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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For many, many years Luger experts have believed that the Circle-B proof mark on the left-side receiver of the M1906 Brazilian Contract Lugers were to indicate a contract for Brazil besides the extractor marking being in Portuguese which is logical.

On a recent post about a fine and quite rare M1906 American Eagle Luger pistol (in caliber 9 mm Parabellum) having the same stamp under the barrel serial number, my dear stubborn friend Ron Wood (who still wants to believe the drunk 'Russian' Luger theory ;) ) made the following comment to the proud American owner:

"The circled B marking was used as a receiver proof on the 1906 Brazilian contract Luger, and for some reason a DWM barrel inspector subsequently chose to use it as his acceptance mark (it is not a left-over barrel from the Brazilian contract as that would be a 4.75-inch barrel in .30 caliber)."

His comment made me think deeper for the correct reason which has even puzzled Luger experts for ages. Me being a Genius 馃槆 (which is my middle name initial), I now believe that I have discovered the actual reason for the use this stamp according to its placement on a Luger pistol, not to mean for a Brazilian contract Luger in caliber 7,65 mm Parabellum with a 4 3/4" slim barrel.

With reference to information that I had also researched regarding the M1908 Bulgarian Contract Luger (with a DWM logo being above the chamber and several of these pistols having a C-suffix serial number), I discovered that this arrangement was making reference to the DWM 9 mm Parabellum cartridge with the code DWM 480 C to help enlisted soldiers not to get confused with an earlier issued pistol in caliber 7,65 mm Parabellum at the time (around 1910-12) when several foreign nations were wanting to procure the more powerful 9 mm cartridge for their military.

After making some research and observations, I decided to apply the same logic to the Circle-B proof mark on the Brazilian Luger - and I discovered that the 7,65 mm Parabellum cartridge DWM 471 B happens to indicate 7,65 mm Swiss Parabellum (two piece case), which has the same design specifications as the Brazilian Luger pistol with a slim barrel.

I wish that this important information between pistols and cartridges will widen the knowledge and history by different collectors - being aware that the German DWM factory did everything for a reason - including with the safety markings on a 'Russian Luger', which is actually another Bulgarian contract Luger using the 480B cartridge - where the B stands for 'Bulgarian'. 馃お

Have fun,
Albert
 

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say what ??
 

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Hard to take you seriously Albert since you initially identified the circle B marking as B枚hler steel. Sounds like you are trying a little mis-direction to cover your blunder :). Seriously though, good to hear from you and see that you are still active (and still delusional).
Ron
 

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with all respect, I do not think your theory holds water. Too many holes. Your quote about the Bulgarian M1908 and the C suffix does not take onto account the first 5,000 guns which do not carry the suffix yet are still in 9mm rather the 7.65 of the M1906. I think your friend Ron has the more plausible theory as that exact thing happened at the FN plants. take for example the FN 1935 you will see that when the company had inspectors from the contract country to inspect parts, they inspected more parts than were required for the contract. so as example, you find hammers or barrels with the Lithuanian pillars on Dutch contract guns. or you find Finnish inspector marks on more guns than were in the known contract. As for the M1906 American eagle, the placement of the circle B I feel is the key. its not located on the side of the receiver as the Brazalian Lugers, but rather the underside of the barrel. therefore not meant as a final inspection of the gun itself but rather just an acceptable part. I do believe it was a mark placed on the barrel to indicate acceptance for the Brazilian inspector but then was a left over barrel. Because the barrel was probably still in a machining stage, if enough material was still remaining, it could be re-threaded and re-bored to a larger caliber. Or as in the case at FN, the Finnish inspectors continued to inspect and accept additional guns after they completed their initial contract in the thought an additional contract would be forthcoming.
 

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Just for you to know, the "circle B" marking appears on many Brazilian guns including the Brazilian Model 1894 Mauser (FN), Brazilian Model 1922 Mauser (FN) and many of the FN pistols. I can not attest to other suppliers as it is beyond my knowledge.

