Luger P08 pistol


July 22, 2009, 10:46 AM
i was wondering, how does the luger PO8 pistol work? i can't seem to pick out a slide anywhere on the gun, so it confuses me.
so how does it work?
also, is it a good design?

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Jim Watson
July 22, 2009, 10:57 AM
Well, in the first place, Walther was not involved in the Luger's design or manufacture. The Luger was originally a DWM product, later owned by Mauser. There are other producers listed but they were basically swapping around company ownership and three sets of production tooling, DWM, Erfurt, and Swiss.

The Luger doesn't have a slide, it has an upper receiver, bolt, front and rear toggles.
There is an animation of one in operation at:

Good design?
For 1900, yes. Now, no. It is expensive to build and not real tolerant of dirt or variable ammunition.

July 22, 2009, 12:17 PM
But they have a "cool factor" that can't be beat even after 100+ years.

July 22, 2009, 12:25 PM
When the P-08 is fired, the receiver begins moving toward the rear. The toggles contact the humps on the frame forcing the toggles upward and "breaking" the in-line toggle train and breech block. The empty case is ejected as the breech block continues rearward and, upon reaching full recoil, the "train" moves forward again powered by the main spring. It picks up a new cartridge from the magazine and the sear engages the firing pin, cocking the pistol for the next shot. Once in battery, the train will once again be in-line and the extractor will be raised to indicate that a cartridge is in the chamber.

The trigger works through an "L" lever inside of the side plate. Depressing the trigger pushes the lever against the pin on the front of the trigger bar to move the sear and release the firing pin. Upon firing, the rearward movement of the receiver pulls the trigger bar pin (it's spring loaded) from under the side plate lever. As the receiver moves forward again, the pin will contact the back side of the lever and be pushed into the trigger bar until the trigger is released and the lever returns to it's normal position. The trigger bar pin is now released and once again is under the lever waiting to be depressed by the lever for the next shot.

It's actually a simple mechanism and you can follow it's function pretty easily.

Alpacca 45
July 22, 2009, 03:48 PM
Whether or not the luger is a "good gun" depends on what you want from it.

If you want a defensive carry gun, or want to torture test it in mud and crap, then the answer is no, there are guns that are better suited to that use.

If you appreciate beautifully machined and finished guns, which point naturally, are a pleasure to shoot, are easy to shoot well, and actually wear out at a much slower rate than most other auto pistols, then, yes, the luger is that gun.

The action was derived (via the borchardt pistol) from the Maxim Machinegun, which itself was inspired by the Winchester lever actions.

The Luger really was the first auto-pistol suited to military use, and was developed for several years after first issue (autopistols were developing in the 1890s and 1900s at the rate mobile phones and digicams are now), there are therefore a multitude of variants and lots of them with collector interest. If you inherit one, be sure to check out whether it has any collector value before abusing it in any way.

There are MANY MANY books written about Lugers and their variations, from snubbies to carbines, from I think ultra rare .32 ACP through the standard .30 and 9mm to a handful of hand made.45 ACPs and a few reproductions.

Never under rate the .30 Luger! in the Slaughter yard tests where .45" was chosen as the minimum caliber suitable for US service, the one chest shot which resulted in an instant knockdown on cattle was .30 Luger (just goes to show what BS arguments about "stopping power" are!)!

Military issue guns generally had 4" barrels with the fixed rear sight cut into the back toggle, Navy lugers had longer barrels and a flip over rear sight with 2 ranges, the Artillary Luger was really a carbine with adjustable rear sight on the barrel, detachable shoulder stock holster and a snail magazine available. Commercial sporting carbines were also made.

Ordinary lugers really are a joy to shoot, and so long as you don't pay too much to start with, they hold their value well.

I never saw any of the stainless reproductions that appeared in the gun directories a few years back. I'm not even sure many were made, but one thing is certain, any modern production would need to command a huge price premium to cover the mind bendingly complex machining, and to do it with anything like the accuracy and finish achieved by the 3 plants which made the real things.

July 22, 2009, 04:23 PM
The other thing about Luger construction - there are no screws, the gun is perfectly machined and fitted like a Swiss watch

July 22, 2009, 04:30 PM
Well, they do have two grip screws.

Which is two less then a 1911, which doesn't have any screws either.


