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1937 s42

2165 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  4 Scale

I would like a little info about the gun, It was my grandfathers, he fought under Patton. He claimed to take it off of an officer and did bring it home with him. I included a few pics and can include more if needed. Serial number is 470P. I just want to learn more about the gun if anyone an give me some info please.


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Neat rig. And with family history attached, priceless.
(at least that's how I view the guns brought back by my father from the Philippines).
Thanks Ned, I agree. The gun is priceless to me. My grandfather was a wonderful man. I will never sell the gun and use it to help my children understand it's history. I would like to know more about what run it was made in and wish I knew more about its journey into my grandfather's hands some time in 1945. But I don't expect that much.
JGScott, Welcome to the Forum!
You have a early 1937 S/42 and this was the last military variation produced by Mauser with the strawed small parts. Serial number 490p would be one of the first off the production line in 1937.
Your pistol exhibits what is typically referred to as high-point holster wear, i.e. wear around the muzzle, trigger plate "island" and some other areas, normal for military Mauser Lugers of this time period. Such wear is consistent with your grandfather's story of the pistol's history, and tends to corroborate the story in that it is evidence the pistol has not been refinished.

Sometime in 1937 Mauser switched to salt bluing and stopped strawing parts; 1937 pistols that preceded this change like yours are sometimes referred to as "1937 first variation" in a nod to this finishing change and are, all other things being equal, slightly more valuable than the later all-blued pistols. Further comments on proof marks, magazines would require clearer photos including photos of the magazine bottoms. Quality, type, numbering of magazines is an important part of assessing any Luger.
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Thank you for the response, I will get you pictures in the next couple of days to see if I can learn more about the markings. Is there anything else I should be trying to learn about it. I am new to all this and any help to learn more about the gun and collecting is very appreciated. For example, and please excuse my ignorance but what is strawing parts? I can guess that the bluing is very similar to todays gun finishing. Also the holster wear and the fact that it isn't refinished I would think is a good thing but I see lots of pistols on the forum and other sites that look like they have had work done and are priced very high. and then the holster, date and markings I can guess that they are the manufacturers markings and the military acceptance stamp but do they mean anything specific. Thank you for any help.
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Strawing refers to heat treating of parts and results in the "straw" color. The ejector spring, trigger, take-down latch, mag release and safety lever were strawed until the mid-1937 change. Lugers were also rust blued prior to the 1937 finishing change. Rust blue is more time consuming, requiring repeated treatments but in the opinion of many if not most Luger collectors rust bluing is a more aesthetically pleasing finish than the faster but darker salt blueing used after the '37 finishing change.

In terms of learning about your pistol, search this forum for threads on similar pistols or buy basic books like "Luger Tips" "Lugers at Random" or "Standard Catalogue of Luger". The later work has some inaccuracies but is inexpensive, available and IMO useful to those new to the pistol.
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