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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I've had this pistol for some time & would like to learn something about it. I've collected Japanese arms for over 30 years, but know very little about Lugers. I'm curious as to how they were numbered - did the serial number start over with each year? Is there anything special about this example. It is all matched except for the mag. It has quite a bit of finish wear, but no rust. There are no unit markings on the grip strap. It does have the stock lug. Any info would be very appreciated!

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arisakadogs

First off the 1914 Erfurt is a highly collectible luger to the Erfurt fan as it is one of the early imperial lugers and the start of WW#1 production lugers.

Erfurt themselves were a giant government controlled assembly armanents plant in the German imperial era producing many military products including the luger.

At the time the only other luger manufacture which was controlled by private interests were D.W.M Deutchwerkes munitions fabriken. ( Spandu aside) as its origins are in question.

Luger numbering started with number one and progressed upwards to 9999 and then a letter suffix (a) was attached and the numbering system continued with only the suffix changing every 10,000 lugers.

This system for military lugers continued on through the War years (WW#1) untill the end with commercial luger numbering being the exception.

The Erfurt proofed luger bears many acceptance stamps and yours is a common military variation.

The only thing that would make your luger special is if the front of the grip strap has any markings on them and if a rare unit stamp this would then generate a great deal of interest from the imperial collectors.

If you click onto the search icon and then type in 1914 you will be able to read a good deal of history on the 1914 Erfurt luger.

I trust this answers some of your questions and should you decide to post more closeup photo's of your luger the members will assist your needs.
 

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I think it is appropriate to mention that an "original" 1914 Erfurt has no notching on the chamber area of the frame (for the artillery sight)and is supposed to have an unrelieved sear bar. I have encountered several 1917 or 1918 Efurts with 1914 dated receivers that were most likely "parts" lugers. Since only about 7000 Erfurt 1914 lugers were made (Jan Still), there should be no higher suffix than "a" on the serial number, most having no suffix at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, very much, for your replies! I'm a little confused about the notching on the frame for the artillery sight & the relieved sear bar. Could you go a little further with this. There are no unit markings on the grip straps. How were the magazines matched to these - was it with the full s/n?
This pistol is a great shooter, as long as the ammo is hot enough. I've found that PMC ammo works quite well. Thanks again for the detailed responses.
 

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Notching of the chamber for the artillery sight installation was very common on 1917 and 1918 Erfurts, almost all of them had it. I hate to use the term "always" but original 1914 Erfurts did NOT have the chamber notching. There must have been several left over 1914 dated receivers that were used later. I'm now aware of at least four, including yours, of these reworks, if you want to call them that. They probbably came out of the factory like that, but certainly not in 1914. Very few are unit marked of the 1914 dated Erfurts. The serial number on the magazine is the full number but TWO acceptance marks are present, not one, that was characteristic of later Erfurts.
 

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As a piece of further information, two of these 1914 "reworks" have serial numbers in the "q" and "r" suffix series which would place these pieces way beyond the 7000 "true" 1914 Erfurts. I personally owned the "q" suffix one, sent pictures to Jan Still and examined the "r" suffix example. There is no doubt that these were either 1917 or 1918 pieces with 1914 dated receivers.
 

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Dear Lugerlou, That is the point. This "1914" rework is really a 1917 or 1918 Erfurt with a 1914 dated receiver. Many thousands of Erfurts were made in those years, extending to and through the "q" and "r" suffixes.
 

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Don't y'all think that Mr Dogs 1914 Erfurt probably started out as an LP08, of which Erfurt made a sh!tload, and was later rebarreled to a P08 configuration?
 

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George

Yes that thought had initially crossed the mind with the first set of pictures, however the toggle train fits the lugers serial number and has the rear site.

would have been nice to see the lugers suffix or lack of from the start then we wouldn't of had to speculate about the luger, the notch on the receiver stands out in all the photos.

Personaly I take nothing for granted on these beasts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is a very interesting discussion. I appreciate y'all sharing your knowledge on these fine weapons. Does the presence of a stock lug have any significance on this piece? I gather that this is not one of the most desirable Erfurts, but does seem to be not all that common. Is that correct? The full S/N is under the barrel as well & there is no suffix. Thanks again!
 

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Dear Arisakadogs, this discussion is not to downplay your Erfurt at all. It is probably just an example of the government Erfurt factory using up existing parts to turn out weapons that were in extreme need in 1917 and later. Your "variation" may turn out to be more desirable as collectors realize that the using of existing parts didn't happen that often, but since it is not documented, we just don't know. The stock lug, by the way, came late in 1913, both with the DWM and Erfurt. Luke Smithwick, a student of this, has found a rare example of a 1914 DWM without the stock lug. Also, the "true" 1914 Erfurt even had small proofs on the grip screws. This apparently stopped with the 1915 model. The fact that your piece has no suffix is interesting, but may mean nothing more than it was produced within the first 10,000 pieces in 1917 or 1918. It would be nice to document more of these "bastard" 1914's. I know of at least four now. Any more of you folks have one?
 

