765 1916 model Automatic Pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by wocobb, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. wocobb

    wocobb New Member

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    My father left me this pistol & I would appreciate any info on it or it's value. It has "Astra Patent " * "made in spain" on left side. On the right it has ' Juan Esperanza Y Unceta Guernica(Espana). The eject port has "Hope" in it with a crown stamp & the letters PG next to it. Does anyone have any info? Thanks. My first time here.
  2. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    Without pictures it is going to be hard to give you very much information Your gun is Spanish, made by the firm Astra ( UNCETA-SA ) which is located in the Eibar region of Spain. Asst made guns for the French army until 1918 and for the commercial market until the 1980's. Both guns were imported in large numbers during the 1920's and 1930's Just which gun you have can only be identified by posting clear pictures of the guns and all the markings. Astra was one of the better makers and in fact was one of only four gun makers that was allow to continual orperations after the Spanish civil war ( 1936 ). With pictures someone will be able to give you much more information.
  3. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    During the First World War, the French Army bought large quantities of automatic pistols from Spain. Most of them were patterned after a pistol called the Ruby by its maker, and used 7.65mm Browning ammunition (it's called 32 Automatic or 32 ACP in the United States). Does yours look like this gun?

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/Ruby/ruby.html

    The French were buying something like 30,000 pistols a month at one point, from anyone in Spain who could bang two pieces of metal together. As you might expect, quality varied widely, from decent to awful.

    Fortunately for you, Astra was one of the best. Originally the company was called "Esperanza & Unceta", after its founders, and just used Astra as a trade name, but later the company as a whole changed its name to Astra. They were one of just three or four companies allowed to make pistols after the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, and they were generally regarded as the best of the group.

    Esperanza is the Spanish word for Hope, which explains the Hope on the barrel.

    Collectors value for this kind of gun is not high, but interest in them seems to be increasing somewhat - they are one of the few inexpensive areas of gun collecting left. Value depends greatly on condition, so you would have to put up some photos to get any meaningful estimate.

    It is generally not a good idea to shoot these guns without having a gunsmith look at them first. They are pretty stout - the Spanish used soft steel to ease machining, but they used a lot of it - but they are pushing 100 years old and were made with speed rather than care. Many have been neglected or abused in the interim.

    I actually used to have an Astra 1916, and it shot pretty well, even though the rifling seemed to be just colored stripes down the barrel. It was reliable enough, but some of the bullets keyholed (went through the target sideways).

    Hope that helps, and welcome to the Forum!
  4. wocobb

    wocobb New Member

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    Thanks Ron. It's a good start & more than I knew. I'll try to get some pictures on here. My dad was in WW11 @ the end. I thought he might have carried it then but seems more like he got it from his dad. Thanks again.
  5. wocobb

    wocobb New Member

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    Thanks Lanrezac. That was a really interesting read. Yes, mine looks like the one in the picture. It has the curved serrations on the slide and a lanyard ring on the handle frame. The grips appear to be the black hard rubber ones but no writing or logos. I have not been able to make out any of the serial number but can see fragments of one. I'll try to post some pictures at a later date. It does have all the tool & dye scars as described. I thought it might have been my dad's in WW11 but leaning more towards it being my grandfathers. You men have been a great help & made my first visit very enjoyable. I next want to learn about the 8mm Mauser he gave me. Thanks again very much.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It is not impossible that a "Ruby" pistol was obtained by an American GI during WWII. The French still had some and they were used by French police through the war.

    Jim
  7. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    Like JimK says, the French used a lot of these guns in the Second World War too. The French Army ones then often had a round-headed rivet added to the slide just above the safety catch, to try and keep the holster from rotating the catch when inserted or drawn.

    Military Rubies also usually had one or two stars stamped on the bottom of the frame, where the magazine is inserted (you can see them without taking the grips off).

    Most, or all, of the military ones had wooden grips originally, but 95 years is a long time.
  8. wocobb

    wocobb New Member

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    No stars or rivet. The safety has SUI & FEU stamped at each stop. I'll go out on a limb & guess that means on & off. LOL.
  9. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    The French (and Italian) WWI "Ruby Type" military issued pistols I have examined have not been marked "Made In Spain"
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That is true, and I missed it. The Country of Origin (COO) mark was/is required of items imported commercially into the U.S., so it would not have been on a pistol brought back by a soldier in any war, or even purchased abroad and brought back by a tourist.

    (The GCA '68 changed the marking for firearms from the COO to the "import stamp" we all know and love.)

    Jim
  11. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    We'd have to see pictures to estimate value, wocobb, but it isn't going to be high. These guns have a colorful history, but not much shooter or collector value.
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