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Old November 17, 2017, 02:17   #1
Sagerider
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Walter P38/P1 v.s. Luger

Excluding financial worth which one and why. Thought just popped in my head.

I would take the P38/P1.

1. Reliable
2. Double action
3. Decocker
4. Much easier to rack the slide than cycle the toggle
5. Rear site windage can be adjusted by installing right or left site
6. Sites over all are superior
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Old November 17, 2017, 02:32   #2
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Buy a nice Luger, and a cheapo Walther.

I ran a 7/7 with a Luger in Oregon a few years ago.
Not official, but the owner was there.
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Old November 17, 2017, 04:42   #3
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The reason I suppose this topic came to mind is I have a very nice and shootable Luger in 9mm with almost everything matching including the magazine but the excellent condition rifled barrel does not but it does bare the Waffen proof marks. All Waffen proof marks and stamps are clearly visible, 1940 vintage, 42 Mauser pedigree. To compair I have a very nice as in almost new in the box Walter P1 later vintage with the steel locking lug. Both pistols are quite accurate shooting to point of aim and both function flawlessly.
I had them both out at the same time when the compairison thought came to me. Donít get me wrong because I really like my Luger having waited years to get a good one at a decent price. The P1 has the Luger by a very large nose in my opinion for the reasons I stated.
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Matthew 25:1 thru 25:10 Be ready!

The written word sometimes like poetry is never really finished but merely abandoned.

I live alone in the middle of nowhere with two dogs and a cat, what do you think about that.

The wind blows, the rain falls, the flag snaps its bravery in the dark as two dogs boil for attention at my feet.

Of course it is a true story. You just couldn't make up something like that, no way.
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Old November 17, 2017, 07:48   #4
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Most of the "issues" with Parabellum reliability is due to weak American loads that were all that used to be available for 9mm Para.
The thing is the P08 toggle action is one of the strongest designs that has ever been put out on a pistol, it will eat away at pressures that will destroy a P38 or even FN P35 Hi Power.

This is even more true when you are running an Artillery model Parabellum do to the greater kenetic mass.

Prior to the P1 variant which used and enclosed slide the original P38s had a dust cover on the slide which were notorious for blowing off resulting in the loss of both firing pin and loaded shell indicator
Think I went through that drama three times with different war time P38s

The later P1 variant went to a solid topped slide on an alloy frame that was prone to cracking, yes I have seen broken ones and I have yet to see a Parabellum with a busted frame or barrel extension.
No, the addition of the steel locking lug didn't fix the problem either.

Advantages to the P38 ?
Well sights are arguably superior unless you compare to a Naval or Artillery model P08
Not a huge fan of DA autos but the P38 does have an external hammer.
Never trusted the decocker, been ADs due to failure and fatigue on war time guns.
Trigger is generally better on a P38 due to the crazy design of the P08s linkage.

Another factor to throw out there in favor of the P08 is both the Naval and Artillery models with shoulder stocks have been removed from NFA regulation and there is the 32 rd Snail drum as well.

Years ago Navy Arms brought in a batch of Czech 9mm ball that was designed for their SMgs. As such it was way over pressure, was busting up Hi Powers, P38s, etc left and right to the point Navy did a recall on it finally. We had a pile of it, our Artillery ate that crap right up
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Old November 17, 2017, 09:19   #5
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The Luger has a better magazine release, but can be finicky with magazines.

The Luger is simpler, and hence more robust. I've seen springs break on WWII P-38s but not on Lugers.

Some P-1s, at least, have plastic recoil spring guides. I had one break on me.

I like the safeties on the P-38 better than the Luger, but as RSS noted, the decocker is not to be trusted.
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Old November 17, 2017, 09:30   #6
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When my daughters were growing up and ready for centerfire pistols I brought a variety to the range - modern of all kinds and a P38 - of all the pistols they shot the P38 the best. The only problem with that gun was the ejected shells hit them square in the forehead.
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Old November 17, 2017, 09:42   #7
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Staying German , I'd like to seem some of this insightful commentary directed toward the C96 Mauser.

Just a thought.
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Old November 17, 2017, 10:01   #8
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I own both, a numbers matching original 90% original finish BYF42, a shooter Frankenluger, and a couple of very late production P1s. The P1 was one of that brand new unfired batch that sold a couple years back on GB. I kept one in cosmoline, and one is now a shooter.

