What should I do?


September 23, 2011, 06:32 PM
Okay, so back in February I put the payment down on my Astra. March I took the pistol home. Between then and April the grips cracked (I hate plastic) and I took it to the place I bought it from to have them put some nice wood ones on (ebony).

I have been waiting 6, almost 7 months for the grips to be done, all the while this place has my frame and I have my slide.:cuss:

Is it really necessary to take this long on grips? They're charging me $100 for these grips, and it was expressed that it shouldn't take longer than a month or two.

What should I do? Do I keep doing business with these guys? This isn't my first problem with this place. A couple months back I laid payment down on an AK. Shop owner said he would order the rifle in, never did. So I got my money back. Suggestions?

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September 23, 2011, 07:15 PM
They lost your frame!!......:) just kidding!! I wouldn't do business with them anymore.

September 23, 2011, 07:27 PM
That's been my thought exactly.

David E
September 24, 2011, 10:55 AM
For $100, are they making these grips especially for this gun? Did you specify a certain exotic wood? If so, then they clearly are waiting for the exotic tree they planted to grow big enough to harvest the grip panels....

Seems to me that you failed to do your own homework to see what grips are out there for your Astra. Find some via internet, order them, spend 3 minutes putting them on.

September 24, 2011, 11:27 AM
What should I do?Run, don't walk to the gun shop and get your frame back, ASAP!

We had a similar gun shop situation here in town.
The guy had a whole back room full of guns people had left for simple repairs like recoil pads and cleaning.
He was good at tearing guns apart and throwing all the parts in a box.
But not so good about ever getting around to putting them back together.

Many of the guns owners had been waiting for well over a year.

Then he declared bankruptcy, went out of business, and left town.
A whole bunch of the guns & parts were sold at auction, because the owners had been waiting so long they had lost the claim slips and couldn't prove the guns were theirs.


September 24, 2011, 11:53 AM
Talked to the 'smith on the phone couple days ago. Guy outsources pistol grips to another. I trust 'em both, they both helped me choose the gun. They didn't push it on me, the coached me through the process. My first pistol was supposed to be a 1911, but they taught me that it's better to walk before you run.

The guy making the grips already had the wood in stock. I'm going to give the 'smith a call today. What should I tell him? I really would like the grips finished, the guy does great work on grips for 1911, beretta, and a lot of off-shoots, that's why I let the guy do the work in the first place.

Since it took as long as it did, should I ask for a discount?

I couldn't find any other grips for the Astra, either. I won't use eBay, and I don't like bidding for parts or the guns themselves. I only seen one set of grips on GB (just to see if any after marked ones were out there) and for oak grips they wanted 110. No way. Might as well spend that much on something that's going to look better.

September 24, 2011, 01:04 PM
Well if you are stuck using them because they are your only option for that gun I don't know what else to do.....I would in no way use them in the future for any common purchase or to get something done you can somewhere else.

I have had grips made for my revolvers by custom makers before. It should take no more than 4-6 weeks to get them back. ......unless this guy has a backlog a mile long 6-7 months is unacceptable for work

September 24, 2011, 01:19 PM
I got off the phone with the 'smith a couple minutes ago. Asked him what the situation was on the grips. Said the guy was supposed to have had them done this weekend or so, but hasen't heard from him for a couple days. I guess he's been sick, according to the 'smith.

Told him I've waited darn near 7 months and that it shouldn't take that long to get a set of grips done and he says, "Well, you're right it shouldn't. I'll tell him to get his toosh to work and get 'em finished for ya."

So hopefully real soon. I've got my fingers crossed, but I am not going to hold my breath. I'm about to tell him I'm only going to pay $25.00 for them just for the time it took. :banghead::banghead::banghead:

September 25, 2011, 04:53 AM
..about an ex-GI on a visit to Berlin 30 years after WWII. He's wandering the streets, reminiscing, when he spies the very watchmaker's shop he left a watch at before having to ship quickly out of the country. He is surprised that the shop still exists, and even more surprised when he enters the shop and recognises the same watchmaker behind the bench, a little older and grayer.

He describes the watch he left for repair and asks the watchmaker if by any chance it was still there.

The old watchmaker goes into the back of the shop and after a short while reappears and says, "It'll be ready on Tuesday".

I hope you get your grips soon.

David E
September 25, 2011, 08:01 AM
This guy isn't doing you any favors.

You went in to buy a 1911, but they "guide" you to an Astra that's impossible to find grips for.....on which the original grips cracked requiring a replacement....I wonder how much fun you'll have finding other parts for it...

He dumped a crap gun on you that probably sat on his shelf a very long time.

The Lone Haranguer
September 25, 2011, 08:19 AM
I think you should get your frame and deposit or payment back ASAP.

Guy outsources pistol grips to another.
Subcontracting is done all the time and may partially explain the situation, but doesn't excuse it. The guy who has your frame is the primary contractor, and the onus is on him.

