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.45 CAL. LUGERS: ABERMAN, NORTON, ARMY 45 CAL.
by Mike Jones and Jan C. Still

(Note: some of the information and measurements presented here has already been noted by posts on the Luger Forum by Pete Ebbink, Edward Tinker, Johnny Peppers, and Ron Wood.)

Copyright 2004 by Mike Jones and Jan C. Still

This is to present photographs and details from the Mike Jones/Harry Jones archives that documents the two surviving .45 cal Lugers, the Aberman and the Norton, and to present a photograph (from the U.S. Army archives) taken at the time of the 1907 U.S. pistol tests of a .45 cal U.S. test Luger. These will clear up some previous confusion and correct some misinformation.

There are three well documented .45 cal(term test deleted 8/19/04) lugers. These are the U.S. Army .45 cal test photo Luger (here in named: Army .45 Cal. Luger ), the Abernam and the Norton Lugers. The former is documented with a single photograph from the U.S. test archives (1907 dated U.S. Ordance photograph), the other two are named after prominent collectors that once owned them.
( Note: There is a marked difference in the grip angle and shape of the lower part of the grip between the U.S.1907 test photo Luger and the two other .45 cal Lugers. First noted by Kenyon in “Lugers at Random”, 1969, page 110 and Walther in “Luger” 1977).

The two known .45 cal (term test deleted 8/19/04)Lugers were never properly serial numbered, which has resulted in much confusion in identifying these Lugers. The Abernam has a number 2 on its side plate (commercial placement) and a number 21 on its magazine base. The Norton is unnumbered but has a 3 on its magazine base. The Aberman and Norton Lugers bear the G/L hallmark. Likely the Army .45 Cal Luger also does.

BACKGROUND, U.S. ARMY LUGER TESTS
One thousand Lugers (7.65 cal) were delivered to the U. S. Springfield Armory in late 1901 for U.S. Army pistol test trials. Most were distributed to U.S. Cavalry troops involved in police actions in the Philippines and Cuba. As the American Cavalry troops had used revolvers (Colt .45 and .38) for over 30 years, the small caliber, complex Luger, was viewed with some suspicion and not readily accepted. There were complaints as to small caliber, safety while riding from horseback, and unreliable action. As a result of these reports 50 Lugers in caliber 9mm were briefly tested by the Army in 1904-1906. By 1906, the lack of wallop of the smaller calibers (7.65 and 9mm) lead the U.S. Army to conduct all future Luger tests in .45 caliber. (Note: A common characteristic of the 7.65, 9 mm and .45 cal. U.S. test Lugers was the absence of proofs.) (See Imperial Lugers, 1991, page 209-214 for details of 1900 and 1902 American Eagle Test Lugers.)(Also, see the two links below)
See 1900 AMERICAN EAGLE, U.S. TEST
http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=668

See 1902 AMERICAN EAGLE C C TEST
http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=853

A .45 caliber Luger was tested in 1907. During the 1907 tests of the .45 cal Luger, 1022 rounds were fired through it. In the process of firing the Luger was subjected to blasts of sand and a corrosion test. Datig (page 111) estimates that one Luger was consumed by the harsh tests.

In 1908, the U.S. Army ordered 200 .45 Cal Lugers for continued testing in competition against the .45 Cal Colt Pistol. DWM turned down this order and cited that the German Navy and Army had already adopted the Luger in 9mm caliber.

ARMY .45 CAL LUGER (U.S. Test .45 Cal. Luger, 1907 Photo)
Here in referred to as the Army .45 Cal Luger

This is the first photographic documentation of a .45 cal Luger.
History: Documentation is a 1907 photograph shown in Annual Report of the Chief of Ordnance, 1907 Appendix: Report of Board on Tests Of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols.

Markings/description: Low front sight, 55 degree grip (this is the standard grip angle found on all production Lugers). Trigger different from Abernam and Norton in accordance with their 60 degree grip. Also, the Army .45 cal Luger has a different shape at the bottom of its grip than the Abernam or Norton Lugers.

