Spanish 9mm Largo Destroyer carbine?


August 4, 2004, 11:42 AM
Before I deployed, a local (sleazy) gunshop had a Destroyer 9mm Largo carbine in stock. Since I foolishly consigned two Mausers at their store, and assume they are too incompetent to sell them, I'm considering offering to trade the two Mausers straight-up for the Destroyer. I'm assuming they also lack the salesmanship to sell the Destroyer over the course of the last year.

I've perused the articles on regarding the Destroyer, but turn to the wisdom of the board in addition. Any warnings as to common breakage areas? Do I want the "earlier" (bolt locking?) or "later" (more Mauser 1893ish) rifle?

If it's beat up to the point of losing collector's value, can I set the barrel back to shorten the chamber, and use it for 9mm Parabellum? The crotchety gunshop owner told me "it's fine to shoot anything 9mm through it, .38 Super, Luger, .380, anything with a 9 in it". I tried to explain headspace, but was told that I didn't know what I was talking

Would two Turkish Mausers be a fair trade for a Destroyer in decent shape? Should I hold out for a free background check ($20 in CA) and free $9 trigger lock (mando) as well? I can only hope they still have it when I get back, and then believably pretend that I don't really want it.

Thanks for any advice, -MV (who has already blown $390 of his combat pay on a CMP Garand, and has his eye on a Baikal coach gun)

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Jim K
August 4, 2004, 11:37 PM
I would have to want a pistol caliber carbine very badly to trade two Mausers (even Turkish Mausers) for a Destroyer. For those unfamiliar with the gun, it is a bolt action carbine, originally made for the Spanish Guardia Civil (national police) to give them a weapon with a longer reach than a pistol. It is not really a bad gun, just sort of (to me) a solution looking for a problem. The 9mm Largo was, of course, the Spanish service cartridge, but in this country you are limited to Blazer ammo or imported ammo. Spanish ammo is corrosive; I think Fiocchi still makes it, but it is scarce.

Setting the barrel back would, IMHO, cost more than the darn thing is worth. It has little collector interest.

The old business that a 9mm Largo will "shoot anything" is just nonsense, and it is your informant who does not know what he is talking about. The .380 will fall all the way into the chamber, as will the 9mm Browning Long; the 9mm Parabellum will sometimes stick part way down and fire after a fashion. .38 ACP or .38 Super has a semi-rim that usually won't let the bolt close. 9mm Steyr will chamber and fire OK, but is harder to get than 9mm Largo.


August 5, 2004, 12:17 AM
You want the later Mauser 93 type variant, the weird looding earlier one are generally job shop brewed. Since a Destroyer is worth $400 in fine condition I would do that rade if I were you. These are fine little play guns. Actually the extractor WILL allow shorter rounds to be fired ,until the extractor breaks. A broken extractor is the most commonly found failure on these guns, but enterprising souls do make them and sell them for you to easily fit. You can get 9x23 brass easily today so handloading is easy. Good 70s and 80's Spanish Largo ammo is available cheap. I bought 2300 rounds for $175 delivered 2 years ago and have chewed my way thru about half, good powerful accurate NON CORROSIVE stuff! I have a destroyer, an Astra 400 and a Star Model A and they are fun guns.:cool: :cool: :cool: Give em hell over there son, and come back safe.!!:) :) :) :) :)

August 5, 2004, 06:14 AM
Destroyers are fun guns, but not worth TWO Turk Mausers.... :what:

I'd just offer one Mauser & @ $50 boot. If they balk, pull both Mausers out of consignment. (if they don't know a good deal like that, they won't know a good deal when it comes to selling your guns, either... :uhoh: )

August 5, 2004, 10:17 AM
I have one. It is accurate and fun to shoot. I refinished the stock and now it looks much nicer.

The only problem mine has is that it is not reliable with surplus ammo. I get light primer hits. With Blazer ammo, it goes all day long. Problem is, Blazer is hard to find now.

I have fired 9mm Parabellum and .380 acp out of it, just to see if it would work. It did, but I only did it once for each round.

