"Ballester Molina" .45 ACP Pistol: Facts and Legends

Discussion in 'General Handgun' started by JUNKER, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Hi I have seen that several of you have guns Ballester Molina .45 ACP made in Argentina ...
    I want to tell you some interesting facts about these weapons ... For this work I have consulted some websites, magazines and also some things to remember again heard or seen .
    I hope my work interests them...

    Ballester Molina pistols, caliber 11.25 mm (or .45 ACP) were built by the factory called (HAFDASA), which means: “Hispano - Argentina Fábrica de Automóviles Sociedad Anónima” (Hispanic - Argentina Automobile Plant Corporation), which was actually a subsidiary of the famous Hispano - Suiza car factory (a factory known for manufacturing very expensive and exclusive cars in Europe) ... Dedicated at first to those things, manufactured in Argentina several engine models (for trucks, cars and marine use) and some models of tractors, trucks and cars ...

    Later, he left these items and start with the “small guns” factory. Its most famous product, was the pistol “Ballester Molina” or “Ballester – Rigaud” .45 ACP caliber. -
    Since the beginning of production, these pistols were adopted by the Army, Navy, Prefecture, Gendarmerie, Police and other Federal and Provincial Agencies in Argentina. And also was exported to another Latino American countries and to the UK in World War II. period, as will be seen. -
    By the time, the gun crew in the armed forces of my country, was call Colt Gun System 11, 25 mm (.45 ACP), - not a "clone" of the Colt pistol-, but practically the same "Colt" from this gun factory. It was named the model system 1927, and was manufactured under license in my country, in National States Factories (FM “Fabricaciones Militares)” from 1944 until the latest '60s. -

    Picture of a Ballester Molina (no original finish)
    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    The condition imposed to “H.A.F.D.S.A.”, on the pistol Ballester Molina, was that its some parts, were interchangeable with those of the aforementioned Colt Gun System (Argentina), or the same gun "Colt" original (which also was bought in large quantities by the Argentine government directly to the American factory, before obtaining licenses to produce them at home) ...
    As a result, the barrel, the magazine, and other parts are interchangeable between the two guns and other clones ...
    We present some interesting, for example, the grips of the Ballester Molina can not be placed in a Colt or Colt system, but the grips of the Colt pistols can be placed in a gun Ballester Molina ...
    The Ballester Molina pistol was always in blue finish and with “long serrated” grips in oak wood…

    Regarding the serial numbers to determine what year a “Ballester Molina” was made, should consider these facts:
    The number of smaller known manufacturing series is the number 00075 and the larger number is the number 108,000.
    This gun began to make in 1938, and production ended in 1953. -
    Considering these data we can say that:
    Serial Number 001 to 12,000 from 1938-1942
    Number 12,000 23,000 Series from 1942 to 1944
    Series Number 23,000 108,000 from 1944-1953
    We must calculate that during the years 1944 and 1953 the production of guns was approximately 10,000 per year. -
    With these data, we can get the approximate date of manufacture of the gun....

    picture nº 2 Right side
    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Regarding the legend has it in his slide reads:

    ºº0PISTOLA AUTOMATICA CAL.45 FABRICADA POR HAFDASA 0ºº
    PATENTES INTERNACIONALES
    BALLESTER MOLINA
    INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA

    Many of these guns were manufactured for sale to the civilian market ...
    More were used by armed and security forces of my country, for that reason, on the right side of the slide, in many cases you can read the name of the force where the weapon was in service:
    Aeronautica Argentina = Aeronautics Argentina (Air Force)
    Armada Argentina = Argentine Navy
    Ejército Argentino = Argentine Army

    A lot Police Forces (for example)

    "Federal Police"
    Gendarmería Nacional = Gendarmerie Nationale (Frontiers Guard)
    Prefectura Naval = Coast Guard ... etc.

    These legends were accompanied with Shield Institution was used the pistol..
    Most of these weapons are already obsolete and were sold by such institutions as lag, found mostly in the hands of collectors and shooters ...

    It was the fourth gun adopted by the Argentine Army: The first was the *Mannlicher model 1905 cal. 7.63 mm;
    · The second was the Colt 1911 pistol cal. 0.45
    · The third was the Colt 1927 Gun System, cal. 11.25 m/m
    · And the fourth the Ballester Molina cal. 45 (or 11.25 m/m), in conjunction with the service Colt Colt 1911 A1 and 1927 System
    The first guns were the following legend:

    45 Cal Pistola Aut
    Ballester - Rigaud
    Model D.G.M.E. 1938
    Made by Hispano-Argentina
    F.D.A.S.A. Buenos Aires
    Industria Argentina

    There were a model in 22 LR Cal, for use in instructions, and for the civil market…. Some pistols were made directly in 22 cal, another ones were recalibrated from .45 to 22 cal., by smalls Argentines factories that take the work under petitions of few government agencies (just like Federal police, for example)…