The Luger is far and away my favorite auto pistol to shoot. To me, it's perfectly balanced, it points naturally, and with the original, the trigger is oh so incredibly sweet. The Luger drawback? The empties fall down the back of my collar.

The P1 is nice. It's competent, nothing outstanding, just good.

They're both iconic, the Luger especially attracts a crowd, and you can spend all day explaining how the Luger was not Hitler's pistol and how he hated it, but in fact the P-38 was his favorite...
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Old November 17, 2017, 10:04   #9
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Staying German , I'd like to seem some of this insightful commentary directed toward the C96 Mauser.

Just a thought.
I like them, and for what they are, they're cool. Personally, I find the C96 to be cumbersome, but that's just me.
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Old November 17, 2017, 10:58   #10
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Over the years I have owned several examples of both pistols. Lugers made by DWM and Mauser. War time P38's made by Mauser and Spreewerke. I currently own two postwar Walther's. A commercial P38 made in 1984 and a surplus P1 made in 1976 that had been up graded to the new specs.

To me the postwar P38 is a better shooter than any Luger I have owned. Far better sights and trigger. And the P38 had a big influence on the design of the Beretta 92. The 92 is basically a P38 with a high capacity magazine.

One of the major reasons the Wehrmacht chose the P38 what that it could be manufactured on half the number of machine tools in half the time it took to produce a P08 aka the Luger. Given the same number of machine tools and time four P38's could be produced in the time it took to produce just one Luger.

If I had to defend myself with one or the other I wouldn't hesitate to choose the P38/P1 first. It is simply a better design IMHO.

And so it goes.


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Old November 17, 2017, 11:03   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riversidesports View Post
Most of the "issues" with Parabellum reliability is due to weak American loads that were all that used to be available for 9mm Para.
The thing is the P08 toggle action is one of the strongest designs that has ever been put out on a pistol, it will eat away at pressures that will destroy a P38 or even FN P35 Hi Power.

This is even more true when you are running an Artillery model Parabellum do to the greater kenetic mass.

Prior to the P1 variant which used and enclosed slide the original P38s had a dust cover on the slide which were notorious for blowing off resulting in the loss of both firing pin and loaded shell indicator
Think I went through that drama three times with different war time P38s

The later P1 variant went to a solid topped slide on an alloy frame that was prone to cracking, yes I have seen broken ones and I have yet to see a Parabellum with a busted frame or barrel extension.
No, the addition of the steel locking lug didn't fix the problem either.

Advantages to the P38 ?
Well sights are arguably superior unless you compare to a Naval or Artillery model P08
Not a huge fan of DA autos but the P38 does have an external hammer.
Never trusted the decocker, been ADs due to failure and fatigue on war time guns.
Trigger is generally better on a P38 due to the crazy design of the P08s linkage.

Another factor to throw out there in favor of the P08 is both the Naval and Artillery models with shoulder stocks have been removed from NFA regulation and there is the 32 rd Snail drum as well.

Years ago Navy Arms brought in a batch of Czech 9mm ball that was designed for their SMgs. As such it was way over pressure, was busting up Hi Powers, P38s, etc left and right to the point Navy did a recall on it finally. We had a pile of it, our Artillery ate that crap right up
The Walther P4 has the enclosed slide. All P1 and P.38 pistols use a dust cover on the slide top.
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Old November 17, 2017, 12:10   #12
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Some time ago out at the gun club a fellow brought out a very pitted luger and the barrel was really bad. First luger I ever shot and at 15 yards it shot dead on. Ran like a champ despite how abused it was and it convinced me to buy one, no pistol I ever shot was more accurate than that luger was.

Friend brought out his new to him P38 and the first shot out it lost the top cover and other parts making it a useless gun. He was years finding parts and when he finally got it repaired he sold it.

In later years I bought a P1 with the alloy frame and the gun ran ok but it just didn't ring the bell for me. It didn't carry well and holster were a problem. Magazines were cheap at the time but I ended up selling the gun and 5 mags for $350 and moved on.
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Old November 17, 2017, 12:15   #13
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I've owned and fired a lot of P.38's and P1's. Never once have I ever had a dust cover blow off.

