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Just bought a Walther P1

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Betty, Dec 29, 2002.

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  1. Betty

    Betty Member

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    I've always wanted a P-38 because they just look so doggone cool . I ran across a P1 at my favorite pawn shop - it has the original holster & two mags. So it's not quite the original P38, but this will do just fine. The frame is dated 11/73 and the slide 4/81.

    It appeared like it had been carried alot, but not fired much. The bore is sparkly clean, and the alloy frame in good condition with only the edges of the black finish wearing off. Century Arms, the importer, did a poor job in stamping their name on the frame, partially ruining the aesthetics of the pistol.

    There were two P1's in the shop, but the one in the display looked like someone took a rough file to the crown and ruined it. The other P1 was hidden in a cabinet that Oleg was allowed to rummage through. Turns out this one had been reserved for my brother, but he couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted it or not. :p

    Winchester 115 gr. ball fed through it flawlessly, but after a box, the front sight fell off! (At the front sight there was a couple of gouges, probably the result of a vain attempt at trying to keep the sight on.) I found it with the aid of a large magnet, and my brother tapped a few indentations into the dovetail to give it friction to stay.

    147 gr. Hi-Shoks and 115 gr. Winchester JHPs aren't feeding reliably - the hollowpoint noses are ramming up inside the feedramp and are getting stuck. We polished the feed ramp but it didn't help - but other than that, I am quite pleased with my latest acquisition. I'll try some softpoints later on.

    Overall, the P1 is accurate and fun to shoot. I find the design & mechanics amusing, and though I haven't owned the pistol for very long, I do recommend it as a fun, unusual plinking pistol.
     
  2. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    Cool :cool: Every once in a while, I see P-1's advertised on sale but by the time I get to the store, they've been gobbled up. Enjoy the new addition, sounds like a fun little gun ;) Please, post a couple pics when possible.
     
  3. Schuey2002

    Schuey2002 Member

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    Yes,please do. I'm thinking that a "classic" Oleg pic is needed.:D
     
  4. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    Very nice...the P1 was our service sidearm in the German Army. The one you have is most likely a German Bundeswehr surplus gun. I intend to buy one just for nostalgia reasons.

    The German Army went to the HK USP recently, designated the P8.
     
  5. garrettwc

    garrettwc Member

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    Cool Runt! You need a couple more German pistols in your collection now;)

    I agree on the pics. THR won't be complete without at least one "Runt with a new blaster" pic.
     
  6. blades67

    blades67 Member

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    A friend's P-38 doesn't like anything but 115 and 124 grain ball. Since it's just for fun at the range, she doesn't care. Fun little plinker too.
     
  7. Betty

    Betty Member

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    And here's some pics:

    onesexypistol.jpg

    p1parts.jpg

    recoilsprings.jpg

    And using my best Gollum voice (which I imitate very well, BTW): "My precious......"

    P1GollumRunt.jpg

    photos by Oleg Volk
     
  8. sm

    sm member

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    Congrats , thanks for the report and the pics.

    The last photo, what I see is more like:

    <evil laugh> MINE!! All mine, ........
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2002
  9. buttrap

    buttrap Member

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    I sure like my P-1,one really classic handgun model for
     
  10. Schuey2002

    Schuey2002 Member

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    Runt,

    That last pic is downright scary! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Someone hold me. :D
     
  11. Kahr carrier

    Kahr carrier Member

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    Nice Pics ,look like your enjoying your P-1.;)
     
  12. alamo

    alamo Member

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    Great info. & pictures. I'm about ready to order one from SOG, they've got them for $199.
     
  13. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    Some very good advice for p38 and p1 shooters

    First let me state I own a few p1 and p38's. They are a fascinating and very historical pistol and now that they are available at such bargan basement prices you would be foolish not to have at least one in your collection.

    Having said all this nice stuff now pay close attention:

    The weakest point in the P38/P1 series of pistols is the stamped sheet metal top cover. You must constantly check this top cover for looseness. Failure to do so will result in your one day having your top cover depart along with all the interanl parts located underneath it.

    The top cover is held on only by friction and the design was changed in the P1 series of pistols as compared to the P38. The P38 had front legs that helped to keep the cover on although both pistols hold it on only by spring tension. The later Model p1 did not have the front legs so it makes it even more likely you may have your top cover blow off if hot ammo is used in it. Try to shoot ammo with less than 1,100 fps velocity because failure to do so will eventually start to weaken and spring the top cover and when this happens it flies right off of the gun.

