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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1908 DWM Bulgarian contract Luger census

Since purchasing one of these pistols late in 2013 (#993C), I have been tracking how many remain in factory or substantially close to factory form as well as those "sanitized" by removing Bulgarian markings prior to import.

Conventional wisdom is that there was an initial order of 10,000 guns, numbered 01-5000 and 01-5000C, but that almost all of them were used hard over the decades (in both Balkan wars just prior to WWI, and then again in WWI and WWII). No legitimate "C" suffix gun numbered higher than 1339C has been found, casting some doubt on the number in the original contract. Many were undoubtedly lost or rendered unserviceable in battle. In addition, many were in such bad shape after WWII that they were broken up and used for parts in the 1960s. It's pretty common to find a "shooter" Luger with one or more recognizable Bulgarian contract parts (frame, receiver, extractor, etc.).

An original DWM 1908 Bulgarian contract P.08 Luger has five features not found on any of the dozens of other Luger variations -

1) A lanyard loop at the bottom of the grip frame
2) The DWM logo stamped over the chamber rather than on the toggle
3) The simplified Bulgarian coat of arms on top of the front toggle
4) A lion acceptance proof on the right side of the receiver
5) The Bulgarian word ПЪЛЕНЪ for "Loaded" on the extractor and ОГЪНЪ for "Fire" at the lower safety position in Cyrillic characters. The 1900 and 1906 Bulgarian contract guns have ОГЪНЪ at the upper safety position and the 1906 has ПЪЛЕНЪ on the extractor.

Internet search engines, firearms forums and books have yielded to date the list below of a total of 125 pistols that appear to be completely or largely intact (including Bulgarian markings), with only about 60 that appear to be all/almost all original parts and finish (not including magazines). Four guns (all C suffixed) appear to be paired with their correctly marked, matching magazine. An additional 60 sanitized guns, frames, magazines or other bits and pieces have been cataloged below in a separate list. That isn't many guns (~ 1.7%) when compared to the 10,000 reported to have been shipped. I'm sure there are more to be found.

Edit 12/21/18 - the list has become too big to maintain in the HTML editor, so I have converted it to a .pdf file which is attached to this post. I also added 8 new guns - 5 to the main list and 3 to the pieces/parts list below the main list.

To Be Added to the .pdf file since last edit -

#7085 - invalid serial - not sure what to do with this one - 1908 DWM Bulgarian contract Luger census - 120 guns and...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mike - yours has been added to the list, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
drbuster -

Thanks, great holster!
 

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If I remember or someone else has the books, they can look for other guns in Sturgess, etc for you
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I remember or someone else has the books, they can look for other guns in Sturgess, etc for you
That's exactly what I'm hoping, Ed, thanks.
 

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Sturgess - newer book
prototype sn 55076B w/ surplus contract NM receiver
sn 654
model 1908 sn 1238
sn 381c
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks Ed, there are a total of 3 - 1908 Bulgarians in that book - #654, #1238 and #381C, correct?

The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, Volumes 1-3: a Technical History for Collectors From C93 to P.08 Hardcover– January 1, 2012

by Joachim Gortz (Author) , Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess](Author)

Thanks,
Mark
 

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there might be more, there are two sets of books published, I assume this is the one you are talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found evidence of 3 more intact guns at lugerforum and added them to the end of the list. The posters have been contacted for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have purchased 1431 from gunbroker.

Mike
Thanks Mike, beautiful gun!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ted -

That would be super, to have a reference to link to in the list. That would be the first known 4xxx pistol.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Today I added #161 (James Julia auction search) and removed #1238 (was a 1906, not a 1908)
 

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These are the only pics I have for the moment.The pistol is original and matching except the magazine.The blueing
is discolored on a few places. IMGP0587.JPG IMGP0588.JPG IMGP0589.JPG IMGP0590.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ted -

Thanks much, that looks like a winner, and in very good shape. I have added it to the list. Those grips look brand new compared to my gun. Given the color of the trigger, takedown lever, mag release (right side) and safety lever, could this one have been refinished at some time in the past?
 
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