matthews states:  “The manufacture of the pistol was continued by this new firm, the Davis-Warner Arms Co., for only two years. In 1919 the firm moved to Norwich and apparently became inactive not long thereafter.”  Kenneth L. Cope gives a specific date:  “The Davis-Warner Corp. was short lived.  On April 19, 1919, Franklin Warner assumed full control, changed the name of the company back to The Warner Arms Corp. and returned to Norwich, Conn., taking with him the manufacturing equipment for the gun.”  However, advertisements continued to appear under the name Davis-Warner Arms Corporation until 1921 and there is clear evidence that the company survived under that name until 1930.

Production of the Infallible may have ended for good as early as 1919, as suggested by Matthews, though direct evidence is lacking.  Perhaps more likely is that Warner resumed manufacture, or at least assembly of parts, when he returned to Norwich, in which case production probably ended around 1921.  We are unable to locate any magazine advertisements for the Infallible dated later than 1921.  By 1924 the Infallible no longer appeared in the Kirtland Brothers catalogue.  A late instruction sheet for the Infallible still shows the company name as Davis-Warner Arms Corporation, with the address given as New Haven, Connecticut.  Small catalogues issued by the Davis-Warner Arms Company, which I tentatively date to around 1924 and 1926 show the corporate offices at 90 Chambers Street in New York and the factory located in Norwich, Connecticut. The earlier of these small catalogues still lists the Infallible, but that is the last evidence of the gun in the historical record.

As late as 1927 John J. Murphy applied for a patent on a shotgun design that has the Davis-Warner Arms Corporation listed as the assignor.  This patent (U.S. patent 1,692,995) was granted on 27 November 1928.  Finally, in an article entitled “H. & D. Folsom & Crescent” in The Norwich Arms Gazette, Vol. 14, Issue 6 (Nov.-Dec, 2016) we find that “J. Stevens purchased Davis-Warner in 1930.  A Stevens memo Dated December 15, 1930 announced the purchase from H&D Folsom Arms Company of the assets of Crescent Fire Arms Company of Norwich, Connecticut.  The assets of Crescent were to be merged with those of Davis-Warner Arms Corporation and ... the newly formed firm would be known as The Crescent-Davis Arms Corporation, Norwich, Conn.” (See Determining the Timeline of the Warner Infallible Pistol for further information.)

The Patents

Patent Drawing  US 1105416

From U.S. Patent number 1,105,416

Fyrberg applied for his first patent for the Warner Arms Corporation on 13 March 1914, and patent number 1,105,416 was granted on 28 July 1914.  This patent incorporates the fundamentals of Fyrberg’s design, which is to say a gun with a fixed barrel held in place by a single screw, and a reciprocating bolt with dual recoil springs positioned above it attached to a cocking block at the rear of the bolt.  The design allows for the barrel to be removed by turning the screw 90 degrees. A screw, inserted from the bottom of the grip tang, forms the bolt stop, and must be unscrewed in order to remove the bolt.

The grip frame is nearly identical with that of the 1909 Schwarzlose pistol.  Warner used left-over Schwarzlose grip plates with a WAC monogram cut into the smooth area at the top.  The trigger has a dog or cam attached to its rear which, after pushing the connector bar upward, disconnects from it so that a second round cannot be fired until the trigger is released.  There is no mechanism to prevent the gun from firing when the breech block is out of battery.

Patent Drawing US 1131360 Patent Drawing US 1131360

From U.S. Patent number 1,131,360

Fyrberg applied for his second patent for Warner Arms on 25 September 1914, and patent number 1,131,360 was granted on 9 March 1915.  The new patent incorporates a lever to form the bolt stop instead of a screw.  This lever pivots on a pin.  It is normally locked in the up position but can be locked in the down position by pressing a release button on the left side of the gun to allow the bolt to be removed.  In addition, a rotating quick-release lever has been designed to disconnect the recoil spring guide rods from the cocking block at the rear of the bolt.  These two innovations allow the bolt to be easily removed without tools.  The patent states that the bolt can be disconnected from the recoil springs for ease in cocking the gun and chambering a round.

Variants of the Infallible Pistol

Following Simmons, the primary descriptor I will use for the variants will be the frame legend on the left side of the receiver, but before detailing the legends I would like to define the two fundamental frame types that were made.

