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Luger's Date of Manufacture?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Drakejake, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. Drakejake

    Drakejake Well-Known Member

    I have a Luger with replaced parts. The replaced barrel extension is dated 1937, but the toggle shows byf, which I believe indicates that the original gun was produced in 1941 or 1942. I have just identified the serial number suffix as Z. So the original serial number was 39xx Z. Can anyone tell me what this indicates regarding time of manufacture?

    (message previously posted on Luger sites)


  2. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    That would've been late, late, LATE in the year if it's actually a "z" suffix (the German serif letters for "z" and "g" look a lot alike, and a "g" serif is a lot more likely) ; each year, each factory under German control re-started their serial number system to "0", building #1, then #2, etc., etc. up to #9999. The next one in the series was #1a, then #2a, etc. up to #9999a. The highest theoretical limit to this system would've been #9999z, but they apparently never got even CLOSE to that limit (for example, #9999g would've meant that factory had produced almost 80,000 firearms that year, but #9999z would've required that they build almost 270,000).
  3. Drakejake

    Drakejake Well-Known Member

    I identified the suffix as Z based on illustrations and charts posted on a Luger site. I am sure about this, even though the Z suffix may be unusual. My original guess was that it was an L since it looks like the symbol for the British pound.

  4. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    Have you got any pics? Sometimes you get a serif letter that's only partially struck, so you need to see if there's a "missing tail" on the letter.
  5. Drakejake

    Drakejake Well-Known Member

    My cheap camera can't get the necessary detail, but the letter is complete. It looks just like the Z suffix illustrated on lugerforum.com. Doesn't look anything like the G. I admit that I could never identify the letter on my own.

  6. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I'd gather it's a 41 or 42, but beyond that all bets are off... if it's really a parts gun you may never know... how many of your other numbered parts match?

    Is this a bring-back or a VOPO re-work?

    Luger serial numbers are deceptive by nature, to conceal the actual number of weapons produced. Pinning down the actual born on date ie Month, Year, Day isn't something I've seen done.. but with the numbering system they have you'd think it's possible.
  7. jimmyjoebob

    jimmyjoebob Well-Known Member

    without pictures it would be hard to help, but BYF is a manufacturer code for MAUSER, that covers the who, but the when is the issue now, that 1937 is supposed to denote the year it was made. As for finding an exact date, you can only get to a guesstimate, most of the papers were burned with the fall of Berlin, so the best you get really get is a "around time" from known codes. For example I have a late 1944 Walther, dating by the serial number, it turns out to be a late year from something like October-december. That is the best I could find. I would start here


    author Jan Still has a luger site as well, he would be another person I would talk too, the link I had is dead, so I don't know where he is hosting it now
  8. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah but Mauser only used the BYF code for a short time... I have a 42 code mauser that was made in 1939....

    Oh the obfuscation...

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