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I have a Star BKS now for the last couple months and I have to say the quality is there,the finish is a little funky (got some odd two tone going on the slide) but it runs fine and feeds HP ammo well enough.

My only complaint is ejection is odd if you use non-brass ammo,both Wolf steel case and Blazer aluminum will eject straight back and clock you in the face! the brass I've shot I've had maybe one come slightly straight back.

Kind of thinking of finding a full sized,what model is it? B? BS? in good working order and sticking new sights and parking it.
 

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I just recently picked up a old Ruby pistol that is marked "Vesta" on the slide that was made for France in WWI. This old piece looks like it might have fought WWI all by itself as the finish is all gone and has considerable light pitting. But hey the old gun is solid as can be. I worked up the nerve to shot a few rounds through it today just to see what it would do. Amazingly accurate for such an old and maybe mistreated gun.

I have five of the "Ruby" style pistols. They are cool, inexpensive and work. Parts do not interchange very well at all, even the magazines!! The all steel Star BM is a great 9m m for the money.
 

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Just PM me if you have any questions or just wish to talk Llamas. These handguns are a joy to me and I could talk forever about them. With a little loving they are great guns that match up against the big boys.;)
No, thanks a lot for you time and please keep it public and do it again; that's what this board is made for. If people don't want to read about it they can skip the post or the whole section :).
 

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Am so lucky to find this thread. Such, I believe, is the appropriate thread to discuss about Spanish gun quality. My sister inherited our dad's Ruby-type pistol and I became her "armorer" for it. Recently I replaced its pearl grip (became brittle over the years) with a hand-made grip from local hardwood material, replaced the broken firing pin (which was cut in half inside causing an intermittent protrusion of the pin outside the breech face), and additionally, made some new retainer pins for old ones which I saw fit to be replaced already. However our Ruby pistol, I guess, is almost the same as other Ruby-type pistols made by several Spanish contractors during the 1910's~1920's in terms of heavy trigger pull. When you pull the trigger, it's like lifting a 100-lb weights inside the gym. I was looking on the other post & threads in this site about any information or experience that a member had in reducing the trigger pull but I haven't seen one (or maybe I missed searching for it thoroughly). Hope some good guys here can help or share some information or post/threads from somewhere. Here's some pictures I'm sharing...
 

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Since no one has commented on the Spanish "Broomhandles", I'll dip my toes in the water. Granted, the earliest Royal round bolt models would not be what I would like to be shooting, especially full auto mode, real close to my face. THAT being said,the robustness of the AZUL MM31 and MM34 versions seem to be to stand darn near any punishment that can be given them
In the ASTRA line, there are few things in the firearms world to compare with the sleek lines and exquisite machining of the ASTRA 900 series. Slide off the side plate and you'd think you are looking at the inside of a watch.The quality of the 900 series, I think, equals that of the Mauser C96,fit,finish and materials.
BTW, in spite of the so-called experts repeating ad nauseum that "many were sold in South America", with the possible exception of southern Brazil and their revolt in the early thirties, I have YET to see any sizeable number of Spanish broomhandles in Central or South America. Actually, with the exception of the 900 series sold to the Montevideo(Uruguay) police, along with some 400s, I have yet to see any numbers of said Spanish brooms in that part of the world. And yes, I have been there ...a few times. BTW, regards to #2.
HTH,
Okrana
 

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I happen to own a bunch of Llama pistols. I happen to love their looks and finish. I also work on pistols for extra income and I choose to work exclusively on the Llama pistols. I also stock most of the small parts for the Llamas so I can work on them as well as selling them to the needy Llama owners. I say this so I can back up my opinions on the Llama lineup.

