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Hello All,

I had some free time and some free money today so I decided to stop by my favorite gunstore, the one that the forum "The Gunstore Lounge" is modeled after.

I went looking for a revolver. No reasonably priced no-lock stuff, so I wandered around for a bit.

Then I heard the whisper, "Buy me." At this point I thought I was just going nuts, but then I heard it again, "Buy me!" more insistent.

I look around and there lays what appeared to be a PPK. Upon closer inspection it says on the side,

"Mod. 95 Carpaii cal. 380
MADE by Romarm in ROMANIA <CUGIR>
Imported by C.A.L. ST. ALB. VT."

Here's a poor picture:


This pistol holds seven plus one rounds of .380acp. It is straight blowback operated. I sent 36 rounds downrange at about 15yds and got hand sized groups. I've not practiced with a smaller pistol in years and, while the groups could have been better, I was pretty proud of myself.

Finish is not the best as toolmarks are very visible, but the bluing is 100% and all the serial numbers match, including the magazine serial number. The one downside for me is that the left grip panel has a thumb rest and I'm primarily left handed. However, I am ambidextrous so I've been carrying it as a backup in my right pants pocket. I seemed to do about as well with either hand.

Shooting left handed got me nicked by the slide, though not badly.

Does anyone have any regular grips for sale or trade?

Anyway, I had one malfunction early on, a failure to eject/stovepipe. I did not like clearing that; I'm used to a magazine button in the traditional location as well as an open ejection port (ala Taurus, Beretta, etc.)

So, am I right in this being a Romanian Mak? If not, what is it?

I'd like to get a spare magazine as well as the standard grip panels... I need sources gents!

I like this pistol and will really like it once I get the customizations done to it.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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Not familiar with this particular make but if you're happy, I'm happy!:smile: Let us know how it goes after you get the mods done. And, you know that once you hear that voice calling "buy me", you are DOOMED! Just give in to it!:congrats:
 

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Did you mean Mod. 95 Carpati in .380 ?
You have a sp? error up there.

Good luck finding spare magazines and parts.
You could possibly try Numrich Arms.

Seriously...my advice would be to enjoy it as is & maybe try and hunt down a spare mag for it but, no matter how much you really like it...don't put any more of your hard earned money into it unless you can find a local gunsmith that will lightly "stone" and smooth up the trigger pull for ya & only charge you a few bucks for doing the job.
A word to the wise should be sufficient.
 

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Joshua M. Smith said:
So, am I right in this being a Romanian Mak? If not, what is it?
Josh, I don't know what it is, but I do know what it isn't. It is not a Mak. For reference I am placing pictures of a Bulgarian .380 Mak and a Russian 9X18mm (9mm Makarov) Mak below. At this moment the Bulgarian is on my hip and the Russian is in my DeSantis E-Z Rider II that I carry during working hours.

Bulgarian Mak .380



Russian Mak 9X18mm



You will not significant differences in the profile of the Maks and your Romanian pistol. There are other view and some photos of the two together in Member Picture Post.

Here is a link from the Mak forum that shows Polish and Hungarian pistols often confused with Mak. Only Russians, Bulgarians, East Germans, and Chinese produces real Maks.

http://www.gunboards.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=158568
 

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Discussion Starter #7
QKShooter said:
Did you mean Mod. 95 Carpati in .380 ?
You have a sp? error up there.

Good luck finding spare magazines and parts.
You could possibly try Numrich Arms.

Seriously...my advice would be to enjoy it as is & maybe try and hunt down a spare mag for it but, no matter how much you really like it...don't put any more of your hard earned money into it unless you can find a local gunsmith that will lightly "stone" and smooth up the trigger pull for ya & only charge you a few bucks for doing the job.
A word to the wise should be sufficient.
Yes, it is a Carpati. I was too quick reading the stuff on the slide, and this is posted on too many boards to go back and correct 'em all.

I bought it to be something to throw lead, period. The trigger is very acceptable. The DA is heavy, but short and smooth, and the SA is light and crisp. If I decide to have any trigger work done I'll just stone it myself. I was going to cut a coil off the hammer spring but I'd rather go for reliability on hard primers.

