Tubular types

Astra pistols Models 300 (and 300/1, 2, 3, 4), 400, 600, and the 3000 series are of the tubular cross section Browning modification type and date from 1921 to 1948 in inception. The Campo Giro influence is evident. The 300 and 400 models were pre-World War II models, the 600 a war model, and the 3000 and 4000 series are of post-World War II origin.

Model 400-Also known as the 1921 Military Model. This preceded Mod. 300. Several forms and modifications exist. Usually it will be found in 9 mm. Largo (Bergmann) and much less frequently in 7.65 mm. caliber. While chambered nominally for the 9 mm. Largo, other cartridges may be used in it, such as: .38, .380 ACP, 9 mm. Parabellum, 9 mm. Steyr, and 9 mm. Browning Long. The shorter cartridge must be fed through the magazine in order that the rim may be caught and held against the breech face, otherwise the firing pin will not strike the primer.

This model was sold commercially from 1921 on and was adopted into Spanish military service in October 1921 without special markings, the commercial form being used. The earliest specimens produced had a spring buffer beneath the barrel at the chamber, but this feature was soon dropped. Sometime in the 1930's this model was supplied to the French service, without special markings, but with plain serrated grip pieces instead of molded rubber. In about 1940 the position of the magazine release was changed from directly below the grip frame to the left side, near the bottom. This feature appears in later models. After World War II the Spanish Army replaced this pistol with the Star (Super) made by Echeverria.

According to factory information, 105,275 units of the Mod. 400 had been made up to 1946. Presumably production stopped at that time.

During the Spanish Revolution the Mod. 400 (or Spanish Army pistol of 1921) appeared in two forms very closely resembling the pistol as made by AstraUnceta y Cia. In fact these pistols are so like the pistols as made by Astra-Unceta as to tooling and machining that they appear to be genuine, however Astra-Unceta disclaims the manufacture of either of them.

One specimen examined (Serial No. 5262) has fluted hard rubber grip pieces each bearing a monogram consisting of the letters RE (for Republic Española) intertwined, in a circle. Another specimen (Serial No. 727) has pebbled hard rubber grip pieces each bearing a monogram consisting of a circle with the name F. ASCASO inscribed therein. On the top of the barrel there is stamped an elliptical monogram containing the words F. ASCASO TARRASA CATALUNA (in three lines).

The disclaimer of manufacture by Astra-Unceta is supported by the rifling. Like the genuine Astra 400 these two pistols have six grooves with right hand twist, but the angle is different in each. Genuine Astra 400 pistols have been found to have one turn of the rifling in 9.4 to 9.55 inches, whereas the rifling in the „RE" specimen has one turn in 10.0 and that in the Ascaso one turn in 12.0 inches.

Models 300 and 3000-(Also called Baby Astra ) - In both 9 mm. and 7.65 mm. calibers, this was simply a shorter version of the Mod. 400. It was first brought out in 9 mm. caliber in 1922 as the Mod. 300. It was adopted into the Spanish Navy and Police Service in 1922, without special markings or numbers. In the 7.65 mm. cal. it was designated Mod. 3000. Manufacture was discontinued in 1948, in the 7.65 mm. cal., at least, according to factory information. Serial numbering blocks for this model are as follows: 350,001-378,700; 506,001648,000; 663,301-678,000; 710,001-722,000; 779,851-780,000; and 790,001809,300.

Model 600 - This is the same as Mod. 400, except that it was made in 9 mm. Parabellum caliber. Some 8000 were delivered to the Germans in 1942. Production was continued after the war until 1946, according to factory information, but they were offered for sale as late as 1948. A limited number were produced in 7.65 mm. caliber sometime after the war. Serial numbers are stated by the manufacturer to have extended from 1 to 59,546. Presumably this includes both calibers.

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