Luger PO8 Jamming problem


July 26, 2011, 06:13 PM
I have a 1942 PO8 Luger that my father brought back from the war. It is in very good condition but it has a jamming problem. I have replaced the mag springs with Wolff + springs,but it continues to jam. Have tried Win 115gr, Am Eagle 124gr, A swiss Nato 124gr and a 147 gr ammo. But it continues to jam after 1 or 2 shots.
I bought a replacement spring kit from Wolff but the recoil spring in the kit was much bigger than the original. I'm a bit reluctant to replace the recoil spring with this new Wolff spring. I don't want to brake anything in the gun. The OD of the new recoil spring is so large that it is a press fit into the gun. Also the new spring wire diameter is about 30% larger than the original. The original spring was suppose to be 36# and the replacement spring from Wolff is also suppose to be 36#.
When I cycle the action manually it doesn't jam. When it does cycle from firing the spend cart. ejects properly and the next round gets wedged by the action.
Anybody have a suggestion.

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July 26, 2011, 06:54 PM
No expert but I might start by checking the magazines, for spring tension as well as feed lip condition.

July 26, 2011, 07:08 PM
Luger's often give jamming problems, and it can often be traced to several issues, or a combination of issues.

#1 problem is old worn out magazines, or magazines that are simply defective.
Since about the only magazines that are available are commercial made "replicas" and the quality is almost always bad, this is a tough one to cure.
In this case all you can do is try some different magazines and hope to hit on one that functions.
Often, replacing the spring will not fix a defective magazine.
Luger's are magazine sensitive and one that's defective in any way will invariably cause failures to feed.

#2 most common problem is the ammo.
The Luger was designed to operate with 124 grain ammo, and original Luger ammo was hotter ammunition.
American ammo is often downloaded just slightly, and that slight amount is often outside the Luger's operating range.
Try different ammo, but don't get TOO hot. Stick to 124 or 125 grain ammo.

Clean and lubricate the gun and magazine.
Often just a good detail cleaning and fresh lubricant will work wonders.

Stronger springs may not help, and in fact a stronger recoil spring may make problems worse.
If the spring you have is much larger than the original and seems to be too tight a fit, I'd think real hard before installing it.
Like all military pistols, the Luger pistol and it's springs were carefully designed and "balanced" to shoot ONE specific load of ammunition.
If you start changing the springs for non-original spec springs, you often cause more problems.
The Luger was especially picky about springs. You can get away with stronger or lighter spring in other guns, usually NOT in the Luger.

July 26, 2011, 07:14 PM
Check the tip of the extractor make sure it isn't chipped or broken off.. if it is that's a serial numbered part and the value of your Luger could drop. Even if you have to replace it, KEEP the numbered part.

July 26, 2011, 11:54 PM
Sounds like a mag problem. Forget all your springs for now, Luger springs don't wear out very often. Get yourself a new Mecgar mag, for about $30. Every Luger I've ever heard of has cycled Winch. White Box without a problem. Cartridge length, and not the "hotness" of the round, is the critical variable with Lugers.
Get a known good mag, reliable ammo, and then go from there. Don't try to change too many things at one time.

July 27, 2011, 01:57 AM
You guys have been very helpful. I know you are right about the recoil spring thats why I didn't change it. I ordered a new Macgar mag and should get it tomorrow. I'll try it and see what happens. I have 4 other original mags and they all do the same thing so I really think its the ammo.
Can anybody make a recommendation on ammo. I have some Swiss army 124 ammo that I think has a bit more punch but it also jams. The ejector is in mint condition as is the rest of the gun. My dad got it out of an arms factory in Stutgard Germany when his company comendeered the factory at the end of the war. He got 25 new lugers in a crate and brought them back to the states after the war. He gave 24 of the guns away to his friends and kept one for himself.While in the factory he had a German prisoner who was one of the gunsmiths in the plant work on the gun. He had the prisoner modify the gun to reduce the trigger pull. The normal trigger pull is suppose to be 5 to 7 lbs and the gunsmith reduced it to 2.5 lbs. As a result of the modifications the gunsmith used a couple of parts from another gun. The trigger and trigger plate is marked with a 73 while the rest of the gun is 16.
there is more to the story but that's pretty much the history of the gun.
As far as I know it has only had about 100 rounds through it. The last time it was shot, about 30 years ago, it worked fine with the original WWII German ammo that he brought back. All that old ammo is gone now so I can't try that.
At this point I just want to get it working properly and then put it away for my grandchildren.

