A P-38 question....


September 14, 2008, 06:35 PM
Hi. My father bought a pretty expensive wartime Walther P-38. It was billed as "numbers matching." When it arrived, the magazine wasn't correct; it didn't match.

When asked about it, the seller emailed the following: "On the P-38 you got from me you don't know what you are talking about. Only 1940 and some 1941 P-38's have numbered mags. Your gun is 100% CORRECT." Disregarding the aggressive tone, is this factually correct? After 1941, were wartime P-38 mags un-numbered? Thanks for any help.

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September 14, 2008, 06:54 PM
I don't know the answer but if you check over at the P38 forums you'll probably get a quicker more complete answer:


September 14, 2008, 07:44 PM
As I recall (Note the qualifier) this is true.

After WWII really got going, the Germans had no more time for such foolishness as matching numbered magazines, especially on a pistol specifically designed for mass production that would use unfitted magazines.

September 14, 2008, 07:51 PM
In short, a P38 with a numbered mag should have matching numbers. If the mag is not numbered, it can still be correct. If you post over on p38 forum, Orv can tell you what years "should, for the most part" have a numbered mag.

Will Dad let you post a picture of his new treasure???

September 14, 2008, 08:27 PM
It might be that the gun is just fine, despite the seller's rather snotty response; it would depend, among other things, on the year the gun was made (the practice of numbering magazines stopped somewhere in the C block of 1942, if I recall correctly, and then was only done with the Walther/ac-marked guns).

When you visit the P38 Forum (great bunch of guys over there, by the way), be sure to give them a full report on the gun: the manufacturer's code, the gun's serial number, etc. The more specific you can be, the better response you'll get. Good luck.

September 15, 2008, 04:20 AM
I've asked my father to email the markings to me so I can give 'em to someone on the P-38 forum. Thanks for suggesting it, folks. I'll post them here, too.

September 18, 2008, 10:19 AM
Well, the results are in. It's a 1943 pistol and they did not have numbered magazines by then. I'm a bit relieved. Thanks for pointing out the P38 forum. The answers were posted almost immediately.

September 18, 2008, 04:54 PM
WY: So which did your father get -- a Mauser-made P.38 (byf) or a Walther-made P.38 (ac)? The difference between the two could could make the value of the gun vary quite a bit.

September 18, 2008, 05:33 PM
What's "pretty expensive" nowadays? I have an AC-41... all numbers match except the mag. :D

September 18, 2008, 08:53 PM
This ought to qualify as "pretty expensive."


September 18, 2008, 09:55 PM
woad yurt

From what I could find, magazines for P-38's produced before December 1941-January 1942 were still being serial numbered to the gun. And Walther P-38's made before mid-1941 even had their grips serial numbered as well. In reality, there were probably fewer P-38's which survived the war with matching magazines than there were similar all matching Lugers.

September 18, 2008, 10:41 PM
This ought to qualify as "pretty expensive."
Holy crap! I'm rich! LOL :D

September 19, 2008, 12:18 AM
I don't know if it's "byf" or the "ac." I told him that he should get online and speak for himself; he has no problem doing so at family gatherings. He's gotta develop some contacts and sources for himself.
Thanks for the help, folks.

September 19, 2008, 10:40 AM
Here's that last bit of info; it's "AC43."

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