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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have always wanted a Luger and now one is on the way! It is marked 1913 Erfurt. Hopefully I can pick it up tommorrow, but in the meantime I was hoping you all might be able to give me a little info on it based on some pictures. The Gentleman I bought it from said that the top end was matching with the exception of the side plate, but that it did not match the frame. Also the takedown lever (if this is the correct term) is not checkered like all I have seen but looks to have a piece of wood fitted into it. He said the wood looked like it had been there for a long time. My questions are: How do you tell if the frame is contemporary to the top end and who made it. What's up with the wood on the take down lever. As there are no import markings is there any way to deduce if it was brought home after WW1 or WW2. I read somewhere about a safety sear modification in the early 30's, does this pistol have one? Does the finish look original or redone? And anything else anyone could enlighten me on would be very much appreciated. Thank you all very much.

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Cullen,

Erfurt Lugers are distinctively marked. Check this discussion http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1226 for details of those markings. If the frame and small parts of your Luger are similarly marked it was manufactured by Erfurt, if not it was probably DWM, possibly Mauser. What is the serial number, including letter suffix, stamped on the front of the frame above the trigger guard? Please let us know if there are Eagle-over-2 or Eagle-over-6 symbols. It is unlikely that the date of manufacture of your frame can be established, although it is not completely out of the question.

As the frame and upper are not matched this Luger is not a "whole" gun, and so the WWI/WWII bringback question does not apply.

The takedown lever has been custom-gunsmithed at an indeterminate time. Your Luger does not have a sear safety; here is a comparitive illustration.



There is not enough information from your photographs to tell if this Luger has been refinished. It is also necessary to know the manufacturer and date of the frame for a complete determination. Is the inside of the frame polished bright, or blued? Are the small parts--trigger, takedown lever, thumb safety lever, magazine catch, ejector--blued, or yellow strawed? Is the link which hangs down from the toggle pieces and engages the recoil spring bare metal or blued?

What are the markings on the magazine?

--Dwight
 

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Repro grips, better check to see if it will fire. With a mismatched sideplate it might not. Looks like someone drilled out the takedown lever and filled it with wood putty? Hope you didn't lay out your life savings for this one...Congratulations on your first Luger! Any Luger is better than none. Jerry Burney
 

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Hi,

I would be interested to see a close-up image of the modified take-down lever. Similar versions have been reported (including on a very badly rusted dig-find). The pistol itself shows signs of reblueing and it's parts mismatch makes it a shooter-grade gun. Price should not have exceeded the 400USD mark much. Have the gun checked by an expert before shooting it.
 

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Gerben,
Do you think it may be another one of those drilled-through take-down levers that was postulated to be an aid to disassembly for numb fingers in cold weather?
 

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quote:Originally posted by Ron Wood

Gerben,
Do you think it may be another one of those drilled-through take-down levers that was postulated to be an aid to disassembly for numb fingers in cold weather?
Ron, that's a tease...go ahead and tell us about the cold weather modification.
 

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Ron,

That thought indeed crossed my mind. On the other hand, it may just be the result of a bubba attempt to loosen a stuck lever.

George: The theory is simple:
In cold winter fighting, wearing thick gloves, some tricks are needed to perform normal service (like field stripping). Rifles were constructed with special trigger adaptors, making it easier to fire them with thick gloves, so it's not a great leap to suggest similar modifications were made in the field, especially around the collapsing eastern front.

When the takedown lever has a hole drilled into it, any random tool or even a rifle bullet can be used to fieldstrip the gun with gloves on. Easy field modification.
 

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quote:Originally posted by Vlim

George: The theory is simple:
In cold winter fighting, wearing thick gloves, some tricks are needed to perform normal service (like field stripping). Rifles were constructed with special trigger adaptors, making it easier to fire them with thick gloves, so it's not a great leap to suggest similar modifications were made in the field, especially around the collapsing eastern front.

When the takedown lever has a hole drilled into it, any random tool or even a rifle bullet can be used to fieldstrip the gun with gloves on. Easy field modification.
Well, that is one of the more interesting rationalizations that I have heard put forth to legitimize an otherwise inexplainable anomaly found on a luger. Very frankly, I see no correlation between the "cold weather" trigger actuator, which was a factory modification authorized by the military, and drilling out the takedown lever thereby enabling a combatant to field-strip his handgun with his gloves on while standing in a snowdrift. A field modification? Well, I reckon anything is possible, however, it is my theory that those poor devils out their fighting for their lives on the "collapsing eastern front" had more pressing needs to satisfy.

