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Winchester_73
November 12, 2012, 04:07 PM
Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine informed me that his dealer friend (I know the dealer too) had a WaA German marked contract Star model B. Naturally, I was interested. I remembered reading many of them are fake, but I never owned one and was not well versed on them. He said he verified it was real. I then called that dealer, and he agreed to hold until the PGCA show which was this past Sat and Sun.

I did research and found out that the fake ones are mostly Bulgarian contract guns with the WaA (WaffenAmt) added. These Bulgarian guns are mostly in the 230XXX to the 240XXX SN range. After the first model Bs went to the Nazis, Bulgaria placed an order, and these were the same gun except for the WaA markings. Many decades later, some unscrupulous importer got a hold of a bunch of Bulgarian model Bs, and added WaA markings to them to sell them for more money. That is why people will commonly say regarding a supposed German contract model B "beware of fakes". The real ones fall into specific SN ranges luckily so identification is not overly difficult. Also, I read that the last a in "WaA" is to the left of center of the eagle, whereas the fake WaA marks have the uppercase A directly below center of the eagle.

During WWII, in addition to taking over the FN, Radom and FEG (Hungary) factories the Nazis also ordered guns from both Astra and Star of Spain. Since the P38 was the standard sidearm for the Wehrmacht, and since the Nazi's made many other sidearms, these Spanish contract guns are somewhat scarce. Spain was able to fill these contracts because Spain, like a few other European countries remained neutral throughout WWII. Star supplied approx 16,500 model Bs for the Wehrmacht (army) during WWII and another 10,500 to the Kriegsmarine (Navy).

In Still's book, Axis Pistols, he says that Star pistols have "high quality materials and exhibit excellent workmanship and finish", and I must say, I completely agree. This gun, esp considering it was a WWII contract gun, has excellent fit and finish. By 1944, no German production arms were finished to this standard. IMO, these contract model Bs were made to a commercial standard rather than a wartime standard. Per Still, my pistol with SN 253XXX was shipped June 6 1944 (D-Day, wow!) and delivered as part of "Lot 19" to the Germans in France. Based on its SN, it is also known as a variation 3 contract pistol. There were 5 lots delivered, with the lot 19 being the largest lot, having approx 8,000 model B pistols.

Here is a neat thread about their history from the C&R section:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=425161&highlight=star

Here is an example of a fake Bulgarian model B with added WaA:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=487565&highlight=star

Notice its marked "WaA251" - few if any were marked that way. Real ones are usually "WaAD20" and some are actually unmarked.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0177.jpg
http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0170.jpg
http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0181.jpg

I felt this pic was interesting. You would think, based on how the Germans made anything, the stamp would be perfect, but it is actually quite sloppy. I noticed this same sloppiness on a WaA marked Astra 600 as well. Coincidentally, those were also marked "WaAD20". Perhaps all WaAD20 markings were all sloppy for one reason or another. Since these WaA marked Spanish pistols rarely come up, I don't have many to compare with. They can be found however.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0172.jpg

Here it is compared to my 1911 Colt commercial from 1920. Its obvious where they got the inspiration for the design! I have to say, the 1911 feels better, I think mostly due to the flat mainspring housing. I don't like the arched type in my hand as much. Star was copying the 1911a1, as evidenced by its features.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0184.jpg

Winchester_73
November 12, 2012, 06:16 PM
duplicate post

SPEMack618
November 12, 2012, 06:27 PM
Man oh man, Winchester. That is awesome. Any clue as to what German units would have been issued that gun in lieu of a P-38 or Luger?

Again, quality piece thier Winchester.

James K
November 12, 2012, 08:11 PM
IMHO, that WaA stamp is spurious.

Jim

KyJim
November 12, 2012, 09:13 PM
I have a later Star (Model B Super) and was very impressed with the quality of the gun. Is yours the 9mm Luger/Parabellum or 9mm Largo?

