Astra .38 special?


May 31, 2005, 08:37 PM
I was at the gun store looking for an inexpensive and reliable handgun to use mainly for plinking and practicing trigger control, drawing, and so on. I looked at a bunch of gun and tried a number of used .38 revolvers at the store.

Out of all the more inexpensive ones I checked out a heavy 4 or 5" Astra .38 had the best finish, tightest lockup, and a pretty good trigger to boot. It cost $160 and I like that it is a large, inexpensive .38 that I could use for a knock-around gun in the woods or practicing retention drills without concern for messing up a collectable gun.

I've looked up everything I can on various gun boards and about the only thing I found about this gun is that, yes, it exists, and that Astra makes a few other pistols. Does anyone here have any experience with this revolver? What can I expect as far as accuracy, durability, and the like? Can it use +P ammo? Anyway, if I'm serious about buying it they'll let me shoot a few cylinders at their range so I can get an idea of how well it actually feels shooting and how accurate it is, but first I'd like to ask you guys about your experience with Astra revolvers.

Thanks in advance,

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May 31, 2005, 09:19 PM
SA - only shot one - never owned. I'd put these overall in a category approximating Taurus - basically good value. I liked what I tried in terms of feel and function but my only reservation might be its longevity - how long before it loosens too much and looses good timing and lock-up.

For the purpose you describe I don't think this would be money wasted as such tho I would think also of saving a few more bucks perhaps and looking for a good used GP-100 perhaps - tho admittedly you'd need to save quite a bit more.

We'll see what others say - owners in particular. I am only expressing a very peripheral opinion. :)

Aw shucks - near forgot to say welcome!! :) - even if you did join July last year! :p

May 31, 2005, 09:30 PM
Thanks! I've lurked here for a while and posted on other boards mostly. I've shot a GP100 a bit and even with just .38's the trigger cut my finger a bit. I'm sure it could be solved pretty though, and the GP could be smoothed pretty nice with a lot of snap-cap firing which is what I'll be doing a lot of, it's just that all the stores around here sell GP-100's for around $300 so if I could find a used one for around $200 I'd be all over it.

May 31, 2005, 11:13 PM
For a time, I was the proud owner of a very nice Astra 357 revolver (I believe the model number is numerically the same as the caliber). Though I usually try to buy Smith, I figured, what the hell? The price was very right.

Though not the exact model you are looking at, I found my Astra revolver well made and reliable. The action was very smooth, and it absorbed several boxes of full-on 357 loads without any sign of cylinder binding. I eventually traded it in for a nice 686, but, for range duty, the Astra was definately up to task.

Generally, I would advise saving toward a good quality gun. Still, Astra seems to make a decent revolver for the price. Bear in mind, though, that parts will be tough to find.

May 31, 2005, 11:54 PM
Sounds good, I'll check for barrel pitting and as long as it fires well I think I may pick it up this week unless it's sold before that.

June 1, 2005, 12:37 AM
The Astra is basicly a S&W copy. They are Spanish made guns and where rather popular in Europe. They are sound, well made guns, they just never where popular in the US and thus the low price. I have a 3" .357 on layaway for $200. A little finish wear, but fit and function are superb. I can't wait to get it. With the 3" barrel I will feed it mostly 38 Special, but I at least will have the option of using .357.

Boss Spearman
June 1, 2005, 02:02 AM
I own a .38 special Astra. Actually, my dad has it currently. He liked shooting it so much I let him have it for awhile. He gave me is S&W 19-3 .357 in exchange. I know I'll get the Astra back eventually, so I let him take it. It shoots just fine, seems to be an excellent revolver.
The .38 special Astra was never officially exported to the US, only the .357 version was.

June 1, 2005, 03:55 PM
Sounds like it's a good deal and not a POS like I was afraid of. Unless the gun shop gets a real gem in by Friday I'm gonna pick this one up after class and hopefully have a range report to give you guys this weekend.

June 1, 2005, 06:34 PM
I like some Spanish guns and I have a 44mag Llama revolver. And $200 seems fair for a Astra 357 mag. However $160 seems a bit high for a 38spl Astra. A bit of searching should find you a S&W model 10 for a similar price, better resale, probably better made and easier to find grips and parts for.

In Shotgun News a while back some distributer was selling 38 spl Astra I think model 960's for like 100 dollars so thats why they turn up ocasionally I think. I am looking for a Astra 357mag especially one with a 9mm spare cylinder and a Llama in 357mag.

The problem is that I rarely see them and when I do the prices are similar to used Ruger and S&W's so I can't justify spending the money to myself. I had a mid 60's vintage 22lr Llama revolver and a Astra from the same era and they both sucked too. In fairness though Spanish guns can be the equal of the better known names but they seem like Taurus to me where the QC varies too much from gun to gun.

P. Plainsman
June 1, 2005, 06:39 PM
I shot a box of .38 through one of these (Astras). Went bang every time. Can't say how accurate it was, as I was a very new shooter at the time and couldn't hit well even with a tack-driving gun.

The Astra I handled, in retrospect, was roughly finished but not junk.

June 2, 2005, 04:47 PM
Well, the Astra was looking pretty good and I was gonna go for it, but today I went in again and saw they had a very nice used Smith Model 15. I handled it and I was very impressed. It locked up like a bank, looked great, and was quite affordable, so I think I may go that route even though the Astra was quite a bargain.

June 2, 2005, 05:03 PM
Porche vs Cavalier - Porche wins! :)

Good decision, even tho Astra would have been probably adequate.

June 2, 2005, 05:07 PM
You did well. Astra revolvers are decent guns, but the choice between one and a Model 19 really isn't.

Boss Spearman
June 2, 2005, 07:00 PM
The 19-3 I have is the most accurate revolver I've ever fired, so I can't argue with your choice.

June 2, 2005, 08:18 PM
Oops, it was tagged wrong and is actually a Model 15.

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