Jan C. Still Lugerforums banner
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53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Here are pics of my 1908 Bulgarian. I bought this recently from a dealer in my area. I am still having some questions about the originality of the finish. I will freely admit my inexperience here. I’ve tried to balance the color in the pics (basically desaturate) to show an accurate color. If anything, there is still a bit too much of a warm cast to the color in some of the pics. The only wear is on the side plate, the edges of the top, the muzzle and the front grip strap – this is just starting to turn plum and there is wear at the base.

I’ve opened this up to show as much as I can. The grips match and the mag is wood bottom, unnumbered. Not shown is the extractor, which is marked in Cryllic. Everything is very crisp. I don't think its a refinish because there are no there nicks, dings etc. that would had the obvious appearance of being removed/polished off, etc. during a major clean - up & refinish. The inside is also just too clean (not restored clean but cared for clean)and the pistol does have some wear typical of holster wear, but slighly diffrent than what I have seen in the usual PO8 holsters - mostly at the lower front strap. (I understand that the Bulgarian Holster is very different). Regardless, I'm still a bit nervous because I've been told that Bulgarian 1908s in this condition are very rare. Also, the curious “6” puzzles me, though. It is under the takedown lever on the receiver and on the underside of the rear toggle link.

Any opinions, etc. would be welcome.


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Premium Member
4,402 Posts
Thanks for the excellent photographs of your 1908 Bulgarian. I have looked over these photographs. For a Bulgarian it is in beautiful-outstanding shape. However, it may be too good to be true. In my experience, Bulgarian Lugers are almost always in poor shape showing a lot of use.

There is no parima or frosting to indicate handling on the back strap. Is the front strap the same?

There is no indication on the back of the frame that your Luger has ever been fired. Is there any indication of wear where the toggle knobs hit the frame? Firing wear at the back of the frame and where the toggle knobs hit the frame is found on all or almost all of the original finish Lugers that I have examined.

Based on your photographs, I am almost certain that your Luger has at least been touched up.

Close up photographs of the straw on the safety lever, the safety marking well and the area where the toggle knob hits the frame would help evaluate your Luger.

53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Jan, I've been posting this on the other forum also to get feedback. I'm feeling that it may have ben touched up, too. There is some minimal wear at the back of the frame. The front strap does have some wear and freckling - here are some of my remarks from there and photos.....

".....I'm going to continue to play devil's advocate here. I'm still not entirely convinced. John, I'm going to PM you the dealer's name & what I paid -you are welcome to share this with the others who have chimed in - or anyone can ask me for the info.

I've posted some more pics - pro & Con. The first three show wear on the receiver/slide area. This is that plum color we are so familiar with. Note the shininess/wear at the top of the frame where there should (?) be some toggle slap. The front strap is difficult to photograph, but it shows the wear at the bottom and the beginnings of a spot of rust freckling in the wear area. The rest of the front strap is almost going to plum and has (seen under a powerful Optivisor) just the beginnings of some freckling. The forth photo is per Ron Woods request.

Okay, that was the positive -now for the question mark/debatable stuff. The lack of a definitive toggle slap mark has me concerned. There is discoloration and minimal wear. I tried to slip a piece of paper under with out using the extra slack (pulling the toggle back) and could not get the paper to fit. However, comparing to other DWMs, the curve down is different because that end is ground off to take the traditional lanyard loop off.

Now the possible negatives. The bore is pitted, but the groves are there and strong. All I can say is that I have ruined a barrel with military corrosive (decades ago). Next, the screws holding the grips look older - then again, they are in the most prominent wear area of this piece and the grips themselves (matching) are in very nice shape except for the wear near the screws and front strap. Last, and this worries me the most - the front sight has more wear than the barrel and where it mounts, there appears to be some corrosion marks which may or may not be blued over - hard to tell. There is one more curiosity - two proof marks on the front of the sight mount. The left look like an arrow pointing NE and the one to the right looks like a circle with a bar on the bottom.

I think, at the worst, there may have been some partial work done. When I consider all the facts, possible facts and unknowns, I feel about 80-90% right about this gun and about somewhat 10-20% skeptical. Bottom line, those are numbers I am willing to accept as I am not (nor can I afford to be ) a strictly 98-99% condition collector. I do really like this piece - and that is an extremely important factor. Controversy, mystery and uncertainty are an integral part of the "Luger World". Lately, when I am seeing professional restorations going for over 2k, I feel good about the territory I'm in. Worst case, I figure I can recover my money if I am honest in the sale - which will probably only happen if I see something else I just have to have & want to make this the sacrificial lamb of my collection....."

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