Jim K
July 22, 2009, 11:18 PM
Actually, the Borchardt had one advantage over the Luger. Its recoil spring* exerts its force straight down to close the toggle. When Georg Luger redesigned the gun to make it more compact, he moved the recoil spring inside the pistol grip. That changed the force vector for the spring to a more forward movement, and resulted in the toggle not being fully closed by spring tension. Luger tried to change than and get more of a downward force by sweeping the grip backward, which helped, but the Luger still has that design defect. So that grip angle and great "Luger feel" were thus not the result of deliberate ergonomic design but a result of a mechanical need.


*The mainspring of any firearm is the spring that fires the gun; the Luger mainspring is in the breechblock inside the firing pin.


July 23, 2009, 12:40 AM
*The mainspring of any firearm is the spring that fires the gun; the Luger mainspring is in the breechblock inside the firing pin.

Jim, the Luger has a recoil spring (I'm guilty of incorrectly calling it the mainspring on occasion) but it does NOT have a "mainspring" as you describe it. It does, however, have a firing pin spring which any decent Luger reference book will bear out as correct. I refer you to Kenyon, Datig, Jones, Still and other authorities on the Luger. For most guns you are correct.... but not in the case of the Luger.

EOD Guy in VA
July 23, 2009, 01:34 AM
I tried to upload an animated .gif file that showed how a Luger functions, but it wouldn't animate here... sorry.

Tim the Enchanter
July 23, 2009, 02:27 AM
Here's a period video explaining operation (0:50 sec onwards)

July 23, 2009, 08:31 PM
It's difficult to say how anyone's idea originated, or from how many sources, but Maxim got the main idea for his machine gun from watching a steam engine. The first version of his gun even had a rear link that rotated continuously in one direction in the manner of a crankshaft. This did not go over big with potential buyers as they tended to visualize it going into a run away condition. So Maxim modified it to rotate back and forth.

The Luger's recoil spring does close the action all the way. In fact a recoil spring that is much too weak will result in the action stopping just shy of closed. At this point the disconnnector will have reset and the gun can be fired while unlocked. Not a pretty picture. Fortunately the pistol will suffer other malfunctions before the spring gets that weak.

The biggest single problem with the Luger's recoil spring is shade tree mechanics tinkering with it with no idea of what they are doing. If you open up seven different shooter grade Lugers you will find eight different recoil springs, none of them to spec. As Georg Luger said, "The springs have to be right."

In any firearm, the main spring is the one that makes it go bang. Regardless of how that spring is labeled in a parts list. Other languages may be different. The Germans call the recoil spring a "closing spring".

July 23, 2009, 08:36 PM
Well, they do have two grip screws.

Which is two less then a 1911, which doesn't have any screws either.

But the Luger doesn't seem to have as much play in its parts... ;)

July 23, 2009, 10:17 PM
In any firearm, the main spring is the one that makes it go bang. Regardless of how that spring is labeled in a parts list.

Not if the proper name for the part is the "firing pin spring". What makes YOUR definition the final word? I'll go with the historically correct terminology, thank you.

July 24, 2009, 06:08 PM
The term "main spring" IS the historically correct one. From the days of the snaphaunce to the present this name was always applied to the spring that made the firearm go bang. Some parts lists may call it by another name, and that's OK, but in such a case it's a latter day synonym, not the historically correct term.

Or maybe I should drag out my original DWM drawings and we can all use the German terms. But the Germans don't get it all correct on the terms either. The recoil spring strength is specified in "kilograms". Do that on your physics exam and you'll get no points for that answer.

Look at the parts list for a S&W and a Colt revolver. The S&W has a "yoke", the Colt has a "crane". One or the other is obviously not the "historically correct" term. Or will you say they both are, because they're on a "parts list"?

Jim K
July 24, 2009, 11:11 PM
The firing pin spring in a Luger (or a Mauser rifle) IS the mainspring. It may be called a hammer spring, a firing pin spring, or a striker spring, but all are design-specific terms for the generic term "mainspring."

Hi, Unspellable, the toggle does have spring tension all the way, but it is less as the toggle closes and that is the point where part of the tension is used to cock the firing pin,* so the closing force is less than in, say, a M1911. The result is that cartridge seating force is less than ideal for a combat pistol.

As to firing unlocked, it would be hard to get a Luger to do that. If the front toggle is not down far enough, the cam on the firing pin pushes on the firing pin retracting cam on the front toggle. This either closes the toggle (and leaves too little force to fire the primer) or prevents the firing pin from reaching the primer at all.