Everything I am writing is my own opinion. It comes from fixing the Llamas as well as owning them. IMO, they are wonderful pistols for many reasons and are grossly misunderstood. That's OK because that means I can buy them cheap and make them into fine firearms at little expense. Someone asked about the 9mm Llama. I personally own the Commander size, or the XI-B. It is my favorite range gun because of the cost of the ammo and how fun it is to shoot. The failure to feed the JHPs are common in the entire line of 1911s 9mm and especially the shorter barrels. It only seems to happen when I've sent over 100 rounds downrange in a single session and it gets dirty and the barrel is hot. Otherwise it is a joy to shoot and it is deadly accurate. The weight of the all steel gun makes recoil disappear and, to me, the Llamas are the best balanced 1911s out there. It is just a natural point and shoot gun up and down the entire line.


I'd put my .45 against any 1911 out there that isn't a $1000 custom job. Because of the superb balance and 100% reliability I'd say this gun is a masterpiece. To me, the Llama 1911s are the "prettiest" 1911s on the market. Can I call a gun pretty?

The .380ACP is a hit and miss gun. Of the entire lineup, this one has the biggest incidence of failures. My guess is that they cranked them out faster than QC could keep up with. I don't know why they moved away from the locked breech to the blowback (cost?) but that was a big mistake. Their .380 locked breech is a wonderful gun. Accurate, reliable and the locked breech design cuts the recoil down quite a bit. I own both models and would put the locked breech model up against any .380ACP out there including the revered Sig. The blowback design is also a nice pistol but it is the neediest pistol in need of repair in the Llama line. This is (IMO) mainly due to the milling of the slide during production.

The entire Llama lineup lacks the fine milling that separates them from the more expensive pistols. IMO, every Llama needs a rail job on the slide and in most cases the frame rails as well. If you take needle files to the rails and slowly file down the "sandpaper" you will notice a huge difference when you hand rack your gun. The areas where the 2 rails interact needs to be mirror smooth the allow all the kinetic energy from the slide to transfer to the loading of the next round. I'm guessing that 1/3 to as much as 1/2 of this kinetic energy is lost in fighting the sloppy milling and this causes the dreaded failure to chamber a round. If you look closely at the rails on the frame you can see tiny "bubbles" from when it was made and these little bubbles protrude enough to cause that part of the rail to rub harder against the slide, causing friction. This slows down the action too. You can cover the rails with magic marker and hand rack (or safely shoot) your gun and when you look closely you will see where the excess friction is. Energy wasted on friction is energy wasted on loading your next round. Simple physics. If your gun is totally detail stripped, your slide should glide on the frame without hesitation at any point, yet in the Llamas you will find areas where the slide binds. Get rid if the bind and your feeding issues will go away.

On the .380s, the factory was very sloppy in drilling the hole for the extractor pin. A broken extractor is the most common issue with the .380s and it is usually due to the hole being drilled a degree or two off perfect verticle. This hole has varied from left to right and fore and aft. You can see if your slide is drilled off-center by taking off the extractor and placing your punch thru the hole. If it sits perfectly verticle all the way around then your extractor should last a life time. If it's off, even slightly, from perfect verticle then you may/will have an extractor issue if shot enough. The off center drilling places stress on the extractor which causes it to fail over time. I've also seen the hole in the extractor itself drilled a bit off of spec just enough to have the hook too far forward or too close to the breech to be totally reliable. A gunsmith who recognizes this can take an extractor with no hole and match it up properly. It seems that the hole thru the slide is the culprit rather than the actual extractor. It's too far forward or rearward or, in many cases, too close to the center of the slide, to be effective. It seems that the extractors are set into the slide before they drill the hole thru it and I'm guessing that it's due to the sloppy drilling of the hole thru the slide itself, not the extractor. The extractor is then drilled to match the slide and there you get the variances that cause failures down the line. If your Llama .380 has gone thru more than 1 replacement then I'd bet the hole in the slide is off spec. A good gunsmith can get it going again but he has to know where to look. Once he knows what the problem is he can fix it right.

