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bring back P38 with pics

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by glassman, Jan 16, 2009.

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  1. glassman

    glassman Member

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    A friend just mailed me pics of a new to him gun. Specifically, a P38 with the markings "BYF43" and "135 with eagle and swastika". He says the first mark means it was made around 1943 and that the second marking means that it was approved for combat. He thinks this weapon was issued to officers of high rank but isn't sure about that. It looks to be in exceptional condition considering it's age. I suggested he have a smith check it out before firing it and also suggested that it might be better used as a collector's item than a regular range/SHTF gun. Considering that this gun is over 65 yrs. old, can it take modern ammo without damaging it?
    P38-2.gif
    P38-1.gif
     
  2. JB Books

    JB Books Member

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    Made by Mauser in 1943. They were issued to lots of troops. Unlike the American and British troops, many German soldiers were issued and/or carried pistols. Unlike the Allies, they tended not to shoot one another with their pistols. High ranking officers typically carried smaller caliber pistols; PPK, PP, Sauer, etc.
     
  3. Atarian

    Atarian Member

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    Made in late 1943, considered a "second variation" byf 43. Approximately 88,00 made. Made by Mauser as stated above. I'm not sure what you mean by "second marking." There is a eagle over 135 (e/135) acceptance mark on the frame. On the slide (can't really see) there should be an e/135 acceptance mark, an eagle over swastika (e/s) proof mark, and a final e/135 acceptance mark - the final mark meaning the pistol has passed all tests and is ready for issue. On the locking block there should be another e/s proof mark, an e/135 acceptance marking, and the last three digits of the serial number plus the letter suffix, in this case "794 p." There should also be an e/135 and e/s on the barrel, not visible unless field stripped. The full serial number should be on the frame, slide, and barrel.

    Based on the condition of the pistol from the two pictures, it's probably worth about $600-$700, so I would not recommend shooting it at all - it really is a collector's item. Better to get one of the $250 P1's floating around and shoot that. If he insists on shooting it I would replace the recoil springs first at an absolute minimum, and the magazine spring as well. Only use mild ball ammo. Winchester white box seems to work the best.
     
  4. blkbrd666

    blkbrd666 Member

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    Nice looking P38...wish I could find one in that condition.
     
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    glassman

    I agree wiith Atarian in that it's more in the realm of a collector's type gun than a regular range/SHTF type of pistol. If the owner is going to use it with any sort of regularity, have it checked out thoroughly by a gunsmith before use. If everything checks out okay, keep ammo selection on the mild side. Besides 60+ year old springs, you have to keep an eye on the top cover on the slide; with extended use/and or hot ammo, the cover could come off, and take a lot of other parts with it. There's also the fact that later in the war, sub-standard parts were being used, not all parts were properly heat treated, and slave labor was used in many factories to build them. Not exactly the best conditions for a quality product. If you're looking for a range gun, check out the post war P-38/P-1 police and army surplus pistols that are currently available.
     
  6. glassman

    glassman Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. You all pretty much agree with the advise I gave him with regard to having it checked out and keeping it as a collector's item. I'll make sure to tell him about changing out the springs and keeping the ammo on the mild side if he intends to shoot it. I hadn't thought about the 'slave labor' angle..a very good point that I'll tell him about. Thanks again.
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    One can get a modern version that's German police surplus. Shoots the same (maybe better) and in my experience, it handles JHP's fine.

    A P38 in that condition, with Nazi markings unmarred, may not be the rarest thing in the world, but it's worth a good deal of money as a collectible.

    I'd get an addtional surplus P1 and pretend it's the Nazi gun when shooting it.:)
     
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