    Also if too hot a loads are used you may also lose th extractor. The extrator design was not changed until very late in the guns evolution and the extrator can walk out under its detent. Cutting a deeper shoulder in it will often cure this problem or simply replacing it with the latest extractor with its shaper shoulder is another way to cure this problem. The best cure is never to shoot too hot a loads out of this weapon.

    Very Late model P38's also had a hex bolt run through the frame to help prevent cracking of the aluminum frame from the battering it takes from the locking block. If you have a P1 it probably does not have the hex bolt in the frame so this is another reason not to use hot loads in it.

    These weapons will last a long time if you fire the ammo in them that they were designed to shoot. Shooting other types of hot ammo in them will decrease their service life and accuracy considerably.

    I have a beautiful 1962 model deluxe blue P38 that is a dream to look at and shoot but I had to learn the hard way about what ammo to shoot out of it. Yes I had to replace the top cover and the extractor but now that I know what I am doing I have shot a lot of the right ammo out of it with no problems and I love to take it out and have a ball shooting this very historical weapon.
     
  14. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Glad you like it, Runt. :) I got one too. As you discovered, they are designed for ball ammo. They are a fun little plinker with a pretty good DA/SA trigger.

    I steered clear of Walthers after a less than meaningful relationship with a meat eating PPK. I also didn't care for the Professor Lucifer Butts mechanism and all the bells and whistles (loaded chamber indicator, etc.) The current bargain prices are sure to go up once the supply dries up.

    Good advice from BHP9, also.
     
  15. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    I could swear that the Bundeswehr's former issue pistol, the P1, was intended for use with hot NATO-spec military ball. Go figure. Learn something new every day, I guess...
     
  16. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    I could swear that the Bundeswehr's former issue pistol, the P1, was intended for use with hot NATO-spec military ball. Go figure. Learn something new every day, I guess

    Good question and let me shed some light on this subject. The p1's that have come into this country came in to this country in two waves. The first wave being about 12 years or so ago and now the current wave. What is generally not known is that the first wave was almost banned because they were originally Military pistols and at the time it was illegal to import such weapons but later the law was changed. They got them in because of a technicality, they were classed as police pistols and in a way they were because they were given from the German Military to the German police which then made them legal to import.

    So what does all this have to do with your original statement/question? Simply this.

    Almost all of the P1 weapons I have examined were almost unfired or in near unfired condition despite having passed through both the hands of the Military and the Police forces of Germany. The frames of these p1 pistols are aluminum that is black anodized and when you take a mint unfired gun wether military or commercial and start firing it the anodizing wears off very, very quickly. Its very, very easy to see also the wear from slide impact on the inside of the frame at various different points in the inside of the frame.

    This is not a codemnation of the weapon but only a mechanical observation and reality of use condition.

    I am no expert on the evolution of 9mm ammo but everyone seems to think that the Plus p type Nato ammo has always been in use. Original German WWII ammo was often loaded only a little over 1,100 fps and this is what the Walther was actually designed around. Whe shooting this type of ammo the later model P1 gun will often go over 5,000 rounds of ammo without any breakage but this ammo cannot be compared to some of the hot stuff on the market today or the current hot Nato rounds. A test was conducted with standard ammo about 30 years ago on a P1 complete with pictures of the wear on the frame. Even rugged steel frame guns like the World Famous High Power have been known to break slides and or frames when too much super hot ammo was shot out of them.

    It is a tribute to the designs of some of these weapons that they last as long as they do when firing such hot ammo out of them rather than what they were originally designed to shoot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2002
  17. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    I've handled and shot literally hundreds of different P1 pistols while I was in the German military. The only breakages I ever saw were broken ejectors, when recruits forced the slides over the ejector without pressing it down and out of the way first. I've never seen a P1 with its top cover "depart". I handled P1 pistols on a daily basis for 4 years, and that includes countless guard duty assignments and two tours as a basic training drill instructor...both environments where the P1 was handled, carried, shot and field-stripped a lot.


    The German police never issued the P1 pistol. In fact, there is no "German police", as the police forces in Germany are the juurisdiction of the Bundesland, or State. There are two federal police forces: the BKA (Bundeskriminalamt, or Federal Crime Office...like the FBI), and the BGS (Bundesgrenzschutz, the paramilitary border police). Neither of those ever swapped pistols with the military, and they never issued the P1.

