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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I must begin by thanking Bob for "hooking me up" with this awesome Republican Astra 400 pistol. Given my interest in the Spanish Civil war I am just so excited about having the opportunity of adding this pistol to my growing Spanish collection.

Well, I thought I would share some pictures for those who may never have seen an RE marked Astra pistol "up close".













Here are two stamps, one on the trigger guard and the other on the frame, that I was particularly interested in learning more about.





The first is a star that appears to have three symbols (perhaps letters?) inside it and the other looks like a "6" in the crux of the letter "V" both of which are bounded by a shape like an eye or a football.

Anyone know what these marks represent?

Thanks for the education.

Tim
 

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Platinum Bullet member
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That's a beautiful rig, the first one I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing it with us Tim.
 

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Gold Bullet member
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The star, is the Republican acceptance proof. The other "symbol", if you look better, are in fact the letters "FTR", and it's not known it's significance. I have these exact markings on my Republican copy of the German MP28II SMG.

Beautiful pistol!!!
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #4
The star, is the Republican acceptance proof. The other "symbol", if you look better, are in fact the letters "FTR", and it's not known it's significance. I have these exact markings on my Republican copy of the German MP28II SMG.

Beautiful pistol!!!
Ah yes, I can see the letters "FTR" know that I knew what to look for. By the way, I would love to see pictures of your Republican copy of the German MP28II SMG. That must be an absolutely awesome weapon to fire. Is it full auto or is it a semi auto version built off of a kit? What caliber does it fire, 9 mm Parabellum I presume? Again, would love to see pics.

Tim
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #5
I would like to learn more about the manufacture of these Astra pistols for use by the Republican forces. Is there any information on who manufactured them, in what quantities and over what period of time? The serial number on this pistol is #5703, I am curious to know whether this is a relatively low or high serial number based upon total numbers manufactured.

Thanks for the education.

Tim

P.S. - I think I have contracted the "Spanish bug" here, is there a good reference book that covers both pistols and rifles manufactured and used by Spain?
 

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Diamond with Oak Clusters Bullet Member
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I don't have my reference material with me at the moment, but if I remember correctly there were only about 8,000 of these pistols made (the highest serial number I have in my collection is in the 7,700 range).

Some good references:

Astra Firearms by Leonardo Antaris
Star Firearms by Leonardo Antaris
Mauser Rifles, 4th Edition by Bob Ball

Len Antaris compiled some very excellent books on the Astra and Star firearms that is unsurpassed. The book by Bob Ball is the Mauser rifles of the world, but it does have an excellent section on Spanish Muasers, with some good data tables in the back.

If I have time this weekend I will try to pull some more photos of the R.E. and Ascaso pistols and post them.

By the way, I have noticed on the M1916 slings that the older ones that were originally brown and later dyed black tend to have a heavier brass buckle then the later ones. I can't remember if I sent you one of these or not.
 

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Diamond with Oak Clusters Bullet Member
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Another good reference that just occurred to me is "Encyclopedia of Handguns" by Zhuk. It has a lot of illustrations of various oddball Spanish handguns.
 

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Len Antaris's Astra book contains about all that is currently known about these RE and Ascaso copies of the M400. The book is currently in revision, presumably to reappear on the same prodigious and elegant scale as the Star volume, but the emergence of significantly more info on these particular variants is unlikely.

In the FWIW Dept., a fair number of these guns --just guessing, perhaps a hundred--were mixed in with the last spanish Army lot of approximately 15,000 Astra 400s that were imported by Interarms in the late 1980s. The Spanish Army apparently regarded those that survived the Spanish Civil War as identical to real Astras, and issued them without distinction. The parts are not quite up to Astra finish and uniformity, but quite good and mechanically interchangeable.

M
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #9
The book is currently in revision, presumably to reappear on the same prodigious and elegant scale as the Star volume, but the emergence of significantly more info on these particular variants is unlikely.
M
Mike,

On the basis of this comment is it anticipated that this revised book is due out soon or are we talking more "on the distant horizon"? I was thinking of tracking down a copy of Len Antaris's book, but I do not want to do so if an updated version is due to hit the shelves.

Tim
 

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Diamond with Oak Clusters Bullet Member
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Len tends to take a long time to get a publication together and released. I don't anticipate seeing the revised Astra book for awhile --
 

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Platinum Bullet Member
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...it will be a LONG while.

I think new copies of the first edition are still available, and well worth the money.

M
 

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As I recall, at the last gun show attended, Antaris' Astra reference was on sale "new" for under $50; on Hell of a Deal!
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #13
As I recall, at the last gun show attended, Antaris' Astra reference was on sale "new" for under $50; on Hell of a Deal!
Yes, I too found a "new" copy through Amazon.com for $42 plus a few dollars for shipping. It should have shipped out to me yesterday. Can't wait for it to arrive!

Tim
 

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Great info on the RE series 400's -In the interests of adding to our knowledge and serial# base, here are some pics of one I have (no holster came with it) and the barrel marking was a very light strike. Ser: 2597
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #15
Great info on the RE series 400's -In the interests of adding to our knowledge and serial# base, here are some pics of one I have (no holster came with it) and the barrel marking was a very light strike. Ser: 2597
Wow, light strike or not, the bluing on that pistol is gorgeous!

Tim
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #18
Don't see these often: an RE with wood grips and bronze medalion insert in grips.

Simply gorgeous! Were these wood grips with the gold medallion in general production for a very short period of time or were these grips of very limited production for the purpose of manufacturing presentation pistols for high-ranking officials?

Tim
 

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Diamond with Oak Clusters Bullet Member
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I suspect they were limited production, probably for officers. I have also seen RE pistols with red plastic grips - I assume they were used by the Communists!
 
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