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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was cleaning my byf 41 (48XX v) and upon removing the grips, remembered there were some interesting threads on the subject that were "sticky-d" by Jan including some about fakes, and the identifying marks of the "real" ones. It seemed most guys thought that if you had the pistol in your posession for long enough or it was up in Canada away from the fakers, it would most likely be the real deal.

I took some pics of them which I can't resize small enough to post myself, so if I could send them to someone to post I would appreciate it.

They have ONE of the holes mentioned on the inside, the lower one, and there are casting flashings where the upper hole might have been located in the mold at some point, but both have only ONE hole in them.

I bought this pistol and several others from a collector in 1976 as a Black Widow (he described it on the Bill of Sale in this manner). No one has ever fooled with this as long as I have had it, and I believe the gentleman who owned it had it in his possession for a number of years.

Since I can account for it for over 29 years myself and would imagine him having it for five or more (he got out of pistols and went into stamps. These grips show some wear and a few scratches, so no collector would bother to scratch them up to try to fool anyone 30 years ago, maybe now, but not then I don't think. I wonder if anyone who knows can tell us WHEN the fake grips started to be produced?

Now I read where the real ones have TWO holes in the back and they are threaded so they could use a grip screw to remove them from the mold. Please....what guy in a factory would take the time to thread in a fine threaded grip screw to remove it from the mold? Perhaps if a tool was used to pop them out, it could simply be put in the hole and torqued to the side to remove it from the mold, or if the idea that someone took the time to thread in a tool to remove them, why would they use a SMALL thread size that could break, chip or cross-thread so easily for ONE task only; removing it from the mold? On the other hand, is it a coincidence that the thread size of the tool to remove the grip from the mold (if that is what it is) happens to be the same size as the grip screw is?

Just playing devil's advocate here since some think TWO holes on the back are necessary for it to be "real", and they have to be threaded the same size as the grip screw is. Heck, the holes in mine appear to have been threaded, but have threads in them or have had the threads boogered up at some point and they are a bit smaller than 3/8"....hmm..just about 9mm!

Your thoughts, gentlemen?
 

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Chuck -

The real ones have ONE hole in each of them, and it is threaded to accept the grip screws. I have identified two types of authentic grips, and both types have ONE hole in each grip. Type 1 (my nomenclature)has threaded holes in the bottoms of both grips, while Type 2 (again, my nomenclature)has the threaded hole in the top location on the right grip. My short investigation into the authenticity of black grips was limited to several pairs of known-authentic grips where the current owners were experienced collectors who provided personal knowledge of the history of the gun on which their grips were found . . . . in much the same manner as you have related the history of your gun.

Disclaimer: It is certainly possible that other types of authentic black grips exist. I do not presume that my identification of these two types would in any way preclude the existance of other types.

I believe that there is still some debate as to the reason the holes were threaded to fit the grip screws. It strikes me that replacement grips might have been shipped with screws included and threaded into these holes to reduce losses.

Another absolute requirement is that the grips be formed from a black, Bakelite-like material, hard and somewhat brittle. All of the fakes I have examined were softer plastic.

Further, the known-authentic grips I have examined all had common mold marks on the small islands on the left grip.

If you will send your pictures to me, I will attempt to post them for you, and I will compare them to the pictures I have of known-authentic black grips. email> [email protected]

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Luke....here are a couple pics going to your email address of the BW Black Plastic Grips....hope the quality is OK to see the characteristics these have. Still wondering when the repops came along, these are spoken for over the 29 years I had the pistol and probably a few with the PO. Also, this is a "v" letter group on a byf 41 so it's in the range. This pistol is matching except mag, near mint condition and has 95%-98% of the finish on it except sight band, side plate, the heel of the grip frame, the usual places the finish gets a holster wear. No "drop" marks or scratches....a really nice black finish, straw parts where they are supposed to be.

Single inside hole, the lower, larger than the Grip Screw size by a country mile.
 

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Chuck -

I need to see the inside of the grips in a high resolution picture. Actually, I have found that scanning on a flatbed scanner in high resolution (600dpi or better) is more suitable than a camera for imaging grip detail.

Luke
 

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Hi Chuck,

I think most folks "credit" Ralph Shattuck as coming up with the marketing monkier of "black window" to create some mistique about a certain variant and to boost their pricing and desirability and I think most collectors are freely using the term...probably just for convenience. I am not sure your strawed parts would be proper for a gun labeled as a "black widow", however.

p.s. If you email me your large photos, I would be happy to resize them and get them posted on the Gunboard for you...

[email protected]
 

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Chuck -

Received the pictures. They are of lower resolution and slightly out-of-focus. However, there is enough detail to convince me that they are neither of the two types I have identified as authentic.

The holes are much too large and do not appear to be threaded.

