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Old 12-10-2014, 06:18 PM
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Default My reborn Astra Terminator .44

I was not pleased to find that my .44 Mag Astra Terminator had a broken firing pin. I searched high and low for a replacement.

Well, I decided to see if I could find something that would work. After looking at the exploded drawings of an Astra .357 and comparing them to an Astra .44, it appeared that many of the parts are compatible. I took a chance and ordered a firing pin for the .357 from Numrich.

To my surprise, it fits and more importantly, WORKS! So, this gun was treated to a full break down and cleaning and a bead blast finish.

I think it looks AWESOME. These were great guns back in the day and certainly led the charge of snubby big bores. Championed by John Jovino and distributors like Lew Horton, it is a little part of handgunning history.

Here she is:
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:22 PM
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I'll be-- is that barrel pinned?
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:40 PM
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Pinned Barrel AND Recessed Cylinder!
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:40 PM
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The Terminator was a quality piece and you've got a fine looking example there. Astra is to be credited with being one of the first manufacturers to come out with large frame/short barreled big bore revolvers when the factories began to recognize that there was a market for such guns that was being filled by gunsmiths like Austin Behlert and shops like the John Jovino Co..

As far as the Terminator being championed by John Jovino and Lew Horton Distributing, I've never heard before. Care to elaborate?
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:48 PM
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Sure! John Jovino customized S&W big bores and Astras as well to the short barreled configuration. After a while, Astra started to manufacture these big bore snubbies by themselves to Jovino's specifications.

Lew Horton distributed the Astra Made, Interarms-imported Terminators during the 80's.

Google "Astra Terminator Jovino" and you will lot's of other information about these and other large bore snubs of the era.

NQ
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:52 PM
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Now that's a wicked looking little gun. I see you had it Mag-na-ported, too.
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:15 PM
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The TERMINATOR is a great little offering. My dad and I had them in 44 Magnum. Mine was blue and his was the INOX finish.

Then I found one in 41 Magnum. Sold my 44 in a heartbeat.

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Old 12-10-2014, 08:13 PM
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The .41 mag version was the first one I ever owned. I pawned it for beer and babe money when I was on leave from the Marines.

At the time, it was ABSOLUTELY worth it (beer was cold and the girl was warm!). As the years went by, it had become one of my most regretted firearms sales. I would love to get another blued one in .41mag some day. I keep looking!
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:07 PM
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I have one of the S&W 3" 629's sold by Lew Horton. It is a real handful with full power factory loads. But, I reload for it, so I have some nice loads that hare heavier than a 44 Special, and lighter than 44 magnum.

With what I call 'reasonable loads' it's fun to shoot, accuracy is very good, and they have enough power for any reasonable need. It came with the beautiful wood combat finger groove grips on it, but it is much more comfortable to shoot with the Pachmayr grips just like Colt Saa's, just above.

I never knew that Astra made these 44 magnum snubbies. I'm guessing they didn't make a lot of them, as I've NEVER seen one at any of the literally hundreds of gun shows I've gone to. I would buy one in decent condition in a heartbeat, if I ever saw one.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:11 PM
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Astra has made a lot of fine guns (even some sold as Colts). Glad to see that you got one of them.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:16 PM
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That is an awesome looking pistol. I just picked up an ASTRA A-100 at auction, it is a finely made and robust 9mm with a 17rd capacity mag. Copy of Sig P228. Decent manufacturer back in the day.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:06 PM
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I just picked up an Astra 44, but mine is slightly different than the ones in this thread. Mine is more of a model 29 clone.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:37 PM
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Astra also made the terminator in 45 colt....here's mine.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WPWarhawk View Post
I just picked up an Astra 44, but mine is slightly different than the ones in this thread. Mine is more of a model 29 clone.
Other than the finish, that one looks just like mine. Mine is the INOX (another name for stainless steel) version. I'll bet you if you take the grips off it you'll find that they are K/L frame round butt in size. That's the biggest physical difference between these and an M29. The M29 has regular N frame size grips, and the Astra has K/L frame size grips.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:07 PM
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Apparently John Jovino was behind the original Astra Terminator and his shop cut down some of these guns. Mine has nice bluing on most of the gun, but no bluing at all on the crown, making me wonder if it was cut down.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:36 PM
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Apparently John Jovino was behind the original Astra Terminator and his shop cut down some of these guns. Mine has nice bluing on most of the gun, but no bluing at all on the crown, making me wonder if it was cut down.
That was my understanding. I forget where I read it but I read somewhere that they couldn't import them with a short barrel due to some part of the GCA of 1968 definitions of a Saturday Night Special, so they brought them in with the longer barrels and then Jovino's shop modified them.

I figured that if a shop like Jovino's was willing to put the effort into modifying them to market them as a custom gun, they had to be pretty decent quality. I got mine in about 90% condition for $350 for father's day this year. Try finding another big bore magnum snubby of decent quality in that kind of condtion for that price. Heck, you can't even buy a beat up bulldog in 44 special for that price.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:39 AM
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Astra firearms are highly regarded in Europe as quality firearms. The company not too long ago was sold to a company in Switzerland. They were offering a new 1911. It wasn't cheap but very well made. I believe every part was forged steel.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:30 AM
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Astra firearms are highly regarded in Europe as quality firearms. The company not too long ago was sold to a company in Switzerland. They were offering a new 1911. It wasn't cheap but very well made. I believe every part was forged steel.
LOL, that's pretty much what I learned from my research - and from feedback from people who do or have OWNED one.

