Walther P38 Price Check.....


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nwilliams
March 11, 2008, 11:53 PM
I was at a gun shop today and stumbled upon a Walther P38 for sale and was very tempted to pick it up. It was not one of the post-war rebuilds I'm certain of that, it just feels very different than the P1's I've handled before, it feels heftier and more solid. The bluing looked original (somewhat worn) and all the numbers I could find on it matched. It was also stamped with Nazi proofs on both the slide and the frame and the left side of the frame was stamped simply P38 and a few small proof marks. The grips are black not brown and the overall condition I would place as excellent, there was no rust and it was extremely clean.

My question is to know if the asking price of $575 makes this a good buy or not? I've been wanting a P38 for a long time, I considered picking up one of the P1 models not too long ago but honestly I would much rather have a more original version. Should I bite the bullet and grab this gun while I have the chance, I was thinking of going back and taking another look at it, is there anything I should be looking for in particular?

Please help me decide!!!

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phantomak47
March 12, 2008, 12:05 AM
A few weeks ago, Gander Mountain was selling p38s for $289

wickedsprint
March 12, 2008, 12:43 AM
The ones at Gander were likely aluminum framed and without the updates that allow them to shot for a long time.

I'd be leary of a any variation of the P38/1 unless it has the beefier slide, you'll be able to tell because the slide serrations will continue in front of the decocker.

Numbers on slide, locking block, barrel and frame should all match. Also check the bore, some nice ones have a zillion rounds through them.

T

nwilliams
March 12, 2008, 12:57 AM
The bore was in pretty good shape also it still had very defined rifling and this one definitely didn't have the aluminum frame like the typical P1 police surplus ones I've seen. The numbers on the Frame and Slide matched but I didn't check anything else.

It looked pretty much exactly like this one......
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb264/nwilliams27/walther_p38_44.jpg

wickedsprint
March 12, 2008, 01:14 AM
You'll wanna check the barrel as well, you should see the number in front, or on the side of the barrel when you pull the slide back.

I'd rather have the alum framed one as they usually have the beefier slide(pictured), the slide is the weak link on these pistols. A P1 does not mean alum frame, there are a zillion alum frame P38 marked pistols, but chances are the very P1s you've seen will not crack the slides with extensive use and should never crack the frames if they have the steel hex pin above the trigger. Here is a pic of what I am talking about. This is one I recently purchased that was essentially brand new and un issued.

http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=74189&d=1204681885

DPris
March 12, 2008, 03:18 AM
Are you sure it had Nazi markings?
Or could they have been standard German proofmarks?
Did you find a date stamped anywhere on it? Three letter maker code stamping?
Sometimes these pistols can fool you. :)
Denis

nwilliams
March 12, 2008, 04:14 AM
Are you sure it had Nazi markings?
Or could they have been standard German proofmarks?


The symbols are of an eagle over a swastika, the appear several places on the slide and the frame.

Did you find a date stamped anywhere on it? Three letter maker code stamping?
I didn't find a date on the gun but there was a three letter marker code under one of the proof marks and I believe it was 125. The price tag had the date 1939-1941 written on it and a bunch of other stuff.

I don't know if this helps but the price tag also had something like "Krieg" written on it although I think it was a longer word but all I remember is the "Krieg" part.

Sometimes these pistols can fool you.
That's why I really wanna make sure this is what I think it is, I've made costly mistakes before and I'd like to avoid that if possible. I wish I had pics of the gun to show but like I said it looks almost identical to the picture I posted above.

owlhoot
March 12, 2008, 05:00 AM
The short answer is that the price is very reasonable for a Nazi issue P38 in the condition you describe. Early Nazi P-38's are pretty well finished. Never up to Luger standards, but much better than those produced later in the war. On later versions, you will see some milling marks and not much polishing. Be sure your gun hasn't been refinished.