Good Hunting
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I finally got the Luger home and was very pleased with it. It shoots great even though the rifling is pretty worn. Here is the info that was needed to answer my questions. Serial number on frame under barrel is 4940 over "a". Below that on the front of the trigger guard is a crown over RC and below that a crown over some old English looking letter. All parts with the exception of the takedown lever have these crown over letter marks. The takedown lever only has a 93 on the bottom of it. It has been crudely drilled and has an old wooden plug fitted in it. I have no way at present to take pics but will post some in the future. the pistolhas been refinished with a dull blue, though it doesn't seem to have been polished before hand so markings are still fairly clear. I guess from what I've read the frame is an Erfurt so must have been made between 1911-1918. Can anyone get me a more precise date based on the serial number. Look forward to your responses, thanks Lance.
PS-I like the cold weather modification idea!
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Forgot to add, the magazine looks to be made from one piece of metal (no seams) and has a crude looking aluminum follower and aluminum base with no markings. It looks very used. I bought a repro wooden bottom mag from sarco and the body is constructed differently, it has a seam running down both sides and also has a plastic follower, but it is functionally better. Could the aluminum bottom mag be East German?
 

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Cullen,

Yep, you have identified an Erfurt frame. According to Jan Still's "Imperial Lugers" only 10,000 Erfurt Lugers were made in 1911, so that year would not have had a letter suffix. Also, there are no known Erfurts dated 1915. Since the a suffix is reported all other years, your frame could be 1912-1914 or 1916-1918.

--Dwight
 

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Garfield,

I agree the theory sounds tacky, but this is not a lone anomaly. So far, we've observed 2 such modifications and had reports of another one. The reason why these modifications are not encountered often also has to do with location and inaccessibility. The majority of USSR/Eastern Block seized weapons didn't surface until relatively recently, as a result of the opening up of the former Eastern Block countries. Recent releases of stored stock from USSR and Hungarian depots have produced a number of interesting P08s. Most of these guns were never reworked beyond original preservation/repair and cannot be compared to early Postwar reissues like the VoPo versions.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Vlim, As far as the takedown lever goes, whomever did it did not do this in an attempt to improve the aesthetics of the pistol or "custom gunsmith it" (in my opinion.) The face of the lever is kind of jagged, no attempt has been made to file it flat or smooth, looks to have been done in a hurry. If going with this theory of cold weather modification I believe the wooden plug was added when the modification was no longer needed. It looks like it was just tamped into the hole. The surface on it is not that smooth either, but is aged looking and somewhat oil soaked. I will try to post more detailed pictures as soon as I can get a friend to take them (the pics above were supplied by the seller.) I'm just happy that the old pistol seems to be all imperial and somewhat contempory parts that are mostly Erfurts! With the exception of the grips that is:)
 

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I was aquainted with a gentleman named Heinz Kothe, who recently passed on. He was a member of a 17CM gun crew on the Eastern Front. Subsequently captured after losing his leg. And spent 2yrs as a POW. He said that it was so cold during the winter offensive. That they would urinate in their pants, because by the time you had removed your gloves, and completed the task. Your fingers would be too numb to put "things" away. The result was severe frostbite to your "extremeties". He said this was not an uncommon occurrance.
My point being, that in those circumstances. Field expedient alterations were probably common in many instances. Weapons in particular.
Ron
 

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quote:Originally posted by Ron Smith


Field expedient alterations were probably common in many instances. Ron
That is a rather broad and all-incompassing generalization.

My point is, given the rigours experienced during the winter offensive, I doubt that the troops would perform field alterations on their weapons unless such an alteration satisfied some dire need. I see no utilitarion purpose served by this purported "field alteration", the rumor of which is based on pure speculation.
 

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Bill, I would agree that field stripping a Luger, in most cases, would not serve a dire need. My point is that war history is filled with inconsitentcy and unexplained oddities. You can never know why or what
the purpose was. Unless you were there. Some rear eschelon officers desparate to get attention from their superiors, often come up with some "dipstick" idea. Some of which, are beyond stupid. I'm speaking from experience. (2 tours in Vietnam);)

Howard, I don't know. However, the alternative would be rather unpleasant. Heinz was the President of a very prominent beverage distribution co. in Eugene. And a very straightforward and honest man. I have been to his house on several occasions. I learned alot about the mind set of the German people, during WWII, from he and his wife Paula.They were about as anti-Nazi as anyone could be. I saw the crudly made peg leg the Russians gave him.
Since his passing, I have been trying to aquire it and some of the memorbilia from his wife. One, a photo of Heinz and his then girlfriend (Paula) standing in front of his gun hitched to a flower covered half-track,at a rally.

Ron
 
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