It can happen if the tabs are bent when re-installing after Bubba is finished playing gunsmith.
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Old November 17, 2017, 12:23   #14
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I've owned and fired a lot of P.38's and P1's. Never once have I ever had a dust cover blow off.

It can happen if the tabs are bent when re-installing after Bubba is finished playing gunsmith.
Ya the new owner is the one bubba screws.
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Old November 17, 2017, 12:41   #15
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Between the two, it's no contest: the P38 is a superior combat pistol.
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Old November 17, 2017, 13:24   #16
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I'd take the Luger every day of the week. Just for the cool factor.
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Old November 17, 2017, 13:42   #17
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The Walther P4 has the enclosed slide. All P1 and P.38 pistols use a dust cover on the slide top.
You are correct

As far as the dust cover blow off situation I have only had it happen with war time guns. One was a reblued AC42 so yes the bubba factor applies the other two were late guns Spreewerke and CYQs
I do not really trust the late guns to be reliable shooters
Same is true of late war FN P35s or Radoms
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Old November 17, 2017, 14:39   #18
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Mauser C96:

It is a somewhat cumbersome design however it has an excuse.
It was designed more as a light carbine than an actual pistol.

The so-called Bolo was an attempt to make it more of a handgun by use of a smaller grip frame and shorter barrel.

My personal preference are for examples produced before the German Army requested changes to the design.
The coolest of those are the original Cone Hammer guns all of which were manufactured prior to 1899 and thus are federally in Antique status.

The differences are major.
This was prior to the New Safety which passes through a 45 degree arc to engage. Old safety models run a 10 degree arc. The German Army was concerned the 10 degree arc was dangerous.

The older guns have a modular trigger/lock frame, generally far better triggers.

The Cone hammers have significantly greater mass as well compared to small rings, another German Army "improvement" which resulted in the lighter hammer needed to be sprung harder.
Most folks don't understand the mechanics of the C96 one bit. What many call the recoil spring isn't, the C96 has no such thing. What it has is a bolt return spring. The main arresting factor in the design is the mass of the hammer coupled with it's spring. Everything is in a rather delicate balance with each other.

This led to huge issues when the Chinese guns came in as the standard practice was to merely replace the tired bolt return spring which set the entire system out of further out of balance. You ALWAYS replace the hammer spring with the bolt return spring.

While it's quite easy to assemble a Parabellum from a box of mixed parts the same is not true of the C96. There was a great deal of hand fitting in the guns between the interface of the upper to the locking block to the lock frame and the P38 was designed to be far more tolerant than the P08 even was.

Another myth is regarding the differences between 7.63 Mauser and 7.62 Tokarev. For all intents and purposes they are the same round loaded to the same pressure range. There was a batch of Czech ammo that was very high pressure though but the rest of it was designed to be interchangable with 7.63
What's missed is that there were thousands of C96 still in circulation among the Red Army during WWII and among the Chinese much later.

Anyways there is a ton of misunderstandings regarding the Mauser
I have rarely ever shot mine without the stock attached.

Loading wise they are extremely quick to refuel so long as you use chargers, at least as quick as a P38 with it's bottom magazine release.

anyways they are a bit silly as a handgun, light carbine though they are pretty damn neat
Same situation with Artillery Parabellums which again were never really designed to be used as a pistol except in an emergency.
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Old November 17, 2017, 14:54   #19
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Over the years I have owned several examples of both pistols. Lugers made by DWM and Mauser. War time P38's made by Mauser and Spreewerke. I currently own two postwar Walther's. A commercial P38 made in 1984 and a surplus P1 made in 1976 that had been up graded to the new specs.

To me the postwar P38 is a better shooter than any Luger I have owned. Far better sights and trigger. And the P38 had a big influence on the design of the Beretta 92. The 92 is basically a P38 with a high capacity magazine.

One of the major reasons the Wehrmacht chose the P38 what that it could be manufactured on half the number of machine tools in half the time it took to produce a P08 aka the Luger. Given the same number of machine tools and time four P38's could be produced in the time it took to produce just one Luger.

If I had to defend myself with one or the other I wouldn't hesitate to choose the P38/P1 first. It is simply a better design IMHO.

