WW2 Astra 600 and Star Model B Caveats

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WW2 Astra 600 and Star Model B Caveats

Post by RWS »

As is generally known, production of 9mm P.08 Lugers and P.38 pistols could not meet German demand during WW2. Spain was a Germany-friendly "neutral" country. The Germans requested Astra 400 9mm Largo pistols to be modified to shoot 9mm Parabellum. The result was the Astra 600.

Only the first 10,000 Astra 600's contracted for actually got delivered to the Nazis. These were stamped with a WaAD20 Waffenamt. A much larger order was paid for in advance by the Germans but the Normandy Invasion prevented actual delivery of this second contract order. All Astra 600's have a 1943 date stamp.

There were five separate German contracts for Star Model B's in 9mm Parabellum. The pistols themselves were a slight revision of the original 1924 Model B design and are often referred to as the "Second Model" or "B.08" pistols. They were only made in 1942, 1943, and 1944. Bulgaria also contracted with Star for basically identical pistols. However, No Bulgarian WW2 contract pistol ever received waffen marks. This is an important point because some true Nazi Model B's were Waffen-marked and some were not. Again, no Bulgarian contract pistols ever received Waffenamts but many Bulgarian Model B's have been stamped with fake Nazi markings by unscrupulous sellers to artificially raise their value. Here's how to tell what you have, based on records from the Star factory:

- FIRST CONTRACT: Consisted of 4000 pistols with no Waffen markings, delivered to occupied France on May 15 and 28, 1942. Serial Numbers 210951-214950.

SECOND CONTRACT: Consisted of 7,999 pistols, Waffenamt WaA251, and delivered to German headquarters in Hendaye, France on July 26, 1943. The breakdown was 4,000 for the Army and 3,999 for the Navy.
Army Serial Numbers:

Navy Serial Numbers:

THIRD CONTRACT: Consisted of 5000 pistols, Waffenamt WaAD20, delivered May 29, 1944 to both the German Army and Navy. "Patr. 08" was added to the slide inscription.
Army: 244503-247002.
Navy: 242003-244502.

FOURTH CONTRACT: Consisted of 8000 pistols with no Waffen markings, delivered June 6, 1944 to Hendaye, 248001-254300, and 254551-256250.

FIFTH CONTRACT: Never delivered to Germany. Serial No. 256251-258000, and 260001-260250. These were sold after the war to West German Police and many marked "LPN".

Len Antaris, a reknowned expert on Spanish pistols, has this to say in his book Star Pistols:

"Star received a large order for 15,000 Model Bs from the Ministry of War in Sofia, Bulgaria. --- Shipment to Bulgaria was effected in three equal blocks of 5,000 pistols between September 1943 and March 1944:

09-01-43; serial ranges 225007-225775 and 226101-230331

02-12-43; serial ranges 230332-230375, 230826-231756, and 231758-235782

03-03-44; serial ranges 235901-240900

The B pistols used by Bulgaria were marked as standard commercial guns and issued without a specific acceptance proof. Over 50 years later a number of these pistols were released as surplus. The majority of the guns were reblued. As sales were slow, at least one European dealer took to marking the guns with a E/WaA 251 proof as found on the early B pistols accepted by the Nazis. This postwar counterfeit marking should not be confused as an original stamp."

The bottom line here is to go by serial number on Star Model B's, not by markings to determine German or Bulgarian contract pistols.

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Re: WW2 Astra 600 and Star Model B Caveats

Post by S.B. »

Thanks Bob, good reference material.

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