Type I Frame

Type I

Type II Frame

Type II

The Type I frame grip strap curves inward at the bottom, similar to the 1909 Schwarzlose.  The upper portion of the receiver is squared off, with the edges slightly beveled.  The magazine release button is at the bottom rear corner of the left grip plate.  (There were a few Type I frames with the later style magazine release.)  The magazine for the great majority of Type I frames has a half-moon cutout near the bottom on the right side, six holes for viewing cartridges on either side, and one or more square holes in the back.  Late Type I magazines have four round holes evenly spaced on the back.

The Type II frame grip strap does not curve inward at the bottom, but continues straight to the base of the gun.  The upper portion of the receiver is somewhat rounded on its two top edges.  The magazine release is on the front of the grip at the bottom.  The magazine for the Type II frame has a slot cut just above the baseplate at the rear, six holes for viewing cartridges on either side, and four round holes evenly spaced on the back.  Magazines are not interchangeable between the types.

The serial number is stamped on the bottom of the grip, the bottom of the cocking block at the rear of the bolt, and the bottom of the barrel.

Infallible Variants

Early Type Ia Frame with takedown lever - Connecticut

Early Type II Frame - Massachusetts

Late Type II Frame -

 Note the plunger that locks the takedown lever is still present in the middle picture even though the takedown lever  is missing—I am unable to remove the pin that locks the block to the recoil spring guide rods in this early Assonet pistol.  Also note that in the third photo (far right) the recoil spring guide rods extend all the way through the cocking block.

Infallible Variants

Type Ia Frame
SN 1284

Early Type II Frame
SN 2257

Late Type II Frame
SN 3065

First Frame Legend

This variant is known to me from only two specimens: serial number 529, shown in Matthews, Volume II, page 153, and serial number 546, shown here.  The frame legend, which incorporates only one patent, is as follows:

PATENTED JULY 28th, 1914

Probably at the time these guns were manufactured the second patent had been applied for but had not yet been granted.

The gun has the Type I frame with the early oval checkered safety lever.  In the early patent there appears to be no means of disconnecting the bolt from the recoil spring guide rods, but serial numbers 529 and 546 already have the quick-release lever shown in the second patent, even though the second patent date is not included in the inscription.  We do not know if prototypes similar to the gun shown in the first patent exist.  Both patents, as well as early advertisements, show a single screw holding the barrel to the frame, whereas serial numbers 529 and 546 have the screw plus a pin.  It is not a quick-release screw as shown in the patent. I suspect that recoil tended to loosen the quick-disconnect screw shown in the patent, and so it had to be eliminated.

Warner Infallable SN-546 Photograph by David Markey

Warner Infallible - SN 546
Photograph courtesy David Markey

The locking button for the bolt stop is checkered.  The firing pin and its spring are held in place in the bolt by a screw at the rear of the cocking block, as shown in the patent.

The grip plates are recycled from the Schwarzlose pistol—the upper portion of the original grip plate is cut off to allow it to fit beneath the step in the grip frame—with a WAC monogram at the top.  The serial number range for this first inscription is given by Simmons as “from start to less than serial number 670,”  Serial number 670 is shown in his article and has the second frame legend.  Simmons speculates that production serial numbers may have begun at 501, but this remains to be established for certain.  Please contact me if you can share photographs or information about early Warner Infallible pistols.*

Second Frame Legend

The second frame legend is well known from existing examples, and features two patent dates:

PATENTED JULY 28th, 1914 - MARCH 9th, 1915

These guns were likely manufactured after the second patent was granted on 9 March 1915.

Guns with the second legend all have the Type I frame.  Early examples of the second frame legend retain the oval checkered safety lever seen in the patents (through at least SN 670 as shown in Simmons’ article, and ending at least by SN 845), as well as the checkered locking button for the bolt stop and the checkered takedown lever on the cocking block.  Later, on the majority of production pistols, the left side locking button for the bolt stop has a dimple in the center with spiral scallops extending from the center to the edges.