    The English Contract:

    This gun was also sold on the international market ...
    Thisgun was sold to Uruguay, Perú, ….
    The contract best known brand is made with the government of Great Britain, during the years of World War II ...
    There were a lot of stories and legends about this contract

    During 1943 HAFDASA received a contract to supply pistols from the British government.
    The U.S. military attache in Buenos Aires, Reports that cuantity can be calculated between 15000 and 20000 units .... Other data say about 10,000 guns were made and exports to UK...
    None of these weapons returned to Argentina ...
    Almost all the Argentine Private collectors do not know this pistol, and apparently were sold as military lag in USA after the war….
    The pistol is “just the same”… but have some different marks…

    Legends about the “Ballester Molina”:

    * The guns were manufactured using “German steel” taken from the sunken ship " Admiral Graff Spee" ... This is wrong, the German battleship sunk, still continuing in the Rio de la Plata (between the coasts of Argentina and Uruguay) and remains an important and dangerous obstacle to shipping ...

    * The British chose this gun because it has no “safety grip” as the Colt 45, 1911 A1 ... because of that, performance was superior in the desert (where UK apparently used this weapon to fight against German troops) .... I also believe that inaccurate, USA army also fought in that theater, and never knew that the Colt 1911 suffered bindings for getting dust inside the safety grip housing ... Apparently, in Dunkerke, the English lost much war material and replace it, among other things buying Ballester Molina .... should be more comfortable for the English government say “…this gun is better” ... to say: “…I had to leave everything in Dunkerke “...

    * It is true that building these pistols England sent steel to Argentina, by sea, and that these quantity were higher than really necessary, taking into account the sinking Allied by German submarines ...

    * Some claim that General Montgomery himself spoke wonderful things about the “Ballester Molina” (well… is difficult to confirm ... I could never ask directly to Mr. Montgomery, what thought about this gun) ...

    * Another thing difficult to confirm, is that these weapons were used by British Special/ Secrets Forces, to secrets operations (specifically by the SOE)...
    · What is certain is that after the Second World War, these weapons were sold as surpluss in USA

    * Having started in my country a revolutionary process that ended with the dismissal in 1955 who was then President of Argentina General Juan Domingo Perón (called “Revolución Libertadora”), some legends say that his wife, Eva Duarte de Peron "Evita" (deceased in 1952), had bought several hundred Ballester Molina pistols to defend General Perón against his opponents. These guns were intended for "Evita Foundation"… so that foundation officials, defending the government of Peron ... These guns would be identified by wearing a shield (like Evita Foundation) of two hands clasped under a rising sun (figure III) ... This is inaccurate, this shield belonged to the factory itself, and shows no sign of belonging to any government agency or institution ...

    * Some of these weapons (pistols and carbines manufactured by HAFDASA), were sent (to show support) to the Government of Bolivia during the attack that country suffered by the guerrilla Chief, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his followers ... These weapons were used by Bolivian Rangers (trained by Rangers USA) who finally captured and shot Guevara along with most of his mercenaries ... I could not confirm this last story ...

    · These are some of the marks that can be found in a Ballester Molina ...

    Picture number 3 Some Marks

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    · (I) within a diamond are drawn the letters "H" and "A" as main acronyms Hispano - Argentina (the factory name), located in the bottom of the barrel ... Some people say that this diamond indicated that the barrel had been built with special steel imported by England during WWII ... That's inaccurate as seen

    · (II) Drawing of the National Cockade, is minted in the original magazines

    · (III) represented two hands Shield taper down a rising sun (this said, is that mingles with the Shield "Evita Foundation"), and many people believe that this shield indicates that the gun was aimed at the place ...

    · The first pistols were marked on it slide as "Ballester Rigaud" ... It's exactly the same, Rigaud was the name of an engineer working in the factory as Head of Industrial Plant ... Then the guns were marked as Ballester Molina ...

    · Sources Consulted:


    Well I hope they serve all this information ... To make this short, I consulted journals published in Espanish language:
    1) Magnum Armas Magazine: March 2002; No 150
    2) Magnum Armas Magazine: August 2003, Nº 167
    3) Voice: "H.A.F.A.D.A.S.A" (Wikipedia): es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispano-Argentina (pictures about cars models & trucks, can be see there, too)
    4) .: Full Aventura :. : Voice: "Ballester Molina"
    5) Report by "Alex Gherovici" American collector. Specialist in military guns (which has several works published in English)
    6) Photos, drawings and narration own (pardon my English)

    Google Traslator help me a lot... (I think)
    Good Luck
  2. cjleete

    cjleete G&G Enthusiast

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    All very good information. My uncle owned one of these back in the 1970's, He tought me shooting and allowed me to shoot it often, so my memories of this pistol are good.
    Thanks for the fascinating history.
  3. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    If you want to buy one now, I think Sarco, Inc. has a number of them.
  4. DocAitch