Note: comparison of the frames of the Army test and a standard P08 indicates that both had a similar grip angle, 55 degrees. The Aberman and Norton Lugers have a 60 degree grip angle.

The difference in grip angles between the Norton and Aberman Lugers and the Army .45 Cal. Luger, raises some interesting questions.
1. Does the 1907 published photograph of the U.S. Army Test Luger show the actual Luger that was subsequently subjected to all the harsh (maybe destructive) tests?
2. Why were Lugers with two grip angles (55 and 60 degrees) presented to the U.S. Army for tests?


Other .45 cal revolvers and pistols refereed by the testing board and shown in1907 photographs:
.45 cal Automatics
1. The Colt
2. The Luger
3. The Savage
4. The Knoble single action
5. The Knoble double action
6. The Bergmann
7. The White-Merrill
.45 cal Double Action Revolvers
1. Colt
2. Smith & Wesson
.45 cal Automatic Revolver
1. Webley-Fosbery



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Figure 1. Army .45 caliber Luger. This Luger has a low front sight and a 55 degree grip angle. (The Aberman and Norton Lugers have a 60 degree grip angle.) Also, it has a different shape at the bottom of its grip than the Aberman or Norton Lugers. Identified by this 1907 photograph from US army archives. This Luger photograph is contained in a report concerning pistols submitted for U.S. test in 1907. It is probable that the Luger shown is the one tested by the Testing Commission in 1907. These tests consisting of induced sand and corrosion and it is suspected that the original test Luger may have been destroyed by the test. Two Lugers have surfaced since the tests, the Aberman and the Norton. Both of these have 60 degree grip angles. It seems unusual that the spare Test Luger would be so much different than the luger actually tested. (Archive tag on back of photograph reads: Plate 2. Luger Automatic Pistol cal .45 from U.S. War Dept, Annual report of the Secretary of War, 1907, Vol 6. Report of the Chief of Ordnance, Appendix. Report of Board on Tests of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols. March 28, 1907.)

GENERAL INFORMATION NORTON AND ABERMAN .45 CAL LUGERS
In his book “Luger” Walter discusses the .45 cal Luger on page 81 (he is referring to the Norton or Aberman type)
The frame, barrel, and receiver were new; heavier and stronger to match the power of the .45 cal cartridge. The grip angle was markedly less than the standard Luger . The barrel is five inches long.
Kenyon (page 110) states that this (Aberman .45 cal) Luger is the most impressive in appearance, “feel’ and desirability of any Luger in existence. Kenyon notes the sharper grip angle.
Walter (page 81) states that the 11.35 Cal Luger is the ugliest of the whole series.....alteration of the grip angle (squarer to the bore) does nothing to the pointability.

ABERMAN .45 CAL. LUGER

PROVENANCE: from Harry Joner notes: Purchased from Springfield Armory in 1913 by Dr. C. I. McClenathen of Akron, Ohio. The Dr sold it to Warren G. Ogdan who was stationed at Erie Proving Grounds on 9/15/1944 for $150.

Mr. Ogdan sold the Luger to Sid Aberman in May 1949 for the same price that he paid for it. Mr. Ogdan said he sold it to Sid Aberman because he was a good friend and practically dying to have it.

PUBLICATIONS: Mentioned in Datig, “THE LUGER PISTOL”, 1955. Page111.
Photo shown in Jones, LUGER VARIATIONS, 1959, page 108.
Photo shown in Kenyon, LUGERS AT RANDOM, 1969 page 111.

MARKINGS/DESCRIPTION: 2 on side plate in the commercial style and *21 on the magazine base. 60 degree grip, GL inscription, extractor marked LOADED, no other markings.

* It is speculated that the magazine number is a magazine reference number and not intended to match a Luger serial number.