Winchester_73
November 12, 2012, 09:43 PM
IMHO, that WaA stamp is spurious.

Are you saying that because you think it to be too sloppy? It does appear to be double stamped, or "bounced" if you will. However, given the SN of the gun being 253520, its not really possible to be spurious. I never heard of any bad ones being in the correct SN ranges for these. The bad ones are mostly Bulgarian contract guns from what I gather.

Per Still in Axis Pistols Vol II 2nd ed, the lot 19 delivery was SNs from 248001 to 254300 and then from 254551 to 256250. Also, the same SN range is given in Gangarosa's book, Spanish Handguns.

Thanks to your question, I found out that my pistol is in fact a 4th variation, not a 3rd variation as I originally stated.

Here is a photo of a 253XXX range gun. The mark is a little neater, but the SN is firmly in the right range for the contract, which eliminates other possibilities. This one was also made after mine if you compare SNs.

http://www.p38guns.com/StarB4thvariation.htm

Winchester_73
November 12, 2012, 09:47 PM
Man oh man, Winchester. That is awesome. Any clue as to what German units would have been issued that gun in lieu of a P-38 or Luger?

They were delivered to France, IMO, for the German defenders of France. I don't have any info more exact than that. They could have been dispersed to other areas I suppose, with the Germans perhaps assuming the Allies could capture them as they got farther into France.

Winchester_73
November 12, 2012, 09:52 PM
Is yours the 9mm Luger/Parabellum or 9mm Largo?

The German contract guns were all 9mm luger. They also ordered the Astra 600 to be in 9mm luger. The Astra 600 was like an Astra 400, but shorter and in 9mm luger only, per their order. I have one of those, but its part of the second contract, which was captured by the Allies before delivery. The first 10k were delivered, marked "WaAD20" and then the next 25k or so were captured. SNs up to approx 35k were intended for the Germans. Mine is 23XXX.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/astra9mmluger5-1.jpg

Bill DeShivs
November 13, 2012, 03:11 AM
Stars are excellent pistols. Yours is especially nice!

Mike Irwin
November 13, 2012, 09:00 AM
Duplicate threads merged.


"Some of you may have seen this thread in the semi forum. I figured I'd post it here in case some of your C&R people didn't see it."

You've been here more than long enough to know that that is NOT permitted here at TFL.

Pick a forum for your subject, and stick with it.

Winchester_73
November 13, 2012, 09:38 AM
You've been here more than long enough to know that that is NOT permitted here at TFL.

Pick a forum for your subject, and stick with it.

Mike

Point taken. However, you forgot to compliment my Star. See, we all forget things sometimes.

Jim

James K
November 13, 2012, 08:13 PM
Hi, Winchester 73,

Far from me to dispute the word of an expert. I am just curious as to how the numbers can be double stamped and the eagle not, when everything was part of one stamp.

Jim

Mike Irwin
November 13, 2012, 08:30 PM
I'm sorry, but that Eagle shows signs of double stamping, as well. There appear to be four "wing bars," not the regulation 3, and several of them are far thicker than they should be.

I've seen many examples of very poorly stamped WaffenAmts (or however it's spelled) on late war guns of all stripes.

James K
November 14, 2012, 12:23 AM
Hi, Winchester73,

I didn't question the condition of the Star, only the WaA stamp. The gun is very nice and the 600 is just downright pretty. Those Astras are nice guns, but the recoil isn't so nice. The 400 especially can be downright nasty.

The Star is different from the Colt in several ways, some improvements. The safety cams the hammer back off the sear rather than just blocking the sear; if the gun is dropped on the hammer while cocked, the sear and hammer notches won't be destroyed. The slide stop spring and plunger are different, but not necessarily better.

The trigger is pinned; that prevents "trigger bounce" which can drop the hammer in the half cock notch when the slide is released and not eased down. That doesn't happen with a pinned trigger.

