I had the opportunity to test and shoot a small Astra Cub Model 2000 pocket pistol extensively. This one was made in 1956 (proof code "B.2"), was chambered for the formidable bunker-buster cartridge .22 short, and came with two chromed magazines.
1. Even the .22 short can make a lot of smoke on a dark winter evening.
2. The gun is extremely (!) ammo dependent. This refers both to feeding and accuracy.
3. This tiny pocket pistol shoots *much* better than its bearer usually can, and will indeed outshoot many an un-tuned military 1911A in .45 ACP.
4. With the .22 short ammo that it liked best, the pistol would reliably and repeatably group 10 shots into a single hand's size cluster at 25 metres distance on an ISSF pistol bullseye target (yes, that's metres, not feet). Shot two-handed from a rest.
With ammo that it did not like, group size tripled or quadrupled.
5. One *can* indeed aim with the tiny sights.
6. Reliability of this specific pocket gun was problematic (lack of transfer bar <-> sear engagement; so after each shot the hammer had to be recocked manually by a few mms in order to make transfer bar and sear engage into each other).
I've got one of those. My first pistol, as a matter of fact. I never could hit a damned thing with mine, but maybe I should try again; haven't fired it for 30 years! I remember it as being the loudest gun I own; barrel length around 2 and 1/8 inches.
With my Cub, I only have to make sure that I use high velocity .22 Short. Other than that, it reliably digests anything I have fed it. I am always amazed at the accuracy from the tiny barrel and seemingly loose barrel retention system. I love to chase rocks, cans , and squirrels with mine. Is a great little pocket gun during the summer. I drop mine in my shorts pocket if I go walking. Not a serious defense gun by any means but certainly better than throwing a rock.
I should talk about this a bit. When I looked over the Astra Cub in .22 short I saw immediately that the .22 chambering was an afterthought, clearly the gun and magazine was designed for the .25 ACP. Then I noticed that the follower was longer than it needed to be to function, in my opinion.
The list of things I did to get the mag to accept 7 rounds;
1. I milled .150" off the top of the follower, this duplicated the original in all respects except that the angle was increased another 7 degrees to account for the one extra rim diameter. It was calculated on the fly by intuition, I don't know if 7 degrees was too much or not enough, but I do know it functions reliably.
2. The based plate spring guide was shortened about .070" and the chamfer restored by hand.
3. The bottom of the follower got the same treatment, and also the spring guide stud was recessed where the spring rests to take a bit of pressure off the spring. I reasoned that the spring was at full "crunch", BTW, the coil spring should never take a set at full compression in these.
4. The slot in the mag was lengthened at both ends to accept the longer movement, the upper end was carefully recessed just deep enough to accept the extra extension of the button.
Nothing I did effects the use of 6 rounds, all changes were made to the magazine itself. It runs the full 7 rounds without a problem, and I don't forsee any problems in the future. As to why they didn't make them that way I can only see the case stack angle problem as a reason, the last round takes judicious use of a fingernail against the rim to get it to go back. Not a big deal in reality, loading the first 6 is no picnic.
Can someone please help me? I bought an Astra Cub 2000 automatic pistol at an auction yesterday. I can't seem to find any info on it. It has an extended barrel and is a part of the assembly. As you can see, the paperwork shows the snub nosed model and I can't find anything on the longer nose. I am trying to upload a picture--hope it works. Thanks.
Last edited by jmathis1026; 10-18-2008 at 12:36 PM.
Reason: add more info
Leonardo Antaris wrote a book - Astra Automatic Pistols. There is a chapter on Astra 2000s in which he says the Camper was offerd from 1954 to 1966. The Camper differd from other Cubs by having different grips and drift adj. rear sight (along w/ 4" barrel). You can tell which year your gun was made by using the alphabetic proof code. Z = 1954 A1=1955 B1=1956 etc
Maybe some reader can help with a quotation from Antaris' authoritative Astra book. In the meantime, I'll try to give just a bit of additional information from Albrecht Simon's "Selbstladepistolen aus dem Baskenland" (2005):
p. 81: Rather rarely found is the version "Camper", an Astra 2000 in .22 short with a 4" barrel and a dovetailed rear sight. It was built until 1966.
The letter code of the Eibar proof house will give you the production year.
These are great little guns.
They made the short barrel versions for Colt, as the "Junior Colt" in .22 short and .25 ACP. The gun was also made in a slightly larger version in .22 LR for European sale. Unfortunately, Astra is no longer in business.