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Luger P08 question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MosinT53Hunter, Apr 19, 2018.

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  1. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    I have had a question in my mind for a while, but not quite the answer as of yet, maybe you guys can come up with a better answer.

    Is there any difference in quality and performance of Lugers from WWI and WWII productions? Are they all the same or is there any real difference between them? I have been pondering on getting one, but I like to be as well informed as I can be before going forward with any gun purchase.

    Thank you in advance, I will appreciate any and all info I can get.
     
  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I can't speak to the later guns, but I have a 1918 DWM and gotta say it is a fantastic piece.
    Good luck finding one you like, you won't regret it!

    Oh....the only problem I've had with it was the (very old) aftermarket magazine that came with it. I located a 1938 DWM factory mag and it now feeds perfectly. I was warned Lugers generally like hotter loads, but mine runs fine on cheap range ammo, though it does apparently short stroke a tiny bit, because it dosn't lock the toggle open unless I'm using JHPs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  3. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I read once that Mauser used the best steel of all the Luger manufacturers in their Lugers, in the sense that it was most resistant to wear. IIRC, the differences between Erfurt, DWM and Mauser steels were not large, but the author said that the steel in Swiss Lugers was significantly softer. (He was referring to the Mauser Lugers of the 1930's and WWII, not the post-WWII Mauser Parabellums.)

    Only Mitchell used stainless steel, of course, and the quality of their Lugers seems to have been highly variable - some people got good ones, and some (like me) not so good. Also, they seem to have been unable to make 8 round magazines, and simply de-rated theirs to 7 rounds.

    BTW, I recently bought what seemed clearly to be a NOS Mitchell Luger magazine on Ebay (it was stainless and had their typical wooden mag bottom), although it was not listed as such). It would not fit in either my Mitchell Luger or an East German re-work Mauser Luger.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  4. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    I would guess there would be 20 years less wear and tear on a WII model.
     
  5. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Cannot provide comparison , but I can attest to the fact that my 1916 DWM is excellent in terms of quality and function. Truly a pleasure to shoot.
     
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  6. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Greetings and thanks for the question regarding the comparative quality of lugers from WWI and WWII. Yes, there is a difference. But the question of why you want a luger will determine whether that difference matters. Do you want an inexpensive luger that functions so you can shoot it? If the answer is yes, then a non-matching luger in 9mm from either era (World War I or World War II) will do. Another option in this catagory would be one the relatively recently imported "Russian captures;" it would serve you well if you want an inexpensive shooter. If you just want a shooter, keep in mind that 9mm is far more available and less expensive than 7.65 x 21 (.30 luger). So even if the price on a 7.65 luger might be attractive, it may be attractive because the previous owner couldn't always find affordable ammunition!

    If you want a "piece of history" then you're going to be competing with collectors and the price will go up. There are different "categories" of lugers and each has it's own place in history. The website of Simpson Ltd. has a pretty good arrangement based on manufacturer and year of production. Generally, some folks contend that the DWM lugers from the period 1908 to 1913 display a little better quality workmanship than those from the period 1914-1918. The same holds for the Erfurt lugers made before the war. In addition, all DWM lugers are considered by many to show a little better workmanship than the Erfurt lugers. There is even a little stamp that the war time luger inspectors used to mark frames that didn't meet the standards but were later deemed good enough to be used. This little mark is found more frequenly on lugers produced later during the war. The lugers made immediately after WWI, sometimes called "1920 commercials" are generally fine even though many were made with left over parts. These lugers don't generally command the prices of the war time lugers. Then there are the "double date" lugers, the Weimar army lugers and the "sneaks" before we move into the more expensive Mauser "banners" and eventually into the rearmament period models -- the "G" and the "K". Quality of these is great, but the limited numbers (and the increasing number of fakes) may limit the desirablity of these. Then come the 1936, 1937, 1938, and other war time lugers. Once again, generally the earlier the production, the better the workmanship. Krieghoff lugers of all periods are often considered to be among the best and the prices reflect that. In terms of price, the World War II lugers are generally more expensive than World War I lugers. Since World War II lugers have had a shorter life span, they are often in better condition than World War I lugers, but you can find a luger from WWI that's in great shape and WWII lugers that have been beaten to death (or frequently altered by Bubba). In terms of quality, some folks would suggest that the best workmanship went into the Swiss lugers, especially the ones prior to the 1929 model. Once again, the earlier the production, generally the better the workmanship with the 1900 being a little bit nicer finished than the 1906 and the 1906 being a little better than the 1920. Some folks would also argue that the absolute best fit and finish on any luger, including the Swiss models, is to be found on the ones made for Abercrombie & Fitch, which are relatively scarce and consequently a little pricey. And then there are all the "sub categories" such as artillery lugers, navy lugers, and other foreign lugers, but each has its collectors which makes them a little pricey too!

