Spain's Destroyer: a teensy-weensy Mauser.

Author:Bodinson, Holt
Position:SURPLUS LOCKER
 
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One of the most appealing and, yes, intriguing carbines ever to enter the milsurp stream is Spain's little "Destroyer." Looking a bit hike a scaled down Model 93 Spanish Mauser, it is the only surplus bolt-action carbine I know of specifically built around and chambered for a variety of rimless automatic pistol cartridges including the 9mm Bergmann, 9mm Luger, .38 ACE and .38 Super. Shooting light-recoiling pistol cartridges from a Mauser-looking carbine places the Destroyer in the ranks of one of the all-time great fun guns.

Very little is known about the Destroyer model. In Franco's Spain, I saw the carbine carried by local police, game personnel and, if my memory serves me right, by the omnipresent Guardia Civil. There are no maker's marks on any of the pieces I have examined, although in his book, Bolt Action Rifles, Frank de Hass quotes an article by J.B. Wood indicating the Destroyers were made in Eibar by Gaztanaga y Compania and Ayra Duria S.A. and were still being produced well into the 1960s.

The front receiver ring on my current Destroyer merely carries an attractive picture of a destroyer-looking gunship with the words "Destroyer" and "Trade Mark" encircling the ship. It carries the importer's name, "C.A.I. ST. ALB. VT" (Century Arms Int.), and "Made in Spain" on the right receiver wall. The left receiver wall carries a serial number and the caliber, in this case, "CAL 9mm BERGMANN."

In truth, the Destroyer carbine makes a lot of sense. The 9mm Bergmann cartridge, also known as the 9mm Bergmann-Bayard, 9mm Bayard and 9mm Largo, was Spain's preeminent military and police pistol and submachine gun cartridge for most of the 20th century. It is loaded with a standard 9mm-diameter bullet and the case is 23mm long, making it essentially a 9x23 with a little less horsepower.

The 9mm Bergmann was chambered in handgun models like the 1908 Bergmann-Bayard, 1913 Campo Giro, 1921 Astra Model 400, and 1911-type clones by Star and Llama as well as the Star Models Z-45 and Z-62, Parinco Model 3R, and the A.S.A.S.A. Model 1953 submachine guns.

Having a short, light, accurate little carbine chambered for the same cartridge and possibly using the same magazine as your service pistol, must have been comforting to the local gendarmerie.

While it hasn't been imported for a while, the Destroyer carbine is not uncommon and turns up frequently at guns shows. De Hass mentions seeing four different models. The earliest model features a cylindrical...

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