And so it goes.


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Old November 17, 2017, 14:57   #20
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I'd take the Luger every day of the week. Just for the cool factor.
I agree about the COOL factor however if my life depended on it the P38 would be my pick all day long.
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Old November 17, 2017, 16:19   #21
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Cool:




Cooler:



Coolest:



'Nuff Said
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Old November 17, 2017, 16:22   #22
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I agree about the COOL factor however if my life depended on it the P38 would be my pick all day long.
Agree there. I wouldn't want to go to war with either one of these pistols, but I was assuming we were talking about as we would use them on a daily basis; as a curio and relic. in other words, a fun shooter.
The P.08 is a work of art. It's a typical early 20th Century German engineering masterpiece. What John Moses Browning accomplished in 30 production line parts, Georg Luger accomplished in 200 precision machined parts.

The P.38/P.1, to me is OK, just not my favorite pistol. Yes, the sights are a huge improvement over the P.08, but we're comparing apples to oranges.. They're different generation pistols.
The P.226 is a huge improvement over the P.38, because they're products of different generations....

If I had to go to war today, I'd go with a P.226 or a Cz.75, not any of the older stuff....
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Old November 17, 2017, 16:30   #23
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I agree about the COOL factor however if my life depended on it the P38 would be my pick all day long.
even if the P38 was a last ditch 45' rendition of the P38 ?

Not me...

By 44' QC was already going to hell in axis factories

I'd agree with you on early AC or BYF P38s but that's about as far as I would take it.
I'd wager over the years we had several hundred P38s pass through our hands, maybe a hundred Parabellums and we ran a mag through most of them so yeah I have plenty of experience with WWII German sidearms

Gets even worse when you include the thousands of reworks of both P08s and P38s imported out of the Russias after the fall of the USSR. The Parabellums didn't respond well to Soviet era rebuilding at all
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Old November 17, 2017, 17:55   #24
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Me I would love a pre 1899 broomhandle ( I saw one once brite proofmarkes legally non firearm at least for FFL ) ..Man I wanted it but I think it hit 3 or 5k


To me the winner in a fight would be the P38/P1/P4 whatever only as cost for a while the P1 were dirt cheep ..Even nazi marked P38 go for a lot less then Lugers

I love Lugers and having watch In range mud test the things are well built but too pricy

For pure cool it would Luger or Broomhandle but for being able to shoo it the P38 wins
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Old November 17, 2017, 18:55   #25
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Me I would love a pre 1899 broomhandle ( I saw one once brite proofmarkes legally non firearm at least for FFL ) ..Man I wanted it but I think it hit 3 or 5k


To me the winner in a fight would be the P38/P1/P4 whatever only as cost for a while the P1 were dirt cheep ..Even nazi marked P38 go for a lot less then Lugers

I love Lugers and having watch In range mud test the things are well built but too pricy

For pure cool it would Luger or Broomhandle but for being able to shoo it the P38 wins
I have been able to snag a couple Cone hammers and one Large Ring pre 99' C96's off auction sites over the past decade for rather reasonable sums. All had initially been listed in the 4K+ range with no bids. After multiple relistings I PM'd the sellers asking what their cash money deal would be, ones I purchased ranged from a low of $1800 to $2500.

Many of the early antique C96 guns have came in from South Africa and South America where they could be had rather cheap in country. Thing is in both regions these guns were often rebuilt, even rebarreled particularly in South Africa and Rhodesia during the embargo. High quality work was done but it hammers collectors valuation

Another point to understand is that the early C96's have a slightly different stock slot and iron, reproduction holster stocks need quite a bit of hand fitting to get them to attach to an antique C96. The holster/stock profile is slightly different as are the internal cuts due to the old model safety design. The lid on a new model stock won't close without internal mods.

Old model stocks are quite sloppy when fitted to new model guns and as I stated, new model stocks won't fit old model guns at all.

