Arms Locker banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,805 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Astra 400 (modelo 1921)

Type: Self Loading Semiautomatic Service Pistol
System of Operation: Blowback
Caliber: 9mm Largo (aka 9mm Bergmann-Bayard)
Capacity:8 rounds
Sights: Fixed blade front, fixed rear notch
Weight 36 ounces
Barrel length 6 inches

l In 1912, the Spanish Armed Forces adopted their first standard sidearm, the Campo-Giro. While the pistol was officially selected in 1912, the company of Esperanza y Unceta (later to be known by their "Astra" rademark) began to produce the pistol as the Model 1913, followed three years later by the product-improved Model 1913-16. Production of the Campo-Giro continued until 1919, when the Spanish War Ministry decided that the pistol should be replaced by a more contemporary design. In 1920, Esperanza y Unceta was invited to participate in a competition which would determine the next Spanish military issue pistol
The tests included only three pistols: The Astra Model 400 prototype submitted by Esperanza y Unceta, another Unceta pistol marked "Esperanza," and one submitted by the Bonifacio Echeverria company, under the trademark "Star." The requirements of the testing regime required ten examples of each pistol to be submitted to the test commission. The pistols were then subjected to the following tests: Normal function testing, verified by each firing a battery of 800 rounds, accuracy, function testing after being covered in sand, function testing after surface rusting, wear resistance measurments after 1,000 rounds, and firing both overpressure and insufficiently loaded cartridges. In August 1921, the Astra Model 400 was declared the winner, and was selected to replace the Campo-Giro as the standard pistol for the Spanish Armed Forces. Royal decrees were issued in October 1921 for the Model 400 to be standard issue for the Army, in October 1922 for the police, and in November 1922 for the Navy.

Spanish patent number 68209 of 1919 (modified in 1921) was issued to Pedro Careaga for the Model 400's design. The Model 400 was based on a direct blow back design, with no mechanical locking system to keep the breech closed. In order to handle the powerful catridge it was designed for, the 9mm Largo, a combination of a powerful recoil spring and a powerful mainspring (thus requiring more force to move the hammer to the cocked position) was used. The mainspring was located around the Model 400's 150mm barrel, giving the distinctive tubular shaped slide. Sights were a fixed front and a fixed integral rear. All standard Model 400 pistols were rust blued. The barrel, internal barrel bushing, trigger, hold open and thumb safety were highly polished and left in the white. Other parts, such as the extractor, grip screws, and magazine release were heat tempered to a fire blue. In the course of repair, parts that were originally fire blued were rust blued Later reworks used a salt blueing process.

The Model 400, in both commercial and official incarnations, was numbered in a separate serial number range from other Esperanza y Unceta products, starting at number 1 and continuing through number 105,275. This might lead one to believe that there were only 105, 275 Model 400's produced. Not so! The Model 400's delivered to the Navy in 1924 duplicated the serial numbers in the Army range from 28,901 to 29,800, thus bringing the total number of Model 400's produced to 106,175font color=red>*</font> It is also noteworthy that the pistols delivered to the Spanish Navy incorporated a different magazine release that was later standardized in the Models 300 and 600 Specifically, the release was relocated from the rear bottom of the grip to the side.

Production of the Model 1921 continued through the Spanish Civil War, arming both sides. After the city of Guernica, where the Astra factory was located, was captured in 1937 by General Franco's nationalist forces, production continued for the Franco regime.f To overcome this shortcoming in sidearms, ersatz Model 400 production was set up in areas of Spain still controlled by the Republicans.in the Civil War An additional 15,000 were produced by a private firm in Valencia, and maked RE, which stood for "Republica Espanola."

There were two major exports of the Model 400In 1930, a group of 842 guns was sent to the Chilean Navy (serial numbers 36,359 through 37,200), and some 5,950 guns were sent to Nazi Germany in 1941 (serial numbers 92,851 - 98,800).While additional guns were exported to Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States, these were shipped via independent exporters, and their exact numbers are unknown.

In 1946, the Spanish military determined that it was time to retire the Model 400 in favor of a more modern design. The replacement for the Astra 400 was the Star Super A, a conventional locked breech Browning design.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the 400 is its ability to fire the 9mm Bergman-Bayard, 9mm Luger, 9mm Steyr and the .380ACP (which will not work the action).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,279 Posts
Now this is a good post. To add, the Astra 400 was specifically chambered for the 9mm Luger also and was a substitute standard for the German Army. Very interesting weapon.

RIKA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,805 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It was inspired by your post about your Russian army revolver RIKA/ I agree we need more serious gun discussion posts and am goiung to try to do my part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
I thought it was the Astra 600 that was chambered for 9mm Luger and used by the Germans (mainly airforce)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
I beleive a run of the (mm Parabellums models were made for use by the "volunteers" that the Phalangistas put at the use of the germans.I think quite a few of them wound up everywhere from Stalingrad to Berlin.
only reason this stuck in my head was a friend of my mother's family;an elderly(now deceased) Spanish monk from a Benedictine Order in Still River Ma.He was Spanish Civil War vet;he'd started on one side;gotten captured&been given the old "plombo a plata" chice to make from his captors.Hence he wound up with eperience sering with both the Republicans and the Phalange.( I think I'm mis-spelling Franco's crew).
In order to reduce the number of pistol calibers they had to come up with;you get the idea.
That is one of those handguns(along with Broomie Mausers& a few others)I'd LOVE to see a modern rendering of...along with a modern Hi Cap 7.62X25strong enough for M48 loads...MMMMMMMMM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,805 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
" I thought it was the Astra 600 that was chambered for 9mm Luger and used by the Germans (mainly airforce)?"

The AStra 600 was the second German procurement from Astra during WW2 DJetAce' The Germans used 9mm Luger ammunition in their Astra 400s because they did not have 9mm Largo cartridges in their logistics system. The Astra 400 functions well with 9mm Luger ammunition, but the fired cases look awful after firing. The Astra 600 was simply the Astra 400 designed to fire 9mm Luger ammunition only.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
HB, isn't the 600 a bit smaller than the 400? I once owned a 300 Astra in .32 (I think it was the 300). Took it appart. Would you belive the pins looked like horse shoe nails? The gun worked fine though a bit overengineered for a .32.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,805 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Yes, the Astra 600 is smaller and lighter because the reciever and magazine well do not have to be sized for the length of the 9mm Largo which has a 25mm case compared to the 9mm Luger's 19mm case,
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top