Llama .38 Super auto pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by jwchessell, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. jwchessell

    jwchessell Member

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    OK, here's another one. A Llama "Especial" .38 Super automatic pistol with vent rib, serial # 455955. This is the one that appears to be a Colt Govt-model semi-auto pistol, except for the vent rib. I purchased this gun new in about 1970, and gave it to my stepfather, who has since passed away. As far as I know, it's unfired. I base that on the fact the ammo boxes are still full, the cleaning kit I gave him at the same time is unused, and the gun bears no marks of having been fired. Bluing is 99% or more intact. Checkered grips are sharp to the touch and unmarked, with original finish. Gun has two original magazines. I remember reading somewhere many years ago that this gun would fire both 9mm Luger and .38 Super, but it's clearly marked " CAL .38 Super Automatic." No box or paperwork with this one. What do you fellows think it's worth today?
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Sounds like a Model VIII, and has a Blue Book value of:

    100% - $305
    98% - $255
    95% - $220

    However, you might have a bit of trouble getting that much for it. Llamas have a spotty reputation.
  3. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

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    The 38 super is the same size as the 9MM Largo round (not Luger) which is 9x23 mm but exerts much higher pressures than the 9x23.

    I own several Spanish pistols in 9mm Largo but cannot shoot 38 Super in them because they are too powerful for the chambers.
    And 9mmLargo is getting harder to find.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  4. chiefchuck

    chiefchuck New Member

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    I have a Llama Extra. From what little info I have been able to find it was made in 1939/40. On the left side of the slide it says cal 9mm 38 Llama. On the right side it says Llama "EXTRA". It came with a box of new .38 super and two mags. I think it is chambered for 9mm Largo? It has the Browning type barrel link system and looks just like my 1911A1 Remington except the barrel sticks out of the bushing about an eighth inch. Do I dare try .38 super in it?. Chiefchuck
  5. Contenderizer

    Contenderizer New Member

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    According to "Cartridges of The Wold", 10th Edition:

    "38 Super Automatic - Introduced by Colt in 1929 as an improved version of the older 38 Auto, the Super Auto is identical to the original cartridge except that it uses a more powerful loading. This is a fine high-speed sporting cartridge for the improved Government Model automatic pistol, but should not be used in older Colt pocket models. The Thompson submachine gun was once available in 38 Super chambering. In Spain, Llama has made pistols for it. It is not popular in Europe, but very popular in Canada, Mexico and South America where pistols in military chamberings have been prohibited."

    Another reference I have indicates that Llama made a model VIII-C in 38 Super. It is based upon the Colt 1911 and intended for import to the USA. The photo does not show a vented rib, however. But, it also does not list all of Llama's guns.

    Chiefchuck: If you gun was manufactured in 1939/40, it would seem safe to use the 38 Super in it as the original 38 Auto (a/k/a 38 Colt Automatic, 38 ACP) was discontinued some 10 years prior, BUT, I would do my homework first!

    FYI: Here in the US we tend to mispronounce Llama. It is "Li-Jama" which is Spanish for "flame."
  6. chiefchuck

    chiefchuck New Member

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    Contenderizer: Thank you for the reply. My gun does not have a rib on the slide and has the same numbers on the inside of it as do the barrel and bushing, 817. I think these numbers were assembly matching numbers so it must be original. This gun won't be used for anything serious so I think I'll use the 9mm Largo round it was made for. Oh, one last note. I don't see any of the rough machining and sharp edges that I have read other people complaining about. Chiefchuck
  7. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Actually, it's pronounced "Yama."
  8. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    xracer is correct about the spotty rep llamas have. but for some odd reason 38 supers are sought after. i would strongly suggest checking out a few auction sites and see what they have been selling for. this are real world prices and sometimes they eary from the " book value "
  9. yukon1984

    yukon1984 New Member

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  10. yukon1984

    yukon1984 New Member

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    Hi, I came across your posting about the llama 38 super. I have an int. in it if you are wanating to part with it. You can e-mail me and let me know. thanks scott
  11. AR1911

