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Need a history lesson.. Walther Olympia

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by raddiver, May 7, 2013.

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  1. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Hey all,
    I was with family over the weekend and was shown a gun that my grandfather used to win quite a few pistol competitions with.
    From what i can tell it is a Walther, and i believe its an olympia with a custom grip. It has an engraving (from what i was told) from 2 of the original designers of the gun with a date of 1936 with a less than 750 serial number. It's caliber is a .22 short.
    I will try to get pics up later as they are currently stuck on my phone.

    I'd like to get an idea of how much this gun is worth (no intent to sell however) and what i really want is some history for this gun. The who what when where's so to speak.


    It looks like this one
    WaltherGSP.jpg

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    It looks like a Walther GSP with a .22 conversion kit on it, but I really don't know much about Walthers.
     
  3. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    That is not the Walther Olympia...

    which was introduced before WW2, and is of much more conventional layout and design.
    In cal. .22 Short, the pistol you have pictured is designated the OSP, and is intended for Olympic rapid-fire competition. The same model in cal. .22LR is the GSP (for which a conversion was also available in .32 S&W Long Wadcutter).
    The pistol illustrated is probably from the late '70s - early '80s, and, if engraved with the figures of designers of the original Olympia, was probably a commemorative of the anniversary of the introduction of the earlier pistol.
    The OSP sold in 1982 for DM 1292 (about $700, if I recall the then-current exchange rate correctly) - the commemorative, if that is what you saw, would have sold for a higher price.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
     
  4. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    I was able to get the images off the phone.
    Im also curious as to what the matches might be for.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. 444

    444 Member

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    That is really super cool.
    I usually skip over any pictures posted in threads because they are just the same tired old thing. But THIS, WOW.

    I remember seeing these in magazines when I was a kid.

    If I ever see one of these at any halfway reasonable price, I am taking it home.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I have a pistol identical to the one shown in post #4, and once used it to fire in International Rapid Fire Matches.

    In this style of competition the shooter faces a bank of 5 silhouette targets (used to be a humanoid shape, but no longer) placed at a distance of 25 meters from the shooter. When the shooter, who is holding their pistol pointed down toward the ground, yells READY! the targets are edged away, and then within 3 seconds turned so they face the shooter. As the target turns the competitor brings the pistol up to eye level and fires 1 shot into each of the targets. If the last shot is late and causes a long hole it is scored a miss.

    In the first string of fire the shooter has 8 seconds to hit the 5 targets, in the second the time is reduced to 6 seconds, and in the third the time is further reduced to 4 seconds.

    The above is repeated 4 times with a possible of 600 points.

    The Walther Pistol was considered to be state-of-the-art for this course during the middle-latter 1960s and early 1970's.

    To some it may sound easy - it isn't.
     
  7. 444

    444 Member

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    Was this done shooting with one hand ?

    I assume it was based on the stocks on the gun pictured.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I note in passing that they're 3 boxes of Remington High Velocity shorts in the box with the pistol. I advise you not to shoot them. The pistol was designed to shoot standard and reduced velocity .22 shorts, because the intention was to reduce recoil as much as possible.
     
  9. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    It is, in fact, an OSP...

    and the matches (German!) are probably for blackening the sights.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    All Olympic style pistol shooting, regardless of the course of fire, is done one-handed.

    Obviously they are way behind the times... :D
     
  11. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Thanks Old Fuff. I don't intend on ever shooting it. I doubt my family will either, but its good to know for future reference.
    Also, i stated above that the engraving date was 1936. I believe i was a bit dyslexic there. I think it was 1963. When i do a cross reference to the revelation ammo box, that particular set of markings was from circa 1963 printings.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Take the pistol out of the box and see if a row of about 4 holes is drilled into the bore from the top of the barrel, just ahead of the chamber. Some were made that way to vent off gas and reduce recoil. If so it would explain the Remington High Velocity ammunition.
     
  13. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Being that it shoots .22shorts why would you NOT shoot it?

    The gun was made to shoot lots of ammo for a long time. Rimfire handguns have a great reputation for eating vast amounts of ammo over many years without any noticable signs of wear.

    It may not be the sort of gun you'd use on a weekly basis of course. But to put a box of 50 through it a couple or three times a year is certainly not going to do it any harm. And by doing so you can appreciate both the gun itself as well as connect a little more closely to something your Grandfather obviously enjoyed.
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The original Walther Olympia was designed in 1936 for the German team in the Olympic games of that year. It was based on a modified PP frame and for many years was considered the finest magazine type target pistol in the world. They were dropped during WWII, but production was resumed in Switzerland by Hammerli in the post war period.

    A few years ago, some clones made in (where else?) China were imported. They are pretty good pistols, but need some work before approaching the quality of the Walther and Hammerli guns.