The early safety lever was flat, whereas the later lever had the upper portion offset to match the frame step at the top of the grip plate.  Simmons states:  “Both the safety and the takedown lever in these earliest pistols had a rigid detent [sic], and these parts were locked in position only by their own springiness....”  The later safety lever has a small piece of spring wire underneath to tension it.  A bent portion of the spring wire mates with tiny grooves in the frame beneath the lever.  The later takedown lever has a small spring-loaded plunger to hold it in the locked position.  The cocking block has four large triangular-cut serrations on each side, but on the left side they only extend halfway up from the bottom because of the takedown lever.

Warner Infallible SN1294

Warner Infallible - Type Ia Frame

On the early guns, the ramp atop the barrel extends straight out from the receiver, the profile being horizontal right up to the bump that forms the front sight.  The rear sight is a mere V-notch in the cocking block.  There is a step on the side of the frame that runs horizontally from the bottom of the cocking block to the lowest visible portion of the barrel at the front of the receiver.  Above that step is a scallop on both sides of the receiver at the level of the ejection port on the right side of the gun that extends through the rear-most portion of the barrel.  For convenience, I will refer to this frame as the Type Ia.  The frame and trigger are case hardened, while the barrel, cocking block, and magazine are rust blued.  Frame Type Ia continues through at least SN 1753, possibly later.

Frame Type Ib eliminates the scalloped area on the receiver and moves the step from the bottom edge of the cocking block to just even with the top of the barrel proper, where the barrel ramp begins.  This frame type begins by at least SN 1521.  It
Warner Infallible SN1521

Warner Infallible - Type Ib Frame

appears that at approximately the same time this frame type was initiated the ramp on the barrel was changed so that it slants downward to the front sight.  However, there are examples of both the Type Ia and Type Ib frames with both styles of barrel ramp.  The Ib frame was short-lived and served as a transition to the Type II frame.  Late Type Ib frames may have the magazine release on the front of the grip.

All of the second frame legend guns that I have documented have two pins to hold the barrel in place.  However, serial number 1968, shown in Matthews’ Firearms Identification, has a screw at the front and a pin at the rear.  The gun I own, serial number 1284, has the front barrel pin peened on both sides—a clear indication that it was never intended to be removed.  This frame legend extends to approximately serial number 1750*.

Third Frame Legend

After the 1917 merger of Warner Arms Corporation with N.R. Davis & Sons the name of the gun became simply “Infallible,” and the company used the following frame legend:

PAT.  JULY 28, 1914  MARCH 9, 1915

DWAC Monogram / Blocks the Sear Slogan

DWAC Monogram

Some early guns with the third slide legend retain the Type I frame and the early grips, but the vast majority have the Type II frame.  The locking button for the bolt stop is smooth and slightly rounded.  The barrel is retained by a single pin just above the bow of the trigger guard.

Some early guns with the third frame legend retain the cocking block with the release lever, and some retain the early style cocking block but without the release lever.  There are a few transitional types where the firing pin and its spring are held in place in the bolt by a plug pinned into the cocking block, instead of a screw.  But the majority of Assonet guns, starting around serial number 2200, have a cocking block with ten fine serrations extending from top to bottom on both sides, and have a screw to secure the striker and its spring; the takedown lever was eliminated in favor of a pin that could be driven out from right to left, and the recoil spring guide rods extend all the way through the cocking block on these guns.

Davis-Warner SN3065

Davis-Warner Infallible SN 3065 -
Type II Frame

The grip plates to fit the Type II frame are checkered hard rubber in a trapezoidal shape with a rounded corner at the bottom rear.  A round logo at the top features a DWAC monogram surrounded by the words “Blocks the Sear,” which was a slogan that had been used by the Davis company for their shotguns for a number of years.  (In the case of a double-barrel shotgun the slogan was “Blocks the Sears.”)

Early guns with the third frame legend may have case hardened frames, but in later production the entire gun, barrel and frame alike, is finished in blue, though most triggers continue to be case hardened. Because the frame was cast, the steel is different from the machined parts, and so over time the blue on the frame often changes color. Serial numbers for this legend begin in the vicinity of 1755 and, according to Simmons, extend at least to serial number 5306.*

Fourth Frame Legend

Warner SN7539

Warner Infallible SN 7539

In 1919, production was moved back to Norwich, Connecticut.  The gun is now once again called “The Infallible” and marked “Warner Arms Corporation,” though an instruction sheet for the gun with the Norwich, Connecticut address lists the company name as “Davis-Warner Arms Corporation,” probably because they were still selling guns with that name on them.  The patent dates are omitted in the new legend:


The pistol is otherwise identical with the ones made at Assonet, including the grip plates with the “Locks the Sear” slogan.  Serial numbers for the fourth legend begin after 5306 and extend to approximately 7600.