At least when Milt Sparks says it will take 5-6 months to make your holster, they are up front about it.

September 25, 2011, 09:25 AM
It takes a day to make grips

7 months and a $100...Why do you deal with this place? Stop being so foolish

September 25, 2011, 09:46 AM
This is the first bad thing I've ever experienced with this shop.

The pistol is actually pretty decent. It's got a weak spring problem with the mag, but otherwise functions perfect. No failures to eject, and when the pistol does "hang up" with the weak mag springs, a soft bump to the slide remedies the problem for the rest of the mag.

He guided me to this pistol because this is my first pistol. I wanted a 1911, but what I forgot to explain was he let me test fire a few pistols (including his personal 1911 and this Astra A-90) and we both determined that the Astra was the better choice. It fit my hand at least 10x better than the 1911 did and I was more accurate.

Keep in mind, when I bought the Astra, the pistol (not including magazines) was about 97%. Showed a little bit of holster wear, but not much, mainy a little on the trigger guard and by the front sight.

The cracks came from me, but I'm not sure what caused them, when I brought the pistol home there weren't and cosmetic defects minus what was already worn.

This pistol is going to help me hone my pistol skills, and eventually I'll just get a used, good condition 1911 and get used to it for carry and what-not.

September 25, 2011, 09:53 AM
He guided you to that Astra because he wanted to dump it onto an inexperienced newbie ;)

September 25, 2011, 09:58 AM
I still had a say in the matter though, lol :). I like the pistol, and despite those two small problems, it's a pretty good little pistol. He didn't get to test fire it before that day we went and test-fired all of the pistols to help me decide, and the magazine issue surprised him, but I told him it wasn't a huge deal.

September 25, 2011, 10:15 AM
He guided you to that Astra because he wanted to dump it onto an inexperienced newbie

Astras are good guns. What's wrong with them?

September 25, 2011, 11:01 AM
Astras are good guns. What's wrong with them?
Good is a relative term. There are many good guns, some are just "gooder" than others

The OP is experiencing one caveat of an obscure firearm. Parts availability and customer support. Break a grip panel, and his gun is down for 6+ months? And where do you go to replace the weak mag springs?

September 25, 2011, 11:32 AM
The mags look pretty similar to an 92FS mag, and the Astra mags hold 15 rounds, so I think the Berettas might work. Or a SIG 22(0-9? one of them) might, the A-90 borrowed a lot of features from the SIG.

Jim Watson
September 25, 2011, 11:45 AM
And that is assuming that it really IS weak magazine springs and not Something Else that would be harder to fix.

Wolff is the main supplier of gun springs but does not list the A90.
You could look at a number of different guns and try the magazine spring from a gun most nearly similar to the Astra.

September 25, 2011, 12:03 PM
Had a thread about it, someone said the A-75 mag springs would work. I don't think it's the feed ramp though, it does it with FMJ and JHP's.

September 25, 2011, 12:06 PM
I'd ask the LGS for the # of the grip maker and call him yourself. If he was there and helped you pick out the gun, he should be more than willing to tell you why he has had your money for 7 months and still hasn't finished your grips. If he can't, I'd get my money back and walk away.

September 25, 2011, 12:09 PM
I'm talking to him Monday. We'll see what happens.

September 25, 2011, 12:31 PM
I wouldnt pay more than $20 for those grips, 7 months is ridicoulsly long. my local gunsmith is the only one for 40 miles he is non stop working all week on all sorts of other work and it takes him 2wks to do pistol grips.

September 25, 2011, 12:40 PM
The guy that makes the grips does them as a side job, but it doesn't take that long to make them. Yeah, there's a lot of inletting to do, specifically on the left side of the gun for control parts clearance, but I would think it'd only take about 10 minutes on a router if the router were set for right depth.

It has been getting really irritating.

David E
September 25, 2011, 10:00 PM
If you get the ebony grips dine, you'll have a great feeling gun.....that still jams a lot.....

September 25, 2011, 10:21 PM
Only once per mag at 8 rounds in, then a soft bump to the slide fires the other 7 without a hiccup.

Which is why I suspect mag springs.

David E
September 26, 2011, 12:43 AM
With all due respect, that's totally unacceptable.

I realize this is your first handgun, but you've been listening to the wrong people, or are rationalizing in your head that this gun, despite it's fragility and unreliability, is a good gun choice.

Instead of messing around with mag springs intended for different gun models or brands, buy some spare mags and try those. You can find spare mags for it, right?

September 26, 2011, 01:03 AM
Yes, but they cost damn near 50 bucks a piece. Fragility and unreliability? Sir, I'm not stupid. I know the gun has problems. I'm not trying to "rationalize" anything. But the mag springs are the reliability issue.