The spare magazine would be nice, not to carry as if this goes primary I doubt I'll have a place for a spare mag, but if this one should crap out, I'd like a spare.

I wouldn't mind new grip panels and it almost looks like the Walther PPK/S would fit, but I'm not going to buy before I try. As is, I sanded the thumb rest off. That's another thing too... why have ambi controls and right handed grips? :haha: I found that funny.

I don't have a whole lot of faith in the .380 so I am carrying heavy-for-caliber 88gr Gold Dot loaded Blazer and may look into the 90gr Cor®Bon offering. I want it to reach something and expand.

Should I have held out for a revolver? Possibly. But, there's still room in the safe and I do like capacity. The revolver would have to be a five shot snub.

I'll do a range report when I get a chance.

Josh <><
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Better pic from Gun Tests. They say "do not buy" but their experience was totally different than mine. Seems they got a real lemon.



What they had to say:

9mm Surplus Pistols: FEG, Carpati, And a Bulgarian Makarov All Fail

Should you pay $229 for a Romanian M95 Carpati, $239 for an FEG PA63, or $249 for a Bulgarian Makarov? Nope. Our test guns often wouldn’t shoot at all, or were otherwise flawed.

The FEG PA63 9mm Makarov was the best gun
in this test, which wasn’t saying much.
Surplus pistols occupy a niche in the marketplace that is surprisingly large and varied. Buyers who want a low-priced plinking gun will often consider buying $200 to $300 sidearms because they (a) might not have much money to spend, or (b), they might be interested in some historical aspect of a particular gun, which they nonetheless still want to shoot for fun. But there are pitfalls in finding one that works well enough to keep and further, to enjoy shooting.

We recently tested a trio of surplus double-action guns chambered for .380 Auto (9mm Kurz) and 9x18 (9mm Makarov). They were the Romanian M95 Carpati, which shot the .380 Auto round (MSRP, $229; published dealer price, $109). The two Maks were the 9mm Makarov FEG PA63, (MSRP, $239; published dealer price, $89); and the Bulgarian Makarov (MSRP, $249; published dealer price, $109), which also shot the 9x18 round. Expect to pay $50 to $100 markup if you buy one of these guns from a dealer or at a gun show.

With that pricing in mind, our evaluation standards for this test were much more lax than what we subject new firearms to. If these guns ran properly, and they were fun and cheap to shoot, then we could see taking a flyer on one. If perchance one functioned and shot well enough to rise to the level of being a reliable self-defense gun, then we’d be ecstatic.

Therefore, we decided that our test should not require any long distance bench rest work — 10 yards would be enough to gauge their accuracy. However, like other guns we test, reliability would be mandatory, unless we can trace function problems to something we inadvertently cause during testing. Also, we tested working combat accuracy from 10 yards offhand.

Initially, due to the lack of owner’s manuals with each pistol, we encountered some confusion as to their chambering. Careful examination of shallow engraving on the frames clarified what they chambered for. Moreover, we found a problem when it came to filling magazines and even loading a round: the similarly sized .380 Auto and the 9x18 can be confused.

But with the mags loaded, we went to the range and started banging away. Here’s what we found:

Bulgarian Makarov 9x18, $249
It is interesting to note that according to the Blue Book, value for a Makarov pistol in 100 percent condition is only $185. Dealer price on this very pistol was $109.95. We estimate it was rated at 98 percent condition, and would likely sell for around $145.

Click here to view the Bulgarian Makarov 9x18 features guide.

The Makarov pistol dates back to the early 1950s. At one time it was the standard pistol for both the Soviet forces and the Warsaw Pact countries. While it shares many similarities with the Walther pistol, it can be distinguished by at least one mechanical feature. That is the Makarov has no locking system, but fires instead on a simple blowback action. Both the Walther and the Makarov can be fired single or double action.

One feature that makes the Makarov pistol famous is its excellent ergonomics. The Mak is indeed comfortable in the hand. Our pistol offered generous cocking serrations on the rear portion of the slide and a small but effective rear sight that is drift adjustable for windage. The front blade on our Bulgarian model was too brief in our estimation, but the sight picture was adequate. The double-action trigger pull, while usable, stacks heavily. But the serrated hammer can be pulled back for single action shooting to take advantage of its pleasant SA trigger that is acceptably progressive in its take-up.