Design and Evaluation

Infallible Connector Bar/Sear

Warner Infallible Transfer Bar / Sear

The Infallible pistol has an unlocked breech.  The extractor and striker are part of the bolt assembly.  The ejector is a simple screw inserted from the left side of the frame.  The transfer bar and sear form a unit. The sear, connected to the trigger by the transfer bar on its front, pivots on a pin.  When the trigger is pulled, it tilts the transfer bar upward, pivoting the sear downward and releasing the striker.  As stated above, in the Patents section, the trigger has a dog or cam attached to its rear which, after pushing the connector bar upward, disconnects from it so that a second round cannot be fired until the trigger is released (a very similar mechanism is used on the 1907 Bernardon-Martin pistol). The safety, when engaged, blocks the transfer bar from moving upward, effectively locking the sear, as the Davis slogan says.  There is no mechanism for locking the breech open, either when the magazine is empty or for cleaning.

According to Donald M. Simmons, Jr.,
Infallible Trigger

Warner Infallible Trigger Detail

the frame of the Infallible pistol is cast from iron.  J.B. Wood (in a private letter) says “mild steel” might be more accurate. Cast revolver frames were common in the 19th century, and Charter Arms uses cast steel frames for their revolvers to this day. When blued, over time, softer metals often take on a different coloration from blued steel, and this phenomenon is not unknown in surviving specimens of the Infallible pistol. The interior surfaces of the frame are pebbly and rough, whereas exterior surfaces are machined.

The frame is quite heavy, while the barrel is very light, leaving the Infallible poorly balanced and a bit top-heavy.

Simmons states that the primary problem with the design of the Infallible is that the bolt is too light and recoils with too great a force.  The rotating lever on the early variant that releases the bolt from the recoil spring guide rods can be accidentally unlocked, leaving only the very small bolt stop lever to prevent the bolt from flying backward into the shooter’s face.  Cope points out that the gun can still be fired with the bolt stop disengaged.

Simmons believes the design of the Infallible is fundamentally unsound, if not outright dangerous, and recommends that Infallible pistols not be shot at all.  On the other hand, I have not been able to document any instance of  a shooter being injured while operating an Infallible pistol, and apparently neither had Simmons:  “I know of no such event ever happening, but the engineering potential is overwhelmingly present for that kind of accident.”

Another issue Simmons addresses is the disconnector which, as described above, disconnects the trigger from the sear but does not prevent the gun from firing with the bolt partly open.  While it is unlikely that someone could release the trigger and pull it again before the bolt were fully closed, if it were to happen the results could be unpredictable.  Most self-loading pistols’ disconnectors are designed to prevent the gun from firing if the breech is not closed.

Production Numbers

  1. First frame legend: 200-700 (either SN 1 to 700 or SN 501 to 700)
  2. Second frame legend:  1050 (SN 700 to 1750)
  3. Third frame legend:  3550 (SN 1750 to 5306)
  4. Fourth frame legend:  2300 (SN 5307 to 7600)

Please contact the author if you can provide information to update this chart.*

The early safety lever design was not robust and was apparently easy to switch on or off accidentally, though this was corrected with a redesigned lever by at least serial number 845 and presumably earlier.

In some early third frame legend guns that still retain the early style cocking block on the bolt but which have the release lever removed, it is nearly impossible to remove the pin which locks the recoil spring guide rods to the bolt.  This makes it very difficult to clean the gun.  One that I have (serial number 2257), has clearly had the barrel pin removed repeatedly in order to clean the barrel.

Some internet forum comments about the Infallible pistol mention that they are not well made and tend to break down a lot, but there is very little supporting information given.  I note that the late instructions that came with the gun state:  “DON’T try to cock pistol with safety on: you will break or bend your sear.  DON’T pull over 10 or 12 pounds to fire pistol without looking to see if safety is on or you will bend your sear.  Because our safety blocks the sear.  DON’T try to force breechbolt into pistol without pulling the trigger to let it slide over the sear as you might spring the sear.”  This might indicate they had some problems with customers bending or breaking the connector/sear.


