I recently acquired a near-new 6″ Astra double-action revolver in 45 Colt. Serial number databases place this revolver’s production in 1999.
For those unfamiliar with the brand, Astra Unceta y Cía was a Spanish weapons manufacturer founded in 1908. While there were name and management changes consistent with a century long operation, Astra produced various semi-auto pistols and revolvers until 2008. They developed a reputation for turning out quality firearms. Late production revolvers included stoutly-built 357’s, 41 and 44 Magnums and 45 Colts.
Comparisons of the 41-45 caliber Astras to S&W’s N frame revolvers are inevitable. While they are comparable in size and handling, the Astra has a completely different mechanism which includes an innovative mainspring seat which may be rotated to adjust mainspring tension and by extension, trigger pull. Internal parts are generally well finished and robust.
It is a very well thought-out design and the double-action pull on this revolver rivals my late nickel Model 29. The single-action pull had a little creep- but I had a plan for that.
This revolver’s external finish and bluing rival the best postwar efforts Smith & Wesson. The cylinder exhibits no movement at the ‘moment of firing’ position. Barrel-to-cylinder gap is a consistent 0.006”. The overall quality of the revolver is excellent.
I was anxious to shoot the Astra, so I ran three cylinders of my basic 45 Colt load (8.5 Universal/Maplewood’s Lee 452-255-RF) through it. Function was perfect DA or SA and the firing pin left deep, centered hits in fired primers. Unsupported shooting produced six shot, 3″ 25 yard groups on a steel plate with some overlapping bullet splashes, despite the aforementioned single-action trigger creep.
I disassembled the revolver and cleaned up a burr that was on the single action sear point of the trigger. While I was in there, I polished the double-action contact surfaces. The gun was dry inside so it got scrubbed & oiled, too. The cylinder was sluggish so I cleaned & polished the arbor.
My trigger scale only goes to 8 pounds so I can’t measure the double-action pull, but I’m guessing it at 10 pounds- and it is really slick now. The SA trigger finished at 4 pounds and is as crisp as any S&W I ever owned.
I got the Astra zeroed that afternoon and cleaning up the single-action trigger helped a bunch. The target is 6 shots at 25 yards, including one vertical sight adjustment. The load is the same one mentioned above. All six shots went into 2 1/2″ and the five, fired after the adjustment, spanned 1 3/4″. The Astra 45 displayed excellent accuracy and Maplewood’s excellent Lee 452-255-RF proves, once again, to shoot well in any quality 45 Colt revolver or carbine.