Mm Astras

The early 7.65 mm. Astra was identical to the Victoria of the same caliber. Just when the name Astra was introduced for this model is not known but a specimen bearing the Serial No. 925 and marked „Model 1911" seems to indicate that the new name and numbering were adopted at about that time. Specimen No. 1727 is also marked 1911, No. 4169 is marked Mod. 1915 and Nos. 70,211 and 75,140 are marked Mod. 1916. The date 1911 and the absence of the word GUERNICA indicate manufacture in Eibar, as the word Guernica appears on pistols made after the factory was moved to that city. From the facts cited, it is concluded that the name Astra was actually used before 1914.

Soon after World War I broke out, a shortage of pistols developed in France and several manufacturers in Spain, including Esperanza y Unceta, were given orders for pistols of 7.65 mm. caliber. Specimens marked 7.65 mm. 1915 MODEL AUTOMATIC PISTOL - ASTRA PATENT (Serial No. 4169) and two others marked 7.65 mm. 1916 MODEL AUTOMATIC PISTOL - ASTRA PATENT (Serial Nos. 70,211 and 75,140) have been measured and photographed. These are all of the same type and general appearance as the 1911 specimen but have different dimensions and clearly were not made on the same set of tools. For example, the 1911 Astra is 145 mm. long and 98 mm. high, whereas the 1915 version is 160 mm. long and 125 mm. high, with an increased magazine capacity of 8 rounds. The 1916 Model has about the same dimensions. All of these are in the same numbering series.

The manufacturer states that these pistols were furnished not only to France but also to Italy (after the latter came into the war on the allied side) and that the total production of the wartime type was about 150,000 pieces. Manufacture of this model was discontinued at the close of the war as it was superseded by Model 400, which became the official weapon.

Model 100- This seems to have been a factory designation for the 7.65 mm. pistol that started out as the Victoria, but when this particular designation first came into use is not known. The manufacturer says that it applies to the pistols of the Victoria type made up to the year 1915 when the war type, with enlarged magazine capacity, was introduced. This wartime model appears to have been given the nomenclature „Mod. 100 Special" at a later date, as it is so designated in factory literature of ca. 1925. No figures as to total production are extant, as all of the Eibar and many of the early Guernica records have been destroyed. Furthermore the 7.65 and 6.35 mm. pistols were in the same numbering series, and the ratio in which they were produced is not known.

The tabulation of calibers, serial numbers, and remarks in Table 20 may be of value to those interested in the relationships of the early models of pistols of 6.35 and 7.65 mm. caliber made by Esperanza y Unceta.

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Responses

  • quartilla
    How to tell the year of a 7.65 model 1911 victoria patent pistol?
    7 years ago
  • JANI J
    How to tell the year on an astra 25 caliber?
    1 year ago
  • Laila Hatakka
    How to identify an astra 1915 32 caliber?
    4 months ago

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