This is my Astra A-90 Review


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LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 16, 2011, 11:42 PM
I started a thread about purchasing an Astra A-90 on February 19th of this year. I brought the pistol home yesterday, March 15th. I ran some rounds through it to make sure I didn't get a lemon, though it was only two magazines (30 rounds).

Today, I went and put another 30 rounds through the firearm, and this is my review.

I purchased three boxes of ammunition, but I only tested two for accuracy today. WWB Personal Protection, 9mm Luger, 115 Grain, jacketed hollow points, Winchester SXZ9 9mm Luger 115 Grain, jacketed hollow points, and WWB 9mm NATO 124 grain full metal jackets.

I tested the SXZ9's and the NATO's for accuracy today. These were pretty much rapid fire groups, I wanted to see how well I could cluster them while firing at a faster pace.
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1000.jpg

I started out by loading the NATO rounds in one magazine, and the SXZ9's in another.

The NATO's accuracy is on top, at roughly seven yards, and the SXZ9's are on bottom.

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1001-1.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1007.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1006.jpg

The accuracy, IMHO, isn't too bad, but then again, I'm new to pistols. This is my first, and hopefully not my last. I think the sights need to be adjusted a tad so it shoots more to the left, but I'll try again on a less windy day (the winds were gusting up to about 30 mph) to see if that was the problem.

The recoil wasn't any different between these rounds, what with the NATO's being 9 grains +/- heavier and having a 10% higher than industry standard chamber pressure. This gun is extremely comfortable to shoot, even over the Beretta 92FS, IMO (my Dad owns a 92FS), but those are the only pistols I've shot other than a .380 ACP Lorcin Jam-o-matic.

The sights are a tad bulky to me, but seeing as the front sight was machined into the slide, I can't complain much.

For a holster, I'm using a FOBUS paddle holster for an Smith & Wesson M&P/40. Grant it, it isn't a terrible tight fit, but it sure gets the job done. I tried three different positions so far, the 2 o'clock, the 3 o'clock and the 4 o'clock positions. To me, the 4 o'clock position is a lot more comfortable, and is offering slightly faster draws under a light jacket. I do have a shoulder holster on order from Cheaper Than Dirt, but I forgot to change the shipping address, so the holster is going to my grandparent's address in 90 miles north.:banghead: I've been meaning to take a trip up to visit anyway :D.

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1008.jpg

Well, so far so good, I'm pretty happy with my pistol. Absolutely zero hiccups through 60 rounds, and I'm pretty happy about that. It shoots, it's comfortable, and I'm satisfied.

The one con I do have is one of my magazines has a weak spring. After taking it apart and examining it, it's spring has been warped pretty bad, though it functions just as good as the other while shooting, and locks the slide back on the last round, but doesn't do it by hand cycling unless you slam the slide back while simulating recoil. :rolleyes:

But, all in all, it's a decent firearm, and hasn't failed me yet.
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/Imatas121/100_1004.jpg

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armoredman
March 17, 2011, 12:28 AM
I had an A-80 years and years ago, a well built gun with a looooong DA trigger. I still was very fond of it.
Nice effort! A few suggestions? Targets with 5 rounds each are usually good for groups, though you can beat the notebook paper as one of the cheapest targets! God low ink use ones can be had online, print off the computer, try targetz.com. Tripod for the camera, really helps. Editing programs are free - I've been using the same one for 9 years. Light box would help, but I like the staging you did with your ammo boxes.
Please understand I am NOT criticising your work, I like what you did, and it's obvious you're on the right track!
I think Numrich or Old Western Scrounger might have mag springs, as Astra has been out of bnusiness quite a while. Also, check into holsters made for the SiG P220 or P226 for fit - the A series was based heavily off the P226.
If you like the gun, then it is good - my Astra was my first automatic...bought it new in 1980 something....
Thanks for the review!

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 17, 2011, 12:47 AM
Don't have a printer, or even a reputable computer for that matter, I'm using a net book (mini lap top) so printing targets are out of the question, haven't bought any more recently.

Did not think of doing 5 round groupings, but rapid fire full mags, to me those aren't bad groups, considering I have practically no experience with pistols.