Brown grips are the norm. There was a wartime series called the Black Widows that were done for some special group and these are heavily sought after by collectors, but I have no idea whether you have one of those. I'm thinking they were produced late into the war and were pretty rough. I'm sure you could find a special interest P38 site on the web with a little diligent work that could tell you more.

But personally if the gun hasn't been refinished, I'd go for it. The Germans didn't do much frame/slide swapping as we did with the 1911, and if you have the Nazi eagle on there, it sounds like you might have a keeper. Certainly it is worth a little more research.

By the way the word "krieg" means war in German. The Blitzkrieg translates to lightening war. Kriegsmarine means war or fighting navy as opposed to simply marine which would have been merchant marine or merchant navy.

cornman
March 12, 2008, 04:33 PM
If it was at GM for $289 it must have been an airsoft...


"A few weeks ago, Gander Mountain was selling p38s for $289"

nwilliams
March 12, 2008, 06:17 PM
By the way the word "krieg" means war in German. The Blitzkrieg translates to lightening war. Kriegsmarine means war or fighting navy as opposed to simply marine which would have been merchant marine or merchant navy.

Kriegsmarine is I think what was written on the price tag, that sounds like what it was.

dfariswheel
March 12, 2008, 09:14 PM
The Nazi era P-38 pistols all had steel frames.
Only post-war guns had aluminum.

War-time P-38 pistols were made by three makers. Each maker was ID'd by a letter code, stamped on the slide. The codes were:

Walther: early code was "480". After 1940? the code was "ac". (Small letters).

Mauser used "byf" until 1945, then switched to "SVW" in capital letters.

Spreewerke use the codes "cyq" and "cvq".

Also on the Walther and Mauser slides will be a production year in the form of two numbers. "43" would be 1943.

So, a Walther made in 1944 would be marked on the slide with: ac 44.
A Mauser made in 1944 would be marked with: byf 44.

Spreewerke didn't put dates on their guns.

Also stamped on the gun will be the German government inspector office code.
This is a tiny eagle holding a swastika with three numbers under it.
Walther would have the eagle and "359" under it stamped on the slide, frame, barrel, and barrel locking block.
Each factory had an inspector's office that insured the guns met specs. Each plant had it's own office, and each office had it's own three letter code.

The serial number was stamped on the slide, frame, end of the barrel block, and the locking block.

The earlier the production, the more the gun is worth.
Walther's are worth slightly more than Mauser, with Spreewerke being worth the least.

As always in guns, condition is everything. The better the condition, the more it's worth.

Lichter
March 12, 2008, 09:41 PM
"A few weeks ago, Gander Mountain was selling p38s for $289"
They're in this week's flyer as well for $279..i think

bannockburn
March 12, 2008, 10:18 PM
nwilliams

Could it have been the number 135 under a stylized eagle? If so, then this would be the Waffenamt marking for Mauser P-38s manufactured from 1942 to 1943.

nwilliams
March 12, 2008, 10:20 PM
Could it have been the number 135 under a stylized eagle? If so, then this would be the Waffenamt marking for Mauser P-38s manufactured from 1942 to 1943.

It very well could have been, it was definitely 1 something 5.

phantomak47
March 13, 2008, 12:05 AM
There weren't airsofts, they were p38s for that price, I think I can tell the difference..........

nwilliams
March 13, 2008, 12:18 AM
There weren't airsofts, they were p38s for that price, I think I can tell the difference..........

He may have been making a joke.

I saw the ones the are selling online also, yes they are P38's for $279 as advertised. J&G was selling some of those for a while for about the same price. I looked at one once back when I lived in Prescott and they felt very different than the one I looked at the other day.

searcher451
March 13, 2008, 12:44 AM
You'd be well-advised to visit the P38 Forum and check in with the knowledgable folks there. Many of them literally wrote the book on the P38 and its many variations. The more information you can supply them, the better and more informed information you'll receive in return. Here's a link:

http://forums.p38forum.com/forums/index.php?sid=cfaced94b15840e6303d2b1b0f237b8a

nwilliams
March 13, 2008, 03:23 PM
WOW! I was so wrong on things its not even funny!

