Ignacio Zubillaga 9mm Largo Carbine
This is an interesting old 9mm Largo carbine that I purchased at
auction. It is a bolt action magazine fed iron sighted carbine in a
straight style stock. From markings on the carbine I have deduced that
it was manufactured by Ignacio Zubillaga in Eibar some time around 1930
and brought into this country sometime prior to 1968. I have found
mention of this type of carbine in two old articles and interestingly
enough, both mention that the magazine is missing on the specimen
examined; there was no magazine with this carbine either. Here are the
notes that I was able to take before leaving for a one year overseas
- Assembly number '8'
- Bolt body bears Final Proof for Rifled Long Guns.
- Rear bolt knob screws on and should be held in place with a screw that is missing.
- The bolt handle is the only locking lug.
- There is a small cut out in the back of the bolt handle
where it attaches to the bolt body, this engages a mating 'tab' at the
back of the bolts travel to stop the bolt from coming free of the
action during cycling. There appears to be no 'catch' keeping the bolt
in the receiver other than this mating 'cutout' and 'tab' arrangement.
- Assembly number '8'
- Sear is polished steel and bears assembly number '8'.
- Sear spring pushes on a small button that lies in a
trough in the bottom of the bolt body when the bolt handle is raised.
When the bolt handle is lowered the button rests in a small detent in
the bolt body keeping the bolt in position.
- Top of the receiver ring bears a proof mark that
appears to be FAZ within a shield and surmounted by a crown. It also
bears Final Proof for Rifled Long Guns just behind this. Left side
bears the stamp "EIBAR" and "IZ" (Zubillaga, Ignacio) in an oval and
the serial number 111XX.
- There are two screws retaining the receiver in the
stock and both go through the trigger guard, but are not pillar bedded.
When the incorrect rear barrel band was put on the rifle the barreled
action was forced back and split a piece of the stock in the front
receiver screw channel into the magazine well, this will have to be
repaired. One of the articles I found shows action screw sleeves in the
parts diagram, my example does not have these and I will fabricate some
when I return from overseas.
- TRIGGER GUARD
- Assembly number '8'.
- The safety is part of the trigger guard and functions by engaging a 'hook' on the front of the trigger precluding its movement.
- The safety is manipulated with the trigger finger,
pushing it out of the trigger guard to disengage and in to engage ala
- It appears that the magazine would be held in by a catch on the magazine itself by engagement with the floorplate.
- Barrel bears the proofs: Late Eibar House proof mark, Year of
proof code 'D', and Final Proof for Rifled Long Guns. There is an
additional proof on the bottom of the barrel that is poorly stamped and
undecipherable at this time.
- The rear sight is a weird affair that adjusts from 100-600 meters by pulling back and pivoting up or down.
- The front sight is interesting in that it appears to be
formed from a piece of flat stock in the shape of a lollipop with the
'stick' being the front sight base and the front sight integral with
this but smaller. There is a screw going from right to left through
this above the barrel at that bottom of the stick. This screw appears
to be applying tension to the whole affair and keeping it on the
- Barrel is 20" long and has six lands and grooves in a right hand twist.
- Assembly number '8' in barrel channel and action recess.
- The stock is a straight stock with finger grooves between the floor plate and rear barrel band.
- The rear band as provided with the rifle is incorrect.
The correct band should be secured with a screw from the bottom and be
approx ¾" wide.
- The front barrel band was missing at the time of
purchase but appears to be secured by screws from either side or a pin
though the entire stock.
- There is a 1" swivel in the butt of the rifle that is screwed into the stock.
- There was no butt plate provided, but it is secured with two screws and is slightly curved.
- Stock appears to be hand fitted as there is evidence of chisel marks in the action recess.
When 9mm Largo ammunition was hard to find in quantity shooters regularly
fired other cartridges such as the 9mm Luger, 9mm Steyr, 9mm Browning Long,
etc in their 9mm Largo firearms. Many dealers and distributors also claimed
the firearms would fire all of these and more. This however is not a prudent
practice to engage in. The Destroyer Carbine, like all firearms using straight
walled cartridges, headspaces on the mouth of the cartridge. When a cartridge
shorter than the 23mm of the 9mm Largo is used, the cartridge case cannot
headspace against the end of the chamber. This leaves only the extractor
to hold the cartridge case against the breechface allowing the firing pin
to impact the primer. This causes excessive wear and stress on the extractor,
too much freebore (the distance from the bullet to the beginning of the
rifling), and scoring of the chamber walls. The result of these abnormalities
can result in broken/misshapen extractors, poor accuracy, and the inability
to chamber and extract correct size cases.
The use of cartridges that produce too much chamber pressure is also
discouraged. Yes, the .38 Super and 9x23mm Winchester will chamber in most
9mm Largo firearms, and if they will chamber they will fire. The metallurgy
and design of the Destroyer Carbine was not developed to handle the pressure
of these rounds. Use of these type cartridges in the Destroyer Carbine
risks damage to the carbine and possibly yourself through a ruptured chamber
and/or bolt lug failure.
Ammunition in 9mm Largo is now available from a number of sources. Surplus
ammunition is now coming into the country in shootable quantities and is
available at some gunshops, many gunshows, and via mailorder. Factory new
9mm Largo ammunition is being made by CCI in their Blazer line (product
number 3513) with a 124g Gold Dot Hollow Point bullet. If you reload; RCBS
makes dies in 9mm Largo (product number 56665), these are not a normally
stocked item and require special order. You can also utilize 9x23mm Winchester
dies to reload 9mm Largo, the exterior case dimensions are almost identical.
Starline also produces virgin 9mm Largo brass for reloading. Gone are the
days of manufacturing cases out of .223 Remington (done that, not fun),
9mm Winchester Magnum (done that, much easier) or other cases.
An advertisement from the 1958 issue of Golden State Arms World's Guns and Other Weapons.
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