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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Larry, I agree with Rex and Bob, your post was great! Makes me pause to rethink my stand on Llama quality (at least with the semi-autos).

Also, to everyone who responded to my orginal post: Thanks for the information, opinions, and data! Nobody "blasted" me - which shows what nice folks are on this board!

Once again I'll restate my position: I love some of my Spanish Steel and won't sell or trade them for any Colt, Ruger, S&W, etc. I'm especially fond of my Ultrastars and Megastars!
Sometimes the quality just isn't there. (If you need proof I have some nice pistols to sell you along - with a bridge in Brookland! :D )

Now, if I could just find a nice Llama Max that shot as perfectly as my Star B....

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! John
 

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An excellent and substantial thread. My personal experience with a (very cheaply bought) Llama Comanche .22 lr 6" target revolver:

- Superficially okay worksmanship, visible tolerances a bit on the large side.

- Extremely roughly bored (bored? drilled!) chambers, almost all .22 cartridges have to be hammered out.

- Wobbly extractor star, moving to the left and the right

- Cylinder timing imprecise, significant play to left and right. Undersized bolt stop, and the transport hand also is too short.

- Very nice trigger.

On the whole, a gun like this, nice as is looks, never should have passed quality control.

Carcano
 

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I have owned a few Spanish firearms - several Star BM's and one of the M30 military DA 9mm's (an EXCELLENT pistol!). I had several Star small pistols, a 9mm and a .45 ACP, and an older .22 auto and a '60's Llama .45 ACP Commander style pistol.
Years ago I owned an old Eibar no-name .25 that someone had stamped with a Nazi eagle. I now own a Biestegui Hermanos .25 that fits like a watch and is in my pocket at this moment, and a Spanish made 98 Mauser that was professionally sporterized in the 1960's. I have carried several of these pistols,and had only one that had a problem - one of the BM's had a burr in the chamber and cases stuck in it.

I liked Spanish guns because I could get some real bargains by carefully checking the pistols before I bought them. I enjoy that fact that many of them had a lot of hand work involved in their manufacture, even at the expense of interchangeable parts, like my WWI Ruby. I think they are still a bargain, and really don't expect to make money with them, but I enjoy having them and cleaning and rehabilitating those that need it.
I do, however, think that that old stuff about "soft Spanish steel" is mostly crap.

mark
 

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I've not had or had to work on a bad Astra or Star. Llama, not quite so good. All the rest can be good or junque. JMHO.

But then the current Taurus line is about 30% bad; having problems out of the box and then going back to the factory for correction. They are not Spanish, but illustrate that "good" guns can be bad. Taurus will fix them for free, but sometimes it takes two trips to the factory. Makes no sense to send out firearms that won't work, they must have monkeys testing them, or maybe not.
 

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I have a STAR PS and bought it new back in the early 1970s . I also have three Colt 1911 45s, and the STAR has held it's own over the years with it's brothers. Fit and finish are good, and with new "pearl" grips from from "STAR" (person not manufacturer), she looks great.
 

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I have three .380 Llama's, all locked breech. One was made in 1943. One of these guns was poorly made, but functions well.

But what is missed in most of these conversations is the fact that the little locked breech Llamas are the closest thing to a .380 1911, and for guys like me who love 1911's they shine. If you take a Colt Government .380 apart you will see that it's only superficially similar to a 1911. So, the Llama is it! I really wish someone would come out with an American made stainless Llama style .380 with no plastic nor MIM.
The Star S model is really an awesome weapon, I have two. Internally it is closer to the Colt Gov't .380 than a 1911. But it's really too bad that the Llama has such a bad rep, they are awesome guns.
For a .25 ACP my Astra Cub is more accurate than all the others in my collection, better than the old Colt, better than the Budischowski. I'd say the Astra Cub is the best .25 ACP handgun ever made.
 

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I agree. With the popularity of the 1911 as well as the resugance of the .380 ACP it is only natural that someone comes out with a .380 1911 that is the size of the Llama. Why not? You can't tell me it would not succeed especially of someone like Colt or Springfield came out with it. I love my locked breech Llama .380. It functions perfect so no one can say it's not feasible to make one. It's already been done.
 

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Just another thought.