Anthony
 

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I thought that the circle-B referred to Boehler steel too... Thanks for the discussion. I'll keep an eye out for any documentation in this area...

There are only two references in Sturgess' book to "b-in-circle". The first refers to inspection of the Brazilian New Model contract pistols. The second reference discusses South American faking of presentation and "new" variations of early Lugers.
 

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Facts, paper, research, facts. Opinions are fine, but real facts I think are needed to say anything positively on a subject.

We all have things we believe, which, may or may not be true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hard to take you seriously Albert since you initially identified the circle B marking as B枚hler steel. Sounds like you are trying a little mis-direction to cover your blunder :). Seriously though, good to hear from you and see that you are still active (and still delusional).
Ron
Hi Ron,

I realized and accepted my 'mis-direction' wondering if the stamp could be related to B枚hler steel when I had recently observed it on the barrel of a M1906 AE Commercial serial #39370 posted on this forum, but then my intelligence, logic and knowledge of 'old' history - from before your time - gave me some additional wisdom to entertain your comment to discover its actual reason and significance on different Imperial Lugers. Of course, I am giving your some credit for your inspiring criticism and military-style arrogance so I do not act delusional. 馃檭馃槄馃お

Excuse my long silence as my residence in Malta comes to an end in a few months since it has become too dangerous for me to continue living here. It is a long story which I shall tell another time. I always appreciate your friendly greetings and education despite some small differences in our final opinions, which actually leads us to the truth surrounding our passionate hobby.

Cheers,
Albert
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Guys,

When I am explaining and comparing my theory/opinion for this Circle-B stamp on the M1906 Brazilian Luger, I need to point out some specifics such as:

  1. I am not talking in general or random involving other makers;
  2. I am referring to the assembly steps before the pistol leaves the DWM factory. In the example of the M1908 Bulgarian Lugers delivered to the army around 1911-12, the probability of a mistake by the switching of caliber to the 9 mm DWM 480C cartridge was not known before the contract went out the door, so this is a logical reason the first batch/delivery are without a C-suffix, while still recognizing that the major markings remain the same (i.e. with the DWM logo and the Bulgarian crest);
  3. I am explaining my theory between products of the same DWM factory i.e. DWM ammunition and DWM Luger pistols produced around the time of the order or contract until it was stopped. For example, the Circle-B stamp can also be observed on the M1900, M1902 or M1906 AE Lugers with a 4 3/4" slim barrel which followed a similar pattern to the early Imperial Swiss Lugers, as I have indicated that the DWM 471B cartridge in a foreign export DWM cartridge booklet is described for use in a 7,65 mm Swiss Parabellum pistol;

In other simple words, B relates to the characteristics of the DWM 471 and 480 cartridge used by those pistols manufactured by the DWM factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hopefully Douglas will chime in...
I submitted the text of my same post on the other forum which Douglas read. I suppose that he will chime in on the two forums after he reviews my opinion/theory.

Before he makes his comment, I would like to add some information for further analysis. When certain subjects or details are written in books, which can still have errors over many prior years because of limited knowledge, awareness or material, I would like to point out that I usually reach compelling theories by researching/studying more than one area of collecting, especially the culture within the factory or the nation where the firearms are being delivered/sold and who are the users. Often this information is not written in a factory sales brochure or an instruction manual, instead communicated during training which is rarely recorded in writing. If such a document were to exist, it was usually lost in time and these markings continue to be puzzling.

When I do my research, I consider various factors including ammunition and the competition/marketing strategies between the national weapon firms. Since DWM was the leader in Germany with pistol manufacturing and also became a leader in ammunition production after acquiring the small cartridge company Lorenz around 1896 that specialized in gun powder, DWM then decided to use certain in-house codes for indication and production when making pistols in caliber 7,65 mm and 9 mm Parabellum. When observing the placement of these stamps, it can start to make sense that the marking such as the Circle-B is related to a cartridge caliber, and not necessarily for indicating a country such as Brazil.