    If you want a luger more for its history than its shooting quality, you can find lugers with a variety of pedigrees. For example, this is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, so maybe a 1918 DWM or 1918 Erfurt would be appropriate. Or maybe you had a relative that fought in WWII and want a luger from that period. Any of the WWII period lugers would fill the bill, but you could find one with the "capture paper" that gives it a context that you can identify and a person whose history you can research.

    Hope this helps. Let us know what you decide to do and maybe share a picture or two of your new luger.
     
  7. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Are Russian capture Lugers coming in now? I remember when the East German rework Lugers came, because I bought one. That must have been around 25 years ago. Mine turned out to be a very good shooter, if not much to look at (heavy black Warsaw Pact re-finish).
     
  8. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Hello Monac: Please forgive me for causing confusion. No, to the best of my knowledge there are no Russian lugers coming in now. A few showed up a few months back but the explanation was that CAI or some other importer just "found a few in the warehouse." At my age, any thing within the last 25 -30 years is "relatively recently."
     
  9. Monac

    Monac Member

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    LOL, I feel the same way, drk1. The East German re-works used to be inexpensive shooters, but I think now that they are "old", people (on GunBroker, anyway) are trying to get a premium for them as "VOPO Lugers". I think most of them just sat in storage until East Germany collapsed, then they were taken out and sold in the US.
     
  10. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    drk1 -

    Impressive tutorial. Thank you.
     
  11. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    Thank you for your detailed response. I have been looking at a few lugers over at Simpson Ltd for some time, and I have wanted a luger since I had the chance to shoot, take apart and lubricate an old shooter grade 1920's Luger P08, in 30 Luger. There are two there I am looking at, but I wanted to see which would be the better buy as a shooter. Both are in 9mm, one is a 1917 DWM Luger, and the other is a Russian Capture 1939 P08, but that one is in rough condition, as it was pitted before being "dipped". Do you think the WWI would be as strong as a shooter as the WWII luger? I love to learn as much as I can.I thank you so very much for the info, gives me a lot to think about. I will keep you updated when I make my final decision on this matter. :)
     
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  12. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    The metallurgy of a 1917 DWM is top-notch, and the toggle-lock is actually designed for relatively hot 9mm loads, so " strength" should not be an issue at all with the older gun. Of course, as with any 100 year old gun, you will want to have a competent gunsmith inspect it before shooting, but, aside from perhaps a new set of Wolff springs, there should be no issues with breakage shooting any modern factory ammo.

    Now FUNCTIONING is another whole story! I was lucky- mine runs well on target loads, but many Lugers won't cycle with them. Also, good magazines (and mag springs) are critical to their proper operation- you will want a good factory original or Mec Gar mag.
     
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  13. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I have found the 7.65 mm Lugers to feed better and just more fun than the 9mm ones. Krieghoff built Lugers between the wars are at the top IMHO, but very valuable ! I have a 1929 Swiss and a 1920 "commercial" rebarreled .30 left, ammo is available and reasonable from Fiocchi and others. It is very easy to reload. I shoot the 1920 regularly using Italian made magazines and it functions 100%. I sold the Artillery 1916 and 1917 DMW 9mm ones I had for very good price a few years ago. Just my opinion.
     
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  14. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    I have considered the 1920 Commercial Lugers off and on, and I have shot them before. In fact this is the caliber that I fired my first time with a Luger with. Build quality, how do the 1920's Commercial ones stack up to the military built ones? Same quality, or any difference? Also, does the toggle lock open on only the military ones? The one I got to fire seemed to work off and on as I recall, but its been some years since I have had a chance to shoot one.
     
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  15. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Mecgar magazines are your friend. They are WW1 DWM rebarrels and forced matched at the original factory. Mine have been good.
     
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  16. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Mine is a 1918 DWM Artillery that was rebarrelled at Erfurt in 1920, hence the 1920 double-stamp. The barrels had to be shortened to 100mm or less to comply with the terms of the Armistice. The toggle was also replaced since the original tangent sight was removed. The quality and lockup are superb!
     
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  17. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I have a 1941 Mauser Luger that came into the U.S. from Russia in 1995 which I bought at that time for $300. The only changes to it, was the Russians "reblued" it, added plastic grips (unless they were original) and put it in storage after WWII. It seemed unfired. It has been a great, occasional shooter for me ever since. Accurate, and reliable with all bullet types, even JHP.
     
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  18. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    I've read before that the large variations in quality seen in some countries arms as they lose a war are less apparent in German arms generally, while people back home were starving late date PO8's (1918) were still being made with very high quality.
     
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  19. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    drk1

    Thanks for the informative write up. I hope it is OK with you that I 'copied' it and pasted into a .TXT file that I saved as drk1_Luger.txt for future reference.

    To the OP - good luck on your search and thanks for starting this thread.
     
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