I usually have a couple pre 99' C96's on the tables with mismatched stocks and leather. I won't sell a complete rig less than 4K
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Old November 17, 2017, 19:48   #26
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I have my grandpa's (and then Dad's) P38. The family story was he got it from a fellow soldier during WWII as collateral for a loan. It's in remarkably great condition, so much so I've wondered if it's a Russian refurb. What are the tell tale signs of it being an RC? There are no "X's" such are there are on K98's.
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Old November 17, 2017, 20:20   #27
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I have my grandpa's (and then Dad's) P38. The family story was he got it from a fellow soldier during WWII as collateral for a loan. It's in remarkably great condition, so much so I've wondered if it's a Russian refurb. What are the tell tale signs of it being an RC? There are no "X's" such are there are on K98's.
blue quality
the Soviet era refurbs tend to have a thick muddy blue
Some of the real East German done guns were rather nicely done

blended edges, usually on slides

on Parabellums the soviets dunked everything, all strawed parts end up blued
triggers, takedown latch, safety, etc.
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Old November 17, 2017, 20:31   #28
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Check the locking block on the P.38. Most times the Russians never removed these before dipping. It should be in the white. The 'F' and 'S' will not be colored in either if dipped.

Do all of the serial numbers match?
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Old November 17, 2017, 21:57   #29
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Check the locking block on the P.38. Most times the Russians never removed these before dipping. It should be in the white. The 'F' and 'S' will not be colored in either if dipped.

Do all of the serial numbers match?
All the numbers match and the LB is in the white. I'll have to check the F and S again. Been a while but I believe they still have color.

Over all, the blue is very nice on the slide and frame, small parts. The barrel is kind of purple, IIRC.

byf44, I think.
The pistol is so nice I believe is just about has to have been redone but I'm far from an expert on the things.
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Old November 17, 2017, 23:58   #30
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I agree about the COOL factor however if my life depended on it the P38 would be my pick all day long.
I have other firearms that I'd depend on to keep me alive. Luger still wins. LOL
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Old November 18, 2017, 00:05   #31
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Originally Posted by hkshooter View Post
All the numbers match and the LB is in the white. I'll have to check the F and S again. Been a while but I believe they still have color.

Over all, the blue is very nice on the slide and frame, small parts. The barrel is kind of purple, IIRC.

byf44, I think.
The pistol is so nice I believe is just about has to have been redone but I'm far from an expert on the things.
Please post clear detailed photos of both sides. I would enjoy seeing it.
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Old November 18, 2017, 04:04   #32
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something else to consider...

the P08 functions much better as a bludgeon than the P38. Grab a Parabellum by the barrel looping a finger though the guard you can use it to beat Men to death.
P38s have grips that shatter, break apart when the gun is used as a club

another dubious weakness
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Old November 18, 2017, 04:13   #33
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Somehow I doubt that the designers of the P38 ever considered how effective the pistol would be when used as an impact weapon on someone's noggin.....

And so it goes.


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Old November 18, 2017, 05:54   #34
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Somehow I doubt that the designers of the P38 ever considered how effective the pistol would be when used as an impact weapon on someone's noggin.....

And so it goes.


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more the pity as that was exactly what many firearms designers did consider bum. Do you think they expected Men to just toss them aside

this is why military pistols had brass and steel butt caps, skull crushers

I get many don't get the secondary uses of handguns but damn man use your head for something other than a hat rack.

some arms were with deliberation designed this way. Reids revolvers, probably the best example were the Remington Elliot ring trigger derringer...straight 4 barrel knuckle dusters. Several skull cracker points on the frame. Read the damn patent.

You get into the ugly and you are out of ammo the hand gun itself becomes a default tool too beat the enemy
Can't do that very well with a P38

You can with a 1911, a P35, a Radom or a P08
and still have a running pistol
P38s, generally wreaked.
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Old November 18, 2017, 09:33   #35
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First german pistol I ever had was a P08. Given to me by an old fellow for scraping and painting the hull on his fishing boat when I was 15. It was a byf 41 with a just about flat roasted bore, but about 70% original exterior finish. The mag was a black plastic butt wartime with a big chunk knocked out of the plastic butt. I had several boxes of S&W 9mm in the white government cartons . All the ammo had green lacquer around primers and bullets. Was rtold it was for use with the M76 SUBGUN. Anyhow that P08 was freaking accurate and reliable with that ammo.... never hiccuped. Was able to pick the roof lights on top of old ford truck cabs in the junkyard from more than 80 feet away off hand. Could put the better part of the magazine in a beer can before it sank. Traded it to a buddy and he had it stolen from him later.
Have had many P08's since then...got my son a vopo luger last year. But it does not seem to be accurate like I'm accustomed to. But it is an east german replacement barrel.
Anyhow I have had a gob of P38's over the years. Never found them all that accurate like a GP35 , or a Radom for sure. While I never broke a part on a luger excepting the tiny spring on the bolt stop , I had several P38's give up firing pins and once a safety.
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Old November 18, 2017, 13:27   #36
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even if the P38 was a last ditch 45' rendition of the P38 ?