Might have to make a tri-pod for the camera, to steady out the picture. Also thinking about having someone record me shooting so I can post a link so you guys can coach me into a more refined shooting posture.

Thanks about the comment about the ammo box staging. I like the way i did them, and I thought it'd be a good little appeal to the picture.

Could I get a link to Numrichs and Old Western Scrounger? I'm interested in buying another couple magazines as well, because after 13 rounds, they start hurting the fingers, and if I can spread out the amount of time reloading magazines, it wouldn't be so bad.

Anytime, and if you have some more suggestions for ways to test the pistol, by all means, share them. I'm interested in learning more testing and shooting techniques and so far, I feel that I'm going down the right road so...

bruzer
March 17, 2011, 12:48 AM
I know a guy that has an Astra chambered in .45, never cleans it, sits in the truck and fires every time he pulls the trigger. I don't recommend that kind of treatment but it sure seems like a well made gun for the amount of abuse it takes. Yours looks great and I like the 9mm.
Hold off on adjusting those sights until you have had more practice and no wind. At 7 yards you can get good enough to have all your shots touching, then adjust if need be. Just an opinion.
Mike

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 17, 2011, 03:00 AM
That's what I was kinda figuring too, I'll keep getting better and if it still doesn't help, then I'll try adjusting the sights so.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 17, 2011, 03:14 AM
And it's a no go on the Magazines from OWS and Numrich, Midway, and CheaperThanDirt!.
And does anybody know of a place I can get replacement grips? the panel on the right side has a crack in it that I failed to notice. I'm considering making some of my own, but the way the parts look, it's going to be a pain to machine them out of wood on the left hand side of the pistol.

Jeb21
March 17, 2011, 12:29 PM
Nice gun and good shooting.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 17, 2011, 02:28 PM
Thank you.

Vonderek
March 17, 2011, 04:56 PM
I have an A-75 bought new in the early 90's. While I love the ergonomics (the trigger not so much) I found the weak part of the gun to be springs. Buy a spare Wolffe spring pack or 2 and yours should run for a long time.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 17, 2011, 05:24 PM
Thanks for the advice. Where do I find these?

Caliper_RWVA
March 17, 2011, 09:09 PM
Don't worry about how many rounds in a group. If you do a 5 shot group, someone will say that 10 rounds is a better demonstration of a guns accuracy. Personally, I'll use a full mag when gauging accuracy on a pistol. Just seems wrong to stop shooting before the slide locks back :)

I will say that range is important to know when showing group size ;)

Good review though, you aren't getting paid so don't worry too much about having the most polished presentation. The opinion of someone who has actually fired the gun is more valuable than pretty pictures.

Also, don't mess with the sights yet. You say you are new to handguns - they are not as easy to shoot as a rifle and many aim problems are influenced by the shooter more than the gun. Unless you hit center with other pistols, the low right group distribution can easily mean you just need to practice more. Check out google images for "handgun aim correction target". Use right or left handed as appropriate. Dryfire practice and having a friend mix some snap caps into your mag when shooting are both great ways to improve.

Vonderek
March 17, 2011, 10:49 PM
Sorry, I shoulda checked before I posted. I just looked at the Wolff website and they only have springs for the A-70 and A-75 listed.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 18, 2011, 12:42 AM
That's an idea BluEyes. I am going shooting again tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be a little more tame. I'm bringing a tape measure and measuring out 21 feet (7 yards) for now, and and then I'll find a range finder somewhere in the basement and post some 100 yard groupings with my K31. But back to the pistol.

Any ideas on techniques? Drills and what not?

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 19, 2011, 03:10 PM
Went out to shoot it yesterday. I tweaked the sights on it a little bit because it was shooting to the right last time I had shot it. The tweaking did the trick. Me and a buddy were putting it through it's paces, with a total of 140 rounds put through yesterday and 60 rounds put through by me alone earlier in the week.

I am pretty impressed with the gun, I've only had one FTFeed in the 200 rounds that has been put through it and I am suspecting a recoil spring, because the round (FMJ and JHP alike) kinda start hanging up on the feed ramp, but only one stoppage, and it was during a reload so.

Caliper_RWVA
March 20, 2011, 09:48 AM
Any ideas on techniques? Drills and what not?

