The Model 700 Special was an attempt by Astra to piggyback on the popularity of the FN Model 1910 automatic pistol. Astra took their Model 100 (a renamed Ruby pistol of WWI lineage) and changed the styling to resemble the FN gun, including adding a rotating mainspring cap around the barrel, as the 1910 used. The other internal parts, however, remained pure Ruby – including the barrel installation method, the shrouded hammer, the trigger mechanism, and the mid-frame safety.
These pistols were made for sale primarily in China, although they did not prove to be very popular items. A total of 4,000 were made in 1927 and 1927, and they remained in Astra’s catalog into the early 1930s. Seeing the failure to get initial success, Astra cut off production when they introduced the Model 900 – a visual copy of the Mauser C96 Broomhandle, which would prove to be far more popular and successful.