    The BKA once issued the P4, which is a P1 with shortened barrel and "decock only" safety, but those are not issued anymore (and not P1s anyway.)
     
  18. noklue3

    noklue3 Member

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    Runt:
    You can find a great deal of info on the P1 at: P38FORUM.COM. I have one and it is indeed a great shooter.

    Art
     
  19. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    I've handled and shot literally hundreds of different P1 pistols while I was in the German military. The only breakages I ever saw were broken ejectors, when recruits forced the slides over the ejector without pressing it down and out of the way first. I've never seen a P1 with its top cover "depart". I handled P1 pistols on a daily basis for 4 years, and that includes countless guard duty assignments and two tours as a basic training drill instructor...both environments where the P1 was handled, carried, shot and field-stripped a lot.

    I would suggest you take a P38 or P1 out and shoot only about 400 or 500 hot loads through one. Often it takes a lot less than that to see a top cover depart. Carrying a P38 is one thing but people besides myself who have tried extensive shooting of hot loads through them all had the same problem with top covers departing the slide. This is not a secret unkown problem but one that is well known amoung people who collect and shoot these guns extensively.

    The famous Gunsmith and GuwriterJ.B.Wood and his book Trouble shooting your handgun also mentions this very problem with the P38.

    What you say is partially true. The German police used other weapons beside the P1 but it was well published in the Gun Rags some time ago that the P1's were indeed handed down to some police agency's after the military were through with them. This is what allowed their importation the first time about 15 years ago.

    I believe this info is also to be found in Gene Gangarosa's book on the P38 /P1 that documents its history.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2002
  20. 45R

    45R Member

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    Looks like "You'll pry that pistol out of my cold dead hands" kinda picture. Enjoy your new toy!
     
  21. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Emeritus

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    Runt, try some of the Remington 9mm JHPs. They supposedly have a radius that allows them to feed in MilSpec pistols.

    I had one that would keep all its shots on a soft drink (case) box at 100y. They do shoot nicely.
     
  22. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    Runt, try some of the Remington 9mm JHPs. They supposedly have a radius that allows them to feed in MilSpec pistols.

    Yes, Yes, I too use this bullet in all my 9mm's it will even feed through finicky German Lugers and its expansion is top rate also. It is truly one of the best unkown high performance bullets available as tests have shown. It doesn't get much press but it is one of the most reliable feeding hollow points I have ever used or found.
     
  23. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    No German police agency has ever used or issued hand-me-down Army P1 pistols. The police of the German states has its own requisition system, and they had pistol trials long before the Army got rid of their P1 pistols. For a long time, the Laender police forces had better handguns than the military: they all switched to either the Walther P5, SIG P6 (P225), or the HK P7 PSP in the late 1970s. The Bundeswehr didn't start selling off their P1 pistols until they switched to the P8 (USP) in the mid-1990s. Why would the police give up their superior sidearms to acquire older and more worn Bundeswehr P1s?

    Incidentally, the Polizei *is* in the process of replacing their older sidearms, but they are switching to the P9 (Walther P99), or the P10 (USP Compact). The sixteen States all pick their police pistols separately from the approved model range, just like they did in the 1970s.

    If you have contrary evidence, I would be interested to know where and when you read this.

    I have "shot these guns extensively". I've never seen a top cover depart, nor have I ever seen a P1 with the failure you describe in four years of active duty. Are you claiming personal experience, or is your evidence anecdotal? Are you claiming that you have more trigger time on a P1 than myself and my entire recon company combined?

    I find your remarks condescending, by the way. You imply that I'd know better if I had enough experience collecting and shooting P1 pistols.
     
  24. alamo

    alamo Member

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    I've been following your back & forth and have a couple of comments but they certainly aren't based on any experience with P-1s. Could it be that you've never seen a top cover come off because all the guns you've seen & used were correctly used with standard pressure ammo and not with hot loaded ammo that might be used by owners of these guns over here? Perhaps that could account for the difference.

    I was also thinking that maybe they were given to the police just to "pass through" on their way to export & not actually issued to the police so that they could be exported as police guns and not military guns. Perhaps that would make them easier to export due to some laws in countries receiving them? Just a guess.
     
  25. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Are you kidding? He's quoting "Gunwriters" and "Gunrags"! Perhaps if you had more experience wearing flowered shirts and pointing guns at yourself, you could refute him. Until then, your first-hand experiences are worthless... ;) :D ;)
     
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