Beistegui Hermanos

Beistegui Hnos. not only manufactured revolvers and automatic pistols but they also marketed arms made by others. Both the Bulwark and the Libia were definitely made by them. Pistols marked simply B.H. have been reported in both 6.35 and 7.65 mm. calibers but have not been seen and their existence or genuineness cannot presently be verified.

Bulwark (and Libia) -The Libia pistol is identical to the Bulwark and was given a special name for export sale by Fab. d'Armes de Guerre de Grande Precision, an exporting house located in Eibar (not a manufacturer, as the name would imply). Both of these pistols show the same design and details of manufacture and both carry the inscription „PATENT DEPOSE NO. 67,259." The pistol was made in both 6.35 and 7.65 mm. calibers (ACP) and was made in hammerless and hammer models. The hammerless type, at least, had three safety devices, including a grip safety. In design it is a simple blowback type and specimens examined appear to have been reasonably well made. The 6.35 mm. model was 112 mm. long, 76 mm. high, and 13 mm. thick, weighed about 400 gm., and had a magazine capacity of 6 cartridges. The 7.65 mm. model was 138 mm. long, 90.5 mm. high, and 16 mm. thick, weighed about 600 gm., and had a capacity of 7 cartridges. The hammer type has not been encountered and details are not available.

A 6.35 mm. specimen, photographed by the author, has markings identical to those normally found on Bulwark pistols except for the Fab. d'Armes de Guerre de Grande Precision inscription, but it differs sufficiently in details of manufacture to warrant the conclusion that it must have been made with a different set of tools. The workmanship appears inferior. The grip pieces bear a monogram consisting of the letters B.H., but with the important difference that on this pistol the letter H is on top of the B whereas in the genuine Beistegui monogram the letter B is uppermost. It is not likely that this pistol was made by Beistegui.

Advertising literature issued by Beistegui shows two models of 7.65 mm. Bulwark pistols. One model is identical in design to the regular 6.35 mm. model and has the three safety devices. The other model is considerably larger and does not have the grip safety. It fires 9 rounds instead of 6 and is 175 mm. in length. The weights are given as 850 gm. and 550 gm., respectively. The barrels in all Beistegui pistols and revolvers were rifled by Teodoro Elcoro, according to contemporary records.

A specimen marked 7.65 1914 MODEL AUTOMATIC PISTOL BEISTEGUI HERMANOS -EIBAR (ESPANA) with serial No. 42,300 is of the „Ruby" type, and very likely this was made by Beistegui, with or without license from Gabilondo y Urresti, for the French military forces. Many Spanish firms were so engaged during World War I. Beistegui Hnos. is one of the firms listed by Gabilondo as having made the Ruby type pistol under their own name.

Other pistols marketed by Beistegui Hnos. Include the Royal line, a 6.35 mm. Paramount, and the Mauser 7.63 mm. M.P. Whether this Paramount (there were several of them) was actually made by them is not known. As advertised, this was a 6.35 mm. pistol with or without the grip safety device. The length was stated to be 110 mm. and weight 310 gm. Since it could be had with the grip safety device it might appear that it may have been made by Beistegui. The pistol is, however, unlike the Bulwark (though it has the same dimensions) in that the slide safety lever is in front of the grip frame instead of back of it. The grip pieces carry the name Paramount rather than the B.H. monogram. No patent number is given nor does the Beistegui name appear.

Since the trade name „Royal" was granted to M. Zulaica in 1909 for use on automatic pistols it seems likely that the Royal pistols marketed by Beistegui were probably not made by them.

Two quite dissimilar 7.65 mm. models are shown in Beistegui literature. One had an exposed hammer, fired 12 rounds, was 205 mm. in length, and weighed 920 gm. The other was hammerless, fired 9 rounds, was 150 mm. in length, and weighed 800 gm. The hammer model shows the Zulaica monogram while the other has no monogram on the grip pieces. This latter model appears quite similar to the Ruby type originated by Gabilondo y Urresti and made by many manufacturers in Spain for the French during World War I. It is most unlikely that it was made by Beistegui Hermanos.

The Royal 7.63 mm. imitation of the Mauser M.P. is a Spanish product, presumably made by Zulaica y Cia., and is quite similar to the Astra imitation made by Unceta y Cia. Beistegui advertising shows the 10-cartridge magazine and the shoulder stock.

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