But when I was deciding whether or not to buy one I asked for opinions and got all the usual "feedback" from people who hadn't owned one.

You know the spiel - "Spanish guns suck", "Spanish guns are junk", "Spanish gun makers were all cottage industries", "out of business = no parts", "save your money and buy <insert model here>", blah, blah, blah.

While those opinions are valid for some Spanish gun makers, Astra doesn't seem to be one of then. Neither does Star. BUT the comment about parts being hard to find is valid. However it's just as valid for a LOT of other guns out there - including the really old Smiths.

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Old 10-21-2015, 11:12 AM
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Any information why the Astra's firing pin broke ?
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:58 PM
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Default Some better pics of the Astra Terminator

I have been watching for one of these for years, and found one Monday at a small town Arkansas pawn shop. I believe this is an early gun, possibly one of the Jovino conversions.

Astra 44 Magnum, is not marked TERMINATOR anywhere. This one has a frame profile more like a S&W than others I've seen.


It does have Pachmayr compact grips, barrel length is just a hair over 2 3/4 inches.


Five screw type frame, there is a screw underneath in front of the triggerguard.


Pinned barrel, and front sight base


Recessed chambers


No bluing on the crown, this is what makes me think it could have been a cut down Jovino gun.


The rear sight is broken, I'm going to have to find a replacement, or more likely have this one welded up. Lockup is very tight, when the hammer is cocked this is no movement of the cylinder at all. I'm anxious to shoot it.

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Old 10-22-2015, 02:05 PM
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Nice photo's.....I think you will like your Astra....I remember when they came on the market.....have shot 44 mag's and 41 mag's over the years. Came across the 45 LC version I posted above....never seen a 45 LC Terminator before this one....Mine will hold it's own with any number of Smith 25's I own and Ruger Blackhawks in 45 LC....enjoy your revolver.
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Old 10-23-2015, 06:43 PM
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Don't let the lack of bluing on the crown lead you to believe Jovino's cut that gun down, if, indeed, it was cut down. One of the things that makes Jovino and Behlert guns so desirable is the quality of workmanship. Those guns looked like they could have been factory jobs.
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:09 PM
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Here's a comparison that shows what the full-size guns looked like. It appears there were some frame profile changes over the years - my 6" gun has a rounded corner at the front as compared to the square corner of WPWarhawk's gun. Model 29-2 and its Spanish, American and German cousins

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Old 10-26-2015, 12:28 AM
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Here's an interesting article about the Astra Terminator written in August of 1985 shortly after Jovino started selling them...
Astra Terminator .44 magnum. - Free Online Library
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:16 PM
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Any information why the Astra's firing pin broke ?
Not sure why it broke. Perhaps a bit too much dry firing. The gun still fired just fine. If it had not been for the broken end of the firing pin getting stuck in the "out" position briefly, I would have never even noticed. Fora ll I know I fired hundreds of rounds through it like that.

Gun is still going strong and has claimed the life of many a feral pig since I started this thread...

NQ
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:37 PM
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I see messages posted about the Terminator being attributed to Lew Horton. I emailed them about it, and am posting their response with their permission:

****************Start of pasted text***************************

Hello LC '92!

I occasionally get a question on these. I know there are posts in Wikipedia and on the S&W Collectorís Forum that attribute the Astra 44ís to us. I have no available documentation that supports the Wikipedia and Forum posts. It is possible that those guns were imported in the early 80ís, prior to Lew Hortonís installing our automated gun record system. My automated records go back as far as 1984. To research, weíd have to go back to our paper records, and thatís a service we do not offer.

Sorry I could not be of more service on this one.

Earl Minot
Lew Horton Distributing
Ph: 800-446-7866, ext 230
Fax: 508-366-5332
ERMinot@lewhorton.com
Lew Horton Distributing Co. Inc.

***************End of pasted text************************************

Anybody for sure know when these were made? My serial number starts with an R3 but the Astra serial numbers chart doesn't list an A3 date. It shows R, R1, and R2 as 1947, 1973, and 2000 respectively.

I wonder if Jon Jovino imported these and sold them through his shop. He was already making them in house and had an existing market and an installed base of them. Wish I hadn't gotten rid of my old Gun Digests, I could easily have looked this up.
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LC '92 View Post
I see messages posted about the Terminator being attributed to Lew Horton. I emailed them about it, and am posting their response with their permission:

****************Start of pasted text***************************

Hello LC '92!

I occasionally get a question on these. I know there are posts in Wikipedia and on the S&W Collectorís Forum that attribute the Astra 44ís to us. I have no available documentation that supports the Wikipedia and Forum posts. It is possible that those guns were imported in the early 80ís, prior to Lew Hortonís installing our automated gun record system. My automated records go back as far as 1984. To research, weíd have to go back to our paper records, and thatís a service we do not offer.