I had a guy offer to buy it from me for $250 (It was like $50-60 when I got it) at the range when he saw how well I could handle it. I turned him down. Maybe if I get to where I can't find ammo for it anymore I will sell it, but for now, it is a keeper.

Don't trade 2 guns for one of these. They are fun, but they are not good for much.

August 5, 2004, 11:16 AM
Not practical to take the rifles off consignment: since it's in CA, it'd cost me $20 background check plus $10 trigger lock, per rifle. Since Mausers run as low as $39.95, it's really not worth doing. I think they have the Largo up for $150 or so.

I just need to think of a diplomatic way to say "look, you've had that Destroyer since I moved here two years ago. You're not going to sell it to anyone." For some reason, some shops really don't take kindly to that line of bargain patter.

Why a Destroyer? Seems like a cute little thing, if it's functional. Probably more interesting to trade to someone else later on, rather than trying to trade two 4' long rifles that run a dime a dozen.

I don't quite see the argument that a Destroyer isn't worth two Turk Mausers. If a Mauser is $39.95, are you stating that you wouldn't buy a Destroyer for $80, given the chance?

August 5, 2004, 01:33 PM
Hmmm. A clean job of setting back/re-chambering the Destroyer, which would probably also require a little handguard re-shaping, could run into the $150-$200 range for that obscure little carbine. That plus the purchase price you describe runs the net cost up into the $300-$400 range. For that amount of money you could comfortably buy a Winchester or Marlin levergun in .357 Magnum (Or a slicker'n batsnot Rossi '92 clone.) and have a brand-new gun that runs an ammo type that's actually available and cheap, which is the original reason for the 9mm conversion. By all accounts pistol-caliber leverguns are super-fun to mess around with, and you could still hunt with one if you were so inclined. With .38's, you have the ultimate break-in-new-shooters/PC-home-defense rifle.

That's presuming A) the shop has or can get one, and B) you have any interest in owning such a rifle. I agree that Destroyers are a neat little gun, but ammo availability can be a real issue. The only reasonably-priced ($10-$13/box.) Largo I've found lately is white-box Blazer stuff that's been out of production for years. Dunno howq much the Fiochi stuff is running, but I bet it isn't THAT cheap, and it's the only game in town, and mail-/'net-order besides.

Hey, it's a forum tradition to reccomend a gun that's completely un-related to the one you're asking about, that costs more, and in another caliber, too. Someone's gotta do it. ;)

Destroyer carbines are under-rated and under-valued for what they are, like a lot of other obscure-caliber imported guns. They definitely have Style and Character, and if you decide that you need one, I imagine you won't regret it outside of wincing a bit at the ammo cost. Plus it won't chew up 30-round-magloads of rounds like some semi-auto cartridge cruncher. The fact that so many other folks can't see a purpose for 'em keeps the price down, but they're still well-made, and eventually the supply might dry up enough that they'll go up in value like the SKS did.

Mausers are evrywhere. Destroyers are not. At least, I'VE never laid eyes on more than a couple before. Sorta-rare-but-cheap is my favorite kind of gun, so I'll say go ahead and get one o' them Spanish Fly-huntin' rifles.

Side note: I'll bet that "it'll shoot anything" reputation is an outgrowth of the Astra 400's ability to proccess other ammo besides Largo. That particular gun, in addition to also being of Spanish origin, sometimes has a marking on the barrel hood reading "9mm Largo/.38", which really only refers to the now-defunct .38 ACP, and isn't meant to include .380 auto, 9mm P, 9mm Browning Long, 9mm Steyr, amnd most of all .38 Super. The fact that the 400's extractor-of-easy-virtue will sorta headspace and extract all of those stubbier cases doesn't mean they were meant to digest all those shorter rounds, and 400's are usually very unreliable with such ammo.

.38 Super WILL fit and extract reliably, but it belongs nowhere anywhere near an Astra, as it's a bunch higher-pressure than the old .38 ACP it replaced. It's well known to crack Astra slides that see a steady diet of it. I imagine the Destroyer action's probably stronger than the Astra slide, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't wind up with bolt-lug stretching after a steady diet of hot loads. Even pistol-caliber rifles have their limits, and Destroyers are pretty old.

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