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Old April 16, 2009, 07:21 PM   #1
Laker
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Llama & Astra

Was just looking at a local gunshop's website. Two of the recent additions to there used guns were an Astra 9mm and a Llama .22, I don't know anything about either brand. What's the story on these, good,bad or somewhere in between. Not planning on buying either, just curious.
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Old April 16, 2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Both brands are of dubious quality.
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Old April 16, 2009, 07:25 PM   #3
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That would have been my guess from the asking price for each. Just never heard of either.
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Old April 16, 2009, 07:48 PM   #4
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a Llama .22? wouldn't that be more in line with being an alpaca?
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Old April 16, 2009, 07:50 PM   #5
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Llama and Astra

Are Spanish gunmakers who have been around for a while. The are considered to be a lesser quality than the more recognised names made in Europe and the USA. Over the years quality has been spotty. Some of the guns are fairly good, while others have been poor. There is no way of telling, as this exists across the entire lines of their products.

One individual gun may be fine, and another of the same model may be...unsatisfactory. Older guns have had issues with the quality of the steel used.

I owned two Llamas back in the 80s, one revolver and one .45 auto. Neither one was fully reliable!

If you are lucky, you will get what you pay for. But the odds are not in your favor.
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Old April 16, 2009, 07:50 PM   #6
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I have a Llama .380, had it for many years, it's one of my everyday carry guns.
Never had a .22, buy it and try it, you can always resale.
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Old April 16, 2009, 08:37 PM   #7
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I knew of one indoor shooting range, that banned the use of Llama pistols. Star and Astra might be of better quality. Some of the Astras were milspec for Spain, and used by their military, for what that is worth. Stars have an OK rep. Like the Firestar series of pistols were hot for CCW 10-15 years ago. I had an Astra constable .380 once. Comparable to the Walthers but not as nicely fit and finished. Had a Star 9MM that was a version of their mil. issue. Not a bad gun, I think it resembled a Sig to some extent. I no longer have any Spanish guns. But other European economy gun makers have turned out some doubtful guns, as well as Americans.
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Old April 16, 2009, 08:37 PM   #8
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Astra pistols are highly regarded by knowledgable firearms experts and collectors, as also by military and police organizations of numerous countries.
In many ways, Astra pistols had features superior to "highly regarded" models of competitors.

I love it when folks engage in propagating (incorrect) information regarding the fine Spanish pistols of Astra and Star. It keeps the prices down for those who are really in the know.

Dr. Antaris' books on Star Pistols and a separate volume on Astra pistols go a long way to correcting the misconceptions (including allegations of "soft" steel).

Personally, I find Astra's Model 5000, better known as the Astra Constable, better in every practcal way than the Walther/Manurhin PP/PPK.

If you can find a better rust blue on a pistol, than that which can be found on the Astra 900 (late 1920's vintage), then name it!
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Old April 16, 2009, 09:52 PM   #9
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I own a Astra A75L 9mm

Used to own a Astra Constable in .22 L.R., both great guns, I regret swapping off the Constable. Years ago, I owned a few Star PD .45 a.c.p.'s. I have owned a 12 gauge SxS Ugartechea shotgun, also made in Spain. I have no problem with Spanish guns.
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Old April 16, 2009, 10:07 PM   #10
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In my personal experience, Stars and Astras, while not always as finely finished as some of the more expensive guns, are typically both reliable and accurate. Llamas on the other hand are a bit more spotty in their reputation.
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Old April 16, 2009, 10:14 PM   #11
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Llama's

