Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

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Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby jackj » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:50 pm

Well, as some of you know from my previous postings I had a "thing" about early .22 short EIG pre ban Titans . It was my understanding that all EIG Titans made pre ban were manufactured in Italy and featured steel (Non Zamak) frames. They also had the proof marks on the barrel, slide and frame from the same proofing company as used to proof Beretta Pistols. Later post ban Titans had Zamak frames, were made/sold by FIE and had no proof marks. If you check my original posting I have a like new brushed chrome, steel .22 short EIG Titan made in 1964. I had assumed that all Titans were either steel or Zamak framed.

Recently another.22 short EIG Titan in Black came up for bid on Gunbroker. It looked pretty beat up and appeared to have homemade wood grips on it. Regardless, it was only the 2nd .22 short EIG Titan I'd seen in the past couple years, so I bid on it and won. When I received it, the first thing I noticed was it wasn't that beat up. The second thing I noticed was that the wood grips, while ugly and fat, appeared to be factory made and checkered. And it was proofstamped 1967, 1 year prior to the banning of "Saturday Night Specials".

But what blew my mind was the frame, it wasn't steel...and it wasn't Zamak, it was made from aluminum and anodized black! Just when you think you've seen it all (and the standard preban .22 short steel EIG Titan was already extremely rare) along comes something you never even heard of...lol.

Just thought I'd share with the Forum and other Titan lovers. I took off the super rare wood grips and put on a new set of period correct Black grips that I had as a spare from my first Titan. It appears to been carried frequently, but rarely fired with a pristine bore, and just minor surface rust on the sides of the slide.

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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby Papa G » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:32 pm

What a fine looking pistol jackj. It is a shame that the U.S. government banned their being imported!!! :(
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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby adam01364 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:36 pm

How do you know it's aluminum as opposed to Zamak?
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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby jackj » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:01 am

I own a number of Zamak pistols, including Zamak Titans. The Zamak framed Titan is quite a bit heavier than aluminum framed. And I've never seen an anodized Zamak pistol. Where the anodizing has worn on the edges of the frame the metal looks like silver. When you wear the finish off a Zamack pistol it has a dull grey appearance.

The final point? I've never seen an Italian pre ban EIG Zamak Titan, or even heard of one. Zamak appears to have been started post ban when they started making the frames in the U.S. and were marked and sold by FIE. Up until running across this pistol, all pre ban Titans I ever saw whether .25 or .22 short were steel framed and were marked EIG . Post ban (1968) Zamak FIE Titan frames were U.S. made and don't have the Italian proof marks on them.
Last edited by jackj on Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby adam01364 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:31 am

Hmm. Now I'm going to have to take a close look and weigh my non-ferrous EIG Titan with an XXIII date code.
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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby Flowmaster » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:00 am

I sold an aluminum frame EIG while working at a gun show about 4 years ago. It was a 25acp gun. Unlike yours, the one I sold had a very faint EIG stamp on the frame. Yours looks like someone really got it with a stamp and a hammer. The one I had was definitely aluminum. I could tell it was a little different when I took the slide off the gun and the way the finish was wearing off the gun on the front of the trigger guard. It was the same kind of finish you'd see on a Hi Standard derringer of that era and wore down the same way. I should have bought it off the table back then, but I had just spent money on something else.
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Re: Found a .22 Short EIG Titan "Unicorn"

Postby jackj » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:53 am

I would refer everyone interested in this topic to revisit the Titan "Sticky".

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=51

In the sticky it makes mention of a possibility of an aluminum framed Excam (which would have needed to be cast in the US because of the 1968 Gun Control Act.) To this point I'm totally unaware of any aluminum framed Titans made in the U.S. after the GCA of 1968.

After reviewing a number of articles and ads for the EIG Titan (the only pre 68 Titan model sold in the U.S.), it seems that both .22 short and .25acp Titans were made in Italy of steel and sold in the U.S.up until 1968 with Italian proof marks on the barrel, slide and frame. It appears that the manufacturer also experimented with "lightweight" aluminum frame guns in both calibers in 1967 and 1968. These firearms also had the standard Italian proof marks in 3 locations, and the manufacturers stamp (TG-Tanfoglio Guiseppe), as well as the Importer stamp EIG. But it appears that both steel and aluminum versions were produced in 1967 and 1968 in both calibers.

It wasn't until FIE was formed and EIG was closed post 1968 that Titans were produced with Zamak cast frames in the U.S. and assembled with the balance of parts being made of steel in Italy. It's my understanding that .22 short Titans were sold by EIG pre 1968, and that Excam had a post 1968 Zamak version in their GT27 model. So far, these are the only two .22 short variants I'm aware of. I have never personally seen a post ban .22short Zamak Excam.

I currently own a 1964 steel EIG .22 short nickel plated, and a 1967 aluminum anodized black framed .22 short EIG. Although to confuse the issue, it appears EIG did import some Italian .22 derringers pre 1968 that were EIG stamped and Italian proofed that were using Zamak frames made in Italy as I have one proof marked in 1963.
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