It really isn't that big of deal right now. It's a range gun. You're sounding like I'm supposed to using this for SD/HD. Maybe when I get my CCW permit, but by that time, the problem wil be fixed. If it does happen to be the ramp, I got a dremel and I know how to use it.

David E
September 26, 2011, 01:24 AM
Um.....................I wish you the best of luck.

September 26, 2011, 01:34 AM
Lol no confidence? Ha, doubt I could do that work myself reliably. No, I'm sure it's just magazine problems, and when I get that fixed I shouldn't have anymore problems.

I'll let you guys know as soon as I hear more about the pistol.

September 26, 2011, 07:50 AM
Wow! Tough crowd tonight! :neener:

I think if the OP is satisfied with his purchase, we should be too. Now, it has been a long time for a set of grips so, working to get the project back on track is definitely good advice.

As far as the 1911 vs the Astra, I don't think we have enough info. What if the 1911 was a $1000 Kimber? If the 'smith directed him to that gun with the premise, "You don't want to waste your time with THAT gun!", then we might just as easily be reading about the 'smith's taking advantage of the OP's noob-i-ness for more $$$. I don't think we know enough to make those judgements.

Keep working to move the grips forward and if you decide to continue working with the 'smith again, be up front and do what you can to ensure that you don't wind up holding the bag for 8 months. Sometimes, how you handle a bad situation (BOTH parties involved) can have very positive, or negative results on any future interactions. Only you can tell whether that's worth pursuing at the time. Good luck with the grips

Also, for future reference, a good dremel can be had for well under $100. So long as you aren't using some North Nigerian Coco-petrified, submerged since the dawn of time type of wood, you could have a lot of fun making your own. Now, it might not be perfect, or even as pretty. But you might have had the gun back at the range about 6.5 months ago. Many times, fear can have a dollar amount and in this case, the education might have cost less. Which isn't always the case. .02

And as far as the weak spring, couldn't you just stretch it a little? Sure, it's not a permanent fix, but if it "fixes" the problem immediately after doing it, then at least it identifies the problem.

September 26, 2011, 08:05 AM
Never thought of stretching. I wouldn't be able to tell ya if it fixes it temporarily though. One of the mag springs is warped, after disassembly. It "bends" and "twists" to the right. Would that be a problem?

I guess I should have tried my hand at fixing the problem first before letting someone else do it.

David E
September 26, 2011, 03:42 PM
How can it be a weak mag spring when the round feeds 90% or more into the chamber?

If it's "just a range gun" to you, then it really doesn't matter if it works reliably.

I hope your reliability standards are higher for a gun intended for defense.

September 26, 2011, 03:50 PM
If it were for defense and it was doing this it would have already been gone.

October 10, 2011, 12:47 AM
Okay, update. I still don't have the pistol. I've talked to the shop owner a couple times since my last post, and I'm still getting the "I'll tell him to hurry up" spiel. I'm getting tired of this.

The guy working on the grips has had the frame for seven months, and this is really getting old. I'm thinking about going in there tomorrow and demanding that I get the pistol back and that'll I'll just do it myself. It's getting rediculous.

I did stretch the springs. Only getting the pistol back will tell whether or not it worked. From unloading with thumb, one magazine did show some significant improvement, only hanging on two rounds now (out of the "good" magazine, the "bad" one would be around four or five rounds).

October 10, 2011, 09:15 AM

October 10, 2011, 10:01 AM
Price and time is what your willing to accept. Both, from what the OP stated would be a no-go for me today.

To easy to get grips off the internet.

Years ago before we had PCs, I had a good friend who owned the only gun shop withing reasonable driving distance. He was the worlds worst for quoting a price and changing it. Usually + or - $5.00 to $10.00 on work. I don't think it was intentional, he just couldn't remember after a few weeks what he had quoted, and didn't write it down. For the sake of friendship ~ I usually let it go. After a couple of times, I started asking him to write it down when he priced a job. He got a lot of ribbing and was good about making it right.

All comes down to what your happy with.

October 10, 2011, 03:11 PM
Astra, like most of the other major Spanish gunmakers, went out of business quite a few years ago, and parts and accessories, including grips, magazines, and mag springs, are getting hard to find and expensive nowadays. Getting "guided" into buying an Astra sounds more like a seller who wanted to get rid of an unwanted orphan gun, rather than someone trying to help a buyer make the best choice. Not that there's anything basically wrong with guns by Astra, Llama, or Star, they're just moving into the realm of "collectibles" now, rather than everyday carry guns.

October 10, 2011, 06:50 PM
A lot of buying the Astra came with personal preference. Compared to the 1911 that he wanted to sell me, the Astra was a lot more comfortable in the hand.

I know Astra went out of service in the '90's, and when I was searching for girps, I couldn't find anything I wanted to pay for on the web, so I brought it in for custom grips from this shop.

I am by no means happy with the amount of time the guy is taking with these.

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