I had decent luck with one. In fact it was a little 380 that only failed to function with one of the two mags I had for it. It turned into a Mossberg 12 gauge at a gun show though.
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Old April 16, 2009, 11:13 PM   #12
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Astra made guns of very good quality (as did Star). Llama had good guns up until the 1970s and they went downhill from there. The one notable exception was the Llama Omni which fared very well in numerous military and police trials.
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Old April 17, 2009, 02:07 AM   #13
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The only experience I had with a Llama was a .45 ACP 1911 I picked up for $300. There were two problems with the gun. First were it wasn't a true mil-spec gun, therefore all the parts were not interchangable. The grips were one of these items. The second issue (and the biggest) was it would not feed the last round out of the magazine. I tried 4 different brands of magazines including a wilson (supposed to be the best) and it would not feed that last round. I ended up selling the gun at a huge loss and haven't looked back.
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Old April 17, 2009, 05:18 AM   #14
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Didn't astra produce some of the smaller colt autos for them?
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Old April 17, 2009, 07:37 AM   #15
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Didn't astra produce some of the smaller colt autos for them?
Yes, at least one model that I know of. The Colt Jr. I believe.
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Old April 17, 2009, 07:38 AM   #16
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The Colt .25 autos that were made by Astra can often be found in excellent condition and bring huge prices just because they say Colt on them. Probably a little better handling than the original Colt .25 due to grip shape and size. My Astra Constable was a competant gun, nothing wrong with the design or function. The trigger pull in DA could have been better. But it still did not have as nice a fit and finish as say, a Walther .380 on which the Astra was sort of based, or designed to compete with. But the price at the time reflected that. Now Constables sell for alot more than I want to pay. The Spanish guns as a group ruined their reputation due to the fact that alot of Spanish guns were imported that were crude, soft steel, and largely handmade looking instead of fully machined. That is undeniable. They had a cottage industry of makers that subcontracted parts out and so you had some guy in a village making parts in a vise with files and hammers, versus a centralised maker with up to date machinery. Look at some of the Ruby pistols as well as the old Smith and Wesson copies. Once you spend years creating a bad reputation, it is hard to shake it off with just one good product.
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Old April 17, 2009, 08:46 AM   #17
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The Astra 400s I've seen were well finished and functioned perfectly with the right ammo.
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Old April 17, 2009, 08:52 AM   #18
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Old April 17, 2009, 10:19 AM   #19
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Astra and LLama shouldn't be grouped together, IMO. LLamas seem to have wild swings between good and bad while Astras are generally well made guns. Star, also, are good ones. There's a few levels of quality in between the Star & Astra (reliable & strong) and LLamas (maybe good, maybe bad.)

I have a Star MOD 30MI and my Dad has an old Astra 300, I believe it is, and they're fantastic pistols. The Star, especially, is built to last forever. It's a great hi-cap 9MM, really accurate and totally jamless. Takes about 30 seconds to break down, too.
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Old April 17, 2009, 11:00 AM   #20
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I purchased an Astra A70 new years ago, I guess because it looked like a SIG and after no more than 300 or 400 rnds it turned into a rattletrap. The take down lever broke and the slide to frame fit became very wobbly. It was junk. Never bought another Astra product and probably never will.
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Old April 17, 2009, 11:14 AM   #21
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Astra has been in the fine handgun business since around 1920, and there's nothing "dubious" about them. They made fine German copies of the "Broomhandle" Mauser, as well as the old "stick" guns numerically modeled up to 4000. Those all fell under the old U.S. importation ban, and some are now worth literally thousands of dollars each. The later A-75 and A-100 were awesome copies of the Sigs. The "Constable" became an affordable favorite Walther .380 copy. They also made some nice O/U shotguns.

The first new handgun I ever bought was a Llama Mk IV .45 ACP Colt 1911 copy for $200 cash. It would jam every magazine tried on the third round. After sending it back to the factory for service and a two month wait, I shot it for the next ten years without failure. Some reported the front and rear sights working loose, so mine wore blue Loctite. They were all metric guns, so no U.S. parts would fit. The little .22's and .380's shot well and seemed to hold up better. The later Mfd. "Max" and "Minimax" autos did seem to fair better reviews, but were introduced too late to save the company from its poor reputation.


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Old April 17, 2009, 12:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Dr. Antaris' books on Star Pistols and a separate volume on Astra pistols go a long way to correcting the misconceptions (including allegations of "soft" steel).
All I know for a fact is that my own Rockwell test of a Llama barrel showed it to be very soft. That was a .380 so it probably wasn't that important, but in a .45 ACP it might be, and certainly would effect durability in the locking lug area.
Colt 1911 specifications are between 37-43.5 Rc, for instance.

That doesn't mean all Llama's are soft, I expect higher powered guns had higher HT specifications, and I admit openly here in public that I'm very fond of my Llama locked breech .380's.

I have many Spanish handguns, a Star S model that equals the finish quality of most better American makers. Every one of them are made of better materials than a Walther P22 slide.

In short, one can't generalize about the quality of a gun based solely on where it was made, nor, in the case of the P22, on the name stamped on it.

My own experience is that Star's and Astra's were better made than Llama's, but not in every individual case.
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Old April 17, 2009, 12:41 PM   #23
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I was given a Llama .22 as my first pistol from my grandpa. It is not a gun that I would defend myself with or even target shoot with. I would term it as junk. It jams every few rounds and I have never had a good experience with it. I would not buy one.
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Old April 17, 2009, 01:01 PM   #24
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They made fine German copies of the "Broomhandle" Mauser
My Astra Broomhandle is beautifully finished and has a different action from the German Broomhandle. My Astra 600 is also very well made.
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Old April 17, 2009, 05:42 PM   #25
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I beg to disagree on the statements about Llama quality. My two Omnis are excellent pistols and the triggers are better than most others. I only wish I had another Omni .45.
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