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Some time in the mid-1970s, Astra re-engineered the Constable model. Until then the frame and some other parts had been made from milled forgings. These are easily identified by grips attached by only one screw on each side. The re-engineering was to employ investment castings; the new frame and slide are not interchangeable with the old. The grips were changed to have two screws per side. The other distinguishing feature is a much longer grip tang on the newer model --so that nobody could ever complain about hammer bite. Both versions were simply called "Constable". Note that the newer one is NOT the "Constable II", which was an even later redesign to incorporate an ambidextrous safety.

The magazines for both versions are sturdy and excellent, and ARE interchangeable within each caliber.

I never cared much for any blowback .380 compact pistols, including the Walthers that the Constable was designed to compete against, but in .22 they are delightful little guns.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I loaded up a bunch of rounds and went to the range. I used 4.1 gr Unique and a 95 gr cast bullet. I have two other .380s and this load works well. A few rounds failed to load in the Astra. I'm thinking that I should replace the springs - mag, recoil. Wolff Springs does not sell a set specifically for that Astra. Would the springs for a Walther PPK work? Or is there another source for the Astra springs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Jack First has a recoil spring but I'm thinking it's the mag spring.
 

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I loaded up a bunch of rounds and went to the range. I used 4.1 gr Unique and a 95 gr cast bullet. I have two other .380s and this load works well. A few rounds failed to load in the Astra. I'm thinking that I should replace the springs - mag, recoil. Wolff Springs does not sell a set specifically for that Astra. Would the springs for a Walther PPK work? Or is there another source for the Astra springs?
I had a few that would hang up on the feed ramp. Polishing the feed ramp took care of my issue. I typically run copper jacketed rounds through mine.

Bob
 

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What do you mean by "fail to load"? Does that mean the slide closes on an empty chamber, or partially overrides the top cartridge in the magazine, or is it something else? When the gun stops, where and in what attitude is the cartridge?

Before climbing on the Spring Replacement Merry-Go-Round, why not just try a different load? Just because it works in other guns doesn't automatically mean it should work in your Constable. Or, better yet, try a box of factory ammo to rule out many other variables.

M
 

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I had a few that would hang up on the feed ramp. Polishing the feed ramp took care of my issue. I typically run copper jacketed rounds through mine.

Bob
When bullets hang up on the feed ramp, the problem is often nothing more than improper presentation of the cartridge for feeding. The most frequent cause is a dirty magazine. Take it apart and clean it inside until it shines like a shotgun bore, and thoroughly brush off the follower legs.

Try that before attacking the feed ramp, which can't be undone if one goes too far.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
There's nothing really wrong with replacing 50 year old springs, even if they turn out not to be the problem. I'll clean everything again, adjust the load up or down, depth of bullet seat, crimp...I'm sure it's partially user error (me), and I'll figure it out. In researching the gun, I came across several posts that mentioned the mag spring.
 

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You might think that about 50-year-old springs, but sometimes it's not true--particularly if the springs are not factory originals-- and you may introduce a new problem that you didn't have before. Aftermarket springs, including Wolff's, rarely exactly duplicate the originals. It is not uncommon to replace springs in a gun that is functioning well, on the ground that "it can't hurt", only to find a sudden rash of stoppages. If a magazine is gritty or sticky inside, installing a stronger spring is conceptually akin to using a bigger hammer. With the magazine disassembled, the follower should fall by its own weight all the way to the bottom of the inverted magazine tube with a clear "Thunk", and fall out by its own weight when the tube is righted. If it doesn't, you've found a problem.

My own experience has been that there is a wide tolerance in the strength of magazine springs for most .380 pocket pistols --especially Walthers, Stars and Astras, with which I have more than passing familiarity. Unless the spring is broken, distorted, altered, installed backward, or obviously lame, a marginal increase or decrease in strength usually makes no noticeable difference. But cleanliness of the follower legs and magazine tube walls makes a great deal of difference.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I agree about Wolff Springs. I have replaced old springs with new ones, only to go back to the originals. Other times, the new ones make a huge difference. Like I said, and as you suggested, I'll clean it again, gun and mag, try new loads, etc. The good news is that I finally got the gun, and it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I took the magazine apart, cleaned it very well. Now, I want to make sure that the spring was/is in correctly.
Any tips, pointers, etc?

Actually, it's in the correct way. It fits, it works and it's in great condition.
 
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