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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! this is my first post on the forum, it is a great place to find info!! I tried to id my gun by myself using the info in this site but I wasn't able to do it.
This Luger has been in our family since, at least, 1925. Next month I will take my son to the range to shoot it so he will be the 4th generation using the same gun!!!!.
I recently took it out of storage (I have not use it in the last 25 years) to clean and lube it. Since it was in my hand I paid more attention to the markings and with the help of Internet I tried to verify what I always thought my Luger where a 1900 series Bulgarian contract, but paying careful attention to the chamber mark I realized it is something else.
Can you help me to ID it?

r side.jpg

l side.jpg

front.jpg

rear.jpg

top.jpg
 

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Hello and welcome!

I will let others speak to the provenance of this gun with regards to Bulgarian markings. But I must ask if that finish is still original, or if you have had it touched up/refinished?

The reason I ask is because a Luger like yours with possible provenance in such high original finish condition is something that, and I cannot over stress or emphasize this enough, I WOULD HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT SHOOT THIS LUGER EVER AGAIN.The older model Lugers like these were just a little weaker in the parts than the new models (like the flat springs and breech blocks, hence the upgrades) and breaking just 1 part could turn a gun like this from a literal family monetary treasure to a shooter grade gun instantly, and that would be a shame. Not to mention old model Lugers and parts are rarer since they were phased out by about 1906 with the introduction of the new model, so fixing a broken part may be both incredibly hard to find and cost a considerable percentage of the reduced value of the gun to get ahold of and properly fixed by a qualified Luger gunsmith, themselves few a very very far between.

Of course, it is both your property and your family tradition so my opinion/recommendations and the same of others ultimately means nothing as you may do with your property as you please.

I look forward to following this thread further.
 

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Hello and welcome!

I will let others speak to the provenance of this gun with regards to Bulgarian markings. But I must ask if that finish is still original, or if you have had it touched up/refinished?

The reason I ask is because a Luger like yours with possible provenance in such high original finish condition is something that, and I cannot over stress or emphasize this enough, I WOULD HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT SHOOT THIS LUGER EVER AGAIN.The older model Lugers like these were just a little weaker in the parts than the new models (like the flat springs and breech blocks, hence the upgrades) and breaking just 1 part could turn a gun like this from a literal family monetary treasure to a shooter grade gun instantly, and that would be a shame. Not to mention old model Lugers and parts are rarer since they were phased out by about 1906 with the introduction of the new model, so fixing a broken part may be both incredibly hard to find and cost a considerable percentage of the reduced value of the gun to get ahold of and properly fixed by a qualified Luger gunsmith, themselves few a very very far between.

Of course, it is both your property and your family tradition so my opinion/recommendations and the same of others ultimately means nothing as you may do with your property as you please.

I look forward to following this thread further.
Hello and welcome!

I will let others speak to the provenance of this gun with regards to Bulgarian markings. But I must ask if that finish is still original, or if you have had it touched up/refinished?

The reason I ask is because a Luger like yours with possible provenance in such high original finish condition is something that, and I cannot over stress or emphasize this enough, I WOULD HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT SHOOT THIS LUGER EVER AGAIN.The older model Lugers like these were just a little weaker in the parts than the new models (like the flat springs and breech blocks, hence the upgrades) and breaking just 1 part could turn a gun like this from a literal family monetary treasure to a shooter grade gun instantly, and that would be a shame. Not to mention old model Lugers and parts are rarer since they were phased out by about 1906 with the introduction of the new model, so fixing a broken part may be both incredibly hard to find and cost a considerable percentage of the reduced value of the gun to get ahold of and properly fixed by a qualified Luger gunsmith, themselves few a very very far between.

Of course, it is both your property and your family tradition so my opinion/recommendations and the same of others ultimately means nothing as you may do with your property as you please.

I look forward to following this thread further.
Ditto, it would be a shame to damage that gem. Skip
 

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Hello and welcome!

I will let others speak to the provenance of this gun with regards to Bulgarian markings. But I must ask if that finish is still original, or if you have had it touched up/refinished?

The reason I ask is because a Luger like yours with possible provenance in such high original finish condition is something that, and I cannot over stress or emphasize this enough, I WOULD HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT SHOOT THIS LUGER EVER AGAIN.The older model Lugers like these were just a little weaker in the parts than the new models (like the flat springs and breech blocks, hence the upgrades) and breaking just 1 part could turn a gun like this from a literal family monetary treasure to a shooter grade gun instantly, and that would be a shame. Not to mention old model Lugers and parts are rarer since they were phased out by about 1906 with the introduction of the new model, so fixing a broken part may be both incredibly hard to find and cost a considerable percentage of the reduced value of the gun to get ahold of and properly fixed by a qualified Luger gunsmith, themselves few a very very far between.

Of course, it is both your property and your family tradition so my opinion/recommendations and the same of others ultimately means nothing as you may do with your property as you please.