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Figure 2. Left side, Aberman .45 caliber Luger. It bears serial number 2 on its side plate in the commercial style and a 21 on its magazine base. Jones Archive #7. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 3. Right side, Aberman .45 caliber Luger. Jones Archives. Mike Jones Archive # 8. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 4.. Left side, Aberman .45 caliber Luger compared to left side of 1911 DWM . The Aberman Luger bears a 60 degree grip angle while the 1911 DWM bears a 55 degree grip angle. The 55 degree grip angle is found on all other Lugers. Jones Archive #9. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 5. Top of Aberman Luger (third from left), in comparison to a variety of other Lugers. It is unmarked on top and has a more robust receiver and barrel. Lugers from left to right: .22 cal conversion unit installed, 1915 DWM LP 08, Aberman .45 cal Luger,1906 or 1908 Navy, 1910 DWM, carbine, 1900 American Eagle, Borchardt. The Aberman .45 cal Luger is unmarked on the top. (The .22 cal conversion unit installed (top) is the Richenbach .22 cal Luger shown on a frontispiece page of Jones, “Luger Variations” 4th printing, 1975.) Jones Archive #10. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones

NORTON .45 CAL LUGER
PROVENANCE: This Luger originated from Canada. The luger was first offered to Carl Wilson, for $4000. At an airport meeting, the price was increased by $1000 and Wilson turned it down. It was purchased by Harry Jones in July 1960 for $5000. Jones sold to the Norton Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana for $5500 a few months later.
Currently displayed in Norton Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana.
PUBLICATIONS: Color photo shown in Jones, LUGER VARIATIONS, 1975, 4th printing, frontispiece section.
Shown in Walter “Luger” page 82 and misidentified as serial number 14.
Mike Jones reports that an old time collector (who has passed away) claimed to have found .45 cal Luger, serial number 5, in about 1973. When the photograph was sent to Harry Jones it was of the Norton gun. The same Norton Luger photograph is also shown in the February, 1974, Guns and Ammo.**

MARKINGS/DESCRIPTION: 3 on magazine base, C/N on left receiver,high front sight, 60 degree grips, GL inscription, extractor marked LOADED, no other markings
NOTE: Harry Jones refused to give up the measurements of the Norton and Aberman Lugers to preserve their integrity and prevent copies from being made. According to his son Mike, that resulted in more that one heated argument.
Except for slightly different front sights and the C/N proof, Harry Jones (who had inspected both the Abernam and Norton Luger in detail) said that both were identical.



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Figure 6. Left side, Norton .45 caliber Luger. It bears serial number 3 on its magazine base and a C/N on its left receiver. It bears no other markings except “LOADED” on its extractor.
1900 and 1902 U.S. Army Test Lugers did not bear test proofs nor does the Aberman Luger. This has led to speculation that the Norton Luger might have remained at the factory where it received its C/N proof and was not involved in the U.S. Army tests in 1907. Jones Archive #1. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 7. Right side, Norton .45 caliber Luger. Jones Archive #2. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 8. Top of Norton .45 caliber Luger compared to the top of a standard 4 in DWM. The barrel, and receiver of the .45 cal Luger are heavier and stronger to match the power of the .45 cal cartridge. Jones Archive #3. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 9. Comparison of the larger Norton .45 caliber Luger magazine number 3, to the standard DWM magazine. Jones Archive #4. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 10. Left side, Norton .45 caliber Luger frame compared to left side 1906 Commercial frame. Note: differences toward the top left side of the magazine well. Jones Archive #5. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones



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Figure 11. Right side, Norton .45 caliber Luger frame compared to right side 1906 Commercial frame. Jones Archive #6. Copyright 2004 Mike Jones

OTHER REPORTED .45 CAL LUGERS
SN 4 .45 LUGER
The below information was added to the original article on 8-24-04.
Description of .45 Luger examined by Reinhard Kornmayer while visiting in Florida during 1991. Referred to here in as sn 4 .45 Luger. Reinhard was kind enough to supply the following information.
1. Serial number 4, location not recorded
2. Markings: American Eagle over chamber and George Luger intertwined GL at rear of rear toggle link.
3. Grip angle: 55 degrees (like all production Lugers and Army .45 cal Luger.)
4. Back grip strap shape: rounded like Aberman/Norton Luger (not abrupt like Army .45 cal Luger)
5. Bottom of trigger guard of is not horizontal and gradually converges with long axis of barrel.
The sn 4 .45 Luger has the grip angle of the Army .45 cal Luger (photograph) and the grip shape of the Aberman/Nortom Lugers!


