F.A.M. Garate Anitua & Co

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Small.Shooter, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Small.Shooter

    Small.Shooter New Member

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    I bought a small pistol at a gun shop and I am trying to get information on it. It is a little autoloader pistol made in Spain. The markings on the slide are:
    Left side:
    F.A.M. Garate Anitua & Co-Eibar
    The Best Aut. Pistol "Express" For 32 Cal

    Right side:
    No 41##
    The plating is about 70-80% and it has scroll work all along the outside. It has an external safety/ slide stop on the left side and a European style magazine release in the bottom of the grip.
    Any information on it would be good, so I can find parts and things like that.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  2. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    Good old Spanish steel. Anybody here remember Bob in St. Louis?

    Anyway, Garate, Anitua y CIA was a gunmaker in the Eibar region of Spain in the 1920's. They made a large variety of revolvers, small pocket pistols, Ruby-style pistols and a few long-gun models. The quality was variable, especially the revolvers, but they actually did score a contract from the British Army during World War I. The Spanish civil war was the end of the company, though.

    Interesting the markings are in English. It is probably also marked "Made in Spain" in very small letters which are an indication of official importation into the US.

    Value is generally minimal, but there are a few collectors of Spanish pistols of this era. Parts are difficult, usually finding a donor gun or making from scratch.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That gun is of the general modified Browning type known as "Ruby" pistols from the trade name used by a major maker, Gabilondo. France contracted for pistols during WWI and guns of that general design were made by a number of Spanish makers, some of whom continued production after the war, exporting guns primarily to the U.S. Those Garate Anitua guns are not bad, and among the best of a not very good lot, namely Spanish auto pistols of the "between wars" era. It is in .32 ACP caliber and if in good condition should be reasonably serviceable, although I wouldn't rely on it for serious purposes. Value runs in the $100 (retail) neighborhood, but most gun dealers won't take them in trade because the profit on a sale won't cover the cost of the paperwork, plus there is no way they can guarantee them.

    The steel is likely soft and the guns do not hold up well. While many guns were made of that general design, parts were never fully interchangable even among those made by the same company. Magazines which might or might not fit or work can sometimes be found at gun shows. Nothing is available from the maker, which has been out of business since before WWII.

    Jim
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Bob in St. Louis is still around, he is a mod on Curio and Relics forum and another, I believe Gun Boards.
  5. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Ditto what StoneChimney and JimK say. Parts for these pre-1940 Spanish guns are mostly unavailable. You could try to contact the Gun Parts Corporation (or are they called Numrich again?) and hope to get very lucky, or look to buy a complete second gun via the Internet.

    There seems to be increasing interest in these old Spanish guns. They are, or were, one of the last inexpensive areas of vintage gun collecting left. But people are starting to ask fancy prices for them on the gun auction websites; whether they are getting them or not, I don't know.
  6. Small.Shooter

    Small.Shooter New Member

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    In the case of the softness of the metal, would it be possible to heat treat the frame and slide to make them harder? I know someone in my area who has a forge and makes knife and tools from scratch and has done tempering jobs on a couple of old rifle parts for customers.
  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    It is not just the slide and frame, it is also the internals. Even if you somehow harden the slide and frame ( and if you get it too brittle, that is even worst ) the internal parts will wear down very rapidly and the springs were never top quality, they will break. If you must have a shooting gun, shoot it untill it breaks and then hang it on the wall.:)
  8. Small.Shooter

    Small.Shooter New Member

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    Okay, I was just wondering. It is my wife's first gun to learn to shoot on so it isn't that major if it does break. It was a pawnshop gun and I only spent around a hundred on it. If and when it does happen i will try and find her a Bersa or something along those lines for her to carry around.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If the gun is being used for carrry, I stongly suggest buying a better one. Those old Spanish pistols (and Garate Anitua & Co. made fairly good ones) are simply not reliable and are prone to parts breakage at unexpected times, not a good condition in a defense gun.

    Jim
  10. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    I strongly second JimK. These pre-Spanish Civil War guns are interesting to some collectors, but they are not useful shooters any more. They are unreliable, hard to hit anything with, and if anything breaks you are stuck. It is like buying a 1977 Ford Pinto for someone to learn how to drive - what they are going to learn mostly is that driving is pure misery.
  11. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully they used better materials in their auto pistols. As a teenager someone gave me an inoperable Garate Anitua copy of a Colt Police Positive .38. The steel was so soft that one of the chambers had blown out through the locking notch and two others had bulged enough to "iron out" the notches.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    IMHO, the problem with using an old gun like that for carry is that it might break at a very bad moment. When a really bad guy with a big knife is six feet away and coming, the last thing you want to hear (and maybe the last thing you will ever hear) is a click instead of a bang. That is why "good customer service" is not high on my list of gun company attributes. If the gun fails at the wrong time, you never get a chance to call customer service.

    Jim
  13. Small.Shooter

    Small.Shooter New Member

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    No, no ya'll misunderstand. The gun is only to teach her how to shoot. I would never trust an old gun like that for her to carry. As for the shooting, it is a decent shooter. Hits a little high at 5 yards though. The only problem being I have it apart right now to polish the feed ramp and throat. It loads and shoots round nose bullets just fine but has trouble loading hollow points. I am buying her a new Bersa .380 to carry (when I have some extra money lying around).
  14. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Failure to feed hollow points is a common feature with many automatics, even more so with the smaller inexpensive ones. I wouldn't worry about it and just just use regular round nose plated ones for practice, cheaper also.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
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