The Llama .32ACP is just a joy. I believe that the popularity of the .32ACP in Europe has given this pistol the attention it needed to be a good, little gun. Outside of the rail job (which needed very little filing) this Llama just runs and runs. I don't see many in for repair but that can be because not many are shot a lot or that they just don't need repair! It's size and weight make it a great range gun for the woman in my life and she is dead on accurate with it but it is just too small of a caliber to be the best choice for self defense. However, in her hands I don't worry because placement trumps size.

The .22LR is another story. The older models are a pure joy to shoot but their extractors seem to be a problem after thousands of rounds. They seem to fly off when worn out, never to be seen again. They are the short, stubby, "U" shaped extractor. Replacement extractors are nowhere to be found and I'm guessing it's due to the high incidence of replacement. Also, swapping one from another slide is equally difficult, if not impossible. Their design was just not conducive to changing it out. The thin, longer extractors seem better but this design has caused the dreaded failure to load and failure to fire symptoms that you see a lot.

It is my experience that you can help the failures to feed by giving these guns the rail job mentioned above. However, the biggest hurdle is the recoil spring. The .22LR is recoil spring sensitive and I cannot find a replacement out there anywhere. Once the original spring is gone, you have few choices. If your spring is not the right size or weight for that gun, you'll have failures to feed, eject, load as well as stovepipes. It is maddening. If you have a spare spring for your .22LR guard it with your life!

If you get light strikes or non-strikes on your .22LR then the usual culprit is the firing pin retaining screw. If your .22LR has the firing pin retaining screw that goes thru the bottom of the slide as opposed to thru the rear sight cutout then you can have the issue of light strikes. The firing pin retaining pin is actually a screw and if it's screwed in too far it can cause the firing pin from going forward enough to ignite the round. Back out this screw until it is flush with the slide instead of it being all the way in where there is an indent. That usually cures light strikes or non-strikes.

I didn't realize this was so long. I am sorry but the Llamas get my juices flowing. The last thing I wish to say is that the Especial line of Llamas seem to be better built than the other lines. I have no reasons why, just experience. The nicest Llama .22LR I ever shot was an Especial Airlite model. It ran 1000 rounds in a row without a failure of any kind after my rail job. Perfect little gun! I was working on it because of light strikes. It was cured after backing out the firing pin retaining screw. My .380 locked breech is also an Especial. The fit and finish on the Especials seem different and it could just be my imagination.

Also, swapping out parts on the .22LR is not as easy at it seems. There are at least 3 different firing pins, 2 extractors and 3-4 different barrels. Slide locks also differ enough to cause issues if swapped out. Just because it's a Llama .22LR does not mean that part will fit without modification, if at all.

For maximum performance in your Llama .22LR, it likes RN bullets the best and you'll get the best performance if you use the high velocity ammo. Llama is a Spanish line and the hotter European rounds seem to make all the Llamas perform better. If you find a .22LR round that your Llama likes, just stick with it.

Just PM me if you have any questions or just wish to talk Llamas. These handguns are a joy to me and I could talk forever about them. With a little loving they are great guns that match up against the big boys.;)

Looking for llama 380 cal barrel without loaded indicator cut and with barrel links, any available, I would trade two barrels for one without indicator cuts with barrel links.
 

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I do have the .32ACP with no cut but not sure what "no lugs" means.
There is no lugs on the top of the .32 barrels since they are blow back only.
They all have the bottom lug to accept the slide lock and to slide into the frame.
 

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Thanks for the insight jbcibula. Seemed very fair and balanced.

I am fairly new to Spanish pistol collecting.I like the Spanish pistols for a variety of reasons. Fortunately for me, my center-fire Constables have thus far been trouble free. I do not find the workmanship any less desireable than the Walther original. As for my .22LR Constable, it is the best and most reliable pistol in that caliber that I own. The currently manufactured pistols in it's class (Walther, Sig, Firestorm) do not seem to have a reputation that surpasses those of Spanish origin. I use an Astra TS-22 and Contstable Sport as my informal target pistols because I find them more accurate and reliable than the presently manufactured pistols in their class (Ruger, Browning, Smith & Wesson).