Documentation has yet to surface indicating how many .45 caliber Lugers were sent to the U.S. Army for the 1907 tests or how many were actually manufactured. Datig (1955/1962, page 111) indicates that there were two test Lugers, one was consumed in the tests, another survived (the Aberman). Jones (1959/1975, shows both the Abernam and Norton Luger (frontispiece and page 108). Kenyon (1969, page 110) states that serial number one was used in the test and number 2 was back up. Meadows(1993) in “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920" states that: ...“the prevailing consensus is that the likely number is three, one prototype and two for the U.S. Test trials of 1907.” Walter in “Luger” page 82 states that: “August Weiss has stated that, to the best of his recollection, his predecessor as superintendent of DWM pistol production, Heinrich Hoffman, once mentioned that only four to six .45 cal Parabellums were ever made.

The three Lugers discussed above (Army .45 cal, Abernam and Norton) have been documented through photographs and in publications and have an established provenance. Other .45 caliber Lugers have been reported. Sometimes they are repeated reports (and sometimes photographs) of the two established Lugers or vague rumors of .45 cal Lugers that lack photographs or documentation. In “Luger Variations” (1975) frontispiece Jones states that ....”contrary to constantly fabricated stories, there are only two known examples of this impressive oversized model(the Abernam and the Norton).
An example of the use of vague rumors to build a case for additional .45 cal Lugers is given on page 81 and 82 of Walter’s book Luger. Walter makes a case for fourteen .45 cal Lugers. He bases it on the following:
1. Persistent reports from North America state that guns numbered 0 and 4 were found in Germany in 1945 and taken as war trophies.
2. One is known to bear the number 14 on the rear toggle link. On page 82 a photograph of serial number 14 Luger is shown. Based on several distinctive marks in the photograph (blemish on the grip, grain in the grip, C/N on the left receiver, front sight(note; front sight is cropped in the photograph) wear lines on the grip safety) it can be easily determined that the photograph is of the Norton Luger.** The only number on this Luger is a 3 on its magazine base.
Without knowing the source of the persistent reports from North America, the Luger collector/historian cannot investigate and determine the truth and reliability of the statements. Also, the fact that the Luger photograph (shown on page 82, Luger) that Walter reports to be Luger serial number 14 is really the Norton Luger bearing only the number 3 on its magazine base, discredits Walters case for fourteen .45 caliber Lugers manufactured.

Near exact replicas of the .45 Luger are currently being manufactured in quantity and reports of original .45 Lugers without substantial previously published documentation or where the documentation is held secret should be taken with a grain of salt.

Information on additional .45 cal Lugers (manufactured in about 1907) would be most welcome, particularly those with available documentation.

REFERENCES CITED
Annual Report of the Chief of Ordnance, 1907 Appendix: Report of Board on Tests Of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols
Datig, “The Luger Pistol” 1955/1962, page 111
Jones, Archives
Jones, “Luger Variations”1959
Jones, “Luger Variations” 4th printing, 1975
Kenyon, “Lugers at Random”, 1969
Kornmayer, August 2004 correspondance
Meadows, “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920", 1993
Still, “Imperial Lugers”, 1991, page 209-214
U.S. War Dept, Annual report of the Secretary of War, 1907, Vol 6. Report of the Chief of Ordnance, Appendix. Report of Board on Tests of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols. March 28, 1907.
Walther “Luger” 1977
 

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Jan, I have anxiously been awaiting your write up and new to the world pictures!

Thanks, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed!

Ed
 

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Hi Jan,

Two questions :

1. Does anyone have access to M. Reese to ask him what he meant when he wrote in his 2nd. book that he has held luger # 5 in .45 cal. ?

