Star Echeverria: Basque rarity guns

Star Echeverria: Basque rarity guns

Star Echeverria weapons manufacturers from Basque are well known among collectors and gun enthusiasts. During the beginning of the 1920, they started producing a gun which can be described as a copy of the famous Colt M1911 A1. Their first model, name P, was an almost identical copy of the Colt, also in .45 ACP. The differences were almost negligible and mostly cosmetic in nature. For instance, Star’s guns didn’t have a beaver-tail tang, but they did have a rest for the little finger at the front of the handle. The grips were also thicker, so that the gun could fit in the hand more comfortably. Adjusting to the demands of the market, Star started producing a similar gun, Model A, which was slightly smaller and in 9 mm caliber. This gun was made for 9 mm Bergmann-Bayard caliber, or 9 mm Largo for quite a while. It was in 1942 that they made the version for 9 mm Parabellum, and it was named Model B. The German Army bought 15.000 of these guns, as they had a serious lack of handguns.

P Model with the auto-fire option

P Model with the auto-fire option

Expert Conversion

While still making models A and B, Star started making Model M, which was somewhat larger, as they were a direct successor to the model P, also in the 9 mm Luger. Just as an example, the handle of the model MB was longer than the handle on model B and was able to hold a clip with nine bullets, instead of eight. Model MB was 40 g heavier than model B and somewhat longer and higher.

The prewar years in Spain have seen a rise of popularity of the so-called automatic guns which had an option of rapid fire. Naturally, the reliability and accuracy of such a weapon were sub par. In 1930, Star introduced a new automatic model AD, where D stands for ‘dispositivo’ meaning that the weapon had a firing selector. The new model AD came in several calibers including 7,63 Mauser, 9 mm Bergmann, 9 mm Browning Long, .380 ACP and even .45 ACP. Clips were made which could hold 32 9 mm bullets or 25 .45 ACP bullets. Naturally, models A and B were quickly shown to be inadequate for automatic fire with such large calibers. That’s when a logical solution of using the stronger and bigger model M presented itself. The new gun was named MD.

M Models were larger, but some of them had great handcrafted details

M Models were larger, but some of them had great handcrafted details

The gun that we were able to get a hold of was from the MD series, but it came with a slight adaptation. Namely it was missing the firing mode switch, which should be located on the right side, near the top of the handle. This made it only able to shoot in semi-automatic mode, just like a regular model MB. The proof that it wasn’t just a regular MB was found in the groove at the handle and a larger bolt at the right side. Those are the only parts testifying that the gun was able to fire in fully automatic mode. The switch had two positions, when it was lifted up the gun would fire single bullets, and when it was down the gun would fire in bursts.

It would be difficult to guess as to who have made this conversion, but since it was done expertly it might be safe to presume that it was done by the manufacturer Star. The holster even has MB engraved instead of MD, but the B is much larger and more shallow than the letter M, which means that it was made later, covering the D. The gun was made in 1960.

Reliable and Robust

The age of the gun makes it clear why Star decided to do this conversion. By that time, no one was interested in automatic guns, and the company had to adapt to the market. Even the regular MB guns weren’t selling all that well, less than 1800 of these guns were made. Form the collector’s point of view, even MB guns are quite rare, which makes a converted MD a real treasure.

The gun that we got our hands on came in the original box, with a spare clip for 16 bullets and detachable wooden stock, which could also be used as a holster, similarly to Mauser C96. The standard clip holds nine bullets, while there were also clips for MD which could hold 32 9 mm caliber bullets. While this would make a terribly impractical automatic weapon, when used as a semi-automatic, the gun is actually quite good. Thanks to its weight and the way it was made, this is a quite reliable 9 mm Luger gun. Some of its best features include a clearly defined sights, as well as a great trigger system. The only fault that we could find would only appear when the stock was attached, as it would bring the shooter’s eye too close to the sight for accurate aiming.