*FWIW, the German word is Schlagbolzen or "strike bolt."


Alpacca 45
July 25, 2009, 07:17 AM
Hi Unspellable,

I've got to say that I don't honestly know what the true inspiration for Maxim was.

My basis for saying that Maxim's use of the toggle was inspired by the Winchester lever action is based on the early Maxim semi auto conversions of (toggle actioned) lever actions which had a seperate butt plate, so the whole rifle recoiled relative to the butt plate and a lever mechanism from that buttplate operated the action.

I gather Turkey had some of those conversions in military service as early as 1888 (the year Britain adopted the .303 Lee-Metford, and a couple years before the US adopted the Krag & Jorgensen).

Either way, the toggle lock in guns and the crank in rotating engines is effectively the same mechanism. The problem of starting an engine which had stopped at top or bottom dead centre was well known, to the extent that there are patented "non dead centre" engines.

Likewise, a flywheel and a spring are two effective means of storing energy from the recoil stroke to use for chambering and firing.

Whatever the source of the inspiration, depending on how the geometry is layed out, the toggle provides a simple locking mechanism, or a simple delay mechanism.

Something you won't see in any of the published texts (but well known and understood by designers such as Browning, Lahti and Schwarzlose, I only worked it out when I was planning to write a "dynamics of autopistols") is the locking toggle also forms a simple and effective accelerater, which transfers energy from the recoiling barrel and receiver to the bolt during extraction. and it does this with all the advantages of leverage that you get in a "compound linkage" (toggle linkage) reloading press.

Hence when Browning was designing a none toggle machinegun (Browning patented a toggle actioned gas operated pistol simillar to his "potato digger" machinegun, and even some of his last patents were for toggle actions, he just couldn't get away from their inherent simplicity) he incorporated an accelerator to both buffer the recoil of the barrel and slide and to ensure that the bolt had sufficeint energy to unlock and extract. Scwarzlose, in his early rotating bolt locked breech pistol incorporated an accelerator, and lahti, who had designed probably the finest derivation of the Maxim / Vickers machine gun and who, like Browning, understood the toggle intimately, incorporated accelerators into his none toggle machinegun actions and his L35 pistol which was to replace the Luger in Finnish military and home guard service.

Browning's "Slide" for auto pistols neatly does away with the need for an accelerator, as it contains the majority of the recoiling mass already. In a recoil operated rifle or machinegun, the much heavier barrel would remove much of that advantage.

July 25, 2009, 01:39 PM
The firing pin spring in a Luger (or a Mauser rifle) IS the mainspring. It may be called a hammer spring, a firing pin spring, or a striker spring, but all are design-specific terms for the generic term "mainspring."

Thank you, Jim. That's really all I was trying to say. The term "mainspring" is generic and covers the whole spectrum of firearms while not necessarily being firearm specific.

There are, by my count, 7, 8 or 9 springs in a Luger depending upon model and whether the ejector is counted as a spring. (It's tempered to be a spring in order to maintain it's proper position to eject the case.) I didn't count the magazine spring because it's separate from the pistol.

Your explanation of why a Luger will not fire out of battery (barring a mechanical failure) is also spot on.

Ian Sean
July 25, 2009, 01:51 PM
The Luger Forum has a fantastic animated operation of a Luger.

Can't load it here as a picture...but here is a link to the home page for all to check out.

If you ever wondered how a luger works just watch.

July 25, 2009, 08:53 PM
The Luger WILL fire out of battery. I've done it several times with the simple experiment of using a primed case. (One presumes it would get ugly with a fully loaded cartridge.)

The Luger probably has more urban myths surrounding it than any other fire arm you can name. Starting with its supposed lack of reliability. About two years ago I and two other people started a serious research project to separate fact from fiction. (Sort of ala the Myth Busters, but with a an awful lot of historical research thrown in.) Hence the experiment above. It has been slow going what with having to actually make springs, magazine parts, etc., acquire enough data on things like measured barrel diameters to be statistically significant, digging through old drawings and records, some in German (Thank God at least one of us has enough German.) some hard to come by. I suppose some day a book may come out of this.

We are not accepting hear say, we find out the actual facts. Another experiment on my part was putting together a test rig to actually measure the strength of recoil springs, both at preloaded and fully loaded lengths. I've measured a lot of springs, both originals and modified ones.