They appear to be much rougher castings than the originals I have seen.

Luke

Download Attachment: BW Grips 2.jpg
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Download Attachment: BW Grips 3.jpg
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Pete wrote, "I am not sure your strawed parts would be proper for a gun labeled as a black widow."

I agree; I am almost certain that byf41 Lugers never had strawed parts.
My primary area of interest is Imperial Lugers, so maybe someone with more knowledge of WW-II Lugers could comment on this.

Luke
 

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Luke

Pete was letting Chuck Lutz down easy, what he should have said is no strawed parts on the lugers coined (black Widows) as the production year was 1941/42 Mauser and strawed parts were discontinued by mauser in the 1937 year, T block I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually it's already been pointed out that the ejector is not strawed on my pistol but that plum color, sorry for the confusion. So let's get back to the grips, and focus on that for a bit. They aren't like Luke's two examples, and yet those two are not like each other anyway, so what have I found here:
1) There are some byf 41 and 42's with plastic grips.
2) They are Black colored plastic (or maybe also BROWN for Kreighoff)
3) They have ONE or TWO holes on the backside of each.
4) Some have threaded holes on the BOTTOM hole on each grip.
5) Some have a threaded hole at the TOP of one grip.
6) Examples have had THREADED holes the size of grip screws.
7) Examples have TWO THREADED holes on the BOTTOM location and are LARGER threads than the grip screws. (mine)
8) Nobody seems to have a definitive means of confirming the originality of WWII Black Plastic grips....yet. No offense to Luke who has posted to help here, but his criteria for determining if those two were "original" or not was to simply ask the owner how long he had owned them....unfortunatly if fakes were made up in 1946, then that presents a problem also.

BTW...since the French occupied the Mauserwerks at Oberndorf am Neckar and continued to produce P-38s, would anyone be surprised if they started making even more Lugers from parts, or were the last of them sold off in 1942? Does anyone know if any occupation Lugers were produced with WOOD or with PLASTIC grips.....and were plastic grips produced in East Germany for the VOPOs BEFORE they came up with the concentric circles design of the DDR? Where the plastic grips were made for Mauser MIGHT have been in the Russian Zone and production resumed for East German and Russian capture pistols?????
 

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Pete -

Those grips are precisely identical to the pictures in my files and to the black grips I purchased about 2 years ago.

Chuck -

I strongly suspect that we will never know all the answers regarding hypothetical sources of black grips and the manufacturing dates thereof, and as I stated in my comments, I would not presume that there might not be other authentic black grip types.

Incidentally, the sources for my data on the two types identified were not just "owners" who provided length of ownership; they were some of the most highly respected and knowledgeable collectors on the Forum . . . . collectors who would almost surely know the difference between fake black grips and authentic black Luger grips, several of whom were aware of the history of the grip samples provided.

Luke
 

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Chuck
Below are some previous discussions of "black widow" grips. They contain excellent information. My observations and those reported by fellow collectors (over 30 years) have not included "black widow" grips such as you show (large holes) in your post above as being original.
Jan

*Black Widows, (byf 41,photoes and grip details) Jim Goodman
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1095

*"Black Widow" grips bruv
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=874

*Black Widows (detailed discussion) Ji
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=770

*BLACK AND BROWN PLASTIC LUGER GRIPS Jan C Still
------------------------ http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1497
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jan...thanks for the tips on previous discussions. Here is what I found.
1) Pancho 12/3/03 has black plastic grips with BOTH threaded holes at the bottom location. I notice from his excellent pics, that the detail of the border on mine matches his exactly.
2) Jan 12/3/03 has Leon's pic with ONE hole threaded on the upper location and ONE hole threaded on the lower location.

OK...IF BOTH ARE "REAL" THEN THERE ARE ALREADY TWO KINDS OUT THERE.

3) Pete E. 12/3/03 quotes Don Halleck as saying the "v" block of the byf 41 pistols is correct for the black plastic grips (mine is a byf 41 #48XX v).
4) Frank 12/4/03 mentions black plastic grips showing up in the byf 41's in the "t" block.

Gentlemen....when was the Shattuck term "Black Widow" coined? What YEAR did it appear. My bill of sale has "byf 41 48xx v Black Widow Luger pistol" on it and is dated 1976. (Actually it says 48xx u on the bill of sale, so you can tell neither the seller nor myself were smart enough in 1976 to tell a German script "v" from a "u"!)

WHEN are the "fake" grips supposed to have come along?

