Astra Model F (Video)

The Astra Model F was the final evolution of the Astra 900, a C96 Mauser lookalike. The Model F used detachable magazines and was select-fire, with a very effective rate reducing mechanism in the grip. It was adopted by the Guardia Civil in 1934, and 1,126 of the guns were produced in 1935.

Of those guns, 950 were delivered to the G.C. in June and the remaining guns remained at the factory, where most were seized by the Euzkadian government in August and September of 1936, with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Unlike most of the Astra 900 series, the Model F was made in 9mm Largo. The Model F also used its own proprietary magazine (made in 10- and 20-round sizes), not interchangeable with either the Astra 903 or the Mauser Schnellfeuer.


  1. Isn’t 9×23 Largo a “universal” police cartridge so far as Depression era Spain is concerned? If I remember correctly it’s strong enough for carbines and sub machine guns and just about good enough for pistols in being less likely to sprain one’s wrist than .44 Magnum… or am I wrong?

      • Manolo is right. I remember trying a small batch of funky aluminium cased 9×23 Largo back in the mid-90s (of 70s vintage, if I remeber well, and certainly manufactured by Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla). An acquaintance reported some extraction issues when using such aluminium cased ammo with a classic Astra 400 ‘puro’ but I never had any problems with my Star Modelo M which reliably digested aluminium cased ammo from the very same batch.

  2. I’d question meaning of full auto-fire with this weapon. Even with firing rate reducer it looks that to hold it on target must be exceedingly difficult. Something like vz.61 in comparison must be cake walk. Btw, as lock time is short, so is the unlock. One has to wonder what is the margin safety, in timing sense.

  3. Hey Ian you should try an Astra F with the detachable shoulder stock and 20 round magazines. I am selling my Mauser Model 712 as it shoots too fast! My Astra F is a real smooth machine pistol. Easy to hit anything you aim at.

  4. Can’t help but notice…the slowed firing rate by Ian allows enough time for him to bring the pistol back in line before the next round is fired…every time. Really, check the ultra slow motion segment and see if I’m not right.
    No doubt largely due to Ian’s skill and practice but the reduced rate makes it possible whereas extreme rate of the Mauser rules out accuracy.
    But then suppressive spray and pray arguably can have its place. Remember, even your target catching a single .30 Mauser projectile out of 10 or 20 launched in say, the big toe will have discouraging effect…positively guaranteed.:):)

    • Suppressive fire is supposed to deter the other team from either shooting back or charging. Usually this job is given to heavy machine guns or full-power rifle-caliber squad automatic weapons. But just as you said, getting any man-stopping round in the foot would be quite discouraging, especially if we’re talking about fighting in a place that’s not kept very clean.

      Here’s a dumb way of possibly looking at the idea in the form of a stylized urban skirmish:
      [While taking cover behind a wrecked car, one combatant gets a Schnellfeuer round in the foot]
      “YEOWCH! He got my toe!” [victim jumps around in pain, his partner dispatches the spray-happy guy with a shotgun and pulls the friendly down as more enemy fire comes at the burnt vehicle]
      “Shut up and get a Band-Aid-AAAAAAAAAARGH!” [partner was ambushed with a sharpened shovel from behind]
      “YOU BASTARD!!!!” [Schnellfeuer victim stabs the shovel guy with his rifle’s bayonet]

      Did I mess up the scene?

  5. That’ll work, but bear in mind, an automobile, in real life, is almost completely transparent to almost ANY military projectile. Even the lowly 9mm will leave matching entry/exit holes through almost any part of say, a 1971 Vega or a Russian Ladi of any age. (Of course these may be poor examples as both cars are renowned as not able to keep out a stiff breeze in the best of times.)
    But apply a 7.62 NATO to even the (hide behind) engine block and one will quickly learn the ballistic differences between a cast iron engine block and actual steel armor plate.
    As they say, through and through and through.

  6. We missed something – closer to what Ian pointed out and that is variety of mechanism to slow down ROF. Daweo, would you like to take it and tell us how Russians do it? Is Stechkin firing in natural ROF? I believe it has vertical pendulum kind like Skorpion.

    • “Stechkin firing in natural ROF”
      This weapon has plunger riding up and down inside grip, see 3rd image from top:
      Linked page states RateOfFire of 600rpm, but Наставление по стрелковому делу. 9-мм автоматический пистолет Стечкина (АПС). (1957) give RateOfFire of 700-750rpm.

      • That’s quite a bit but still manageable. I have seen some videos with Stechkin and its control-ability is not bad.

        I also looked at Beretta 93R (Rough-f-f-fica) – crazy with some 1,100 RPM! But it has bust limiting mechanism which makes (some) sense.

  7. It’s too bad they couldn’t make the rate reducer slow the over travel of the bolt and keep it from slamming to a stop. A lot of the muzzle rise is from that rather than the recoil.

  8. I noticed the burst didn’t sound smooth, so I ran the audio through a sound editor with graphic capabilities. It seems between rounds 6 and 7 the rate reducer didn’t work, assuming the video file wasn’t corrupted. Each round took .15 sec which implies an RPM of about 400. So I agree with Ian’s gut feeling, but not his actual measurement of 250. Round 7 came in .09 sec after round 6 which implies a rate of 670 or so for the malfunction.

    • Which may be due to random character of applied mechanism; meaning frequency of cycle is not regular.
      Btw. you sound like ‘technology’ man with your sound/ graphics tools. Good stuff!

      • Actually, not much for technology. “Audacity” is an open source program that I thought would be neat but I had little use for. I’ve only used it a few times (although it is a really good program) but the video seemed odd and I wasn’t sure if it was me or the gun. It wasn’t my old ears so it was either the gun or the video. Seriously, by choice, I have no indoor plumbing, but my shack is in a great place. Technology, indeed.

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