Are some Spanish gun nuts now discussing the poor quality of their collection of US handguns... Lorcin, Raven, Phoenix, Bryco... ? Or even some years production of Colts. My Colt "Agent" was the poorest piece of revolver workmanship I've ever seen. Nice big mill file marks on the side of the frame, under the anodizing!

I'm sure any of you can come up with equally horrible examples.
 
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Some of the early crap that came out of the Connecticut Valley gave rise to the term "Saturday Night Special" - early Iver Johnsons, etc. American gunsmiths have a long history of producing cheap and lousy products.

What gave rise to the "soft Spanish steel" myth is the early "Authorities" writing in the US were taking Spanish made 38s designed for black powder loaded cartridges and shooting +P 38 Specials in them - Do'H!! Of course, they got all snooty and said the steel was soft, and ignored the fact they over-pressured the design of the revolver.
 

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My theory on the "soft steel" stuff is simple - bigotry.
I notice the same things on the Enfield rifles made in India, especially the 2A series that were not made by "English" workmen, but were re-designed by the Indian owned factory. The reasoning frequently given is the refinery explosion at Bhopal, seen as an example of thne ineptitude ot Indian people working with modern technology.
The flaw in this "reasoning" is taht the Bhopal plant was owned, operated and staffed by a US company.

If a firearm was made by darker-skinned or even southern European people, it will have a certain number of people who believe it is junk.

FWIW.
(At least these idiots help keep the prices down so I can buy more.)
mark
 

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I do have to admit that Rockwell tests I've done on a Llama Especial showed dead soft steel in the barrel, I really wouldn't expect a long life out of soft locking lugs. That may have been one single gun's issue, because I've never tested any others, a barrel of a Colt 1911, for an example, will test out at RC 37-43.5

By the way, a Rockwell tester holds no bigotry, doesn't care one way or the other.
 

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I have an Ultrastar that I bought a couple months ago, and even after buying a Glock the Star is still my favorite gun to shoot for pure pleasure. It simply is a joy to fire. It runs smooth, fires every round reliably, and is dead-on accurate.
 

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I have a Forth Model F Series Star .22. Bought it in 1978 and it is still operating flawlessly. Replaced the plastic grips with nice custom Walnut grips. This is a sweet pistol. I wouldn't trade or sell it for any reason. A guy who had a collection of Star pistols in all the various calibers (except for the .22 that I own) wanted to buy if from me or do a trade. I didn't do it. Glad I kept my "Star" Star.
 

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Wow! The good and bad has surfaced on this subject. I have sixty five Spanish pistols in company with over a hundred American and European firearms, which do I like best? The one I choose to shoot or just fondle at any given time. My Spanish pistols include multiple CO, DK, S ( one is a WWII German purchase with the Shooting Police logo) SS, SM, A, B, Supers, BM (these are my favorites after the DK) F, PD, and Llamas galore. I shoot them and if something breaks I fix it, look at the Gunbroker parts kits and keep spares on hand. The Spanish pistols are all over twenty years in age, I have some over seventy years but kept clean and in good repair they will be here long after my demise. After many thousands of rounds through Spanish firearms I have found the quality generally high and parts breakage low ( but never dry fire) with shooting fun off the top of the scale. PS: anyone know of a HK for sale? Cheers. Mike
 

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Hi I also have a Ruby, an old 1915, needs some work, know where you can get parts, sprigs etc? I have seen some relatively unused 1915's and liked them a lot!
The Ruby pistols are al pretty different - that is what led to their bad reputation. They were made by a large number of small companies, many with a lot of hand made parts, and little or no interchangability. IF you find another Ruby made by the same maker as yours, you might find parts that fit...if not, it's a real crap shoot. You should chek the sticky on the Ruby pistols at the top of this forum...lots of good stuff there.
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I'm very interested to see this thread come back after 4 years (!). I just bought a 1957 STAR Modelo Super a thing of beauty and a very well made pistol. I also still have my BH .25 Eibar pistol, and my sportered Spanish 98 Mauser rifle, both of which are keepers. I even found a Llama .45 ACP that I liked a lot and shot quite well after I had fixed some previous owner's "improvements".

The Spanish industry was very different from the mass production system we developed and many of the early guns were not the best...but I have to say my STAR BM and especially my 30 M were outstanding 9mm pistols, and the 30M outshot any other 9mm I have ever owned in terms of accuracy.

mark
 
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