pesky luger P-08 problem.


November 26, 2007, 03:47 PM
a friend of mine brought a luger to me for service.

headstamped 1917 WWI/WWII bringback, artillery model, serial 7XXX all matching.

It wont go into battery.

User claims failure was sudden, not gradual ( "it fetched up right in the middle of shooting, no warning at all! " says the owner. )

Inspection reveals that the bolt assembly will only go fully into battery with the firing pin in the foreward uncompressed position ( you have to pull the trigger to get it to drop into battery. )

With the firing pin charged, the bolt face stops about 0.8 mm from matching up to the chamber.

The Main spring is not factory, and appears to be 'made to fit'. It does -not- fit correctly, allowing the toggle to 'slop' almost 10mm up and down without spring tension.

While I know that a new mainspring will be required, I'm uncertain as to the rest of it. reference materiel suggests a new firing pin assembly, but I cannot find anything wrong with the old one.


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November 26, 2007, 04:00 PM
Could be a trigger linkage problem in the side-plate.

Will it close manually with the homemade spring removed?

Will it close with the side-plate removed?

Anything wrong with the sear itself?
Perhaps dirt or dried oil came loose under it and won't allow it to compress enough for the firing pin to clear it.

November 26, 2007, 06:15 PM
Using this link as a reference.

> Could be a trigger linkage problem in the side-plate.

The trigger linkage matches the parts discription and pictures, and nothing appears bent or worn. Is there something else I should look for here?

Will it close manually with the homemade spring removed?

No. removal or insertion of the main spring ( part #31 on the diagram. ) fails to improve the problem.

Nor does removal of the firing pin spring ( part #23 ) allow it to drop into battery.

Removal of the firing pin assembly (parts # 22,23,24 ) -does- allow it to slide into battery.

it would appear that the firing pin ( part #22 ) is not sliding far enough back
in the breech block ( part #17 ) when the firing pin is in the 'charged' position. the entire breechblock assembly winds up hanging up on the trigger bar ( part #7 )

> Will it close with the side-plate removed?


> Anything wrong with the sear itself?

The P-08 luger does not have a sear that I am aware of. are you referring to the trigger bar? If so, then no, nothing appears wrong with the trigger bar.

Perhaps dirt or dried oil came loose under it and won't allow it to compress enough for the firing pin to clear it.

I'm going to soak the whole thing in Ed's Red for a couple days, and try it again.

November 26, 2007, 08:39 PM
Soaking the whole thing is not a bad idea (do it field-stripped, of course).

Get a proper recoil spring from Wolff, for example.

I'd replace the firing pin as a matter of course. If the whole thing is matched, and if he's shooting it, you don't want to be using the matching firing pin or ejector in case of breakage.

Did you check to see if there's some kind of "crap" (to use the scientific term) in the hollow of the firing pin that is preventing it from telescoping back far enough on the (whatever it's called*) part that encloses the firing pin spring?

I dunno. This is the kind of thing that either remains forever a mystery, or becomes obvious when you hold the gun in your hands (if you're intimately familiar with Lugers). No slur on you... I'd bet on the former, since you seem to know what you're doing.


* edited to add the part I mean is #24 in the Numrich diagram you referenced. It has a conical rod that could be being blocked by a bent firing pin spring or the "crap" I mentioned.

November 26, 2007, 09:13 PM
Well, here I am replying to my own post,... but in the mean time I have experimented a little with my P-08 and I can confirm that if the problem were as I described, i.e. blockage of the penetration of part #24 into the interior of the firing pin, then the symptoms would be as you described.

That is, during cocking the firing pin would not move back far enough relative to the bolt. Or OTOH, since the firing pin is held at a fixed position by the trigger bar (sear), the BOLT would not move far enough FORWARD. Which is what you described. See if it will close if part #24 and the firing pin spring are removed.

All of which is not to say, necessarily, that that is your problem, of course.

If all else fails, and you and your client give up, you are welcome to send the remains to me :D

(In that event, PM me for details!)


November 26, 2007, 10:02 PM
the firing pin assembly ( parts 22-23-24 ) are clear, and when removed, 22 and 24 can be pressed flush with each other.

It's as if #22 just -grew- .8mm for some odd reason.

November 26, 2007, 10:12 PM
parts 22 and 23 seem to be clear, but it may be that the breech block ( #17) has something in the bottom of it.

Well shoot! There went the best theory I've had all night. Unless there's something bent somewhere that is preventing the firing pin from moving back onto part #24...