I look forward to following this thread further.
AGREE 100%
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ditto, it would be a shame to damage that gem. Skip
Well it seems there is a consensus regarding not firing the gun. Will it be safe to fire a couple of light rounds? it may not cycle properly but at least my son will be able to say he shoot his great gun father gun...... will see.
The gun has not been refinish, well at least from 1925 on. I think it looks better on the photos than in real life.
Thanks for you input and help.
 

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If it looks better in real life than the photos, regardless of Bulgarian provenance, it would not shock me if the monetary provenance of that gun is in the 5 figure range. It is likely firmly in that range if authentic Bulgarian provenance. The only mass produced Lugers more valuable on the market than good quality original finish model 1900 foreign contract are the Luger Carbines.

It just takes 1 round to break a part and make it shooter grade, and I would guess that a shooter grade gun, even in this condition, tops out around 2.5-3k. You weigh the risk here. Each round, even reduced load, COULD be worth 7k+ in damages. And you won’t know which round it is until it’s too late. The equivalent in cars would be taking a 56 mustang out street racing. You may drive carefully, you may not try to stress it, it may end up A-ok back in your garage at the end of the day with no sweat…but why would you even want to risk it? Again though, you own it and it is your property to do with as you please. I’m just laying down the reality of what may happen to a 120 year old gun.

In my opinions, this gun doesn’t need to see ammunition loaded up. It needs to be handled exclusively with gloved hands and needs to see a qualified Luger appraiser (i am not one of them, not yet at least) as well as a museum level storage to preserve the immaculate condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is the other way around It seems to look better in photos that in real life.........
I do handle it with gloves for cleaning. I don't like to leave fingerprint on blued guns as it leads to rust.
You helped me to make my mind, I will not fire it. At least till I have more info on its provenance.
I've looked further into the chamber mark but I have not found anything like it on internet yet.
Regards,
 

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I would wait for a better answer on a lot of that until Monday. Many of the Imperial and early Luger experts/collectors, namely Ron Wood, are in Louisville this weekend for the Show of Shows. I would be too if I wasn’t in Puerto Rico on my Honeymoon at the moment, or at least I’d pull my copies of Gortz and Sturgess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would wait for a better answer on a lot of that until Monday. Many of the Imperial and early Luger experts/collectors, namely Ron Wood, are in Louisville this weekend for the Show of Shows. I would be too if I wasn’t in Puerto Rico on my Honeymoon at the moment, or at least I’d pull my copies of Gortz and Sturgess.
Ja!! on you honeymoon and taking your time to read and answer my post!! I really appreciate it.
I was born in Germany and I currently live in Argentina. I really like living here but for a gun - gunsmith / muscle car - car restorer as myself USA is the place I would love to be when I retire!!!
 

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My opinion: You have a very early 1900 Commercial that has a fancy letter that has been engraved over the chamber. That letter was not factory created but done afterwards. It could be your Luger has an early flat button magazine that allows it to be placed in the frame whereas a later magazine, because of the change in the loading button, cannot be put into the frame. Or the frame could have been altered so a later type of magazine can be used. I'm a great grandfather and if my grandfather had owned a 1900 Commercial Luger, I definitely would take it out behind the garage and shoot it two or three times. If it has not broken while being shot over the past years, why would it break now? I don't think it will. Use good factory ammo; no reloads. I have shot my 1900 American Eagle several times with no problems. Regards, Jim Cate, author of the three J.P. Sauer reference books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok new pictures. First the engraving on the chamber. It looks like to letters an S or F for the first and a R or k for the second. Or maybe it is just a doodle???
chamber mark.jpg


And the mag well with an without the mag.
mag 1.jpg

mag 2.jpg


If you need any other info please let me know.
 

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very nice - although I am always saying don't fire these original lugers. I think I'd go out for a few rounds, as a gun like this, being in the family, can encourage the next generation to shoot. Even better is to find another like it, but the firing of the specific one is what your son would remember.
I am unsure of the marking on the top of the luger, but Dwight must have an idea.

Ed
 

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The initials on the engraved monogram look like R and L to me.
The frame is un-relieved... A very desirable...$$$, very early Luger.
chamber mark monogram.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Mike,
I guess you are right writing over them in different colors make them pop up.
What is an un-relieved frame? I have never heard of it.
I guess the engraving being not factory reduces the value of the gun, Am I right?
Since my grandfather died in the 70's I guess I will never know anything about those initial....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ed,
I have not decided yet whether let my son shoot it or not.... He is the one dragging me to the range every Saturday so I guess no additional encouraging needed in that department.
As the meaning of the monogram IF it was custom made locally It will impossible know it's origins.
I looked it with a magnifying glass and it appears to have been made before the gun was blued, but then again it must have been done in the 20's it is kind of period correct finish
 
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