Some real eye openers have occurred along the way.

1. Contrary to what you often see in print, Luger barrels do NOT vary widely in internal diameter. In fact they were held to tighter tolerances than are common in US made sporting arms.

2. When you buy a box of 9 mm "Luger" cartridges, they ain't really Luger cartridges. Some where along the way, some bright boy decided the SAAMI maximum OAL should be the same as the original DWM MINIMUM OAL. We do not as of yet have an answer as to why or how this happened. However, it's the starting point of the Luger's supposed unreliability. The Luger magazine operates like many 22 LR magazines in that the nose of the cartridge rides on the front of the magazine and keeps some space between cartridges to allow for the larger diameter at the rear of the cartridge. (The 9 mm is tapered.) There is no commonly available cartridge today that actually meets spec.

3: This should be obvious, but most of these pistols are pushing 80 years or more. Many of the magazines have been dropped on their head once too often.

4: The 9 mm Luger does NOT need a hot load. Nor does it need a weaker recoil spring to accommodate today's commercial loads.

5: On the other hand, Winchester, Fiocchi, et al, 7.65 cartridges are seriously underloaded. To the point of not having enough steam to reliably cycle the action. Winchester claims 1220 fps, but I defy you to get anywhere close to that with a real pistol. I called up Winchester on this point and I have to say they were not very cooperative. They claim 1220 fps from a 4.5 inch test barrel. As opposed to DWM's original spec of 1220 fps from a 120 mm barrel on an actual pistol. The Winchester stuff will not get close to 1220 fps even from a six inch pistol. Fiocchi's is slower yet. This point required a research project of its own into how bullet velocities were measured circa 1900.

(I have a Ruger P89 chambered for the 7.65 Parabellum as a test control gun. I have a Ruger Blackhawk chambered for 9 mm Parabellum for using up reload experiments that did not work well in the Lugers.)

6: No two shooter grade Lugers will have identical recoil springs. They are usually cut down originals or some after market spring. This due to their having been tinkered with by the ignorant. A Wolff replacement spring doesn't even LOOK like a Luger recoil; spring.

7. In the 1906 US Army trials the Luger actually beat the Browning design in the reliability tests. Georg Luger then went on to supply the famous 45 caliber Lugers for the next round of trials. But by then it was becoming obvious the Luger suffered from the "Not Invented Here" syndrome. But the Swiss, the Germans, the Portugese, The Finns, the Dutch, Iran, et al adopted the Luger. The Germans, Swiss, and Finns are not famous for machinery that doesn't work.

Little known trivia: The grip screws are not metric, they are British Standard.

July 25, 2009, 10:30 PM
Unspellable, I have no idea where you got your information but there were NO tests of the Luger by the U.S. Army in 1906. The U.S. Army tests were done in 1907 and in every meaningful reliability test the Browning design was SUPERIOR to the Luger. Both pistols tested were chambered in .45ACP. From Datig's book "The Luger Pistol".

Dust Test (Time)..................................... Colt: 1M. 56 Sec. Luger: 2M. 30 Sec.
Rust Test (Time)..................................... Colt: 3 Sec. Luger: 20 Sec.
Malfunctions due to mech, excl. dust, rust... Colt: 2 Luger: 12
Misfires.................................................. Colt: 1 Luger: 4
Jams..................................................... Colt: 27 Luger: 31

In fact, there are few of the tests conducted wherein the Luger bested the Colt and they were minor items at that. Anyone contending that the Luger is more reliable than the 1911 under battlefield conditions is delusional.

The earlier 1901 U.S. Army tests of the 1900 Lugers did not compare other designs to the Luger and the pistols were not found to be suitable for US military purposes.

The original Luger cartridge was the 7.65mm, a bottleneck design that aids greatly in reliable functioning of the pistol. The taper of the 9mm case is also an aid to reliable function. The cartridge adopted by the German Army in 1908 used a truncated cone bullet that was replaced by the familiar round nose we see today. This was caused by Allied complaints that the TC bullet was "inhuman" and caused greater suffering than acceptable.

The German military 9mm cartridge fired a 124 grain bullet at 1250 FPS..... not exactly a "light" load and certainly stiffer by a good margin over most commercial 9mm sold today.