That being said, I've been itching to add some 9MM Spanish pistols to my collection -- the Star B and/or BM as well as the 31P, the Llama XI-B and/or MiniMax, the Astra 600 and/or 75. Have you any experience or insight into these particular models?

Also, what specific Spanish Pistols have you found to be good and which would you be cautious towards? What is it about your Llama pistols that turn you off from future purchases?
For me cracked revolver frames and rear sights falling off are main reasons but the soft metal screws and trigger breakage and hard pull has been a real turn off. Just poor tempering of the metal over all trigger is too soft .And wares. If you replace all the screws and trigger, any springs and solder the rear sight in place you have a farley good gun.I think you could get 500 rounds out of before the frame cracks. Perfectly good for an old beater to keep in a tacklebox
 

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Gtmerkley, Spanish semi autos by Star, Astra and Llama do not suffer from your description of soft metal and cracked frames are certainly not the norm. I have no experience with Llama revolvers but have friends who are enamored with them. Rossi in past years has had a spotty reputation as has Taurus…my 92 Winchester replica is certainly not shoddy and has both of these South American names on it. There at one time was a thriving industry of firearms of dubious quality being made on the back porch of many Spanish homes but Franco put that to rest many a year ago.
 

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I guess that this topic has not been exhausted, even after many years.
I had totally forgotten this thread, including my own posts, which in review and retrospect I would not change.

Chronologically speaking, the Astra 300-400-600-900 pistols were in a class by themselves among Spanish firearms of their era. Their magnificent quality rivaled anyone's in the years before the end of WWII. Star did not catch up in excellence until 1946 when they won the competition for the next Spanish Army service pistol with the quantum leap of the Super A; thereafter their quality was essentially equal. It is a bit amusing that both of them regarded Llama as a black sheep, faintly disreputable.

Regards to #3.

M
 

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For me cracked revolver frames and rear sights falling off are main reasons but the soft metal screws and trigger breakage and hard pull has been a real turn off. Just poor tempering of the metal over all trigger is too soft .And wares. If you replace all the screws and trigger, any springs and solder the rear sight in place you have a farley good gun.I think you could get 500 rounds out of before the frame cracks. Perfectly good for an old beater to keep in a tacklebox

Maybe you can share your experience by telling us which model of Spanish pistols you have owned that had these problems.
 

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Mike you are quite correct, disassemble an Astra and marvel at the engineering and craftsmanship. Star blossomed at the beginning of WWII and produced very much alike pistols in a variety of sizes and excellent quality. I did not know Llama was looked down upon by other manufactures but there were times when quality at Llama was taken out with the trash. A last attempt by Llama with better control of ancient designs produced some nice pistols but the single action semi auto was not the hot item it once was. Astra and Star met the change much better but economic conditions were their downfall.
 

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My Star B was made in 1956 and seems to be well built. All matching and original except for the mag, too. It is a pleasure to shoot compared to any Glock and very accurate. Took a while to get the magazines working and dropping free, but all 3 work perfectly, now. New springs for .38 Super 1911 mags brought them back to life.
Feels very much like my Essex/Colt 1911 which may be the best built gun in my small collection.
 

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Guitarman, In past years I built at least fifty pistols on Essex frames, each required careful fitting of rails but all functioned just great. I have never replaced springs in my magazines, must have 25-30 of them counting those in pistols only problems I ever had were from a few Triple k mags that made it into the pile. In all fairness I have four other Triple K model B mags that are doing just fine.
 

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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.
That seems kind of high. I bet a mill spec 1911A-1 frame is not that hard. The average gun barrel hardness is 28-30 RC. Rockwell testers can be fickle. Everything has to be seated properly. Just sayin', never tested one of the barrels myself. I was Small Arms Repairman (A real one not an Armorer) in both the Marines and Army. One day we got a new box of .45 barrels in and everyone of them was DRILLED out bigger than the bore size specs. ######### It was not that uncommon in the Military to get new junk parts back then. It was so bad that H&R lost their M-16 contract.
 
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