    (Note on durability of that type of pistol in general. They were routinely fired thousands of rounds in practice, so I doubt any of them will fall apart quickly. However, they were not made for High Speed or anything other than standard velocity ammo (to reduce recoil) and might not stand up to the hotter loads.)

    Jim
     
  15. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    raddive,
    The photo you pictured was not the original Walther Olympia but a later Walther OSP in 22 Short. The stocks are the factory standard stocks of the early models.
    The original Olympia had a traditional slide with sights attached to the slide. The magazine also inserted into the grip and the barrel was not detachable. After the war the same gun was sold manufactured as the Hammerli-Walther Olympia ( I owned and shot one for a number of years).
    When they redesigned the original Olympia they introduced the model you pictured which had the magazine in front of the grip, the rear sight attached to the upper frame assembly rather than the slide, and a detachable barrel. The 22LR model was called the Walther GSP and the 22 Short model was called the Walther OSP.
     
  16. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    Old Fuff...

    is correct about the ports in the top of the barrel - they were plugged with setscrews, and could be opened as desired, one or more, to help reduce muzzle rise; important in the rapid fire discipline, which requires the shooter to 'sweep' the muzzle through the five targets essentially without a real pause en-route. Different ammunition types might require that at least some of the ports be kept closed to assure correct function - this can only be determined by test with the specific ammunition - and it is obvious that the further toward the muzzle the open port(s) may be, and the more of them which are open, the greater the downward force, so that a balance has to be achieved which provides enough muzzle control without actually pushing it downward.
    Don't hesitate to shoot the gun: they are meant for long use and are very well made.
    .22 short ammunition, however, is not easy to find (like any other .22 RF).
    It's a fine pistol, enjoy it!
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
     
  17. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Many thanks to you all

    You have been an absolute wealth of knowledge. I truly appreciate the information you have shared with me.

    -Rad
     
  18. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    Forgot to mention the original name of the Walther was Olmpische Schnellfuer Pistole (Olympic RapidFire Pistol) and was in 22Short with an aluminum slide. The Hammerli-Walther was also available with an aluminum slide in 22 Short or a steel slide in 22LR.
     
  19. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Member

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    "I don't intend on ever shooting it"

    You're a stronger man than I. :)
     
  20. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Bullet Bob, Its easy to do. The gun doesn't belong to me. :) It's been passed down to my aunt.

    She did manage to snap a pick of the engraving that i mentioned earlier. And yes i was dyslexic. I heard some references about the engraving being done by someone at Walther and the gun being given to him by them.
    The little bit of research i was able to find, there was indeed a Hans Walther (son of Carl) but he died in 1961. I cant find any reference for Paul.

    I also had her look for the gas ports. There were none on the top of the pistol. There were however, 2 hex screws on the bottom of the barrel.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The screws in the bottom of the barrel are probably plug screws, the holes are for attaching an optional barrel weight. See the picture in post #4.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Never try to outshoot someone who has special German sight-blackening matches.
     
  23. Big field

    Big field Member

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    I own most of the Walther pistols everyone is talking about. So I can speak from some direct experience. I have the pre war Walther model 1926 Olympia in .22 LR, have the pre war Walther model 1936 Olympia in .22 short (Funkampf), have the pre war Walther model 1936 Olympia Jagerschtsmodell short barrel in .22 LR for the pre war hunting assn competitions, have the post war Walther GSP in .22 LR often referred to as an "Olympia" but not of the pre war configuration, and have the post war Chinese Norinco .22 LR unauthorized copy of the 1936 Jaeger the "TT Olympia". My buddy has the post war Walther OSP in .22 short. I do not yet have any of the Hammerli post war authorized copies of the pre war Olympias. In any case these are all well made guns. Whether or not it is sensible to shoot high velocity ammo depends almost entirely on the recoil springs that are installed. My 1936 Walther Olympia Jaeger presumably has aftermarket upgraded springs and loves high velocity LR ammo (and doesn't even cycle well and sometimes not at all with standard velocity .22 LR). The Norinco TT Olympia likewise likes HV .22 LR just fine, and was presumably designed for it. My 1926 Olympia has original springs designed for standard target velocity .22 LR, and the side recoils altogether too hard with HV, so I only use standard velocity. My 1936 Olympia for .22 short doesn't seem to care all that much. I would prefer to use .22 short standard velocity, but it can be almost impossible to locate even by mail. My friend uses .22 short HV in his OSP most of the time for similar reasons. My GSP doesn't seem to care too much either, though I virtually always use .22 LR standard velocity or target standard velocity because that is what it is designed for, and it is easy enough to get with only modest extra effort. But if happen to run out I will occasionally use HV with a light bullet in moderation and it seems none the worse for it. IMO. By the way the GSP will easily accept the Walther parts to change it to .32 S & W long.
     
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