2. What would be your guess as to why two (2) such different models were brought to the 1907 Trials ?

Thanks for the great, informative essay !
 

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Hi,

Well it appears we share an opinion about the .45s. I sincerely doubt that two different lugers with different grip angles were supplied for the test and therefore none of the surviving lugers qualifies as a 1907 test luger.

I believe that the Abermann/Norton lugers, that were taken from DWM locations were actually pre-production attempts, improved versions based upon the originals that were produced upon Georg Luger's work.

Funnily enough, the only 45 that qualifies as a test-survivor in my opinion is the one in Ralph Shattucks hands, converted to a carabine.

Below is a picture that compares the tails of the Shattuck 45, the Abermann 45 and the original test-45.

The Shattuck 45 has a stock lug added (pinned on) and has a shape identical to the test-45. Interestingly, this carabine has serial number 21 (We know where one of it's magazines is :).

I would not be suprised if the 1907 GL 45s had serial numbers 20 and 21 and that the carabine was assembled using a surviving test 45.


Download Attachment: tails.jpg
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ron
Thanks for the photographs showing the measured grip angle.
Jan

Pete
It is possible that the two Lugers with different grip angles were the only .45 cal Lugers that DWM had available. According to archive documents the tests were delayed until DWM could complete and submit the .45 cal Luger samples (Meadows page 381 ....”postponement of the meeting of the Board...until such time as the Luger automatic pistol firm are able to submit a sample”) Oddly, the different grip angles are not mentioned in the archive test data.

I don’t have Reeses second book that you mention. I would be also be very interested in any information on .45 cal Luger, serial number 5, that Reese held in his hands. When did this occur and does he have any photographs?

VLIM
"PROVENANCE: from Harry Joner notes: Purchased from Springfield Armory in 1913 by Dr. C. I. McClenathen of Akron, Ohio. The Dr sold it to Warren G. Ogdan who was stationed at Erie Proving Grounds on 9/15/1944 for $150."

Your theory that the Aberman and Norton Lugers were not part of the U.S. Army tests in 1907 and that the .45 cal Luger Carbine was reworked from a 1907 Test Luger with a 55 degree grip angle is interesting. However it is not supported by the information supplied by Jones (above). The Aberman Luger was sold by the Springfield Armory (where the tests were conducted) in 1913. It was almost certainly part of the 1907 US Army tests and is a test
survivor.

The two verified .45 cal Lugers are not properly serial numbered. Because there are not serial numbered Lugers to match the magazines, it is possible that the magazine numbers are not related to a specific Luger but are rather simply magazine numbers.
Jan
 

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quote:Originally posted by Jan C Still

.45 CAL. LUGERS: ABERMAN, NORTON, ARMY 45 CAL.
by Mike Jones and Jan C. Still

NORTON .45 CAL LUGER
PROVENANCE: This Luger originated from Canada...
...**
Jan, in one of my talks with Mike, (and I might have misunderstood) he mentioned that the Canadian 45 came to Canada via a military or civilian worker who was working in Germany AFTER WW1. This makes me believe that this gun was taken back to germany after the trials, and would make me believe that it was then liberated from a collection or the factory?

My conjecture would be that the two grip angles were brought to America to give the army the choice of the two "types" of angle grip, and that the one found in Germany was a 2nd gun for factory personnel. ...

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ed
Interesting theory. I had never considered that DWM may have requested its .45 cal test Lugers be returned. Whatever the reason, it appears that DWM supplied Lugers with different grip angles for the tests.
Jan
 

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Hi Jan,

There's an awful lot of time between 1907 and 1913 and as Ed stated, I believe some guns were returned to DWM after the trials ended. It may well be that following the tests an improved DWM design was forwarded to the armory, being rejected again and late sold off. There is also some 30 years between the initial sale at the armory and the first follow-up sale and a lot can happen inbetween, like acquisition of more than one 45. I would not be surprised if more than one 45 circulated around in the early days, causing mix-ups and confusions.

Another problem is that the 45 in the trial photos has a cannon that rests deeper into the frame (note the space between the receiver top and the sideplate top) than the Aberman/Norton combo, suggesting it is of different construction alltogether.