Sorry I could not be of more service on this one.

Earl Minot
Lew Horton Distributing
Ph: 800-446-7866, ext 230
Fax: 508-366-5332
ERMinot@lewhorton.com
Lew Horton Distributing Co. Inc.

***************End of pasted text************************************

Anybody for sure know when these were made? My serial number starts with an R3 but the Astra serial numbers chart doesn't list an A3 date. It shows R, R1, and R2 as 1947, 1973, and 2000 respectively.

I wonder if Jon Jovino imported these and sold them through his shop. He was already making them in house and had an existing market and an installed base of them. Wish I hadn't gotten rid of my old Gun Digests, I could easily have looked this up.
I have never seen anyone attribute the Terminator to Lew Horton, but if you click on the link I posted above you'll see an article from August 1985 when the Terminator (both gun and movie) were pretty much new on the scene. That article is just one of the MANY sources I've seen stating that they were a John Jovino creation.

P.S. And just for giggles, here's a picture of mine...
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:25 PM
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Many years back I had a Terminator, and it's one of those "wish I'd never sold it" stories...
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:34 PM
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I had mine out today, the S/N is R3941xx

I still need a rear sight assembly, my local gunsmith did not want to attempt a welding job.
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:02 PM
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Nice looking revolvers..
I've always liked the Astra semi auto pistols and have owned several of those but no revolvers.
Astra like STAR were under rated by most IMO.
Astra had a tremendous revolver market in South America at one time.

Astra went out of business,,bankrupt in '97. STAR the same fate on the same day.
The Spanish Gov't tried a revived combined effort backed w/ gov't funds (sounds familiar) called ASTAR, but that only lasted a year or so.

Astra has been gone since that time.


The current revival of Astra by the Swiss company was a purchase of the name only and the rights to mark and market under it.
Probably won't see many Terminators or Model 400 pistols from them. They don't seem to be the type to mfg good olde days types of guns, but they do make a 1911. Then again who doesn't.

Parts will always be the problem with Astra and also STAR.
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:16 PM
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I'd purchase extra firing pins if I were you.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:55 AM
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Pretty darn neat. I'd never seen one. They do look impressive
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WPWarhawk View Post
I had mine out today, the S/N is R3941xx

I still need a rear sight assembly, my local gunsmith did not want to attempt a welding job.
I'm not sure what you need to be welded but if it is very fine detail find a jewelry store that makes jewelry or repairs jewelry. They use tig welders of a very small nature.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:42 PM
gregintenn gregintenn is offline
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My father had a 6" stainless 44 mag astra. As far as I could tell, it was every bit as high quality as a pinned and recessed s&w. I wish I'd have bought it from him when he decided to sell it.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:26 PM
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On the 1980s TV show "Hunter", the title character used a Terminator in seasons 2 and 3. Quite unusual for an LAPD detective, but television is television.

The Terminator also makes an appearance near the beginning of "Lethal Weapon" during the Christmas Tree/Drug Bust sequence. Bad guy holds his Astra Terminator to Mel Gibson's head.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:48 PM
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On the 1980s TV show "Hunter", the title character used a Terminator in seasons 2 and 3. Quite unusual for an LAPD detective, but television is television.

The Terminator also makes an appearance near the beginning of "Lethal Weapon" during the Christmas Tree/Drug Bust sequence. Bad guy holds his Astra Terminator to Mel Gibson's head.
Looney Clooney also uses one in FROM DUSK TIL DAWN
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:39 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is online now
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I think that bead blast job is very attractive. I bought my model 67
(no dash) a long time ago. It had been abused. I had it bead blasted
and I think it turned out well.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:02 AM
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I think that bead blast job is very attractive. I bought my model 67
(no dash) a long time ago. It had been abused. I had it bead blasted
and I think it turned out well.
It's not mentioned very much, but one of the most economical means of refinishing a gun which needs it is to bead blast as the surface prep, using fine ceramic beads. It can be done very quickly, and not a whole lot of skill is necessary as would be needed for hand polishing. Followed by a dunk in the hot blue tank. I have done numerous handguns and shotguns that way. It produces a satin finish, about like most of the postwar S&W revolvers had.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:36 AM
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"Wish I hadn't gotten rid of my old Gun Digests, I could easily have looked this up."
You can buy a DVD set of all of the GDs published from 1944-2010 (maybe beyond 2010 now) in PDF format. Good to have for reference.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:48 AM
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ATTABOY !
Awesome save, love it !
With a name like "Terminator" I would be tempted to have the infamous line from the movie engraved on it ..." I'll Be Back "
Great save ,
Gary
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jhnttrpp View Post
I'm not sure what you need to be welded but if it is very fine detail find a jewelry store that makes jewelry or repairs jewelry. They use tig welders of a very small nature.
Thanks, I will keep that in mind. I will have to come up with the rear sight blade to weld to the remnants of the original sight.
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:18 PM
JohnRippert JohnRippert is offline
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One just went out on GB this afternoon. Looks to me like someone got a pretty good deal on a .44mag belly gun.


http://www.gunbroker.com/item/675991426
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