July 27, 2011, 10:21 AM
Hmmm...interesting story.
1. The Mecgar and either WWB or your RUAG 124 should run fine through 99% of working condition Lugers. If not, you might want to find a good 'smith. Search for "Lugerdic".
2. Another possible issue is "limp wristing". Make sure your grip and wrist are firm.

July 27, 2011, 12:19 PM
I have just gone through this exact same problem with my 1914 Luger. The main problem was limp wristing. Get as tight a grip on the gun as you can when you shoot it and see if that helps. The other thing I noticed is that mine is very ammo sensitive. I reload so I have been playing around with it. Mine seems to like very light loads. Hotter loads will either lock the toggle open with rounds in the magazine, or cause the muzzle to flip too much causing the next round to get wedged in the action.

July 27, 2011, 02:12 PM
I've never really bought into the limp wrist theory, but it might have a whole new meaning for a toggle pistol. If you think about it the toggle throws the mass much higher than almost any other slide pistol.
Anyway I'm leaving right now to test out all the suggestions so far. I'll let u know later what works and what doesn't work. Thanks

July 28, 2011, 04:46 PM
The new springs in the original mags did the trick. I shot 115gr, 124 gr and 147 gr ammo and all worked perfectly. I have an additional original mag that I did not replace the spring and that mag jammed every time no matter what bullet I used. I guess the mag springs weakened over time probably because the mags were stored with full loads in them. I won't do that again. The 124 and 147 ammo had a noticeable increase in kick so I think I'll stick with the 115 ammo and hopefully extend the life of the PO8. I'm a happy guy!

July 28, 2011, 05:23 PM
As I said earlier my dad got this PO8 at a German arms factory at the end of the war in Europe. He had some interesting stories that some may be interested in.
Just after finding the guns at the factory his company captured a German SS officer. He was disarmed and my dad through all of the German weapons in a big pile to be destroyed later. He did keep the SS officer's Luger holster to have for his new found PO8. I have that holster today. The SS officer's name is scratched in the leather and it reads "S/S Reisling".

During the war in Europe my dad told me that after a battle with the Germans, the GI's (attending to the wounded and dead) would often find Lugers laying around on the ground, and a lot of the GI's had their 1911's missing. Apparently the front line Germans didn't like the Lugers because they were very prone to jamming when dirty. They would take the 1911's from the dead and wounded GI's but they would leave the holster's behind. The German soldiers were afraid of the SS officers and didn't want them to see that they had a 1911 so they used their Luger holsters that had a flap or lid so no one would see what they had. The problem was that the 1911 is a much larger gun than the luger and they would have to jam it into the luger holster. When it cam time to use the 1911 they needed both hands and lots of tugging to get it out of the holster. Sometimes making it totally unusable. Go figure.

He told me that some of the American officers used the luger. They like it because it was a bit more accurate than the 1911. Some of them just used the Lugers to taunt the German prisoners. The 1911 however was the weapon of choice for the front line GI's. It wasn't particularly accurate but apparently it didn't need to be because if somebody got hit on any part of their body it would at least knock them over and incapacitate them, where the Luger load (as long as it didn't hit a vital organ) would just pass through and not necessarily knock you down. The Germans thought the Luger was better for tapping a man or woman in the back of the head so they could get 2 with only one shot. (My dad's theory. He didn't have much regard, to say the least, for SS troops )

July 28, 2011, 09:22 PM
I'm really glad that the Luger is now working for you.
However, I must tell you that some of those stories are just that...stories. I've heard some good yarns before to explain a miss-matched Luger, but yours is the best so far. Lugers were not made in Stutgart, and a civilian factory gunsmith would not have been held as a POW. But anyway, enjoy the Luger, they are wonderful pistols to shoot, and yours, whatever its origins, is special to you.

July 28, 2011, 09:55 PM
Good to hear that the new springs did the job.

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