Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Astra Model 600

I came across a compadre with an interesting gun, the Astra 600/43 more commonly known as the Astra 600. Manufactured in Spain and chambered in 9mm Parabellum at the behest of the Germans in World War II, the Model 600/43 is a development of the very successful Astra Model 400 in 9mm Largo and the Astra 300 in 380 ACP. About 50, 000 model 600s were produced in 1943-1945, but only the first 10,000 were delivered to the Germans before the Allied invasions at Normandy and Southern France. The remainders were held by Spain and a large number were subsequently sold to the nascent West German Police in the early 1950s, the Chilean Navy, and Portugal. Undoubtedly some were sold on the civilian market.
Astra Model 600/43, made in 1944, with custom wood grips I’ve always liked the Astra 600s unique looks. The quality of manufacture is high, as the Spanish were out to impress the German military. The German military were already satisfied customers of Astra, having used the compact model 300, the larger model 400, and Model 900 (a copy of the Mauser C-96). Shortages of 9mm largo ammunition for the Astra 400 caused the Germans to use 9mm Parabellum ammo. Surprisingly it worked in many instances. Most Model 400s had generous chambers and could accommodate the shorter tapered 9mm Parabellum and the power of the ammunition cycled the Model 400s action. Thus a myth was born, that the Astra 400 would safely chamber 9mm Short, 9mm Parabellum, 38 ACP, and 38 Super. This is untrue and unsafe. The 400 should be used only with 9mm Largo!
The Model 600/43 has a tublar design that makes it look like a squirt gun! The Model 600 is the ultimate of the Astra tube design, it started in 1912 with the Campo Giro and ended win the 1980s with the less than successful Model 8000 Condor and Model 4000 Falcon. The Model 600 is the apex of fit, finish and reliability for Astra pistols. Shooting one is not an experience one soon forgets.
The first of the Astra tube pistols, the Campo Giro Model 1912

1 comment:

  1. Have the "600" and enjoy shooting it. Most Accurate hand gun i've fired.

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