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In Kenyons ‘Lugers at Random’, he states with regard to the 1908 Commercial/Military Luger – ‘Manufactured by DWM for Military test/acceptance by the German armed forces’.

Does anyone have any additional information about these ‘tests’? Might some of these Lugers have been re-barrelled in 7.65mm by the military as late as 1913-14?

I understand that the German Army did initially carry out some trials with 7.65mm Lugers, but all of these were fitted with a grip safety. I assume this was much earlier with the 120mm barrel M1900 version.

Is it possible that military testing of 7.65mm Lugers was taking place right up until the beginning of World War 1?
 

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Hello John,

This response does not directly address your questions, but I thought that getting some reference material on the board might help. In the data and quotes below I have attempted to be certain that no information is altered, but I have taken the liberty of making some formatting changes for emphasis.

Some of the experts will probably blow me out of the water, but my personal theory is that these guns were all manufactured and proofed in 1913-1914.

Looking at the data below and noting the copyright dates, I personally suspect that Mr. Still's theory is correct when he suggests these guns were produced in 1913-1914, probably to meet the looming demands of WW-I.

I believe that the serial number range noted by all three authors (nominally 69000-71000) places the production of these guns in a considerably later timeframe than 1908. I'm certainly not the expert here, but I am hoping that these comments and the data presented below will prompt further discussion . . . . even if I am dead wrong in my opinions and have to tuck my tail between my legs and run for it.


<center>Kenyon, Charles “Lugers at Random” Copyright 1969</center>
Estimated Total Production 500
Estimated Serial Number Range 69600-70100
Caliber 9mm only

Quote: "GENERAL NOTES: Manufactured by DWM for military test/acceptance by the German Armed Forces. Examples of this variation were taken from commercial production, but were NOT commercially proofed and were fitted with the holdopen device. The practice by DWM of filling test/acceptance orders from current commercial production, while assigning resulting contract orders their own specific contract serial number range is not unusual, as this was the case with the 1900 and 1902 American Eagles and the 1900 Bulgarian. This variation is found in a definite serial range, while examples of standard commercial production immediately prior to and after this serial range have the normal commercial proof marks."
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<center>Costanzo, Sam “World of Lugers” Copyright 1977</center>
Estimated Total Production N/A
Estimated Serial Number Range 69600-70907
Caliber 9mm only

In reference to the C/X C/X C/X proof, quote: "1908 Commercial and Military proof. This proof was used by the German Army on Lugers under test trials in the fall of 1908. These Lugers were chosen from the DWM commercial production line in 9mm 4" in the 69,600-70,907 serial number range."
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<center>Still, Jan “Imperial Lugers” Copyright 1991</center>

Estimated Total Production 450
Estimated Serial Number Range 69163-70840
Caliber 9mm (One7.65mm)

Quote: "During late 1913 or early 1914, some 1908 Commercial Lugers were routed to Military service. These do not bear commercial proofs and instead bear the Army Test Proof (DWM) and C/X C/X C/X Army inspection stamps on the right receiver. These inspection stamps are found almost exclusively on the 1908 Commercial Army and a few 1914-dated Army Lugers, which lack stock lugs, in the 8000a to 9400a serial range. (As some of the 1908 Commercial Army Lugers had sear safeties added during the Nazi Era, it has been suggested that they were in police service during the Imperial Era, and that the C/X inspection stamp was related to Imperial Police issue.) There are 14 1908 Commercial Army Lugers reported in the 69163 to 70840 serial range."
 

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John
Luke gave you an excellent introduction to the 1908 Commercial Army. The links listed below give up to date additional detailed information covering these pistols.

1908 DWM COMMERCIAL ARMY:
* 1908 COMM. ARMY AND 1914 HOLSTER Jan C Still (1908 Comm. Army, sn 69911, 1914 holster K.R.6.)
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1280
* 1908 DWM, COMM. ARMY, R.I.R.72 M.G. Jan C Still (1908 Comm. Army, sn 70149, R.I.R.72.M.G.11)
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=914
* BATTLE HISTORY OF THE R.I.R.72 Jan C Still
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=916
* A real commercial 1908 triple C/X [email protected] jcoe (1908 Comm. Army. sn 69457, mm; 72050)
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=835

There is one important point that I would like to make. Based on previous tests, the orders to formally adopt the Luger as the Pistole 08 were signed by the Kaiser in August 1908(Imperial Lugers page, 20). No evidence was found to establish that the Prussian(German) Army tested the 1908 Commercial Army. Gortz searched the various German archives and found no evidence of German Army tests of these Lugers that were produced during 1913/1914. Kenyons evidence of these being “test” Lugers is from his statement in “Lugers at Random”page 158. The practice by DWM of filling test/acceptance orders from current commercial production, while assigning resulting contract orders their own specific contract serial number range is not unusual, as this was the case with the 1900 and 1902 American Eagles and the 1900 Bulgarian.” In my opinion this vague correlation does not raise to the level of evidence that the 1908 Commercial Army Lugers were in fact “test” Lugers. That 1902 and 1906 Lugers were “tested” is well established from archival evidence. See the Links below:

* 1902 GERMAN ARMY TEST LUGERS Jan C Still (1902 German Army Test Lugers, serial numbers, serial ranges, photographs, detailed)
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=852
* 1906 TEST-1915 DWM-E. GERMAN POLICE Jan C Still, (1906 German Army Test Lugers, serial numbers, serial ranges, photographs, detailed)
------------------------- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=934

Note: Costanzo’s book covering US spy Lugers establishes an approximate indication of the production dates of the 1908 Commercial Army Lugers.
 

