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Thread: The Ruby pistol was a 'procurement nightmare' that armed French troops in WWI

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    The Ruby pistol was a 'procurement nightmare' that armed French troops in WWI

    Here's my article on the Spanish-built and Frenchicon-issued Ruby pistol from WWI from my Michigan Firearms Examiner column.

    These are interesting little guns that turn up now and again. The history behind these pieces speaks to the desperation France felt in 1915.

    The Ruby pistol was a 'procurement nightmare' that armed French troops in WWI
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    Have you shot any? (I note that you did not range test the one in the article.) I've been eyeballing one with a holster and extra mag, but haven't "squandered" any money on it yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoore View Post
    Have you shot any? (I note that you did not range test the one in the article.) I've been eyeballing one with a holster and extra mag, but haven't "squandered" any money on it yet.
    I think I shot a Ruby years, and years, ago, before I was into mil surp handguns. A friend had a little foreign .32 auto that, looking back on it now, I *think* was a Ruby. It was so long ago though that it may have been one of the other many little European .32's out there. All I remember is that his gun worked, but would always malfunction on the last round in the mag. Every single time. He only had one mag so we weren't able to troubleshoot it at all. It was just a toy to him anyway. It was fun, and surprisingly accurate, or so I remember now.

    I didn't get to shoot this gun. We were visiting relatives and he knew I was a shooter and said, "Hey, let me show you my guns," and we looked at the guns for just a few minutes and I took a couple pics. Had we had more time on the visit we would have gone to the range, but we were in the middle of a long road trip and it was just a little stop on the way to visit them.

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    One could devote one's self to collecting such pistols and no doubt there are those who do. The one and only Ruby I saw was also an Astra and it looked to be pretty decent, not that you could ever find another magazine. I rather doubt anything would break on one that your favorite gunsmith couldn't fix. Still, they had some design shortcomings. For one thing, the safety was not all it could be.

    Because there were so many Ruby pistols produced during the Great War, they sort of made the rounds in the surplus military arms market in the 1920s when all those new countries needed weapons for their newly formed armed forces. The Rubys tended to be passed along as soon as possible but the Frenchicon were still using a lot in 1940. You see, when there is a war on, you don't always have the best things to start out with and there usually isn't enough of what you have anyway.

    I don't know what the origin of the name Ruby is but it was still being used as a brand name in the 1950s for some imported pistols. Maybe the reputation wasn't as bad as all that, except that Germanicon made pisols were relatively common at the time and most of them were of very good quality, if not exactly new in the box. They weren't all Walthers or Lugers either. Your next door neighbor might pull out an Ortiges or something to show off when you dropped in for a visit.

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    Some "off brand" Ruby photos:











    "-CAL 765 HIJOS DE A. ECHEVERRIA-EIBAR-"

    "RH" in a circle on the bottom toe of one mag, the other's unmarked.

    Don't know how it functions, yet!

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    Did a range test of the above pistol.

    Edited: Go to Post #8 in this thread for the link, as there has been content added to both this and the other thread.
    Last edited by jmoore; 07-12-2013 at 09:32 PM. Reason: removed link

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    "Ruby" Pistol with Post WWI French Upgrade

    Found another "Ruby" type pistol with the added "safety bump" which was added by the Frenchicon after the Great War. This slide mounted domed rivet was supposed to keep the edge of the holster from rotating the safety downward to the "off" position during pistol insertion.

    This example is RETOLAZA marked and has the oval RH on both the frame and it's matching magazine. It also has the acceptance star markings near the magazine release. Interesting to note that the slide's LH top line reads:
    "765 1914 MODEL AUTOMATIC PISTOL"

    No holster or spare magazine, but it's bore is in excellent shape, so it'll likely get a range outing.





    Here's a link to the excellent Milsurps' Knowledge Libraryicon entry:

    Pistolet Automatique de 7 millimètre 65 genre (Ruby)

    Hard to imagine this little pistol is pushing 100 years old!

    ETA: Adding a photo of the French acceptance markings on either side of the magazine release:
    Last edited by jmoore; 07-05-2013 at 02:33 PM. Reason: never mind

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    Link to a range test of both "Rubies". The new one gets less "space" in the thread (you'll have to scroll way down to Post #4), but it did MUCH better than the first one tested!

    "Ruby" Pistol Range Outing Number One

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