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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

My LGS has a 9 mm American Eagle Model 1902 in the display case. The pistol has the old model dished toggle grips and grip safety, but I don't think it has a fat barrel (didn't think too look closely at the time, but the barrel didn't look unusual, and it's not advertised as a fat barrel). The serial number—if I recall correctly—is 23,xxx.

Were any 9 mm Model 1902 American Eagles made without a fat barrel? All my searches for Model 1902 AE in 9 mm lead to fat barrel pistols. I did find the commercial DWM database, which suggests a (very) few AE Model 1902 9 mm pistols were made without a fat barrel.

And, can I assume an American Eagle roll marked 9 mm pistol, with dished toggle grips and a grip safety, must be a Model 1902? I say this because (I think?) all Model 1900 AEs were 7.65 mm, and a Model 1906 in 9 mm won’t have dished toggles.

Thank you!

Randall
 

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The model 1902 introduced the 9mm cartridge. According to Gortz & Sturgess, from about serial number 22471 ~ about 23450, a block of roughly 1,000 short frame 9mm Lugers were made with 100mm heavy barrels and most had the Great Seal of the U.S. over the chamber. The next 1600 that followed 23450 up to 25000 were, with a few exceptions, all carbines. The serial number ranges are approximate but should be close.
 

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The late Doug Smith owned 1902 AE #23288 and I own 1902 AE #23233, both 9mm, both fat barrel and both near mint. Görtz & Sturgess numbers are a little off. Randall, your LGS Luger deserves a closer look. If indeed it is 9mm it should have a fat barrel. What is the asking price?
By the way, the 9mm cartridge was developed in 1902 but a Luger chambered for that round probably wasn't produced until 1903. However, the "1902" model designation is close enough considering it was the genesis of this historic caliber firearm.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The late Doug Smith owned 1902 AE #23288 and I own 1902 AE #23233, both 9mm, both fat barrel and both near mint. Görtz & Sturgess numbers are a little off. Randall, your LGS Luger deserves a closer look. If indeed it is 9mm it should have a fat barrel. What is the asking price?
By the way, the 9mm cartridge was developed in 1902 but a Luger chambered for that round probably wasn't produced until 1903. However, the "1902" model designation is close enough considering it was the genesis of this historic caliber firearm.
Ron
Thank you Doubs and Ron.

The price is just under $1800, which seems too low for a fat barrel Model 1902. But everything else about the pistol suggests AE Model 1902 in 9 mm, and the gun store has tagged it as a Model 1902. They also have a Stoeger AE which I think was about $2,800. And, they have a 7.65 mm Luger, but I've forgotten the details.

The finish looked good. At the time, I didn't know to check for the two vertical lines beneath the right toggle grip as a telltale sign of refinishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Went back to the LGS and looked closer. See attached photos.

-Serial number 22530, stamped on both the barrel and receiver.

-All parts matching.

-I think it’s been refinished, based on the appearance of the vertical lines beneath the right toggle grip. Thoughts?

-Barrel appears to be fat to my novice eyes. Can anyone confirm?

-Magazine base is wood, marked “Cal 9 m/m,” which I think is proper.

-Frame is not stamped “Germany.” While searching the ‘net, I came across a thread from this forum, S/N 22533 (difference of three), also does not have a Germany stamp:

1902 American Eagle questions


Incidentally, as sort of a reference, I do own a 1939 P08, purchased about 2 years ago. So, I’m not a complete Luger novice, but am certainly less knowledgeable about early model Lugers.

Thanks so much for the help!
 

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Just my opinion and maybe it's the pictures but the finish looks awfully good - and original - to me. My only question concerns the front sight which looks as though it's been messed with. Looks to be a fat barrel to me. Also my opinion but I'd buy it for $1800 if all is as it should be.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank Doubs.

I did go through with purchasing the pistol. I’m in (groan) California, so I have to wait 10 days before I can bring it home.

I also did a double take when I looked at the front sight in the photo. I compared it to the front sight on my 1939 Luger—looks essentially the same, so I think all is well for the front sight.

Incidentally, will the Mec-Gar magazines that work perfectly in my 1939 P08 fit and work in the 1902? Maybe, maybe not?

Thank you!

Randall
 

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It just may be the angles that the pictures of the front sight were taken that made me question it. It should be a standard sloped front sight blade.

The Mec-Gar magazine should work perfectly. However, I would hesitate to shoot it. If a numbered part should break, the value plunges significantly. It looks to be a beautiful example.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I now see what you’re getting at with regard to the front sight. Sorry I didn’t pick up on that before. Nope, the front sight does not look the same as my 1939 Luger in profile. It looks more like this, but without the bead:

DWM 1906 AMERICAN EAGLE 9MM - C29107

“The front sight blade is a period commercial replacement beaded variation.”

Perhaps there was also a non-beaded period commercial replacement? Or, is it possible the bead has fallen off? The attached photo gives a better view of the front sight. Doesn't look to me like there was ever a bead on it.

Good advice about not shooting the gun. I do shoot my 1939…a little, once or twice year. Actually, I shot four rounds through the 1939 yesterday, right before I spied the Model 1902 in the display case. It is a number-matching pistol, but I’ve replaced almost all the numbered parts. So...I can continue to shoot the 1939, rather than ever shooting the 1902. Would love to buy a cheap(ish) shooter, but those seem to be nonexistent.
 

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I would guess that the front sight may have been filed down. You got a heckuva buy, by the way...$1800 for a '02 in that condition is unheard of.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone.

There's also an American Eagle Stoeger 9 mm in the display case, which I understand is pretty rare, as well. May have to go buy it, too.
 

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Thanks everyone.

There's also an American Eagle Stoeger 9 mm in the display case, which I understand is pretty rare, as well. May have to go buy it, too.
Be careful with this. Fake Stoegers are depressingly common. Post photos of the right receiver inscription and the full serial number if you can.

--Dwight
 

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Randal, I think it was refinished also, but it looks like a nice job was done. Take some outside pics once you get it home. I think you did good on this purchase, John
 

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Front sight is modified or a replacement, not a big deal.
Pistol is refinished as JD said, but for $1800 you got a good deal- nice find!
The refinish is "better" than many and presentable.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everyone! I'm pretty pleased.

Based on input from Dwight...thread on the 1918-1930 forums...it appears the 9 mm Stoeger is not authentic.

I may still pursue the 1900 and 1906. Both are clean, though I haven't looked closely (e.g., for matching numbers). I did take a few pics yesterday, attached. The 1900 is SN 13968, and the 1906 is serial number 30508. The 1906 appears to have another beaded front sight: of the four Lugers, 1900, 1902, 1906, "Stoeger," only the 1900 has a standard front sight. The price is just under $1800 each for the 1900 and 1906.

I plan on stopping by the store later today...will get more photos of the 1900 and 1906 (and the "Stoeger").

Oh, and I'm calling SN 13968 a 1900, but the store hasn't labeled it as such. It's just identified as an American Eagle.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Got more photos of the 1900 and 1906. First, the 1900, SN 13968. I forgot to take a photo of the top of the receiver. But, you can make out evidence of the AE roll mark in photo 1533.
 

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I don't like going out on a limb recommending purchases based on photos, but these two guns look pretty good for the price. If it is in your budget they could be another good deal. Hard to believe that in this day and age a gun shop would be offering relatively scarce Lugers at these prices.
Ron
 
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