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Dr, I still don't understand why one would think that this pistol was put together in a later year. Why not in 1914? It lacks a suffeix and falls right smack in the beginning of the production run which sanned not only 7000 P08s but also twenty some thousand LP08s.

Mr Dog's photos are quite sharp, the finish of this pistol looks alot like what one would expect from an early Erfurt.
 

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Hi,

I sincerely doubt that any parts of older P08's were 'harvested' by either DWM or Erfurt during late 1917 and 1918. In fact, they had produced so much of them during the earlier years that government arsenals were full of P08's (and LP08's). DWM actually cut back on P08 production after 1917.

Quote from the DWM company history, published in 1939:

Translation:
Since the last months of 1917 the ammunition and arms production for military purposes were drastically decreased, since large supplies were present in arsenals and the shortage of raw materials led to production cut-backs. As a result, daily quantities and order quantities were lowered at DWM. An exception were the machine guns, as in 1918 even more were delivered than during the year before. The increasing importance of these weapons during the war also led to a lower amount of infantry rifles.

Original:
Seit den letzten Monaten des Jahres 1917 wurde die Munitions- und Waffen¬fertigung von den militärischen Stellen nicht unwesentlich gebremst, da in den Arsenalen größere Vorräte aufgestapelt waren und der Rohstoffmangel zu einer Einschränkung der Fertigung zwang. Bei den DWM wurden sogar Auftragshöhen und Tagesleistungen herabgesetzt. Eine einzige Ausnahme machte die Erzeugung von Maschinengewehren, von denen im Jahre 1918 noch mehr als im vorhergehen¬den Kriegsjahr geliefert wurden. Die zunehmende Bedeutung dieser Waffe im Verlaufe des Krieges hatte einen geringeren Bedarf an Infanteriegewehren zur Folge.

If this Erfurt was rebarreled, it was probably done as a result of the Versailles treaty, which outlawed the LP08. The fact that it has no 1920 Weimar property stamp can indicate that it was either privately owned or 'gone missing' during 1920.
 

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Gerben
Thanks greatly for your translation from the 1939 DWM company history. Such information is invaluable.
Quote from the DWM company history, published in 1939: Translation:
“Since the last months of 1917 the ammunition and arms production for military purposes were drastically decreased, since large supplies were present in arsenals and the shortage of raw materials led to production cut-backs. As a result, daily quantities and order quantities were lowered at DWM. An exception were the machine guns, as in 1918 even more were delivered than during the year before. The increasing importance of these weapons during the war also led to a lower amount of infantry rifles.”

According to Gerben’s DWM history, it appears that in 1917 weapons production had outstripped supply and the arsenals were awash in unissued weapons.

This is very interesting and makes it a little more difficult to explain the various “q”-“r” suffix 1914 Erfurt Lugers as being produced in 1918. According to serial numbers reported in Imperial Lugers, (page 61) the 1914 Erfurt P08's never reached past the “b” suffix sn range. It is also suggested that “It is likely that 1914 dated Erfurt P08's are interspersed in the same serial range as 1914 dated Erfurt Long P08's.”

As to the production of Rob’s 1914 Erfurt, any of the above estimates as to its origin may prove to be correct. I would guess that an artillery sight cut receiver was installed during 1914 on a normal production Erfurt P08 (This practice was common during 1917 and 1918 Erfurt production). It was serial numbered 2027 in sequence with the other lugers during the 1914 Erfurt production run of P08's and LP08's.
Rob
Thanks for your photographs. Your Luger generated a lot of interesting discussion. 1914 Erfurts in nice condition like yours are hard to find and will always be of interest to collectors.
Jan
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My thanks to all who commented on this pistol! This is the only Luger I've ever owned. I'm very impressed with the design & function. For being one of the very first autos, it has some pretty neat features. The toggle locking back on the last shot, the extractor being marked "Geladen" letting one know if a round is chambered, and I like the fact that the pistol can be uncocked. Are there any problems I should be aware of in shooting this pistol? Should I not shoot it? Like I said earlier it works fine with certain ammunition. I'm going to print this thread so I can keep this information with the pistol. Again, my thanks to all.
 

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I have a 1914 Erfurt, 4984q, that came to me with original "capture" paper and a letter from the Treasury Dept. dated Nov. 11, 1946, telling him that it didn't need to be registered under the NFA. It is all matching except for the mag. It has the Artillery notch.
 
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