I had failed to notice that you've already said it'll close if 22, 23, and 24 are removed. I think that localizes the problem, though.

Good luck!


November 26, 2007, 10:19 PM
I'm tempted to just swap out the whole firing pin assembly, it's only 40 bucks.

November 26, 2007, 10:24 PM
I'm still trying to puzzle out the mystery of the extra .8mm

I mean any idiot can just throw new parts at it till it works. I want to know what went wrong, and why.

oh and the story gets better.

this gun is a parts gun. some idiot gutted a sub 300 serial number, pre 1913, civilian luger, and mounted a 1917 artillery top in it. that's like gutting a corvette to pimp out a pinto.

November 27, 2007, 08:16 AM
Cocking the striker is the last act of the breechblock before coming into battery and it is done almost completely by inertia. I would think the recoil spring is the culprit because you mentioned that the toggle has slop, I assume in the closed position. HTH

keyboard commando
November 27, 2007, 08:55 AM
Had a similar problem with an "Arty" Luger.The longer barrel has more mass and wieght.My problem was overcome by useing a hotter ammo with a heavier bullet.I had changed springs to no avail.Reliability went from 75 to 100%.:scrutiny:What I can't figure out is how said Luger went from "#7xxx all matching" @ 3:47 p.m. to "parts gun" @ 10:24 p.m.?:scrutiny:

November 27, 2007, 10:17 AM
Big G - While the mainspring has to be replaced, it doesnt seem to help. Regardless of springs or no springs, the breechblock fails to go completely into battery unless you pull the trigger, -or- you remove the firing pin assembly.

Keyboard- Because I wasnt looking in the right places. the entire top half is all 7XXX. the bottom half is 2XX.

I normally work on soviet stuff or american hardware, I havent done much with lugers.

November 27, 2007, 10:26 AM
the entire top half is all 7XXX. the bottom half is 2XX.

Did you know Lugers have a letter at the end of the serial # - like 1234g ?

The four digits repeat every 10,000 units with the letter moving up one.

So does the breechblock go into battery with the cannon (top half) off? That is the entire firing mechanism except for trigger parts.

November 27, 2007, 11:52 AM
BigG- I found that out last night while reading, thank you for confirming it.

this puzzles me,

I cant find -any- letters in the serial number of the top end it's all 7,number,number,number, no letter.

same with the bottom 2, number, number, no letter.

As to your second question, the problem persists when the receiver ( part #3 on reference diagram ) is removed from the frame ( parts # 25 )

link to referance page.

when I manually depress the trigger bar ( part #7 ), the firing pin releases, and the breechblock slides the .8mm required, and seats to the barrel.

I will admit that this is the first p-08 I've had the... pleasure of servicing, so I've been doing a lot of reading, and asking questions before doing -anything-.

"frankenstien' is currently compleately torn down, and at the bottom of a bucket of Ed's Red, and wont come out till friday, soonest. Holy cow this thing is full of gunge.

I'm hoping that the problem is a worn out mainspring, and 90 years of dirt.

time will tell.

P.S. I could post pictures if you like, or email them to you directly, if it would help you.

November 27, 2007, 12:13 PM
Well, that is something. The letter is actually in a different font from the numbers. The letter usually looks like cursive writing and is fainter than the four digits. I have one with an "l" that looks like a little scratch. When you look closely, it is a lower case written "ell" with the loop.

I am hoping you find what's wrong. It may be that something is assembled wrong. The bolt should go back and forth with no impediment as its only motion is back and forth with no turning, etc.

November 27, 2007, 12:20 PM
well the finish is is -horrible- shape. so it may be that the letter portion is simply obliterated.

December 3, 2007, 12:56 PM
new mainspring is in. and while it fixes some other problems. the stupid thing still wont go into battery.

December 4, 2007, 04:48 PM
well a new mainspring and shaving .2mm off of the sear catch on the side of the firing pin, and all is well.

the luger passed it's range test with flying colors.

December 4, 2007, 04:55 PM
User claims failure was sudden, not gradual ( "it fetched up right in the middle of shooting, no warning at all! " says the owner. )Something smells rotten in Luger-Land!

I don't think the FP grew sideways 2mm, how much ever that is?
(U.S. Gunsmith speak is in thousands of an inch & I don't have a metric conversion handy)

Glad to hear you got it working!

December 4, 2007, 06:11 PM
.2mm is about half the thickness of a automatic pencil lead.

I -still- dont know what caused the problem, but it works fine now.

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