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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently came into possesion of a WWII battlefield pick-up P-08. My wife's grandfather picked it up during the war and it has sat in a drawer since then. It is a 1916 Erfurt with a matching leather 1916 Holster and two magazines with the wooden floorplates. It is in excelent overall condition but with some pitting in the barrel and on one side of the toggle. The gun appears to have been reblued as the blueing is a rich blue without any strawing where it should be.

The problem I have is the gun is damn dangerous! Upon dissasembly it appears perfect internally but something sure isn't right. I am familiar with handguns but not Lugers and they are certainly unique - like a swiss watch.

Here is what the problem is: Put the gun on safe, pull the trigger and the gun fires when the safety is taken off. (I know this is not something anyone would ordinarily do but I was trying to familiarize myself with the operation of the gun while unloaded and wasn't sure what was safe and what was fire.) Also, if you pull the toggle back and use an empty magazine to lock it there, then insert a charged magazine, pull the taggle back slightly and let it go to chamber a round the gun slam fires. I did this once and am glad I did not put a fully loaded magazine in the gun. Gives a new meaning to the term machine-pistol. If you do the same thing as above only lower the toggle slowly there is no problem and the gun operates normally (for 1 round at least, I wan't loading anymore than 1 at a time).

Does anyone have an idea as to what is wrong with this 1916 Erfurt? Any help is greatly appreciated.


Tom
 

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The gun´s unsafe! That´s obvious - but you´ve found that out already. The first option would be to field strip, soak parts in WD and clean. I wouldn´t play around with the sear or the sear spring as this easily leads to the gun reverting to full auto mode unexpectedly - which is VERY dangerous. If cleaning doesn´t work - it´s a gunsmith job.

Patrick
 

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Tom,

I agree with Patrick about cleaning the gun and I would give special attention to the sear and the sideplate with lever.
Is this sideplate matching the gun ??
The lever in the sideplate should be adjusted on the sear, you can't just replace it (OK sometimes it works)
I had the same problem with a Luger a owned years ago, the first time I took it to the range it fires the hole magazine like a machine pistol!!!!
After adjusting the lever it worked fine.
When you pull the trigger and push the barrel backwards till the end (with the trigger still pulled)let the barrel come forward again and release the trigger.
If you don't hear a "klick" on the moment you release the trigger, your problem is between the sideplate lever and the sear.
Should I mention that you have to try this only with an unloaded gun (((-: ????
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My thanks to all thos who have responded. I have not had an opportunity to do more than field strip and quick clean the gun. I noticed when I did this that there is some hard reddish residue coating parts of the interior(not rust). Could be solidified oil or lubricant of some sort - strange stuff it looks almost like shellaque (sp?). I will detail strip the gun and clean it but first I am going to try what Dutchjoe suggests. I'll let you know the outcome.

Thanks again.

Tom
 

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Tom, this is usually a fairly good sign that it has not been messed with, and is solidified oil. However, as a caveat, when I went to Europe, before I left I coated all my guns with a thick oil I bought at the gun store and when I got back (7 years later), it appeared to be old cosmoline like you'd see from the 40's. So, it is not always a good sign of extreme age, but it is a good sign.

Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I finally had some time to take a look at this again and I found out two things: 1)the sideplate is matching to the gun (stamped with last two digits of the serial number) and 2) when I pull the trigger and push the barrel backwards and then let it come forward again their is a barely audible "tick" when I release the trigger. It is very faint.

I think you might be onto something Dutchjoe, I am not aware of any competent Luger smiths in the area (Baltimore). There may be one or two but I will have to ask around. Thanks again for your assistance.

Tom
 

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Tom,

You may also want to push on the sear bar with the sideplate removed, it should spring back flush to the receiver.

If it doesn't move back and forth the sear lever spring is weak and needs to be replaced.

I have an old mismatched Luger with a 1906 receiver that used to go off full auto because of a weak spring.

A broken spring may also cause a slam fire as the firing pin never get "cocked" in place by the lever.

Good Luck!

Mark
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll see if the spring for the sear lever is weak or broken and let you know Mark. Thanks for the input.

Tom
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I checked the sear spring and it is not weak at all. With the sideplate off, if you depress the sear it springs back even with the frame.

I will take the gun to a smith I know and see if he can figure it out. Might be that someone who is more familiar with the luger mechanism may be able to spot the problem right off. I'll let you all know.

Tom
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A quick update. The smith I took this too told me a number of things, 1) the 1916 Erfurt is original but has been re-blued and buffed possibly over in Europe before my wife's grandfather brought it back (thus pretty much destroying its collectors value), it was his opinion that no German armourer would have blued the parts that should have the straw coloring; 2) the problem with the mechanism involves the interaction between the sear and the firing pin, he thinks he can repair it and I will let you know what he finds when he does more than a cursory inspection. Someone in the shop suggested that the owner had attempted to lighten the trigger and too much metal was taken off the sear. My wife's grandfather never even shot the gun his wife says and just kept it in a drawer so I doubt that is it.

An interesting possibility that came to mind when talking to the smith: he told me that GI's would find Luger's in strange places, caves, old trenchworks, etc - he told me the story of a guy he knows who tripped over a Luger in its holster buried almost completely in the ground along a path in the woods, this was 6-9 months after the war was over. He pulled it out, cleaned off the rust and still has it. My wife's grandfather was not a front line soldier, some kind of rear echelon clerk I think. He didn't pick it up on a battlefield, he bought it. Maybe there was some enterprising GI or GI's who had a little business going of finding or buying and cleaning up Luger's in less than pristine shape, maybe buffing out the little pits from rust and then rebluing them and selling them for a nice profit to the REMF's. Possible?
 

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Tom.

everyone is of much the same opinion - that the problem is limited to the trigger, the trigger lever, the side plate and the sear bar. This is all somewhat of a mickey mouse mechanism and is definitely not the Luger´s strongest point. If the side plate catch (locking bolt) doesn´ t hold the side plate tight, the problem you described occurs. Try putting pressure on the side plate while pulling the trigger. If this is the case, it´s not as easy as might seem to bend the locking bolt just sufficiently to put enough pressure on the side plate.
 

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BTW - the enterprising people you describe, who buy up arsenal Lugers coming out of the Russian republics, apply any stamp conceivable, turn them into LP 08s or Navies etc. are still very much alive and are all over the place here in Germany. They´re also very good at doing up Mausers, bayonets etc. I´ve owned a Luger for more than thirty years and I certainly can´t tell a good fake from the genuine article.
 
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