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Old October 12, 2013, 10:50 PM   #1
tahunua001
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ballester molina m1938

so until yesterday I didn't know these things existed. apparently it was a 1911 copycat made for the Argentine government. it is interesting in that it is listed as 11.25mm like the norwegian 1914(another 1911 copycat which is my grail gun) but also in that it does not have a grip safety, just the thumb safety. this gun is about the usual C&R piece that I run across, about 60% metal finish, rotten wood grip panels, and barrel shot out and magazine is shot but all parts matching, and no rust or pitting to speak of. apparently this gun was made between 1942 and 1944 for the Argentine Army. I about had to resort to fisticuffs with my little brother and he won out and bought it first but from what I have seen, it is a decent shooter(although the trigger is a bit mushy for 1911s and the sights are terrible). any reason why there isn't much talk of them going around?
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Old October 12, 2013, 11:24 PM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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It's basically a Star copy, not 1911.
1911 barrels will fit as will magazines. Replacement grips are available.
The Ballester is an extremely well made gun.
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Old October 13, 2013, 12:01 AM   #3
tahunua001
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actually, all 1911 mags will not fit. we went to two stores trying everything from ruger to wilson combat mags, nothing worked. interestingly enough, my el cheapo 15 round Pmag fits it like a glove and hasn't performed too bad so far.

we noticed that a number of them only insert halfway unless you hold the mag release while inserting.
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Old October 13, 2013, 01:20 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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Mine has a 1911 MecGar that works just fine.
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Old October 13, 2013, 07:52 AM   #5
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This is amazing!

I brought one home from the Virginia Beach Gun Show yesterday of the exact description you gave.

SN 19XXX (So I think that puts in I 1943.) in .45ACP. About 60% finish. Mine is nice and tight. Bore is good. I bought 1911 Govt. magazines for 10.00 at the show and they work like a champ.

It appears to me that 1911 grips will not work on this pistol because of the location of the screw holes in the frame. The right honorable Mr. Deshivs reported that grips are available and I can verify that from my extremely limited experience. Anywhere from 15.00 to 25.00.

I made a trade for mine and a Colt .38 DA from early in the last century in exchange for a converted Trapdoor. I don't know which of us came out on top, but I am very pleased with the two pistols I got. (I have two other Trapdoor saddle ring carbines and no matter how hard I try I can't shoot all three at once.)
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Old October 13, 2013, 11:13 AM   #6
tahunua001
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Quote:
I have two other Trapdoor saddle ring carbines and no matter how hard I try I can't shoot all three at once
challenge accepted!
haha, this one is in the 18XXX range.
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Old October 16, 2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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any reason why there isn't much talk of them going around?
Basically because there aren't a lot of them going around, anymore. Different batches of them were imported and sold over the last 40 years or so.

They have always been considered a "cheap gun". Not shoddy made, just not worth much in the US market. I think they used to sell for half or maybe 2/3 of what a surplus US 1911A1 sold for.

NOT a copy of the 1911, as noted. Some mags will work (USGI spec 7rnd has the best chance). 1911 barrels can work, may be drop in fit, may need fitting, individual guns vary some. Other 1911A1 parts do not fit (maybe the stock GI rear sight, not sure.)

The best Argentines say "sistema Colt" and are license copies of the 1911A1. The most commonly found sistema colt is the 1927 model. I have one of these, and aside from the markings its exactly like a commercial Colt Govt model of that era.
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Old October 16, 2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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I put on my asbestos undies for this one, but IMHO, the Star safety system used in the Ballester-Molina is superior to that of the Colt. The Colt safety blocks the sear, but requires careful adherence to specs and/or careful fitting. And if the cocked and locked gun is dropped on the hammer, both hammer and sear will be destroyed.

The Star system, on the other hand, cams the hammer back off the sear and blocks it. If the hammer is struck, it is blocked by a good size piece of steel, not by the fragile sear and sear notch.

Further, with the hammer pinned so it pivots rather than being loose in the frame, the situation where trigger inertia will drop the hammer when the slide is released simply does not happen. Because of the different systems, a grip safety was not considered necessary. (Of course, JMB didn't think it necessary either, and it really doesn't do what it was supposed to do, but that is another subject.)