The magazine, however, is rough to load. It does have an external lever that can be used to compress the magazine spring and lower the follower, but we found it to be too sharp to handle without a cap. This can be done with the use of a hull.

We didn’t collect accuracy or chronograph data because our Bulgarian Makarov threw off the safety lever and dislodged the firing pin on its very first (and last) shot. Firing a standard-pressure Federal American Eagle FMJ bullet, the Mak’s safety lever came loose during recoil and fell off. We reinstalled the lever, but because of safety reasons, we don’t continue testing guns which lose parts when the guns fire.

In October 1999 we tested a Makarov from the now-defunct Miltex Company that met exactly the same fate, albeit after several more rounds — 25 to be exact.

Since we have now tried twice to purchase a working Bulgarian Makarov (once new in the box and once out of surplus) and failed each time, we would avoid them. In fact, the only good Makarov we have first-hand experience with is a Russian-made model. It is owned by one of our research associates. Her pistol was made by IMEZ and even has adjustable sights. Inscription on the slide is the only key to model name or number. It reads PMIJ70-18A. This pistol was a prize at the Second Chance Bowling Pin Championship, and it now resides in a glove box somewhere in Louisiana, stoked with Cor-Bon ammunition, which it digests with enthusiasm. This is quite a different story from our own experience with Maks.

Romanian M95 Carpati .380 Auto, $229
We haven’t been able to find out much about the origin of this pistol. It arrived in a basic cardboard box without owner’s manual. The box sticker read, “Century International Arms, Inc. HG950, Pistols Carpati Mdl 95 .380; Condition, new.” Also, the gun was stamped, “Imported by C.A.I. St. Alb. VT.” That’s Century Arms International of St. Albans, Vermont, (802) 524-5288. We found no additional information on the gun at the Century Arms website.

Click here to view the Romanian M95 Carpati .380 Auto features guide.

On the left side of the slide, more etchings read, “Made by Romarm in Romania,” plus an emblem that reads “Cugir,” the town in which the gun was made.

This is a Walther copy, but the grip frame is boxier than the Walther’s. The magazine release is at the bottom of the grip, and the basepad on the mag offers additional area for the pinkie. Safety and decocker levers are ambidextrous. The double-action pull was beyond the strength of normal humans (at least 25+ pounds; our gauge wouldn’t go higher), so we fired it single action.

The 95 would not chamber a round on its own. Once the magazine had been coaxed into position and the slide pulled back, a first round was ready to fire. Try as we might, we never got this pistol to feed a second round on its own. However we were afforded the satisfaction of clearing some of the most horrendous jams we’ve encountered to date. The offending brass fixed itself against the feed ramp like a weld.
http://www.gun-tests.com/cgi-bin/udt/inv.get.file?client.id=gun-tests&inv.id=4435&story.id=4995

Josh <><
 

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Wow, Josh! These people must have the worst luck in the world with pistols. Not only was the Carpati a lemon, but obviously they managed to find two Bulgarian Maks that were lemons too. My two Maks have never had a FTF nor FTE. I have only put about 100 rounds through the Russian, but have put at least 250 through the Bulgy. All the workmanship is very good. No parts have fallen off. And they shoot where they are aimed. The only thing I saw in the review of the Mak that is comparable with my experience is the comment about the magazines. The little tab that sticks out is sharp, but I don't think that it is for use in loading. I usually just hand load without touching the tab and everything works just fine.

I hope your experience with the Carpati is as good as mine with the Maks has been.:banana:
 

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wow, pretty harsh article there, especially about the Bulgy Mak, you seldom see such a negative article about them. I got mine for $160.00 , the finish is 95 % it was made in 1984 and it quickly became one of my favorites, never yet had a FTF or FTE. To me, they are very reliable, very durable, accurate and I wouldn't hesitate to puchase another one. Would love to get a W.German and a Russian model.
 

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I don't rate Gun Tests any more - to be honest.

So Josh - you didn't get a revo - no sweat - you got another gun - revo next eh! The old Eastern Block type stuff is fun even if not always perfect - just interesting pieces to have.
 
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