I've reloaded for the .30 Luger for more than 40 years so I rarely use commercial cartridges. It's a much better cartridge than many realize, especially when a hollowpoint or softnose bullet is used. The softnose bullets don't always feed well through all Lugers but in other pistols it's OK.

The bore diameter of a German military 9mm Luger is stamped on the underside of the barrel. It will normally be 8,82 or 8,83 and is in millimeters. That translates to .3472" and .3476" and is very good. No one normally complains about Luger accuracy which is generally excellent.

While most Lugers I've owned - a fair number - have had original recoil springs, a few have been cut or replaced. The only way to tell is to actually look at the spring unless it's so weak that it's obviously been fooled with.

July 26, 2009, 12:58 AM
There were TWO series of US Army tests in which both the Luger and Browning's design competed. The 45 Caliber Luger was in the second of these, but not the first, which was the one in which the Luger beat the Browning design for reliability. Admittedly, at this time the Browning design was still in its developmental stages while the Luger was a mature design. I'm not contending that the Luger is really more reliable than the 1911. It is to be admitted that the Luger will not tolerate much mud under the side plate but on the other hand the 1911's reliability has been exaggerated. The main point here is that the inherent reliability of the Luger is far better than urban legend would have it.

Datig's book is no longer considered the "Bible". A great deal has been learned since his book about the Luger's history and development.

The original 9 mm loads did NOT run at 1250 fps. They were closer to 1050 fps. Which makes today's commercial stuff a bit spiffier.

I agree the 7.65 mm Parabellum is a better cartridge than generally realized. In my own handloads I have run cast semi-wadcutters and full wadcutters with excellent reliability.

July 26, 2009, 01:32 AM
While Datig's book is certainly dated and much new information has been discovered, the US Army tests are well documented by him. If you have a reference showing that tests were conducted in 1906, I'd be very interested in seeing it. The US Army never seriously considered the 9mm as a military cartridge and after the tests of 1901 with the Model 1900 .30 Lugers and their experiences in the Philippines using a .38 caliber revolver, it was decided that any future pistol the military adopted would be in .45 caliber.

Mud under the side plate is far less likely than mud or dirt in the receiver, breach block and toggle train that can really cause problems for the Luger. The magazine is also susceptible to dirt and damage, especially in the early stamped metal mags. A clean and properly lubed Luger with good ammo and magazine will work very nicely. I have years of experience with both the Luger and the 1911..... more than 50 years actually. I love to shoot the Luger but when I carry, it's a 1911 because experience has proven to me beyond doubt that the 1911 is far more reliable.

It is a well known fact that the Luger cartridge as loaded for the German military was considerably hotter than commercial US cartridges. The 124 grain bullet at 1250 FPS is according to Datig and I've seen nothing authoritative to dispute that. My 1979 Speer manual shows 8.8 grains of Blue Dot giving 1233 FPS from a S&W Model 39 pistol with a 4" barrel. 5.9 grains of Unique is listed at 1192 FPS and a load recommended for the Luger years ago was 6.0 grains of Unique that I've used often with great success. I have no reason to doubt that the German military load Datig lists is true.

July 26, 2009, 02:39 AM
"...can't seem to pick out a slide anywhere..." There isn't one. Jim's link to the Luger forum animation is perfect for showing how they work. Also shows the downside of the action. Dust etc can easily get into the pistol.
One thing to remember is that the design is a very early semi-auto pistol design. Dates from 1900ish.

July 26, 2009, 12:55 PM
unspellable, with regard to loading the .30 Luger cartridge - and you may already do this - I buy .312" (32 caliber) jacketed bullets in 85 and 90 grain weights and then run them through a .309 or .310" Lyman sizing die to get the correct diameter bullets for the Luger.

Not surprisingly, some of the newer pistols chambered for the .30 Luger seem to use .308" groove diameter barrels. The Browning HP and Benelli B-80 use the smaller diameter bore while the Walther P-38 seems to stay with the original specs for the cartridge. The Browning in .30 Luger uses a slide scaled for the cartridge and the slide from a 9mm will not fit the frame of a .30. I find it odd that they would do that as the .30 Luger cartridge will properly work other 9mm pistols with full size slides. The HP magazines are also marked "7.65 Para Only".

I bought my HP about 1989 when Ron Shirk imported 500 of them. They are relatively rare.

