Re: Spanish Ruby pattern semi-autos
While some Spanish handguns of that era were reasonably well made, many of the revolvers and some pistols were not made of soft steel, they were not made of steel at all. They were made of cheap cast iron, often called "pot metal" because it was also used to make cook pots. That type of iron, once cast, can be machined, but is very brittle and when overstressed will simply come apart rather than bend or warp.
I have seen a few of the revolvers with chambers/topstraps blown from standard loads, and one that blew with a blank cartridge. Most of the auto pistols appear to be of steel, but it is soft and parts are often not hardened properly so failure of hammer notches and sears is common. The safety on the Ruby type pistol blocks only the trigger, not the sear or hammer, so the guns can fire if dropped; the revolvers have no hammer block safeties or transfer bars.
While some folks defend the quality of Spanish work in that era, I strongly advise against firing any of those guns, especially those with no maker's name.
Collectability is another issue. The guns were made in such a variety under so many names, some almost romantic sounding ("THE KING AT ARMS" revolver is my favorite), that a good size collection can be built up at very low cost. It will not compete in value with a Colt or S&W collection, but it will be interesting and provide a great display.
Last edited by Jim K; 04-15-2010 at 09:37 PM..