However, I have created another challenge (for myself) what is the meaning for the small Circle-Triangle marking on the side of the chamber of the M1906 Portuguese Navy Contract Lugers in 9 mm Parabellum which is also tricky to figure out, but I am guessing that it is linked with the 9 mm cartridge.

Cheers,
Albert
 

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Dear folks,
I am sorry for my delay to jump into this topic, but I have been busy with some new articles and the work at the museum.

After reading the messages, I must say that, with all the due respect to Albert, his theory does not hold up against some historical facts. Other military firearms contracts entered by Brazilian Armed Forces, shows that the "Circled-B proof" is not "related to a cartridge caliber" while other Foreign contract of very similar firearms does not bear the same marks.

First, we should remember that, at the very same time as Brazili was purchasing its Parabellums, Portugal was doing the same. And the Portuguese Army was not only buying the same number of guns (5000) but also in the same configuration: 7,65 mm Parabellum caliber, 4.75 in. bbl. and grip safety. However, even when chambered for the same caliber, the Portuguese guns have a completely different set of proofs (the "circled-Triangle").

It just makes no sense - from the point of viewn of a proofing system - to have this kind of "warning" concerning a "cartridge caliber" used in some guns while not using it in others, from the same time frame.

Now, let's take a look at the well known 1908 Brazilian Mauser Contract (chambered to 7 x 57). This contract is of special meaning as this purchased was made at the same time frame as the Brazilian Lugers and 3/4 of the total amount of the rifles were made at the DWM factory in Berlin. Every each of the 400,000 rifles of this sizable contract (fulfilled between 1908-1914) has the "circled-B" stamp (example below). Blueprints from the Mauser factory - from Jon Speed archives - present the "circled B" as the proof for the "Brazilianische Infanterie Gewehr 1908". It is worth mentioning that such mark has not been seen in any other foreign contract of identical guns (as the Mauser Model 1909 made for Argentina, chambered for the 7,65 x 53) or for the same cartridge (like the Mexican Mauser Model 1910, also chambered for the 7 x 57) just to mention two examples.

On the other hand, "circled-B" proof was also used on other Brazilian military firearms as Anthony Vanderlinden mentioned above.

Those facts clearly show that the "Circled-B" proof was intended to be used by DWM (and Mauser) factory inspectors to identify both rifles and pistols made for Brazilian Military, at least initially. The appearance of this marking in barrels (and barrels only) made at the same time is yet to be explained, although Ron and I have different opinions on this subject.

Greetings,
Douglas.



Mauser Modelo 1908-5c.jpg 1908 Brazil Mauser-1.jpg 1908 Brazil Mauser-2.jpg 1908 Brazil Mauser-3.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello Douglas & Friends,

Thank you for your comments and observations about the Circle-B mark found on DWM Parabellum pistols, and interestingly on other firearms such a the DWM rifles for the Brazilian Army as well as this marking being mentioned on blueprints related to a Mauser rifle indicated as "Brazilianische Infanterie Gewehr 1908".

You make good comparisons with different information; however, where your opinion loses plenty of substance is when for example the Circle-B mark appears on the barrel of a M1906 Amercian Eagle Luger Parabellum in 9 mm caliber (DWM 480 cartridge) when such a Luger pistol from the same period has absolutely no connection to Brazil. So, why would a Circle-B mark be stamped on the underside of a barrel of a pistol in another pistol caliber and what does it mean besides what I explained in my opinion, without you going off on a tangent about DWM or Mauser rifles which is like talking about apples and oranges? I have never seen a Brazilian Contract Luger in caliber 9 mm Parabellum, but when comparing information DWM 471B and DWM 480B cartridges, there is something that make senses.