July 26, 2009, 06:55 PM
I have not tried sizing down 0.312 jacketed bullets, although I may try it one of these days. Word is that spring back can cause the jacket to separate. The original bore is over sized with respect to the original bullet, (or vice versa) we have no info as of yet as to why, although it appears to have been a practice in some other European arms. (And oddly enough has connections with the 32 Winchester Special's allegedly poor accuracy with a worn bore, another urban myth.)

I don't remember if I slugged my Ruger bore, but I'd not be surprised to find it at 0.308. It uses the same slide and magazine as the 9 mm version but has a different guide rod and recoil spring. The Ruger factory people supplied me gratis with an extra guide rod and three extra springs for experimental purposes. Nice of them but a bit out of character for Ruger. They probably "forgot" to tell the legal department. At one time I thought about rebarreling a S&W 39 for the 7.65.

I've recently moved to another state and am living an apartment while the wife and dog are back home getting the house fixed up for sale. Everything is in hurriedly packed and stacked boxes. You were correct on the 1906 date, I had a mental hiccup. There were three series of trials in 901, 1903, & 1907. I've found reference to the 45 Luger beating the Colt in the 1907 endurance trails, and reference to 9 mm velocities in the 1050 fps range in the 1903 trials. I'm still digging for reliability from the 1903 trials. The biggest edge the colt had was in post rust test functioning. The 1901 trials seem to have been purely a field rail with no controlled testing done.

Jim K
July 26, 2009, 11:06 PM
There are some interesting points about the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. When DWM first had the pistol tested by the German army, it was in 7.65 caliber. The German army wanted a larger bullet and specifically suggested 9mm. But just straightening the 7.65 case resulted in a mouth diameter slightly over 9mm (if the army wanted 9mm, it would get 9mm, not 9.2mm), plus there was the problem of case support and headspace. Luger first tried to use a necked up 7.65 case with a very small shoulder*, but that did not provide enough support. So he decided to support the case on its mouth, not a new idea but one that had not been extensively used. The result was the tapered case.

Back home, Browning started his auto pistol experiments with revolver cartridges, but soon ran into feeding problems from a box magazine. He couldn't think of any other way to support the round other than a rim, so he kept reducing the rim to the point where it would feed reliably, give good support and, if cartridge overall length was kept in specs, would not rim lock. The result was the whole series of semi-rimmed Browning cartridges.

Browning may have hit on the idea of case mouth support on his own, but it seems more likely that at some point around 1903/1904 he saw or heard about a 9mm Luger round and the light went on. The result was that subsequent Browning rounds (.380 ACP and .45 ACP) are supported on the case mouth.

*Case support with small shoulder cartridges has always been a problem with rounds like the .35 Remington and .35 Whelan. H&H finally gave up trying to use a shoulder for support with its .375 H&H Magnum and went to a belt for headspace, not for case strength as most folks assume.


Alpacca 45
July 27, 2009, 10:19 AM
Drawings reproduced at the back of Martens, B & de Vries, G: "The Dutch Luger" show dimensions for the necked chamber for 9mm, together with dimensions for the recoil spring and the cartridge and bullet. There is also discussion of the evolution of the coil recoil spring and its replacing the leaf spring of the "old Luger".

I need to check the reference, but one theory for the supposed "unreliability" was conscripts mixing up side plates, as at least some side plate assemblies required either selective assembly or else hand adjustment during manufacture and swapping could result in failures to fire.

I have to say that for a 100 odd year old design, with some made under the most appalling hardship, and with unknown levels of mistreatment since, I have not had first or secondhand experience of an "unreliable" luger.

I did hear of one "going full auto" and resulting in a bent toggle, supposedly after firing Mkiiz submachinegun loading. I never saw the result, and gather that the firer later ended up in a secure mental hospital...

Are you sure the threads were BS?

The BA (British Association) threads were bought as a fine thread system from a Swiss instrument manufacturer and are based on metric measurements , although different to the later "metric" threads. They were used when the Whitworth threads would be considered too coarse. When expressed in inches the BA thread formula will always contain either 127 or 25.4 as the conversion factor from millimetres to inches.

BS (Whitworth) threads were not unknown on the continent of Europe, for example the bolts into the aluminium alloy castings of Hitler's VW Beetle.

Unspellable, I'll send you a PM over the next couple of days.

July 27, 2009, 12:30 PM
I have not tried sizing down 0.312 jacketed bullets, although I may try it one of these days. Word is that spring back can cause the jacket to separate.