I went back and took a second look at the gun today. Here are the details I got wrong or missed completely.

The serial number on the slide, frame and front (under the barrel) is simply 195. I could find no other serial numbers anywhere on the gun.

The proof marks on the right side of the slide and on the frame show an eagle over a swastika (I think once on the frame) and both on the slide and frame there is an eagle over the number 359.

The mag does not look original and has no markings on it and the grips appear to be very dark brown not black.

The entire gun is steel, that I'm sure of and the bluing on the entire gun is an almost reddish brown also.

On the left side of the frame it is also marked A C 45.

The "F" and "S" on the safety are painted the "F" is red and the "S" is white.

Also on the price tag it didn't say Krieg anywhere or have a date, so either they changed the tag or I'm loosing my mind and was seeing things.

I was able to negotiate the price down to $530+tax and I told the clerk I would be back either today or tomorrow to pick it up after I thought about it a little more.

Should I buy this gun!:confused:

mallc
March 13, 2008, 03:29 PM
Just bought a post war P38 from CDNN for $289. Iron and original grips. Good to excellent condition. P38 with Nazi markings were also available for additional cost - but I don't remember how much.

My wife latched on the the P38 as a fun to shoot 9mm.

Scott

DPris
March 13, 2008, 05:52 PM
Reason I asked about the proofs was because the standard German proofs at the time included an eagle, and people have palmed non-Nazi pistols off in the past as genuine Nazi guns by pointing out the proof eagles & claiming they were Nazi markings. Sometimes it takes a magnifying glass to see the difference.
There are a lot of faked Nazi guns in circulation.
Denis

nwilliams
March 13, 2008, 06:23 PM
I just found this.....

This basically exactly what it looks like, much closer that the pic I posted above.
http://www.latewar.com/html/ac45p38.html

I'm pretty sure tomorrow I'm going to stop by the shop and pick it up.

Atlasx
March 13, 2008, 06:35 PM
You might check the link below I bought 2 ea P38 and Sig P6 from Dans he had 2 grades 259 I think and $300ea I got the $300ea for all 4 and was absolutely pleased with the guns I got....I would not hesitate to recommend Dans


Note: these are post WW2 guns, they are not marked with Nazi markings, my 2 P38s appear to have never been fired and the Sigs show minimal wear. A lot of these are being put on the market lately. He also had P1s.





http://www.dansammo.com/firearms.asp

Atlasx

bannockburn
March 13, 2008, 08:25 PM
nwilliams

The 359 under the eagle is the Waffenamt marking for Walther. The ac45 also designates it as being a Walther produced P38 made in 1945. The eagle with the swastika was a proof mark for all military P38's and the ac45 zero series. It was on the left side of the barrel block and the locking block, as well as on the right side of the slide between the two Waffenamt markings. Something interesting is that Walther produced the P38 in two variants; the HP and the military P38. The HP stood for Heeres Pistole, and early on, it was manufactured for the Army but as a commercial model. The thing that makes your description interesting is that late in 1944 through 1945, Walther was producing HP pistols, marked as ac45, but exhibiting the reddish brown slide and frame that you described with your pistol. The change from the normal blue finish was attributed to an unusual amount of water in the bluing solution, and a different temperature setting during the bluing process. The dark brown ribbed grips were also standard on these guns. The only problem is these P38s had a zero placed in front of the serial number, to signify that it was not part of the regular military production series. It appears that your pistol doesn't have this zero. There were approximately 1,100 ac45 Zero series pistols made; the military P38 ac45 series numbered around 42,000 pistols. In all likelihood, it's just a regular military Walther P38; still a great piece of military history that you can still use today (providing everything with it checks out okay).

SGW42
March 13, 2008, 08:49 PM
I have the Gander flyer in front of me. The $279 guns are Walther P1s.

Under it they say "Vintage World War Pistols!" which is slightly misleading.

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