Not me...

By 44' QC was already going to hell in axis factories

I'd agree with you on early AC or BYF P38s but that's about as far as I would take it.
I'd wager over the years we had several hundred P38s pass through our hands, maybe a hundred Parabellums and we ran a mag through most of them so yeah I have plenty of experience with WWII German sidearms

Gets even worse when you include the thousands of reworks of both P08s and P38s imported out of the Russias after the fall of the USSR. The Parabellums didn't respond well to Soviet era rebuilding at all
YES.

My AC45 P38 (top) has had thousands of rounds through it in E. German service and my service. Not one problem.





German weapons made during the last 6 months of the war may have had a crude exterior finish but they were still quality inside.

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Old November 18, 2017, 17:11   #37
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Besides Walther, Mauser, and Spreewerke there was one other manufacturer of the P38 pistol. This was Manurhin in France. These pistols were dated 45 and 46. They were made for the French Army as I recall.

Anyone ever see or actually own one? How scarce are they here in the USA?

I have shot both a PP and PPK made by Manurhin and they were stamped Made In France on the slide. Decently made pistols IMHO. And it is known that after Walther relocated to Ulm/Donau and started offering the PP and PPK that these pistols were actually made in France and shipped to Walther in the "white" without any markings or finish.

I have two PP's in the safe. A 1971 dated in 7.65mm Browning and a 1984 dated in .22 Long Rifle. I wanted a German made PP or PPK in .380 ACP but could never locate one in this area. Settled on a NIB 1986 made PPK in stainless steel made by Ranger Arms in Alabama for Interarms.

And so it goes.


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Old November 18, 2017, 17:34   #38
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The SVW45 and SVW46 are also known as the gray ghosts because of the phosphate finish on some of these pistols. They also wore stamped steel grips rather than the Bakelite of the P.38 or presswood of the late PP's.

Some of these are re-worked P.38 made at the end of the war and some are manufactured in '46 by the French.

They are scarce, but not particularly rare in the US. The pop up frequently on GB.

These are the last of the steel framed P.38 pistols until Walther offered commemorative and anniversary steel frame editions periodically in the eighties. Those are the rarest of all because so few were manufactured. Even less than the 480 or Zero series.
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Old November 18, 2017, 18:30   #39
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Ok, I was way wrong. Apparently I have confused another P38 I had, a shooter from SGW years ago that I got as a companion to this one. That pistol had the purple barrel and the LB in the white. Not nearly as nice as this one.

This one is all matching numbers. The finish is remarkably consistent in color with only a few small parts in purple. The LB on this one is blued. There is not signs of paint in the F and S.







I have two mags, one original and one aftermarket or post war mfg.
Always wondered what the provenance of this piece was.
Sorry for the crappy pics, using phone and white balance was wrong not to mention the lens abberration.
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Old November 18, 2017, 21:17   #40
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Photos are fine. The barrel has been polished before the Rooskies dipped it. The front sight barrel band is almost flush with the barrel on the right side and there should be a well defined ridge there.

Locking block blued and no color in the F&S is a giveaway for a Russian dip. Still, a very nice shooter and all matching too.

Thanks for the photos. I love looking at P.38's.

If you were thinking of maybe moving it along, I have a Walther 1st variation PPS with eight rounds (plus proof rounds) down the barrel and not carried if you'd like a nice CCW pistol for trade. Like NIB.
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Old November 18, 2017, 21:48   #41
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Excellent, thanks for the info. And the offer. This pistol, however, has been in the family since way before I was ever thought of. Russian dip or otherwise, it's priceless to me. And it goes nicely with my RC K98k.
Thanks again for the info, I finally know something about this gun.
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Old November 18, 2017, 21:59   #42
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Glad I could help.
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