    DocAitch G&G Regular

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    Thanks for the information. I have been tempted by these over the years but never made the jump despite the excellent reputation of this firearm.
    As an aside, I have always been amused by the switching of the name of this firearm to "Ballerina Molester".
    DocAitch
  5. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thanks Cjleete, Cyrano, Doc Aitch, for your feedback .... I'm glad you guys are interested in history has this gun ...
    I did not know that there was called "Ballerina Molester" ... Lol ...
    Now, it is very difficult to find in Argentina one in good condition ... the best I could saw is the one I have, which is not original because it is chrome finished ...
    I think I have to go buy one at Sarco, but it will be difficult to get the gun on the plane to return to my country ... Lol ... What can I said to the police? (I was walking on the street... and the pistol start to follow me... like a dog) LOL
    I wanted to add something else ... I read that in the USA, these weapons and Colt Sistem, are sold as "refurbished material" .. or material inspected at the factory .... That's not true, generally these weapons are in very good condition, because they were for many years held (some ones just "stored") by the armed forces with little or no use ... But never again returned to the factory or be checked ... The place where was Ballester Molina Factory, is just a particular apartment building now (in "Campichuelo street" in Buenos Aires City)
    Thanks for reading the topic Good Luck ...
  6. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    I want to get a Ballester-Molina myself, but I expect by the time I have the cash to pay for one, they will all have been sold.
  7. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Ballester Molinas are very hard to find around here too now ... Most are in poor condition ... I read that in your country the "ATF" is listed as: "curiosity and relic" ... or something like that...
    * I hope you have good luck ... regards
  8. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    Junker, what "Curio & Relic" means in the USA is that according to the regulations promugated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the gun in question meets these criteria:

    1. They were manufactured after 1898. (If manufactured before then, they are considered "antiques" and fall under a different section of the law. This applies to the date of manufacture, NOT to the date of design. (Example: a Colt Model 1873 Peacemaker manufactured in 1873 is an antique; a replica made yesterday to the original specifications, identical in every way, is considered a modern pistol.)

    2. They were manufactured more than 50 years ago; OR

    3. They were manufactured by a nation that no longer exists.

    Thus, you have situations like this: An East German Makarov pistol is considered a "C&R" (Curio & Relic) pistol, while its identical Romanian cousin is considered a modern pistol. Or, a 9x18 CZ-82 pistol made in Czechoslovakia is a C&R gun, while its .380 ACP brother the CZ-83 made in the Czech Republic, identical in everything but caliber, identical to the point all the parts but the barrel are the same and the magazines are interchangeable with no modification, is considered a modern pistol.

    You also run across cases like this: a Winchester Model 70 made in 1962 is considered a C&R gun, while a 1963 Model 70 is not. Weird, right? But that's governmnet regulations at work.

    The Ballester-Molinas fall under the "more than 50 years old" rule. That means up here that, if you have obtained a Class 3 Curio & Relic Federal Firearms License, you can buy them from online gun dealers outside your home state and (in states that allow it) have them shipped directly to you. In many states, you aren't allowed to have pistols shipped directly to you on a Class 3 C&R. You can buy them, but you have to have them shipped to a Class 1 FFL dealer and pick them up from him, and pay him a transfer fee, and pay the state tax on the purchase price just as though you had bought it over the counter from the Class 1 FFL holder.

    C&R longarms are another matter. Those, you can have shipped directly to you on your C&R license everywhere, except a few gun-hostile cities like New York City and Chicago.

    I hope this explains the C&R definition, Junker.
  9. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thanks Cyrano: Your explanation is just: "Excellent" ...
    You are talking like a lawyer !!!...
    I had read about the "legal description" ... but I did not know its exact meaning ... I thought that rating, just added extra collection value to the gun ... Thanks for the clarification .. good Luck
  10. Machodoc

    Machodoc G&G Newbie

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    Senor Junker -

    Muchas gracias por la informacion de las Ballester-Molinas. Ha sido muy amable.

    I just subscribed to this board, primarily to thank you for this information. I am a collector of Curio and Relic firearms, and was formerly in the United States Navy. I recently bought Ballester-Molina serial number 429xx, which was originally made for the Armada Argentina. This one has excellent original finish, and still shows some traces of gold/gilt inside the lettering and navy [ARA] markings that are stamped into it. I think that it is in the best condition of any armada pistol that I have seen in person, or in photos.