    AR1911 New Member

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    ChiefChuck, Llamas made in the 1930s and 1940s were very fine weapons. I have 4 .380s from the 1940s that I would not part with.
  12. marine66nam

    marine66nam New Member

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    Concerning the "Llama Extra" caliber 9mm 38, I have one that I bought very used, but in fine mechanical condition at a hardware store in El Monte, Calif. in Dec. 65, try that now! I had my new wife mail it to me in Nam in boxes of cookies in pieces and carried it from Jan. 66 to Oct. 66 when I was med-evacked out. They took the pistol off of me and it sat in a battalion armorers box with 1911's for six months until a Senator from Texas made them look for it, then it was mailed to me by the Marine Corps.
    Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to give some background.
    My Llama is an exact copy of a 19llA1 except for the cuts for the slide and the barrel lugs.
    I carried a 1911 at the same time as I carried my Llama and the parts exchanged without fitting, I used 1911 mags by simply bending the lips in a little. I took a cotton sack full of 9mm Luger off a Charlie and it fired it without a hickup. This was after I ran out of the 38 Super my wife sent with the pistol.
    Other than the 9mm I've fired nothing but 38 super +P in it (several boxes), I've had it refinshed and still carry it regularly, along with my Colt Comm., Remington 1911, and a Para-Ordnance that I carried on duty for 15 years.
    My Llama does not have a rib and does not have the toe on the lower front of the frame at the mag well.
    I understand that others may have had a bad experience with their Llama but I have trusted my life to mine, I don't know how old it is but it was well used it 1965.
  13. AR1911

    AR1911 New Member

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    Marine66, I'd sure like to see some pics of your Llama. I would bet money it was made in the 1940s. You can check the date code easily
  14. marine66nam

    marine66nam New Member

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    AR1911, thanks for reply. Yeah '40s or 50s sounds right, like I said it was well used when I got it just before Christmas in '65, I shipped out from Long Beach Jan. 11, '66.
    I've yet to find it listed in or a photo of it in any book, and I've got a few books.
    I'll try to get someone to show me how to upload a photo of it.
  15. marine66nam

    marine66nam New Member

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    AR1911
    How do you check the date code?
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The 9mm Largo is not quite the same as the .38 Super since the latter is semi-rimmed, but those guns will fire either cartridge since they also have a shoulder in the chamber to accommodate the 9mm Largo and a recess at the rear of the barrel to allow use of the .38 Super.

    Llamas were never up to the standards of Colt, but that gun has a locked breech and is perfectly safe with .38 Super. Do not fire either .38 Super or 9mm Largo in old "double link" Colt pistols.

    (Some pistols chambered for 9mm Largo or .38 Super will fire some 9mm Luger or other ammunition, but it is not the right ammunition and may cause problems.)

    Jim
  17. AR1911

    AR1911 New Member

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  18. AR1911

    AR1911 New Member

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    Jim, don't be so sure about the quality vs the Colt of the same era
    Those llamas pre-1950 were jewels of workmanship, closely fitted and deeply blued. At the same time Colt was pumping out 1911s in 6-digit numbers, to wartime production specs.
    I have a couple of Llama 380s made in that period that are nicer guns than the later Colt 380s. They are also truer to the 1911 design, in scale and in lockwork.
    Granted, by 1960 at least llamas were a far cry from the Colt. But find an early Llama of any size and look at it closely.
  19. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Yes, I have some Llamas of that general era and true, they are well made. But the parts are not as well made as Colt parts and show signs of hand fitting. I really don't think it is fair to compare pistols produced in peacetime with military contract guns mass produced during a war. I have Colts (Government Models and others) made in the 1920's and 1930's and they are certainly not inferior to any Spanish gun, and are made of better materals. Further, the myth that hand fitting is better in some way is simply that, a myth. Hand fitting means that rhe maker did not have access to quality machinery, or couldn't keep good quality control, neither of which should be seen as positive.

    Jim
  20. marine66nam

    marine66nam New Member

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    Since my last posting I have rebuilt two Colt Commanders, they had been used in 22 conversions and a widebody build for my brother, while I was doing this I disassembled my Llama Extra and tried parts as I worked. I also tried parts in my Remington-rand. Other than slide to frame and grips the only parts that wouldn't work without fitting was the thumb safety (no surprise), the plunger housing (screws), and the Llama ejector is part of the frame. The bbl is 5 1/2" long. It has a grip safety and no rib on the bbl.
    My pistol has no stamping over the trigger guard. The ser.# is 276XX.
    The only stamping other than on the slide are assembly #57 inside the slide and under the left grip. The bbl is stamped 724 on the bottom.
    As stated before in this thread, the Largo/Bayard headspaces on the case mouth, the Super on the rim cut in the barrel hood. The Largo case is 1/100th inch longer and slightly tapered.
    It is very well fitted and shows no rough machining marks.
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