The main change, for good or bad, is that the back of the grip is solid, with no grip safety and no separate mainspring housing.

Jim

Winchester_73
November 14, 2012, 10:16 AM
Thanks to everyone for the compliments. I do believe the gun to be real, because even the WaA mark, for being sloppy and probably double stampled aka "bounced", has the "A" to the left of center of the eagle, which is the authentic WaA for these. The fakes have the "A" underneath center of the eagle, just as the fake from my first post has.

I'm sorry, but that Eagle shows signs of double stamping, as well. There appear to be four "wing bars," not the regulation 3, and several of them are far thicker than they should be.

I've seen many examples of very poorly stamped WaffenAmts (or however it's spelled) on late war guns of all stripes.

I took your post at first to be saying you think the gun is real, but then you say the eagle bars are thicker than they should be? I think thats due to the double stamp. Remember, fake Nazi contract Star Bs are identified by SN AND often the stamp, but never IMO by the stamp alone. You also mention that you've seen poor WaAs on late guns, but this gun isn't that late when you think about it. I have a few P38s from 1945 in my collection. I consider after Feb 1945 to be "late", but that definition is subjective.

I didn't question the condition of the Star, only the WaA stamp. The gun is very nice and the 600 is just downright pretty. Those Astras are nice guns, but the recoil isn't so nice. The 400 especially can be downright nasty.

I know you didn't mean the finish or condition, because it is nice. When I said "do you think its too sloppy" I meant the WaA mark, nothing else. Thanks for your compliments on the pistols. The 600 appears to have been stored and imported in the 1950s is my guess and then stored again. It does not appear to have went to West Germany like many "2nd contract" Astra 600s did. I agree that the recoil is pretty nasty in these. I attribute it to the blow back mechanism coupled with the grip shape, size and angle. The Beretta 1934 380, is smaller in the hand, but has the same angle, and shape, and feels lousy for shooting too. It is also a blowback however. Some Spanish guns are junky, but these two are high quality IMO. Not every firearm from Spain is junk, and this thread is the proof.

The Star is different from the Colt in several ways, some improvements. The safety cams the hammer back off the sear rather than just blocking the sear; if the gun is dropped on the hammer while cocked, the sear and hammer notches won't be destroyed. The slide stop spring and plunger are different, but not necessarily better.

The trigger is pinned; that prevents "trigger bounce" which can drop the hammer in the half cock notch when the slide is released and not eased down. That doesn't happen with a pinned trigger.

The main change, for good or bad, is that the back of the grip is solid, with no grip safety and no separate mainspring housing.

As usual, great info Keenan. I did not know all of those differences. I don't like the feel of the "fake" mainspring housing, which goes back to my preference of the 1911 over the 1911a1, for feel especially. I like that spot to be flat. The rest of the gun I really like, and it has a nice trigger.

I actually guessed how this gun came to me. I forgot to tell this story. The guy who first told me, when he said it came into a gun show, I figured the guy who sold it to the dealer got it from someone who didn't know exactly what they had. I figured that because with a gun like that, if you want to sell it to a dealer, it only makes sense that you bought it right, rather than pay $800 and sell to a dealer for $500 although many people do that. The dealer confirmed my suspicion by telling me that the gun walked into the previous show, and the gun was in a case. This 3rd guy, asked the first owner to see it, then asked that first owner how much, and the owner says "$200" so he then bought it, and flipped over to the gun dealer, at the same show, who then sold it to me. That happened at the show previous to the one I was at when I bought the gun. Of course I couldn't be at that show lol.

I'm just happy to have it for many reasons. Of course I wish I could have got it for $200, but I'm thankful for what I do have, rather than what I could have had. We all get lucky sometimes. I think I got it for a fair price anyways. As the old saying goes, if you don't get it, then forget it. Move on to the next one...

Mike Irwin
November 14, 2012, 06:47 PM
Yes, the double stamp if the reason the bars look thicker than they should.