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Looking for info regarding a 'P38 AC40'...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Another_Kelley, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Another_Kelley

    Another_Kelley Member

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    A family member recently inherited a P38 AC40. Trying to get an idea or a rough ballpark to price it at.

    Stamped '7216b' on LH slide and trigger guard. RH side of slide has 2 very small stamps reading '359' with a Nazi eagle between them. In the front, under the barrel, it's stamped '8814 h'.

    Haven't spotted any other digits or disassembled in any way to look further.

    Thank you much for any info/help...

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  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Manufactured at the Walther plant, 1940.

    Around here, I would expect that pistol to be found at the LGS with 6-700 on the tag.
     
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  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Another_Kelley

    A very nice and collectible P38! Worth a bit more than later P38s because early versions were built and finished nicer (made at the Walther plant by German workers), than later war production and because not many of those made in 1940 survived the war intact. The slide and the frame are matching but the barrel is not (different serial number). I would say it could be worth anywhere from $1000 on up to the right collector.
     
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  4. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I was thinking a grand as well, but for the non-matching barrel. Kinda kills it for the folks who pay top-dollar for these things......

    There are a few on Gunbroker ASKING well north of that, but they are all matching and IMO, the sellers are insane. I dont have a GB account, so I cant look at sold auctions, though.

    Come to think of it, my LGS did sell a pair of matching numbers AC42s last year for $900 a piece, in comparable condition.

    Still a nice example of an early wartime P38.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    NIGHTLORD40K

    Kind of thinking the same thing but the fact that it's an AC40 that survived the war in good condition, I thought that might bump the price up a bit higher.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
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  6. Another_Kelley

    Another_Kelley Member

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    Thank you both for taking the time to comment.... much appreciated.
     
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  7. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    If you plan on keeping and shooting it, you will want to use mild 115gr FMJ target ammo. Wartime P38s are prone to slide cracks when subjected to "hot" rounds such as +P hollowpoints.

    New recoil springs would be a good idea as well, but save the originals. They are available from Wolff Gunsprings.

    Also, the folks at Walther Forums advise against excessive use of the decocker lever as it can damage the hammer and safety. The best method is to clear the chamber and use both hands to lower the lever and hammer gently together.

    Spare magazines are available from a number of sources. Magazines for the Walther P1 pistol are compatible as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
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  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    All great advice from NIGHTLORD40K! Check the locking block to make sure it doesn't have any cracks in it too (it's that wedge looking piece between the barrel and the frame). Also keep on eye on the top cover of the slide. They have been known to come off on occasion!
     
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  9. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    Sort of think Nightlords original figure is pretty close, maybe bump it up a bit for the fact it IS an AC40 standard.
    Photo of the right side of the barrel lug (lock the slide open) might narrow down the barrel year.
    It is definitely not a 1940 barrel, but the serial fonts on it point to it being off of an AC41 or 42 IMO.

    I would have agreed with the 1000 figure if the barrel had been the only item swapped out.
    The original stocks on that pistol would have been dark chocolate mottled Walther produced stocks that
    were serialed (on the inside) to the gun.
    Those look to be (quality of photo makes it hard to say for sure) mid war AEG reddish bakelites that are on it now.
    They did not appear on Walthers until late in 1943.
    Again, photos of the interior of the stocks would confirm.

    FWIW - For selling purposes (if photos are needed) you might clean the stocks in warm soapy water with a sponge
    and rinse with more very warm water. No oil on them. You'll see the bakelite contrasting colors kind of jump out.

    The pistol's right side slide proofs look straight with the firing proof (center eagle) and the final acceptance stamp (the right side '359')
    still in the white because both were applied after the pistol was totally assembled and finished.
    The '359' to the left was the completed slide acceptance mark and was applied while the slide was in the white.
    Makes me believe that it is a bringback/pre-68 import.

    Chances are good it was bought/brought back that way (field repair/replacement), but a lot of years have gone by
    and it is a classic example why you can only buy the gun as-is.
    It would be considered a very nice placeholder for many collectors.

    Thanks for sharing, JT
     
  10. Another_Kelley

    Another_Kelley Member

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    Thank you very much for all that information JT!
     
  11. Another_Kelley

    Another_Kelley Member

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    20191013_153509.jpg
    Spotted a '135', after locking the bolt back...however it was on the LH side of the barrel. Also noticed a '135' on 1 of the 2 mags that it came with....
     

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  12. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    Barrel is off of a mid 1943 Mauser produced P.38.
    Doesn't help value, but I feel that the your potential buyer would be picking this one up
    as a placeholder of an uncommon variation with a nice percentage of original finish on the slide/frame.
    So much for my opinion! LOL

    Good luck with the sale, JT

    I agree with Nightlord concerning using the original springs and especially to NOT use the hammer drop feature
    if you allow the hammer to fall on its own.
    The square edge firing pin was determined to be a weak spot in the design that was corrected with
    a round firing pin (not interchangeable with a war 2 gun) in post war production.
     
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