Jim
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Old October 16, 2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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the cherubs polishing parts at the feet of St Browning look up to see him writing "james k" in his ledger......
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Old October 16, 2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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James K-
You are absolutely correct about the safety.
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Old October 16, 2013, 01:01 PM   #11
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While the Star type safety used on the Ballester Molina and Ballester Rigaud pistols does block the hammer, it does not block the sear and, consequently, it is possbile for a lackadaisical person (they do exist) to pull the trigger when disengaging the safety, resulting in an AD as the hammer will fall and strike the firing pin.
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Old October 16, 2013, 08:17 PM   #12
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Good point, but couldn't the same lackadaisical person accidentally pull the trigger while disengaging the safety on a 1911?
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Old October 18, 2013, 11:24 AM   #13
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If you pull the trigger, its NOT an AD.
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Old October 20, 2013, 06:55 AM   #14
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I will be having some non-accidental discharges of this pistol...

Heading out today to giver a try.

I am using the steel case rounds.

I'll let ya know.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:26 PM   #15
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BM shot very nicely....

Found out that the lower left grip screw is stripped. I'll five that when I get home.

Went through fifty rounds of the steel case ammunition from Tula. Not one hiccup.

Pistol seems accurate but I am just getting used to it.

The original grips on this pistol makes it look cheap.

I went looking for replacements but it appears that everything that is available is a dead ringer for the originals.

Prolly make my own.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:27 PM   #16
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Fixed the screw hole...

Retapped it for an American size screw and then made a screw from a spare one I had laying around.

Also worked on the grips today. Using walnut.

Details at eleven.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:57 PM   #17
tahunua001
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one of the screws on this one is ceased.
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Old October 22, 2013, 06:06 PM   #18
Doc Hoy
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T,

Should not be too hard to get out.

There is only about an eighth inch of thread on them. You will almost certainly be redoing the threads anyway.

I just got done messing with mine and learned I will prolly be replacing the other three screws before long.

Here's some shots of the replacement grips







Also changed the lines just forward of the thumb safety.



Notice that I changed the top contour of the right grip. The original goes all the way up to the slide and is cut off straight. You can tell where it went by looking at the wear pattern on the side of the frame.


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Old October 22, 2013, 09:59 PM   #19
tahunua001
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perty... they kindof look out of place though with the worn metal... I guess it's time to take it to get reblued
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Old October 23, 2013, 06:02 AM   #20
Doc Hoy
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You are completely correct....

They look like a ruby in a goat's A __ ___ as the pistol is right now.

I gotta get the grips screws worked out first.
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Old October 23, 2013, 09:18 AM   #21
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The grip screw holes in the frame can strip also, which is why the Army insisted that Browning put grip screw bushings in the 1911. The thread strain is shifted to the replaceable bushing so the frame is not ruined by messing up one grip screw.

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Old October 23, 2013, 02:16 PM   #22
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The grip screw holes in the frame can strip also, which is why the Army insisted that Browning put grip screw bushings in the 1911. The thread strain is shifted to the replaceable bushing so the frame is not ruined by messing up one grip screw.
And generally that works pretty well. Does not stop idiots from stripping out the bushings from the frame (that's a real pain to fix), but it does make it a lot less likely.
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Old October 23, 2013, 11:59 PM   #23
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Yeah, one is slightly stripped in my ex-mil frame. What is the usual method to fix them?
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Old October 24, 2013, 12:44 AM   #24
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Yeah, one is slightly stripped in my ex-mil frame. What is the usual method to fix them?

(I assume you are talking about a 1911 frame.)

The best way is to use a low-temp solder and solder it in place.
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Old October 25, 2013, 06:55 PM   #25
lee n. field
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While the Star type safety used on the Ballester Molina and Ballester Rigaud pistols does block the hammer, it does not block the sear and, consequently, it is possbile for a lackadaisical person (they do exist) to pull the trigger when disengaging the safety, resulting in an AD as the hammer will fall and strike the firing pin.
My much more modern Star M-43 also does this. A Star peculiarity?
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