Finally...no offense, but everyone references to "collectors" having pistols with "real" grips on them, but no one posts when those guys came into possession of them. I actually think the ones in Grandpa's safe deposit box are less likely to have been fitted with fake grips to improve the value than one that a "collector" happens to have....and has not provided the info on concerning WHEN he bought it, AND since he might have a box full of grips to "enhance" his newest purchase and elevate the price tag he immediately puts on it! Since when does WHO owns something guarantee it's originality without checking against known info? That would be determined by how LONG and item remained in the state it is found and if it has been documented along the way or not, right? Oh, except there seems to be NO real evidence or pictures or anything to confirm the real from the fake grips at this point, is there.....

I'm just interested in whatever the truth is here guys, this pistol has only been in my possession 29 years, and the PO was a lawyer, not a "collector". He owned only this one, a Navy, a Portugese, an Artillery, a Police and a G date with correct grips on it....nothing in his collection to swap them to, and I don't think he had any interest in that. I got his books and his info in the sale. I think it hilarious to believe this pistol got some "fake" grips when it falls RIGHT into the range of ones that DID get them and this info was not even available in 1976.

hey, would you bother to buy some fake plastic grips for a pistol you sold to me for $200.00? He could have bought WOOD ORIGINAL WWII grips for $10.00 back then.

I'll take a few pics of the pistol and send to Pete for posting, but honestly, to say that because no one has SEEN grips with large screw holes in them means they are not REAL, is not proof one way or the other since the TWO types we are discussing are not the same and we have no provenance on them....

I just think it odd that the "real" ones have been decided upon in two ways; either because a "collector" owns the gun in question or because someone owned it "a long time" (what constitutes a "long time"??). So far, as we discover different types, we either consider them "real" or "fake" based on something other than documentation from the period that provides pictures, descriptions, explains WHO and WHERE they were made and if there were differences known at the time.

Based on the two types mentioned above, it's a wonder that the second type with a different hole location were not immediately discounted as "fake" since they did not match the OTHER type. SOMEONE convinced someone that the second type was "real"....

Anyone got some NEW info to swing this discussion one way or the other?
 

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Chuck
Apparently (judging from the length and number of your posts) establishing the credibility of your “black widow” grips is important to you. Based on your photographs of these grips, it has been determined that they are different from what most experienced collectors consider correct (no one has stated that your grips are fake). The “it came from a vet or has been in a safe” stories are a dime a dozen and have been used by dealers to sell junk to collectors for many years. Apparently the posts by me and fellow collectors are not exactly what you want to see. I would suggest that you do some in depth study of “black widow” grips your self. When your studies are complete please report them on this forum.
Thanks
Jan
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jan...not throwing rocks here, but you are perfectly correct in my wanting to establish the grips as original or not, as any of us would wish to do I believe, that's the point of having a great forum to ask questions and to question accepted ideas.

Thank you all for your efforts, that was EXACTLY what I wanted to see in there, as it supports the idea that this pistol could have come from the factory with these grips.

My "problem" is nothing more than deciding that after reading all this, that there didn't seem to be anything definitive out there to determing the REAL from the FAKE....only to determine if a particular pistol COULD have come from Mauser with them. There seem to be TWO accepted types already...perhaps my set is now a third type?

I have learned that it COULD have come from Mauser with these grips, and that there are at least TWO other type of black plastic grips that are 'accepted' as original at this point. That is enough for me at this point to be confident enough to display the pistol as is and use the term "Black Widow".

I sent Pete Ebbink some better quality pics of the grips and of the pistol itself as he offered to post more for me.

I apologize for rocking the boat.
 

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I'm still learning myself and someone please correct me if I'm wrong. But the original black grips were made of Bakelite and not plastic as we know it. If you put plastic grips in warm water for a few minutes,they will become soft. Bakelite grips won't.
 

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Dave
According to Gibson "The Krieghoff Parabellum" page 42-47, the Mauser grips are black Bakelite. He also states that the term black bakelite "is technically incorrect" as the material is much softer than bakelite.

Someplace on this Forum, a post covered the chemical properities of the material in black Mauser grips. I did a quick search and couldnt find it. It may have been on the hacked Forum.
Jan
 

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quote:Originally posted by Chuck Lutz

...that's the point of having a great forum to ask questions and to question accepted ideas.

Thank you all for your efforts, that was EXACTLY what I wanted to see in there, as it supports the idea that this pistol could have come from the factory with these grips.
A couple of comments. From years, and I point out YEARS of these collectors collecting, they have not seen grips like you have. The chance of them being real is slim.

I too sometimes go the what-if route, and question the "known" facts, but if many respected collectors tell me that something is probably fake, it probably is. There were over 30 years of what-ifs before you got the gun, so who knows.

I too would want them to be real, but this doesn't make or break your "black widow". Which incidently is a made-up term from America and has no basis in europe or the Mauser factory. It is simply a luger that got bakelite/plastic grips on it instead of wood. Wood grips would be correct also on this same gun.

Ed
 
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