Examination of surviving 45 magazines may be interesting, as I remember the trials reported that during the tests the magazine spring of one of the test magazines was clipped a number of times in an attempt to improve feeding. It would therefore be relatively simple to track down the magazine that was used in the tests.

As the Aberman gun was never photographed in the eary days, and especially not during the tests, I continue to have serious doubts.

The suggestion that 3 45s may have been tested starts to make a lot of sense. If the prototype was photographed and differed from the actual test lugers, then it starts to come together. Then the possibility that the prototype, numbered 21, was turned into a carabine, it's magazine getting combined with one of the test lugers, Aberman #2 with magazine 21. Continuing, the serial numbering of the other test pistols makes sense:

21 - Prototype, photographed and added to 1907 test data.
1 - Test, Norton/Aberman style, destroyed
2 - Test, Aberman style, sold with prototype magazine 21.
3 - DWM sample, proofed and 'released' from DWM after 1945 -> Norton
4 - Whereabouts Unknown
5 - Whereabouts Unknown
6 - Whereabouts Unknown

I could live with that :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ed and VLIM
You may be exactly correct. However, it is my opinion that you have to consider the following:

VLIM said "It may well be that following the tests an improved DWM design was forwarded to the armory, being rejected again and late sold off."
There is no documentation to support VLIM’s speculation. DWM turned down the U.S. order for 200 .45 cal Lugers on April 19, 1908. It is very doubtful if the U.S. Army had continued interest in the Luger after being turned down by DWM. The time between 1907 and 1911 was taken up by additional field tests of 200 of the Colt and 200 of the Savage .45 cal automatics. The Savage and Colt were the two finalists in the U.S. Test Trials. (By 1911 the Colt .45 Model 1911 was adopted by the United States Army.) These tests are thoroughly researched and covered in great detail by Scott Meadow’s in his book "U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920". There is no indication of additional tests of an improved .45 Cal Luger or it’s "rejection again and late sold off." It is very doubtful if additional tests of the .45 cal Luger after April 19, 1908 would have been missed in Scott Meadows detailed archive research.

VLM’s speculation concerning the disposition of .45 cal Lugers.
"If the prototype was photographed and differed from the actual test lugers, then it starts to come together. Then the possibility that the prototype, numbered 21, was turned into a carabine, it's magazine getting combined with one of the test lugers, Aberman #2 with magazine 21. Continuing, the serial numbering of the other test pistols makes sense:"
“21 - Prototype, photographed and added to 1907 test data.
1 - Test, Norton/Aberman style, destroyed
2 - Test, Aberman style, sold with prototype magazine 21.
3 - DWM sample, proofed and 'released' from DWM after 1945 -> Norton
4 - Whereabouts Unknown
5 - Whereabouts Unknown
6 - Whereabouts Unknown”

I am confused, why is the prototype serial numbered 21 and all the other lugers 1-6? I do not think that you are saying that there were 21 prototypes?

Why would DWM rework a failed prototype .45 cal test Luger into a beautifully finished cased carbine?

In my opinion, the speculating goes beyond that justified by the documentation and limited evidence.
Jan
 

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Hi Jan,

The Michael Reese II book , titled "Luger Tips, Revised Edition", revised 1992 and re-printed in 2001. The original printing of this book dates back to 1976.

The page reference is on page 52-53. He has no other photos other than the Plate 2 photo, already mentioned, of gun # 1.

He does write in two places :

" Quantity Manufactured : 5 is the highest in existence today. "

" Serial Number Range : 1-5 only (I should say I have only seen 2 and 5, both have the 'GL'. "

I have tried in vain over the past year to locate/contact Mr. Reese. I heard he had moved up to the SF Bay area and runs a food specialty company with emphasis on cajun foods and spices; located in So. SF. I chased down his email at that company but never did get a rely to 3 email inquiries about the # 5 pistol he mentioned in his book.

I assumed he does not want to bother with "novice" luger collectors and those pesky questions.