Depends on what the error is. But one of the best things I have found is the "ball and dummy drill". Get a pack of snap caps and have your friend load a mag with a few mixed in. Make sure you don't know where the snap caps are in the mag, so you can't watch! When you get to the dummy round, you will see if the gun moves any when the trigger breaks. Any movement of the gun just means you need to practice more to where you stay perfectly still.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 20, 2011, 03:32 PM
I did notice some movement, and I'll admit it. My pistol failed to lock back on one of the last rounds and I thought there were still rounds in it, so I pulled the trigger, nothing, and I moved some in anticipation. Something to work on.

Caliper_RWVA
March 21, 2011, 07:11 PM
A slight flinch is totally natural when starting with handguns. Nothing to worry too much about, just keep working at it.

Definitely get some snap caps and try that drill I mentioned above. I knew I had a slight flinch, but couldn't quite stop it. While some may reccomend dry firing or a .22 to cure a flinch (both are great practice but did not help my problem), I found that my mind knows what I am doing and when I had the real thing in my hands, the flinch was still there. I finally put in some snap caps recently and saw more improvement in one hour at the range than I could believe. Probably cut my group size in half.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 22, 2011, 01:44 AM
Well I did notice in my dry fire practice that I'd blink (kinda like flinching) everytime the hammer released and stuck the firing pin. I was practicing last night and I noticed that I had quit blinking. I don't know if it's because I got used to the pistol or if my technique is getting better.

Caliper_RWVA
March 24, 2011, 08:47 PM
Practice is always good! Also fun, in this case. Ideally, you should be seeing the muzzle flash when shooting in low light or indoor ranges.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 24, 2011, 09:04 PM
I think i've been improving, because I only occasionally blink now, when I surprise myself when the hammer falls. I'm still not used to that looooong DA pull

Harley Quinn
March 25, 2011, 11:52 AM
I did notice some movement, and I'll admit it. My pistol failed to lock back on one of the last rounds and I thought there were still rounds in it, so I pulled the trigger, nothing, and I moved some in anticipation. Something to work on.


That is good it happened, now as you say...
Realize you are anticipating and can work on it:D

Revolver shooting, you can put in 3 or 4 and not know when it will go off, and have a good practice session:)

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 25, 2011, 06:28 PM
That would be a good practice session Mr. Quinn. I am looking at getting a Nagant 1895 revolver :evil: but for now i can buy some snap caps and have a buddy load the magazines up for me

Harley Quinn
March 26, 2011, 12:06 PM
Yes that is a good option, one to do often:) for a while until you get the hang of it...:D

Having fun is nice;)

Wind would be more of a pain to the shooter than the bullet...dust dirt etc...:D

zstephens13
March 26, 2011, 01:45 PM
30 Mph winds will have no effect on a round is 7 yards. Even at 100 yds with a rifle the effect of wind would be negligible.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 26, 2011, 02:39 PM
The rear sight was off a little too. That was the factor in making it shoot to the right

Harley Quinn
March 26, 2011, 03:25 PM
Often over time, your point of aim will change because of what we get into, a habit of doing and think it is the sight, you will change the sight and compensate some...

But another likly suspect is the hard pull of double action mode...

If you practice SA only and can see you are right on and then shoot DA only you might notice a slight pull to the right compared to a push and low to the left, by anticipation (if right handed)...

It will iron out, 500 rounds or so :) Diligent shooting/practice is always best, not to fast, slow fire is good, with a few rapid to play with:D

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 26, 2011, 06:31 PM
Well It is DA then SA. DA first trigger pull, the rest SA so it isn't the DA pul that was doing it

Harley Quinn
March 27, 2011, 10:55 AM
Be surprised if you shoot DA more often how it will help, strength in gripping correct also use a grip ball and grip with fingers and thumb, but not the firing finger at that time, now isolate the firing finger and only grip with it :confused:

It is good exercise honest:D I did it while watching tv, this was when I shot the revolver in DA only:)

Another item to do is shoot with both eyes open, and one closed, plus right, left, and both hands...Practice handle it in the dark load and unload it also...When it is a life saving tool you need to know...:)

Regards

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 27, 2011, 05:53 PM
The night thing is pretty easy for me, I bring my support hand with magazine to my strong hand. Still working on getting the positioning perfect though.

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