ASTRA PISTOL cal 22 MAGNUM

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Luis Fernando, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Luis Fernando

    Luis Fernando New Member

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    What do you think about this uncommon pistol ?

    PISTOLA ESPECIAL MAGNUM CAL.22

    ASTRA #1 (serial number )

    Mark on the clip : 1 ( x 15 bullets)

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    Luis Fernando
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  2. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    Prototype? With a serial of no.1, that is my guess. The part that is bothering me is if this Astra pistol were produced at the time the WMR round was around commercially. Have you shot it? If so how well did it work? Semi auto in 22 WMR are usually eqiupted with some sort of retarding mechanizm to let preasures in the barrel subside a bit before the action opens. You surely are able to bring us some unique firearms to this forum Luis! Don't know where you find them, but you sure have a "nose" for them!

    Best regards, Kirk
  3. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

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    I wouldn't even try to guess what this pistol is. I have sent the information to Dr. Leonardo Antaris, the world's leading authority and author on Astra pistols. Let's see what he has to say about it.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    My thinking is that it is a prototype, or more exactly, a "let's try it" pistol, made by altering an older gun to take the .22 WMR just to see if it would work. While many makers ran into trouble trying to put that round into a straight blowback, Astra historically made blowbacks in high power calibers, so for them the idea might well have been worth studying. I suspect it didn't work that well and that there was no No. 2.

    It will be interesting to see what Dr. Antaris says.

    (I see some holes drilled in the frame beside the hammer. Maybe some type of retardation system?)

    Jim
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  5. Luis Fernando

    Luis Fernando New Member

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    Answer from a Astras Spanish Collector (Mexico Armado Forum)

    Hello

    With my respects to all opinions, that piece was never produced in series by the Home ASTRA, not even as a prototype.

    In all Spanish factories by that time, he did "strange things", I guess as entertainment in a boring afternoon.

    This piece is made from pieces of model 300.

    Please note, if I remember correctly, that 22 magnum, did not appear until the early 50's, when the Astra 300 was discontinued.

    In my collection I have several similar and have no more value than the memory and affection for the employee of the factory gave them to me.

    They can, however, be part of a collection as testimony to the skill of those
    artisans

    Greetings.

    Montelongo -CANARIAS -SPAIN


    Luis Fernando
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I pretty much agree, except that the gun looks like model shop work and was well done. It is what is called a "proof of concept" model.

    There had to be some degree of company support, not just a bored worker passing the time. He presumably was working on company time, using a company gun (even a discontinued model) and company machines and tools, and someone authorized making that stamp. It doesn't matter now, but I think the idea was taken seriously by Astra and someone in managment gave the word to "go ahead and try it".

    Once the concept of a blowback .22 WMR pocket pistol was proved workable, prototypes would have been made, testing undertaken, and eventually series production begun. They might have had a winner.

    I would love to fire that gun and see why the concept failed, though I think I know.

    Jim
  7. micromontenegro

    micromontenegro Member

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    Wow, what a cool idea! That Purito, as it is affectionately called in Spain, must have been modified long after it left the factory, if only because the .22 WMRF introduction date. Last Purito was made in 1946.

    BTW, the Astra 400 is known as the Puro because it looks like that: a cigar. So logically, the smaller Astra 300 became "the little cigar", el Purito.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Thanks for the lesson in Spanish slang. I don't think the gun ever left the factory, though. I think it was just an old gun laying around and was used as a "test bed" to see if the .22 WMR chambering would fly. If it was modified by someone outside the factory, I doubt it would have those markings on it.

    FWIW, the gun was fired, probably quite a bit, with .22 WMR. The case head marks on the magazine clearly are .22 WMR in a double stack configuration, not the single stack of the original pistol. It takes some shooting to leave those impressions in a magazine from the case heads when the slide returns to battery and jars the frame forward.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  9. micromontenegro

    micromontenegro Member

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    I agree: that pistol has been shot quite a bit in its .22 WMRF configuration. So, BTW, it must work! I'd love to have one...

    Jim, I'm not saying you're not right- you probably are. But it would be odd to use a discontinued model as a prototype. And those Basque smiths have surprised me so many times that I am no longer surprised with anything that comes from 200 miles around Eibar :D
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    There is a difference between a proof of concept and a prototype. A prototype has advanced well beyond the POC and is ready for extensive testing and ultimately production. A POC is just playing with an idea. For example, John Browning rigged up a Winchester rifle with a muzzle cap and a rod going to the lever just to see if gas escaping from the muzzle had enough power to work the mechanism (it did). But he certainly never considered using such a jury rigged arrangement in a prototype or actually producing it. Another example might be early inventors tinkering with bench top gasoline engines. When the little engines ran, the concept of using gasoline to power an engine was proven, but the inventors didn't run right out and build a car.

    So, to answer your question, an old and unsaleable gun would be just the sort of thing for a POC. Had the idea gone further, I am sure the prototype and production guns would have been a lot different.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
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