I have not yet figured out what the circle-triangle marking means on the M1906 Portuguese Royal Navy Lugers in caliber 9 mm Parabellum, but I may find answer as I do additional research - without forgetting that I have the finest M1906 Portuguese Royal Navy Luger in the world. ;) For the moment, I am guessing that the triangle represents a simplified navy anchor which is related to the P-04 Parabellum in caliber 9 mm Parabellum.

Cheers,
Albert
 

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Hi Douglas,

Most contracts also included the delivery of spare parts, so it would not surprise me when Brazil also received a quantity of spare barrels marked with the circle B to identify them as Brazilian army property. This even means that c-B marked parts eventually found their way onto other guns as well. Gun parts have a very, very long shelve life.

The idea that symbols would be used to designate a caliber sounds particularly strange to me. If I wanted to say something is 9mm, I would put a 9mm marking on it, not a crown, circle, triangle or some other weird marking.

The crown-triangle is also found on Mauser 1910 pistols in 6,35, to name one. So any association between a crown-triangle and a caliber goes out the window there. Besides the marking is so small they would have had to issue magnifying glasses with the guns for users to notice.

I think it is very safe to say the circle B is tied with the Brazilian government and nothing else.
 

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Albert,
Sorry, but we are not talking about different animals, but about gunmakers that, as you said above, had a rational behind its markings.

It does make much more sense to understand that the same marking appeared on different guns (rifles and pistols) bought by the same country (Brazil), in the same time frame (1908-1914) and is not seen on identical guns from the same period (Portugal Army contract). And remember: we are not talking about the Navy Portuguese Luger - which, by the way and according to your theory, does not bear the "C" stamp for 9mm Luger. And, that is not an anchor, it is a triangle and can be found in other guns, like the Mauser Model 1910 (in caliber 6,35 mm).

My point, by comparing identical markings on rifles and pistols (and I stress: made by the same company), is to show that this making was intended to identify contract guns made for Brazil. So, it is not a matter of caliber or type of guns.

At last, but not the least, as far as I know, the "circled B" is only found in a very specific range of commercial Lugers (44000-49000 per Dwight Gruber list), that was also made around the same time as the Brazilian guns - which is an evidence of suplus barrels intended originally for Brazil that never were delivered and then used in ordinary commercial guns. To understand how that could happen you would need to understand the complex Brazilian historical context from that period of time.

Finally, I am not trying to convince you of my point of view, as it seems that you already had decided what the "circled-B" proof means. I presented my explanation, documents and rational to support my claim. Of course I am open to entertain other theories, but yours falls short to convince me other way.

Sincerly,
Douglas.
 

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Albert,
Sorry, but we are not talking about different animals, but about gunmakers that, as you said above, had a rational behind its markings.

Does it make much more sense to understand that the same marking appeared on different guns (rifles and pistols) bought by the same country (Brazil), in the same time frame (1908-1914) and is not seen on identical guns from the same period (Portugal Army contract). And remember: we are not talking about the Navy Portuguese Luger - which, by the way and according to your theory, does not bear the "C" stamp for 9mm Luger. And, that is not an anchor, it is a triangle and can be found in other guns, like the Mauser Model 1910 (in caliber 6,35 mm).

My point, by comparing identical markings on rifles and pistols (and I stress: made by the same company), is to show that this making was intended to identify contract guns made for Brazil. So, it is not a matter of caliber or type of guns.

At last, but not the least, as far as I know, the "circled B" is only found in a very specific range of commercial Lugers (44000-49000 per Dwight Gruber list), that was also made around the same time as the Brazilian guns - which is an evidence of suplus barrels intended originally for Brazil that never were delivered and then used in ordinary commercial guns. To understand how that could happen you would need to understand the complex Brazilian historical context from that period of time.

Finally, I am not trying to convince you of my point of view, as it seems that you already had decided what the "circled-B" proof means. I presented my explanation, documents and rational to support my claim. Of course I am open to entertain other theories, but yours falls short to convince me other way.

Sincerly,
Douglas.
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