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Old August 8, 1999, 04:57 PM   #1
artech
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Join Date: July 1, 1999
Location: Southern Maine, Bushmaster Country
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Hi all. I have an Astra copy of a Mauser broomhandle that I'm trying to find out something about. It's marked on the left side ""ASTRA" AUTOMATIC PISTOL CAL 7.63" and has 3 proofs on the right side. The numbers on the frame and bolt do not match, the bolt has a different proof. There is a Century Arms import mark on the underside of the barrel. The "Blue Book" only mentions that Astra made them, and no other info. What I'd like to know is how many were made and when, and when they stopped. I'm trying to get some idea of when this one was made. Thanks in advance.
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Old August 8, 1999, 05:21 PM   #2
Harley Nolden
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Location: Brunswick,GA USA
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Artech:
My records indicate that the pistol which you describe is the Astra 900 Series and is a copy of the Mauser C/96 of the 1920's. The 900 was introduced in 1927 selling nine thusand to China in 1928. Although it resembles the Mauser C/96 it has significant mfg changes. The Astra 900 was chambered for the 7.63mm Mauser Ctg. Many guns were exported and other served in the Spanish Security Police and Guardia Civil.

"Pistols of the World, 3rd edition, Ivan Hogg and John Weeks.

HJN



[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited August 08, 1999).]
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Old August 9, 1999, 03:47 PM   #3
James K
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Maybe I can add a bit to what Harley wrote. There were four Astra copies of the Mauser C.96. All had sideplates and used pins to hold the parts. Mauser prided itself on not having any pins and only one screw - the grip screw.

The Astra 900 was a semi-auto with a fixed 10 rd. magazine; the 902 was a semi-auto with a fixed 20 rd. magazine; the 903 was selective fire, with a detachable 20 rd. magazine; and the Model F was a refined version, also selective fire with a detachable magazine.

All were available with wood holster stocks, the same as the Mauser. Most of the export models were in 7.63 Mauser, but most domestic guns were in 9mm Bergman-Bayard, which the Spanish call the 9mm Largo (Long).

In addition to Astra, two other Spanish makers sold Mauser copies. These were Zulaica & Co. who made a pistol called the Royal which was marketed by Beistegui Brothers, and Eulogio Arostegui who made pistols called the Azul and Super Azul. The latter were actually close copies of the Mauser, made the same way.

The Astras are fairly uncommon and the others very rare.

Jim
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Old August 10, 1999, 11:34 AM   #4
artech
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Join Date: July 1, 1999
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Thanks! I had noticed that the pistol was dissimilar to a mauser when I was cleaning it up,it would be worth some money if the condition was better, but it has been severly neglected and NRA fair would be optomistic. This one would be the 900, it has a 10 round fixed mag.

I was under the impression that the Astra 900 was one of the models with the recoil spring around the barrel and not the Mauser copy, that info is very useful, thank you.

It's an interesting piece from a manufacturing standpoint, simplifying(not improving, just simplifying) an established design sucessfully is usually a risk in the industry, but those were different times, of course.

Now if I could just find one of the original stocks I'd really be set,the pistol is on the ATF C&R list and would be legal with a stock only if the stock was one of the original spanish imports, I can't use a chinese one or anything like that. Maybe I'll give Century a buzz and see if they might be using one as a window prop somewhere...

------------------
With my shield or on it...
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