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Jan,

I believe you are correct that these C/X C/X C/X marked Lugers had nothing to do with testing. The commercial serial numbered examples no doubt were pulled from production to fill a shortfall in military wartime arms buildup. I suspect that the 1914 dated 1908-pattern examples that are serial numbered in the military style were pieces drawn from non-issued stockpiles, arsenal date stamped with the year of issue per regulation, and pressed into service. This contingency supplement to military Luger acquisition probably occurred at the same time from both sources, undoubtedly in the 1913-1914 timeframe as Luke has asserted (and supported by the 1914 date on the military-style pieces!). Very likely these supplemental weapons, being part of this urgent buildup program, were subject to the same acceptance process from both sources, resulting in the C/X C/X C/X acceptance marks being applied to the two variants. This is all conjecture of course, but it works a lot better for me than labeling them as “test” pieces.

I am now prepared to tuck my tail also if necessary.
 

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Costanza does not cite a source for his presumption that these were test pieces (at least not one that I could find), but one has to wonder if his source was, in fact, Kenyon's book which preceded "World of Lugers" by about 8 years.

Luke
 

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quote:Originally posted by Jan C Still


Note: Costanzo’s book covering US spy Lugers establishes an approximate indication of the production dates of the 1908 Commercial Army Lugers.
Jan,

Could you expand on this a bit? I've gone through this book pretty thoroughly, and don't recall seeing material which would draw me this conclusion. If I have missed something I'd like to catch it, its pretty important for my database, thanks.

--Dwight
 

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Luke
Costanzo uses few if any references or citations.
Dwight
I have not looked at Costanzo's book of spy Lugers for many years and do not know if I can find it(Note: these are simply commercially sold Lugers; Costanzo’s claim that these are spy Lugers is not correct). However as I recall, it lists serial numbers and sell dates. The Luger had to be manufactured before the sell date. Please correct me if the information is not in the book.
Jan
 

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Jan,

One of the frustrating things about dealing with the data in Costanzo's Spy Luger book is that crucial information is not reported.

The dates reported for sale/"issue" are predominately 1913 and 1914, sporadically 1915. Of course the Lugers had to be manufactued before the sell date, but there is almost no information as to what these Lugers actually are. He does list Navy pistols, they would almost certainly have to be 1906 Navy Commercials.

I've had to go to my database to come up with pertinent comparisons. The guns which I have records of "salted in" amongst the major ranges of Lugers reported sold by Hans Tauscher are mostly American Eagles, and the listed guns I have independent reports of are all American Eagles or 06 Navy Commercials. It would make sense that the standard guns would all be AE, but there is no way to just come to this conclusion.

There are 2,025 serial number entries in Costanzo's Spy Luger book. The earliest scattering of numbers is clear down at the very beginning of 1906 production; eight of them have serial numbers lower than the 1907 Dutch Trials guns. They pass through the 1910 change from BUG proofing to c/N, transitioning in the range between #48772 and #53212 (the proofs are intermixed, and most of my data in this range does not have proof data).

P-08 Commercials begin to appear intermixed with these Lugers at #55600, the first 08 Navy Commercial about #60079, about the same range as the RG marked Lugers. These numbers continue past the range of P-08 Bolivians, they continue strong and finally peter out abruptly just before the Commercial Armys. In fact, the highest number recorded by Costanzo is #67871, the lowest P-08 3c/X Commercial Army I have reported is #67879.

Probably more pertinent to the date discussion is that 1914 Commercial Armys appear at #70319, 3 1/2 thousand guns higher than the last recorded Tauscher sale.

One of my reasons for including both the numbers and the dates of these Lugers in my database is to see if I could find just such a correlation as you propose from just that data, and I have not been able to do so.

I hope this exercise has been of some use.

--Dwight
 

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Ron Wood Quote: "The commercial serial numbered examples no doubt were pulled from production to fill a shortfall in military wartime arms buildup. I suspect that the 1914 dated 1908-pattern examples that are serial numbered in the military style were pieces drawn from non-issued stockpiles, arsenal date stamped with the year of issue per regulation, and pressed into service. This contingency supplement to military Luger acquisition probably occurred at the same time from both sources, undoubtedly in the 1913-1914 timeframe . . . and supported by the 1914 date on the military-style pieces! Very likely these supplemental weapons, being part of this urgent buildup program, were subject to the same acceptance process from both sources, resulting in the C/X C/X C/X acceptance marks being applied to the two variants."

Ron's comments make a clear, logical argument for the circumstances under which the 1908 Commercial-Army Lugers and the 1914 Army Luger w/o stock lugs were created and subsequently entered the military arsenal.

In addition, it seems that a much smaller number of 1914 Commercial-Army Lugers were built, probably to support the military buildup for WW-I, as was the case of the two aforementioned types. Jan estimates 100 pieces on page 26 of "Imperial Lugers." These 1914 Commercial-Army models also received the C/X C/X C/X acceptance marks.

Paraphrasing some of Ron's comments, am I correct in assuming that the total supplement for military buildup probably consisted of three batches of Lugers:

1) 1914 Military Lugers Without Stock Lugs - Created from military Lugers manufactured without stock lugs (probably in late 1913 just before the mandate to add stock lugs) that were not dated but had already been given military serial numbers,

2) 1914 Commercial-Army Lugers - Created from commercial Lugers that were manufactured in 1914 with stock lugs but had already received commercial numbers before being pulled for military use, and

3) 1908 Commercial-Army Lugers - Created from commercial Lugers which were manufactured on the 1908 frame pattern for commercial sale and had already received the appropriate commercial serial numbers ?

I am just attempting to sort this out in my mind in order to understand these three categories.

Anyone have another theory?

Thanks,
Luke
 
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