    This pistol also has a series of German proof stamps on it. Have you ever encountered any of those, or do you know any factual explanation for them? I've heard romantic stories of young Argentines taking these pistols to Germany in order to join the German armed forces, but I find those accounts to be questionable. If the data on serial numbers is correct, mine was made post-WWII, rather than during the war. What would make more sense to me would be that an Argentine naval officer might have been sent to Germany as part of the process by which some ARA vessels were contracted to be built by German shipyards after the war. It would be nice to know the truth about this, however, and your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Best regards to you, Sir!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  11. blaster

    blaster G&G Enthusiast

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    great info Junker. you did your research. I have heard the legend of the steel from the German battle ship before. I always wondered how true it was. now I know.
  12. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    Hard to argue one way or another if you or nobody you know owned one. I can only say, if they are good, how come nobody I know has one?
  13. Felix's Tattoo

    Felix's Tattoo G&G Regular

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    Buenos noches, Sr. Junker! In my collection I have one of the original American-made Colt Model 1927, #6859 , and I believe that the lst 10,000 of them were made here in the Connecticut factory. Mine has the rampant Colt insignia on the left side, with "COLT PT FA MFG CO. HARTFORD,CT USA. Nest line is PAT'D APRIL 20, 1897,SEPT 9, 1902, DEC 19, 1905,FEB14, 1911, AUG 19, 1913. To the right of all this is the rampant Colt. One the right side it is marked "Ejercito Argentina" and next line is Colt Cal.45 Mod. 1927. To the left of this is the official seal with the wreath and grasping hands, etc. It is serial numbered just forward of the rear sight, on top of the barrel and viewed through the ejection port, and inside somewhere (I've forgotten.)

    It is a dandy shooter. I have also had the HAFDASA and the Ballester Rigaud. They were also great shooters. The Rigaud I recently gave to a friend of mine. It had been parkerized before it left for America.

    Thanks for the history lesson.
  14. K75RT

    K75RT G&G Enthusiast

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    Junker,
    Thank you so much for the lesson on the B-M. Here is a picture of my Ballester.. a great shooter
    [​IMG]
  15. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thank you Mr. "Machodoc" about his comments on my summary ...
    Ballester Molina pistols were very well built. The one you have, apparently was made after WWII, as you say ...
    The Marina Argentina, did not receive a large amount of guns Ballester Molina ... That's because after the war, Argentina bought some disused boats to the USA Navy, like "USS Phoenix" (CL-46 Class Brooklyn, who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor), later renamed here as "ARA General Belgrano" (only one warship sunk in all history by a nuclear submarine during the war of Malvinas) ... These USA Warship, came equipped with pistols Colt 45 (Made in USA) as part of their equipment. That´s why, Navy Argentina, did not need to bought a big quantities of ´45 guns, as well as the Army or the Air Force ...
    With regard to your question about Argentine officers, who served in Germany during WWII ... I do not think that's true ...
    The Marina Argentina, did not have much connection with the German Navy. Rather, it was common for many Navy officers, were to do refresher courses to England or even to USA ... from which came most of the military equipment available to my country, during those times ...
    There were military personnel (personally knew a Sergeant), which was to take courses in Germany during the war (Antiaircraft Artillery personnel) ... but it was unusual that ...
    Was common for the crew, travel to the country where the ship was going to get bought (a relative of mine, traveled to USA, to remove a warship bought there, in 1910, "Battleship Rivadavia") ...
    Regarding Argentina Air Force, after WWII, many German aces (including Adolf Galland and Hans U. Rüdell), came to Argentina with Kurt Tank, to develop a jet plane, and train pilots in flight combat ...
    I've never seen German marks in Ballester Molina pistols, or other built here ...
    I'm very interested in those marks. I´ll try to talk with some friends about this, to find something about that ...
    Thank you for your comments
    I send a greeting, and Welcome to the Forum
    Good Luck
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  16. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thanks "Blaster": That's the truth ... lol
    The Graff Spee, is still sunk in the Rio de la Plata
    It is an obstacle to navigation
    Were recovered some things ... I've heard that in Uruguay, was sold to a collector, a large eagle with the Nazi symbol, which decorated the officers' mess ...
    Many crew members, came to live in Argentina after its sinking, and I have seen litle boxes built with shell casings
    But the boat is still there ...
    Greetings, Thanks for your feedback
  17. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thank you for your feedback Felix´s Tatoo...
    The gun you have is a museum piece ...
    It may be that the initials built ... they were made in USA, or come as well, because they were still working on the plant, the staff that Colt, was sent to inspect the worked done here ...
    Something similar happened after Browning pistol made ​​in Argentina, say the first came from Belgium, and only were ensambled here, until then, was built entirely here
    I send a greeting
    good Luck
  18. JUNKER

    JUNKER G&G Newbie

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    Thanks K75RT
    I congratulate you, I was looking for a well (all origianl) for many years, and I could never find anything like that ...
    I think I will have to travel to the U.S. to get one ... lol
    Beautiful photo .. I hope that gun will last many years ,and give you very good results ...
    good luck
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