8 Rounds at 10 Yards

All that being said, in a private correspondence Ron Zimmerman, Sr. says of his late model Infallible pistol:  “No matter what they say about this pistol not being safe to shoot, I found it to be quite the opposite. The retaining pin is robust and fits into the slide/rod slots very tightly. I experienced absolutely no feed/ejection problems using Fiocchi ammunition. Shot it at 21, 15 and 7 feet — about 30 rounds, poor indoor light, and had a group about 5 inches in size—all in the critical area where I was aiming. What a fun little gun to shoot!”

I took all three of my Infallible pistols to the range.  They all shot quite low at 10 yards—I had to aim high to hit the target at all.  Serial number 1294 tends to catch spent cartridges in the ejection port a couple of times in every magazine.  Serial number 2257 has had the barrel pin removed so many times that after a couple of shots it falls out.  I didn’t shoot it more than three times.  Serial number 7061 shoots just fine, feeds and ejects with no problem.  Accuracy is so-so at ten yards.  Recoil was heavy for a .32.  I found the grip on the early gun much more comfortable than that on the later gun.

Field Stripping

Warner Type I

Type I Infallible disassembled

Early guns with the bolt release lever:
  1. Remove the magazine and work the bolt to make certain the gun is unloaded.
  2. Press the button at the left rear of the frame while pulling down on the bolt stop lever beneath the grip tang.  This should lock the bolt stop lever in the down position.
  3. Rotate the bolt release lever to its forward (unlocked) position.
  4. With the safety in the off (forward) position, draw the bolt out the back of the gun.

Note:  When reinserting the bolt, make sure the safety is off and pull the trigger to lower the sear.

Later guns without the bolt release lever:

  1. Warner-SN7061-Components-S

    Type II Infallible disassembled

    Remove the magazine and work the bolt to make certain the gun is unloaded.
  2. Press the button at the left rear of the frame while pulling down on the bolt stop lever beneath the grip tang.  This should lock the bolt stop lever in the down position.
  3. Place the gun on a block of wood with a hole drilled in it.  The left side of the bolt locking pin should be over the hole.  Using a drift punch, drive the bolt locking pin out of the cocking block from right to left.  Each end of the pin is grooved—a wire spring in the cocking block will catch in the groove at each end of the pin.
  4. With the safety in the off (forward) position, draw the bolt out the back of the gun.

Note:  When reinserting the bolt, make sure the safety is off and pull the trigger to lower the sear. 
Warner Type II

Type II Infallible w/ barrel removed

The instructions that came with these later Infallible pistols state that the bolt locking pin can be pushed out with the floorplate of the magazine, but our experience is that this method does not work.

Warning:  If the bolt locking pin does not push out easily, do not force it.  Some transition guns have a pin that is effectively non-removable.  The only way to clean one of these guns is to use a dowel or other object to lock the bolt back, or remove the barrel pin and barrel.  I do not recommend trying to remove the barrel unless absolutely necessary.

* I would very much like to gather additional information about the serial number ranges for the various frame legends, as well as photographs of very early Infallible pistols.  Write to edbuffaloe@unblinkingeye.com.


  • Cope, Kenneth L.  “Warner’s Infallible Auto.”  American Rifleman, June 1979.
  • Matthews, J. Howard.  Firearms Identification.  Charles C. Thomas, Springfield Illinois: 1962.
  • McConnell, Duncan.  “Who Made the Infallible Pistol?”  The Gun Report, Official Publication of the Florida Gun Collector’s Association, Vol. VI, No. 3, August 1960.
  • Sellers, Frank M.  American Gunsmiths.  Blue Book Publications, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 2008.
  • Simmons, Donald M., Jr., “The Fallible Infallible.”  Guns Illustrated, 1975.
  • Simmons, Donald M., Jr., “U.S. Pocket Automatic Pistols.”  Gun Digest, 1977.
  • Warner, Lucien C. and Nichols, Josephine Genung, The Descendants of Andrew Warner.  Tuttle, Morehouse, & Taylor, New Haven, Connecticut: 1919.
  • “Nathan R. Davis,” obituary.  Western Field: The Sportsman’s Magazine of the West, November 1907, p. 315.

Determining the Timeline of the Warner Infallible Pistol

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