I recently picked up and Astra Police .38 from DJ’s for $220, and Linda liked it so well she immediately ordered one off of Gunbroker. I’ve actually already talked about these guns in range reports, but I thought they deserved their own post with all the info in one place.
The top gun is mine, and the previous owner bobbed the hammer and crudely turned the handle into a round-butt to fit a set of Pachymer grips he had on-hand. To do this he had to drill a new screw-hole and used a nut and bolt to hold them in place, so… yeah, no.Â The gunbroker guns typically come with a slightly -damaged stock grip and an ill-fitting Hogue Monogrip. I snagged the stock grip because it was a great improvement over the misfit Pachymer.
These are an interesting gun. They are a roughly L-frame size, came standard with a 3″ barrel and fixed sights. Both of ours are police trade-ins from Policia Municipal Vitorio in Spain, thus the ‘PMV’ stamped on the side of the frame. They are a whole other level of quality than most people associate with Spanish guns, and possess some unique features.
The first of these is the large screw just ahead of the trigger-guard- this is actually a button that allows the cylinder and crane to be removed. This is a plus for cleaning, but it was also to enable one to switch calibers from .38 Special to .357 Magnum or 9mm. These guns were sold by FN as the ‘Barracuda’ in either 9mm or .357.
Another interesting feature unique to Astra revolvers if the user-adjustable trigger-pull. There is a round device in the grip-frame that has different depth holes in it for the base of the mainspring; quite clever really. You simply pop it out sideways, rotate it a 1/4-turn and pop it back in for a different trigger-pull.
The guns also have quality features like recessed chambers, a pinned front sight etc. For myself I cleaned up the hack-job on the grip frame and modified the stock grips to fit and to suit my hand, then refinished the wood. I like the feel of it much better now.
I took the gun out for it’s first real range-trip the other day, firing a mix of 158gr., 173gr. and 125gr. bullets. All shot to point of aim at seven yards. I only fired the 125gr. at twenty-five yards, and they shot a little high at that range. At it’s lightest setting the double-action trigger pull is very smooth and not at all heavy, but is curiously easy to stage when desired. The weight of this gun easily soaks up the recoil, even of the heavy loads and the reworked grip was comfortable and secure.
Here’s a seven-yard rapid-fire target-
This target was shot double-action standing/unsupported at twenty-five yards-
Doubtless this will improve with practice.
Very happy with our purchase of these guns. Being trade-ins they are not in perfect condition, showing moderate holster-wear and typically some damage to the stock grips. But for what these are going for- typically $259 on Gun Broker- they are well worth it. These are high-quality revolvers and are easily robust enough for a steady diet of +P ammunition.
I originally got mine intending to convert it to .41 Special, but now I am not so sure; I really like the gun the way it is. Linda’s will remain a .38 Special regardless, and will be getting a custom grip to suit her hand as soon as I can get around to it.
I’m looking to add a fourth astra, one just like yours and customize it. I’m going to ream the cylinders to 357, not for constant shooting but just to be able to chamber my most common cartridge. Duracoat it black, make some grips and a holster. I’m liking the bobbed hammer as well, which I’m usually not crazy about. I have a 6″blued 357i paid 225 for at cabelas, a 6″ inox 44 mag I bought privately for 500(a beautiful gun) and a blued jovino terminator 44 I stole at 330, again from cabelas. They are easily on par with smiths. I enjoy that They are undervalued so please stop enlightening the competition! I want a dozen or so of them
I had a jovino Terminator in the early nineties, and would love to find another at a reasonable price!