Sunday, August 7, 2011

Deadly Ballester Molina

Army and Weapons | Deadly Ballester Molina | The Ballester-Molina pistol was designed and built by the Argentine company Hispano Argentina SA Fábrica de Automotores (HAFDASA). The Ballester was originally called the Ballester-Rigaud (ca. 1938-1940). The Ballester was designed for the Argentine police and military a less expensive alternative to the Pistola Colt Modelo 1927, himself a licensed copy of the Colt M1911A1 (and was built under the supervision of the Colt engineers) has to offer. Production of the Ballester-Molina began in 1938 and ceased in 1953.
The company history dates back to 1929 when two Spanish businessmen, Arturo Ballester and Eugenio Molina, a branch of the Spanish Hispano-Suiza was founded in Buenos Aires. A few years later, HAFDASA hired two engineers, French Rorice Rigaud, and Carlos Ballester Molina, a relative of the founders. Rigaud was the chief designer of the company, while the Ballester-Molina was appointed chief executive officer.
Because the Ballester-Molina was designed to serve alongside the M1927 at that time was in the Argentine service, bears a striking resemblance to the Colt M1911A1. The Ballester-Molina and M1911 share an identical 7-round magazine, barrel, recoil spring, barrel and bus. While many other parts look identical at first glance, they are not. Many parts are adaptable, however. The Ballester was also known as the "Hafdasa" after the initials of the company that created it.
In 1936, in response to the request DGME, HAFDASA began designing and manufacturing small arms. There was nothing revolutionary about the work of HAFDASA's. The factory is a pattern of adapting existing designs to the requirements of the Argentine military and police use of indigenous materials in the production of HAFDASA opportunities to meet. To this end, in 1936, HAFDASA unveiled a semiautomatic carbine based on the Beretta M1918/30 in calibers 9x19mm and .45 ACP.
After the introduction of the two carbines, the DGME HAFDASA asked for a pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge to serve as a (bottom produced) replacement for the .45 ACP pistol then employed by the Argentine military and police production. The contract requires HAFDASA to produce than a pistol along the general lines of the Modelo 1916 and 1927 Colt pistols in service and barrels and magazines that are interchangeable with those pistols have.
HAFDASA the engineers began work on this contract in late 1936/early 1937. The decision was taken on the original design of Browning to facilitate and economize production along the same lines as two Spanish companies Bonifacio Echeverria, SA (Star) and Gabilondo y Cia, SA (Llama). The main changes made by these companies were the elimination of the grip safety, a backstrap integral to the frame, and a running tractor with a side mounted sear bar and disconnector. These changes, as applied to the Star Model B pistol of particular influence to HAFDASA designers.
Consequently, while the completed design HAFDASA bore a strong external resemblance to the Colt M1911A1, only the barrel and magazine are interchangeable with the Colt pistol. Note: Barrels and magazines made by HAFDASA are identified by the marking "HA" in a diamond. The following is a list of HAFDASA differnces between the gun and the M1911A1:

a) The hammer strut on HAFDASA gun is much shorter than that of the M1911A1.
b) The firing pin stop on the HAFDASA gun did not sink into the side as it is on the M1911A1.
c) The security lock on the gun is HAFDASA redesigned with a larger diameter pin, and it can be applied with the hammer fully down or tense.
d) The mainspring housing on the HAFDASA integeral gun is a part of the frame.
e) The gun has a rotating HAFDASA tractor with an extension to the right side that cams the side mounted disconnector and sear the switch.
f) The magazine catch on the gun HAFDASA different composition.
g) The HAFDASA gun has no slide stop disassembly notch.
HAFDASA the pistol was adopted as the Argentine military service pistol in 1938. Early pistols were marked "Pistola Automatica Calibre .45 Ballester-Rigaud, Modelo DGME 1938." These early guns have check ring on the back strap and handles, and there are twenty fine slide retraction grooves, as on the M1911A1. The slide right side is marked with the Argentine crest and the text "Ejercito Argentino."
The next iteration of the HAFDASA pistol were modified to accelerate and thus save on the production: the back strap check ring was replaced by horizontal serrations, the wooden grips had long vertical serrations, and the fine slide retraction grooves were replaced by groups of vertical grooves on each separated by large gaps. Additionally, the Modelo 1938 designation dropped, and the pistol was now known as the "Pistola Ballester-Rigaud. "
At some point between 1940 and 1942, HAFDASA changed the brand of the gun "Ballester-Rigaud" to "Ballester-Molina," with the change reflected in the markings on the slide of the gun. HAFDASA simultaneously began to plastic rather than wooden handles used on the gun. It was also around this time that HAFDASA received an order from the British government for between 8,000 and 10,000 .45 caliber pistols. Payment for these pistols was made, in part, with steel supplied by the British Government. Due to the scarcity of raw materials in Argentina due to World War II, it is very likely that the steel was of U.S. origin supplied to England via Lend-Lease, and not before March 11, 1941. According to Alejandro Gherovici, noted expert on Argentine service pistols, no steel salvaged from the pocket battleship Graf Spee or other warships was used to access the contract or any other HAFDASA guns to produce. Production of the British guns began to contract in 1942 and lasted until mid 1944. British Contract guns are easy to identify a serial number when preceded by a "B," between 12,000 and 21,000 serial number range.
After the end of the British Contract HAFDASA kept guns for the Argentine government and commercial use production until 1953. Beginning in 1947, had HAFDASA guns were pushed into use by the Argentine Sistema Colt M1927 pistol DGFM, a clone of the M1911A1. While HAFDASA guns began to be withdrawn from service in the Argentine 1960's, many served until the mid 1980s when they were eventually replaced and sold as surplus on the U.S. market. It is believed that between 80,000 and 90,000 HAFDASA produced .45 caliber pistols.
Type: Self Loading Locked Breech semiautomatic pistolOperation System: RecoilCaliber: 11.43x23mm (.45 ACP)Capacity: 7 +1 roundsSights: Fixed blade front, notch rear drift adjustable for windage losses