1906 BULGARIAN LUGER, SERIAL NUMBER 257.
In the 19th Century, Bulgaria was a vassal state to the Ottoman Empire. During the First Balkan War (1912) Bulgaria defeated the Turkish Army in a series of vicious battles and won independence and territory. During the Second Balkan War (1913) Serbia, Romania, Greece and Turkey defeated Bulgaria and forced it to give up all its territorial gains. In 1915 Bulgaria joined the Central Powers and invaded Serbia and Romania. Both were defeated and occupied. Bulgaria defeated a joint British, French, Serbian, and Greek attack in 1916 and 1917. In 1918 these same joint forces broke through Bulgarian lines forcing her to sue for peace.
Bulgaria purchased Lugers (models 1900, 1906, and 1908) from Deutsche Waffen-und Munitions Fabriken (DWM), located in Berlin, Germany for its military. The 1906 Model is found in the serial range 1-1500 and estimated procurement is about 1500. These Lugers saw action in both Balkan Wars and in two World Wars and show much hard use. Most were reworked and rebarreled to 9mm. All should be considered rare and those in excellent or better original condition should be considered very rare.
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Figure 1. Left slant view of 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257. These Lugers bear: DWM on the toggle, 4 3/4 inch 7.65 mm barrel, short frame without stock lug, grip safety, and no proof marks. The serial numbers are placed in the commercial (hidden) style. .
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Figure 2. Top of 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257. The intricate Bulgarian crest is stamped over the chamber.
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Figure 3. Right side of 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257.
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Figure 4. Front of 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257.
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Figure 5. Bottom of barrel and front of frame, 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257. The barrel serial number is on the curve of the barrel and properly has no halo. The take down lever has its serial number located in the commercial (hidden)style.
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Figure 6. Spectacular Bulgarian crest stamped over chamber of 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257.
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Figure 7. Cyrillic safety marking on 1906 Bulgarian Luger, serial number 257 (The extractor also bears Cyrillic markings.). The strawed safety lever bears age spots.
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Figure 8. Right side of 1906 Bulgarian Luger showing strawed parts. This Luger is 95+ years old. Generally, military Lugers show harder use than commercial Lugers. Chemicals from the hand (salt) tend to attack the strawed safety lever, trigger and take down lever. Over time, the strawed parts on most military Lugers tend to develop small black and brown spots and areas such as seen here.
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Figure 9. Left side of 1906 Bulgarian Luger showing aged strawed parts.
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Figure 10. Bulgarian soldiers. Two are wearing Bulgarian style Luger holsters. The Bulgarian military continued to use the Luger during World War II. (Is it possible to put a year or era on this photograph?) (Photographs courtesy of Jerry Burney)