Star Modelos Super

A brief history of the Star Modelos Super.

First a brief note on reference material for Star Pistols. The Star factory had a habit of changing characteristics on it's firearms without changing model names. Therefore you may find conflicting information than given here, and your Star may exhibit characteristics not mentioned here.

The Star Modelos Super were produced by the firm of Star Bonifacio Echeverria S.A. in Eibar, Spain.

After World War II the engineers at Star dusted off the plans for the Modelo M (9mm Largo/38 ACP) and decided some improvements were in order. The Modelo M continued to be produced, but the Modelos Super made improvements on its design and were produced from 1946 until 1983 when it was discontinued. Over its life, the Supers were offered in seven chamberings. In 1946 the Super M was debuted in 9mm Largo and 38 Super, soon the Modelo A (9mm Largo) underwent 'Superization' to become the Super A. Later that year the Modelo C (9mm Browning Long) was 'Superized as well, but was only produced in limited trial quantities. The Modelo B (9mm Luger) was also modified in this year to become the Super B. The year 1948 saw the addition of the Modelos SI (.32 ACP), and S (.380 ACP, 22 ozs.). In 1950 the Modelo D (.380 ACP, smaller than a Super S) was modified, in 1958 the Modelo P (.45 ACP) and finally in 1971 the Modelo SM (.380 ACP with adjustable rear sight) was modified. Production of all Super Models continued until 1983, except for the Super C (1946 only), Super D (1950 only) and Super P (1958 only).

The Super A and Super M were produced concurrently in 9mm Largo and .38 ACP. The two differences in these models is an enlarged breech face on the Super M that will allow the semi-rimmed .38 ACP cartridge to fully chamber and the Super A weighing 2ozs. less than the Super M. These pistols have their barrels marked 9mm/38.

There were 8 changes made to the basic pistol designs to make them Super models.

  1. addition of a loaded chamber indicator
  2. addition of a full magazine indicator in the magazine
  3. sights were changed by the addition of white inlay to improve target acquisition in low light
  4. recoil spring was made captive on the spring guide
  5. swinging barrel link (M1911 style) was replaced with a cam system (Browning Hi-Power style)
  6. addition of a quick takedown lever to the right side
  7. magazine safety was changed
  8. trigger system was changed
The magazine safety of the Super is an interesting design. When the magazine is inserted it forces the takedown lever to the right (out), moving a shoulder out of the sear's path of movement. When the magazine is removed the takedown lever moves to the left (in) blocking the sear's path of movement.

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Many people mistake the 'S.A.' in the Star name and stamped on the slide of Star pistols to be a model designation. I constantly see Star pistols listed on online auction sites as "Star Model S.A. 9mm pistol." These normally turn out to be Star Modelo A, B, and Super pistols. The 'S.A.' is actually a Spanish abbreviation for 'Sociedad Anónima', the English equivalent would be 'corporation' or 'incorporated.' As with other late Star pistols, model types can be determined by looking at the butt of the pistol. This, combined with the caliber will tell which model of Super you have. Modelo Super Bs are marked 'B Super', but I don't know about the other Supers. With a .380 ACP model you also have to take note of weight and sights; the S weighs 22ozs, the D is lighter than this, and the SM has an adjustable rear sight.

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The year of production on Star firearms can be approximated by the Year of Proof Codes. The pistol should have been proofed shortly after manufacture, and surely not before. This is normally located on the left side of the frame forward of the slide stop.

The Star Modelos Super are disassembled much like other Browning High Power style pistols. The Supers have been out of production for many years now and there are no known stocks of new parts for them. Used parts, however, are available from a variety of sources. An exploded parts diagram is available to help identify the various parts of the pistol. An Adobe PDF file of the original Spanish owner's manual is available (22.8Mb) as is an English translation of the complete disassembly instructions.

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 Star Modelos A and M, like all pistols firing straight walled cartridges, headspace 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 Modelo Super were not developed to handle the pressure of these rounds. Use of these type cartridges in the Modelo Super risks damage to the pistol and possibly yourself through a ruptured chamber, fractured slide, or fractured frame.

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.

Star Pistol Timeline
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Dave Berry wrote and article concerning the Star Super in 1994, a copy of the article can be viewed here.

Custom Compact
Star Super-A

Custom Compact
Star Super-A

Custom Compact
Star Super-A

Custom Compact
Star Super-A

Partial Image of
Star Super-A box

Star Super-A
box label

Star Super-A
box top,
sold with Super-B

Super A manual
remarked for
sale with Super B

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