Separation hasn't been a problem but then both of the bullet designs I use are solid base and separation wouldn't happen at least until the bullet struck it's target. My father once had a post-WW1 rework of an Erfurt Luger that had it's 9mm barrel replaced with a .30 caliber. (It's now in my collection.) All parts except the barrel are matching. Anyway, I loaded some lead-nose HP bullets for him and one day a large groundhog came toward my father and brother as they relaxed in the backyard. It was acting funny so my father handed my brother the Erfurt and told him to shoot the groundhog. The first bullet was a solid and passed through without effect. The next bullet was one of the HP's and it nearly tore the animal in half, stopping it on the spot. Very effective. My father had owned several .30 Lugers since the 1920's and stated that with a good HP or softnose bullet, it was "wicked". I tend to agree.

With regard to semi-rimmed cartridges, I find it interesting that Colt chose to use a semi-rimmed case for the .38 Super rather than a rimless case and headspace on the small rim rather than the case mouth when they introduced the 1911 in that cartridge. Early pistols were not known for being accurate and in later years Colt changed over to headspacing on the case mouth. FWIW, if you reload, the 9mm Largo case works beautifully in the .38 Super and is a true rimless case.

Jim K
July 27, 2009, 04:31 PM
As I mentioned, Colt did not "choose" semi-rimmed cases, Browning did. That whole series of cartridges (.25 ACP, .32 ACP, .38 ACP, 9mm Browning Long) were all semi-rimmed, reflecting Browning's initial use of revolver cartridges. Only the later .380 ACP and .45 ACP are true rimless and are supported on the case mouth.


July 27, 2009, 09:26 PM
It would be interesting to know who first came up with the idea for headspacing on the case mouth. I would think it would be possible to headspace the transitional 9 mm cartridge on the case mouth while more or less ignoring the shoulder, but in the end the straight tapered case would be simpler to manufacture. There is some evidence to suggest that the Luger presented for British consideration was using the transitional 9 mm with shoulder.

The US, German, and British military were all requesting a caliber larger than the 7.65 at more or less the same time.

In a former life I and some friends used to hunt jackrabbits. A hardball from my 7.65 Luger stopped them dead every time without fail. On the other hand I've seen them run after a fair and square hit with everything from a 455 Webley to a 30-06. I have no explaination for this, there is nothing that special about a 7.65 hardball. Jack rabbits are notoriously hard to put down, far tougher than a cottontail.

March 30, 2010, 11:14 PM
I have a Finnish Luger pistol. The markings have the SA designation, a 35 on one side, a 36 on the back of the bolt, and a 699 or 996 depending on how you look at it on the side as well...tapped out with xxx...Does anyone know about the pistols?

March 31, 2010, 06:59 PM
My velocity figures for the 9 mm come from the original DWM specs.

The reliability vs the 1911 comes from the actual US Army test report in which a test was conducted with both pistols clean and properly lubed at start, simple endurance test to see which gun jammed first. The 1911 jammed first.

Jim Watson
March 31, 2010, 07:10 PM
Ed Ezell showed data from the 1903 tests of the then-new 9mm. For some reason he metricated everything, but converting back to American money, they tried two loads with 123 grain bullets, one about 1150 fps, the other about 1190 in 4" barrels.
Of course this was in the old model action with ribbon springs. Does a new model REALLY need "hot European loads?"

Billyhornsby, as I understand it, the Finns adopted the 1923 version Luger in 7.65mm.
After that they started building 9mm Lahtis and bought some Brownings for the Finnish Air Force. So they standardized on 9mm and rebarrelled their Lugers for the same round as the other guns. That is what was surplused here, mostly. With Tikka or Sako barrels, ugly but visible square front sights, and a dull reblue.

March 31, 2010, 10:33 PM
No, the New Model does NOT need hot loads. Urban myth. Leads to the unknowing screwing up the recoil spring. What it would really like is a load with the correct OAL.

April 1, 2010, 01:43 AM
I've found reference to the 45 Luger beating the Colt in the 1907 endurance trails,

The reliability vs the 1911 comes from the actual US Army test report in which a test was conducted with both pistols clean and properly lubed at start, simple endurance test to see which gun jammed first. The 1911 jammed first.

A 1911 in 1907?

I love my Lugers, but for a combat situation I'll grab the 1911 any time for many reasons.

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