Maybe some of our more experience members on this Forum have ways to contact him and ask about # 5 ?

p.s. If you'd like to read the entire 2-pages he devotes to the 1907 Trials luger pistols, I would be happy to scan them and email them to you. Let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pete
Thanks for the pages offer but I am going to order the book from Simpson.

If anyone knows Reese please contact him and find what you can concerning the .45 Luger, serial number 5.

Thanks
Jan
 

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Hi Jan,

'Why would DWM rework a failed prototype .45 cal test Luger into a beautifully finished cased carbine?'

Rest assured, I don't think there were 21 45s made. There is a good chance, however that GL constructed a one-off 45 in order to see if it could be done at all. The number 21 is probably just an internal registration/development number, nothing more, nothing less.

You must admit that it's rather coincidental that one of the remaining 45s has a '21' magazine and that the reworked carabine has number '21' also.

If this number 21 was photographed and the photo forwarded to the US in advance. It would explain the photo anomaly and also the reworking of the same gun (by GL?) into a carabine at a later time.

The 1907 tests would then be conducted with slightly improved 45s (Aberman style) produced in a small series of 6. Which seems to fit the evidence and reports.

'In my opinion, the speculating goes beyond that justified by the documentation and limited evidence.'

You are kidding, right? The only evidence that is verifyable is the evidence in the 1907 trial reports and some faint recollections of August Weiss and both aren't final.
 

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The B-L # 5 (that was recently returned to Switzerland) has a magazine that is numbered # 11. One theory is that this magazine was not originally matched with gun # 11...rather it was one of a number of magazines issued to gun # 5 and numbered sequentially as part of the set of magazines...

Maybe this was the same practice with these .45 cal lugers and their magazines...???
 

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It is generally accepted here in Germany that DWM made a number of .45 calibre Lugers that were not only intended for the U.S. military but were also, for example, offered to Rumania and/or Bulgaria. It was DWM´s policy to offer their products as widely as possible. Having gone to the trouble of developing the .45 and tooling up for a limited production run of prototypes, it would not have made much sense to limit the number made to the few sent to the USA.

Personally, I´ve never really liked the Luger .45 and so have not been that interested, but serious Continental dealers and collectors (Dr. Sturgess, Reinhard Kornmeier )should be able to shed some light on the numbers produced.

Furthermore, the Verkehrsmuseum here in Berlin informed me recently that they own the complete DWM archives but that they are not yet available to the public and will remain in storage until funds become available. So all the information is cardboard boxes not more than two miles from where I live.

Patrick
 

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On the Lugerforum, there is a thread “Another .45 Luger Caliber Luger Mystery” http://forums.lugerforum.com/lugerforum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000211 that has great pictures of a .45 Luger that has been acquired by Captain Mony Mendenhall. It has a serial number of “S3”.

A few years back at the Tulsa show, I was fortunate to accidentally discover the Florida owner of a serial #5 .45 Luger (possibly the one that was observed by Reinhard Kornmayer and repored as #6?). The owner was very pleasant to talk to and he graciously sent me a picture of his .45 Luger, which he purchased in Germany in 1986. I did not have the presence of mind to ask his permission to release his name or share the photo. However, I can tell you that it appears virtually identical to the Mendenhall Luger. It is a left side view and no markings are visible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Pete
Thanks for the mag information. "One theory is that this magazine was not originally matched with gun # 11...rather it was one of a number of magazines issued to gun # 5 and numbered sequentially as part of the set of magazines.."

Ron
Thanks for the information on the replica Mendenhall 45 cal Luger, serial number 5.


VLIM
We will have to agree to disagree. I may tend to be too conservative.

VLIM stated: "If this number 21 was photographed and the photo forwarded to the US in advance. It would explain the photo anomaly and also the reworking of the same gun (by GL?) into a carabine at a later time."

1. Where is the evidence that the .45 cal Army Test Luger ( same Jones-Still, Figure 1. above) is serial number 21? The number 21 magazine was found in the Aberman Luger. Neither the Abernam or Norton Lugers are properly serial numbered. There is no evidence that the .45 cal Army test Luger (Jones Still, Figure 1) bears any serial number.

2. I must have missed something, how does a photograph explain "the reworking of the same gun (by GL?) into a carabine at a later time."?

3. The photograph in question is the .45 cal Army Test Luger (Jones-Still, Figure 1). There is compelling evidence that this photograph is in fact a U.S. Army Ordnance photograph taken in 1907 for the “Report of Board on Tests of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols”. See information below:

Under a photograph of the .45 cal Army Test Luger ( same Jones-Still, Figure 1. above) Meadows states (page 383 “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols, 1894-1920) “Ordnance Department photograph of the .45 caliber Luger pistol tested in 1907"

About 10 years ago I obtained 9 negatives (4inch X 5 inch) and 9 (high quality 8 inch X 10 inch) photographs from the U.S. Army archives (through Mark Rendina). Each photograph and negative had a label that read:
Plate1. Colt Automatic Pistol cal .45
Plate 2. Luger Automatic Pistol cal .45 (Jones-Still, Figure 1. above)
Plate 3. Savage Automatic Pistol cal .45
Plate 4. Knoble Automatic Pistol cal .45
Plate 5. Bergmann Automatic Pistol cal .45
Plate 6. White-Merrill Automatic Pistol cal .45
Plate 7. Colt New Double-Action Revolver, cal .45
Plate 8. Smith & Wesson Double-Action Revolver, cal .45
Plate 9. Webley-Fosberry Automatic Revolver, cal .45.

In addition to the above, each label and each negative had “U.S. War Dept, Annual report of the Secretary of War, 1907, Vol 6. Report of the Chief of Ordnance, Appendix. Report of Board on Tests of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols. March 28, 1907, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Each of these photographs (of U.S. Army test pistols) has the same gray-splotchy background, moderate sharpness, and lighting (with hot spots) that is from the sides that poorly exposes the side of each pistol. Each photograph (1-9) was taken with the same set up, background, lighting and quality. As Meadows states above, these are Ordnance Department photographs taken in 1907.

Let hope that information in the cardboard boxes not more than two miles from where you live becomes available soon. Perhaps, our disagreements can then be settled.
Jan
 

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I would like to address a few comments here. First of all Jan an outstanding write up on the 45's, you always do such a nice job on these articles.

Ed, I think I stated the Norton gun left Germany after WW1, Late teens early 20's. I really need to find the rest of the documention on this gun I have somewhere.

Pete: Jan covers serial #5 in the above article, But I will explain it again. I have a three page letter from an old time collector claiming to have serial # 5 .45 caliber Luger. He sent three 8x10 photos of the gun, It is the NORTON gun he is claiming to be SN 5. Harry Jones compared the photos of the two guns and found 15 similarties on the left side of the gun and 9 on the top ie. scraches,blemishes,wear&tear. As to why Michael Reese would say he held the gun I have no idea,maybe makes the article sound better.

Regards,
Mike Jones
 

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Hi Mike,

I will hope one of the Members will be able to contact M. Reese about his # 5 statements.

As I understand, he did extensive research for his M1900 AE Test book and I would imagine his reseach for his latter book would have been so, as well.

I cannot imagine he would have held the un-numbered Norton gun in his hand and mistakenly thought it was # 5. The Norton gun is un-numbered except for the errant # 3 magazine. I would assume # 5 might have had a few more # 5's placed all over the gun in the commercial style...???...but we won't know until someone is able to talk with Reese...
 

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Pete,
Michael Reese will have no comment on holding SN# 5. Harry called him on this years ago, The letter I have this collector states he wrote the article for Michael Reese the letter is dated 10 Jan. 1979. I think you need to understand everyone seems to know of a .45 Luger but cannot not produce a gun or a photo of a gun other than the Two known guns. I even have a letter from Ralph Shattuck when he frist started collecting talking abiut his .45 that no one has never seen ( not talking 0f the recently discovered carbine).

Regards,
Mike
 
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